For making, baking, and decorating instructions, watch our Instructional Video above. Or take a look at our Printable Instructional ClayLinks Chart.
Below is the list of questions that we hear most frequently from customers like you. Let us know if there is something you want to know that is not answered here. Email us at [email protected].
Questions about Products and Ordering
A ClayLinks Kit is a convenient way to make a lasting keepsake of a loved one's hand. When used in cooperation with skilled bereavement care, ClayLinks prints can be a valued part of memorializing beloved family members who have died. ClayLinks prints are tangible symbols of your commitment to delivering high-quality grief support when families need it the most.
Each kit contains one patty of clay, a tip sheet, and a protective bag for storing or transporting the print. The clay in one kit is large enough for most babies. The clay patties from multiple kits can be combined to make larger prints for older children and adults.
After purchase, ClayLinks Kits should be stored in a cool location (under 85° F) away from direct sunlight. High temperatures may 'advance' the clay, which may lead to it being harder to work with. When stored properly, our modeling compound will not dry out. Due to its oil base and our protective packaging, your clay should remain pliable even one year post purchase.
We offer a six month guarantee on our products. If you are dissatisfied with your ClayLinks Kits, simply return them to us for a refund.
The size of your order depends on how you plan to use the Kits. For instance, some healthcare providers use ClayLinks Kits to welcome newborns, as well as to create memorials after patient death. Other healthcare providers (like NICUs) limit their use of ClayLinks Kits and only make impressions of infants who die. Businesses and organizations, like funeral homes and hospice programs, make impressions for all ages, from babies to adults, and each impression may require two, three, or four patties. In addition, many care providers make more than one impression, so each family member has their own memento.
The best way to determine your needs, then, is to estimate how many impressions you might typically make in an average week. Then, multiply that number by two or three (if you plan to provide families with multiple impressions) and by two, three, or four again, if you typically make prints of older children or adults that require more than one patty. These calculations should give you a fairly accurate estimate of your weekly total. Next, decide how often you want to reorder (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.) and, again, multiply accordingly. We guarantee our clay for six months from when you purchase it, so with quantity discount pricing, your costs may decrease when you buy more, less often.
Yes, World by the Tail, Inc., offers several accessories to complement a ClayLinks Print. Please visit our online store.
Yes. Using additional patties of ClayLinks Clay, available in our online store, you can make copies of your existing print. Follow the tips and instructions below to make your additional prints.
Before you begin, be sure your original ClayLinks print has been baked. If you are unsure, please call us at 1-800-248-2820.
You will need:
- Additional ClayLinks Kits (the amount depends on the size of the original print and the number of copies you wish to make)
- A Patty Pad and Mold (in the size and shape of your original print)
- Desired decorations and embellishment tools (Decorative Charms, Ribbon, Alphabet & Number Stamps, etc.)
- An ungreased baking dish
- A conventional or toaster oven
To make a reverse-impression stamp of your existing print:
- Use one or more ClayLinks Clay patties to create a reverse-impression stamp of your existing ClayLinks print. The number of patties needed will depend on the size of the original print. Try to use the same amount of clay to make the reverse-impression stamp as was used to make the original print whenever possible.
- Prepare the ClayLinks Clay by kneading for a couple of minutes, then forming into a ball (combining additional patties together if necessary).
- Wipe your original, baked print with a damp paper towel to slightly moisten the surface. The thin layer of moisture will act as a releasing agent to make it easier to separate the unbaked reverse-impression stamp from the original print. (IMPORTANT: If you are making a copy print of an air dry clay print, DO NOT use water. Instead, lightly dust the original print with cornstarch and lightly blow on the print to remove the excess powder.)
- Carefully press the ball of ClayLinks Clay into your original print until it covers the same surface area and is about as thick as your original print. Be sure to press firmly enough to get all the details!
- Once you've created the reverse-impression stamp of your original print, carefully release it from the original print starting at the edges. At this time, you can smooth out any marks or details you don't want replicated with your finger. (Remember: If, for any reason, you don’t like how the stamp turned out, just re-knead the clay and repeat the steps above.)
- Place the stamp, print side up, in an ungreased glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Preheat a conventional or toaster oven to 275°F (135°C). We recommend using a separate oven thermometer to ensure the correct baking temperature. Once your oven is up to temperature, bake the stamp for 20 minutes.
- For high altitude baking (above 3500 feet), increase baking temperature to 295°F and bake the stamp for 20 minutes.
- Allow the stamp to cool completely in the baking dish before moving on to the next part.
To make the new impression:
- Prepare one or more ClayLinks Clay patties by kneading them separately and then combining all clay patties together into a ball. Then use a Patty Pad and Mold of your choice to flatten, shape and smooth the clay (Detailed clay preparation and baking instructions are printed on the ClayLinks Kit insert materials as well as on the Patty Pad.)
- Wipe your baked, reverse-impression stamp with a damp paper towel to slightly moisten the surface. The thin layer of moisture will act as a releasing agent to make it easier to separate the stamp from the new print.
- Press your stamp into the desired area of your prepared clay patty.
- Carefully peel the stamp off of the raw clay and smooth away any unwanted marks with a clean finger.
- Decorate your print as desired. For example: create a hole(s) for a ribbon, write or use stamps to add a name or dates, press decorative charm accessories into the clay. (Remember: Any decorative accessories must be able to withstand the baking temperature).
- Place the copy of your ClayLinks print, print side up, in an ungreased glass or ceramic baking dish.
- Preheat a conventional or toaster oven to 275°F (135°C). We recommend using a separate oven thermometer to ensure the correct baking temperature. Once your oven is up to temperature, bake the print for 20 minutes.
- For high altitude baking (above 3500 feet), increase baking temperature to 295°F and bake the print for 20 minutes.
- Remove your print from the oven after the 20 minutes and allow the ClayLinks print to cool completely before removing it from the baking dish.
- Once completely cooled, your print is now finished or ready for additional decorating, like glazing using a glaze compatible with polymer clay like Sculpey® Finishing Glaze, if desired.
- If you are considering painting your new print, use only 100% water-based acrylic paints. Do not use Sculpey Finishing Glaze on a print that has been painted. The combination will create a tacky finish that will not dry.
You can order online through our Products section. You can reach a customer service specialist by calling us toll-free at 1-800-248-2820 or at our local number 970-286-2971.Our fax number is 970-223-1226 and our mailing address is:
World by the Tail, Inc.
134 W. Harvard St., Ste. 5
Fort Collins, CO 80525
For your convenience, there are several ways you can pay for your orders. Online, you must pay with a Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express. You can also pay with Visa, Mastercard, Discover or American Express when you call or fax your order, as well. We will accept checks, however, payment must be received and cleared before we can ship the product to you.
Call us if you have questions about your payment! 1-800-248-2820.
Questions About Preparing ClayLinks Prints
You MUST knead your ClayLinks patty before making your print. Our clay is quite soft to begin with, but it must be kneaded in order to distribute the oils. This activates strong bonds when baked ensuring the long life of the print. Please don't skip this step!
Take the patty of clay and knead it in your hands for a minute or two until you can tell it has softened. Once it is softened, roll the clay into a ball.
Place the ball on a hard, clean, smooth and portable surface, like an acrylic clipboard, large porcelain plate, or our Portable Patty Pads. Lift the portable surface to the hand or foot and center it on the clay. Firmly, but gently, push the center of the hand or foot into the clay and, without removing, press each finger or toe into the clay.
One key to getting our clay soft enough to knead quickly is warming it just a little. Here is our trick! With the clay still in the protective plastic bag, sit on it for a minute or two, or place it in your waistband or pocket. The heat from your body will provide warmth and make the clay more flexible. Running the unwrapped clay through a pasta machine three or more times is also an effective way to soften the clay and begin the kneading process. Note: Do NOT microwave our clay or warm it in low temperature oven! This type of warming actually advances the clay which may potentially cause problems after baking and cracking as it ages!
Yes! Blocks of Sculpey® brand pigmented clay (available at craft stores) can be used to add swirls of color to our clay.
Simply knead a small amount of the pigmented clay to soften, then knead it into our kneaded white clay patty to create a unique splash of color.
TIP: You may also find you need to remove the same amount of white clay as the colored clay you added if using our Circle, Heart or Oval Molds.
Questions About Making ClayLinks Prints
- Clean hands! This modeling compound attracts dust, dirt and ink.
- Knead the clay for several minutes until soft and warm to distribute oils evenly. You may need to use more than one ClayLinks Kit to create a large enough clay patty for your intended print. DO NOT soften in a microwave oven as this may ‘harden’ the clay.
- Roll clay into a ball and place on hard, clean, smooth and portable surface (dinner plate, plastic clipboard or a Portable Patty Pad with a Circle Mold*).
- Flatten ball into a patty and turn over to reveal smoothest side.
- Lift the portable surface to the hand or foot center it on the clay.
- Firmly, but gently, push the center pad of the hand or foot into the clay and, without removing, press each finger or toe into the clay.
- If print does not meet your standards, start over and try again.
- When satisfied with your print, you must bake it. Click here for detailed instructions.
Step 1. Prepare clay patty as directed above.
Step 2. Place the center of the hand slightly below the midline of the clay patty. Press firmly, but gently, on the center of the hand to ensure a deep print.
Step 3. Without moving the hand, press each finger or toe into the clay with even pressure.
Step 4. Carefully remove hand or foot from clay patty in one fluid motion.
Step 5. Check to be sure you have room to decorate as desired. If not, roll the clay into a ball, prepare as before and try again.
If you want to hang your ClayLinks print like an ornament or wall plaque, you will want to make holes near the top before baking. Using a toothpick, matchstick, crochet needle or other pointed object (our Stylus works well), make two holes side-by-side that are about the size of a pencil. Once your print is baked, you can thread yarn, ribbon, or decorative cording through the holes. You can also carve or stamp your a name into the clay and embed other oven-safe decorations, like our charms, before baking. To browse any of these products, visit our online store.
If you're worried about dust or dirt making its way into your clean clay print, you can cover the patty with plastic wrap. (Note: The "cheaper" brands work best because they are thinner than the more expensive "name" brands.) Be sure there are no wrinkles in the wrap, then press the hand or foot into the patty. Remove the plastic wrap before decorating or baking! Note: You will NOT get the same level of detail using this method. Remember, prints don't have to be perfect, their imperfections are what make them personal.
Occasionally, the handprint making process can leave a slight residue on your hands. The best solution we've found for removing this residue is Lava soap because the pumice in Lava soap works against the oils in the clay. Or, you can rub a drop of alcohol-based hand sanitizer into your hands, wipe clean with a paper towel then wash your hands with soap and water. (https://thebluebottletree.com/10-simple-polymer-clay-tips/)
Questions About Personalizing ClayLinks Prints
- If you wish to hang the ClayLinks® print like an ornament, make two small holes using a match stick or crochet needle near the top center of the patty prior to baking. Be sure the opening is wide enough to pass a ribbon through.
- Add a name or date by using a toothpick, large needle, or Alphabet or Numbers Stamp Kit to carve or imprint letters and numbers.
- Accessorize the print with items like beads or charms. Arrange and press items into clay prior to baking. (Note: Decorations must withstand oven temperatures of 275° F.)
- If desired, finish print with decorations like ribbon, 100% water-based acrylic paints, glazes made for use with polymer clay, archival or pigment-based artist markers or items that can be glued to the surface. (Do NOT apply finishing glaze to a print that has been painted. Do NOT use aerosol sprays.)
- Baked clay may be carved or sanded.
- Prints may be displayed in a variety of ways including hanging or table-top display easels, shadowboxes, or frames.
Visit our online store to browse the products we offer that may help you in your decoration goals.
There are many ways for you to personalize your prints. Some of them are elaborate processes and some are easy. Choose the way that works for you!
- use a pointy object such as our Stylus. You can "carve" the name in your own handwriting.
- use a stamp kit. Our kit is actually a leather tooling kit, but we have found that this is the simplest way to get a name into the clay. Simply press the letters into the clay.
- wait until the clay is baked and paint a name on. You can use 100% water-based acrylic paints or a pigment-based marker to do this. Avoid sharpies or permanent markers that are made of solvent-based dyes.
- using Elmer's glue embellishments on after baking (such as letter beads, etc.
Visit our online store to see our writing tools.
You can be as creative as you want to be with your print. Before baking, you can press embellishments into the clay. Make sure they are safe to be baked at 275°F. (No plastics, etc.) Try our handmade charms! These charms are available for purchase in our online store.
After baking, you can add glitter, plastic beads, etc. Use Elmer's glue to affix embellishments to the surface of your print. You can also add ribbons to your prints. Lastly, you can hand paint with 100% water-based acrylic paint or use archival artist markers to add colors or designs onto the surface of the print.
Questions About Baking ClayLinks Prints
If a print is baked, it will feel like a piece of pottery. It won't ever feel as hard and smooth as porcelain or china. Unbaked clay will typically feel slightly moist and quite flexible. If a print has been unbaked for several months after being made, you may start to see small hairline cracks appearing. You can smooth these cracks out with your finger prior to baking your print. For deep cracks, use Sculpey® Bake & Bond to fill in the crack then smooth with your finger. Call us at 1-800-248-2820 if you have further questions.
While it is okay to not bake your print immediately, we suggest that prints be baked within about 30 days. We understand it can be a difficult step to bake this precious memory of your loved one.
If waiting to bake your print, it is best to store your unbaked print away from danger of being crushed or flattened. Also, store the unbaked print in its original plastic storage bag, Ziploc® bag or in a container that keeps dust from getting on the clay.
If left unbaked for a long period of time, cracks may start to form in the clay. These can be smoothed out before baking, but the durability of the print may be compromised. To reinforce the print if there is a crack, use Sculpey® Bake & Bond to fill in the cracks and smooth with your finger before baking. We recommend you bake your print within 30 days of making it.
Baking instructions are included on the insert in each ClayLinks Kit. If these instructions are lost, or not included, the instructions are below.
To Bake a ClayLinks Print:
- Prints should always be baked in a well-ventilated oven and area and for best results bake within 30 days.
- Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 275º F (135º C). (For altitudes above 5,000 feet, increase temperature to 295º F.) It’s a good idea to use an oven thermometer to be sure your oven’s temperature is accurate. Over-baking or baking at too high a temperature may cause discoloration, cracking and/or burning.
- Place your print in a clean, ungreased baking dish and bake in your preheated oven or toaster oven for 20 minutes. The print will not look any different after it is baked properly. Baking simply “sets” the impression so it is permanently preserved. Do not bake in a microwave oven as these ovens may not allow the clay to bake thoroughly or equally.
- Remove the baking dish promptly from your oven and allow the print to cool to room temperature before touching. Your print is quite delicate when just removed from the oven and will harden as it cools. After the print has cooled, gently work a spatula under the edge of the print to loosen. It’s normal for your print to seem “stuck” to the dish but, once it is cooled, your print will easily "pop" loose.
Glass, Pyrex®, or ceramic containers or tiles are great heat conductors and ensure that the heat from your oven is evenly distributed. This allows your print to bake evenly and completely.
HINT: If you don't want your print to stick, place parchment paper between the baking surface and your print. Be aware that once the print is baked, it will not have any traction on the parchment paper and is likely to slide around on the surface. The parchment paper will also slide on the baking surface. If your container has no edges be sure that the print does not slide off as you remove it from the oven! Do not use a nonstick spray on the baking surface as it will damage the print.
Please do not treat your print like a piece of ceramic pottery! Our clay will NOT withstand the temperatures found in firing kilns. Also, our clay will NOT bake evenly or thoroughly in a microwave oven. The uneven "advancement" of our clay that can occur with microwave baking may cause cracks or breakage in your print.
The recommended method for baking our clay is the use of either a conventional oven or a toaster oven, both preheated to 275° F. (See baking instructions above). Use an oven thermometer to ensure that your oven's setting is correct before baking. A convection oven may be used but it will not cut down on baking time. You will still need to bake your print for the full amount of time recommended (20 minutes) for other ovens to ensure that your print is baked thoroughly.
Yes, but if you decide to bake your print in a convection oven, you will still need to bake the print for 20 minutes to ensure the print is baked thoroughly.
To be sure your print is fully baked, allow it to cool completely before removing it from the container. The cooling process actually helps the clay to harden. If you believe your print is not completely baked, pre-heat the oven to 275° again using a separate oven thermometer to ensure temperature accuracy and bake the print in five minute increments. Most prints require about 20 minutes to complete.
Our baking time of 20 minutes has been repeatedly tested and we have found that almost all prints are completely baked after 20 minutes. The exceptions to this would be prints that are very thick (1/2 inch or more).
Be sure to allow your print to cool completely after baking. Remember that the clay will continue to advance and harden as your print cools.
In the unlikely event that discoloration happens, you can paint your print with a 100% water-based acrylic paint.
Questions About Finishing ClayLinks Prints
ClayLinks Kits' formula is not mixed to withstand the elements if it is placed outdoors. We DO NOT, in any way, recommend or encourage you to place your ClayLinks print outside, especially if it is your only print. The weather and elements can still have adverse effects on the clay.
If a ClayLinks print has already been baked, but you want to display the print by hanging it from a ribbon, you can make a small hole near the top of the print by drilling into the modeling compound. We suggest you position the location of the hole so that the upper edge of the finished hole will be at least 1/2 inch from the top edge of your ClayLinks print.
First, place the ClayLinks print on a clean, flat surface. Be sure the surface is an item you won't mind drilling into (e.g., a piece of scrap wood, a work bench, etc.!) Next, measure down from the top of the print to determine the center of the hole (about 3/4 of an inch). Drill an initial, small hole using a 1/8 inch twist drill bit. Use a very slow speed and very light pressure on the drill. Once you've drilled all the way through, switch to a larger drill bit (up to 1/4 inch) to make a larger, final hole. Add a ribbon or cord and hang your ClayLinks print!
Our Gemstone Charms do not have a flat back, it is pointed which helps the gemstone to sparkle the way it does. This works great when you want to press a Gemstone Charm into unbaked clay, but if your print is already baked, you will not be able to simply glue the print on and have it lay flat. Instead, follow the steps below:
- Use a 1/2" twist drill bit to drill a shallow indentation into the previously baked ClayLinks Print. The indentation should be deep enough so that the pointed gemstone back sits nicely in the print.
- Put a drop of white glue, like Elmer’s White Glue, and then set the gemstone into the indentation.
- If any glue presses out around the gemstone, wipe off immediately with a moist paper towel. Try not to smear the glue across the print as you are wiping it off.
- Allow the glue to dry overnight.
Please use 100% water-based acrylic paints on your ClayLinks print. DO NOT use spray paints! The aerosol in spray paints reacts with this type of clay and the paint will not dry on your print. Instead, it will remain sticky.
You can paint the whole print or add touches of color. Allow each coat of paint to dry fully before adding another coat. Do not use a Finishing Glaze on a print that has been painted. The chemical reaction will cause the glaze to never fully dry.
The clay in your ClayLinks print is a polymer modeling compound. Not all materials are compatible with this clay, such as spray paints or clear nail polish.
Your best choice for this type of clay is to use a glaze or protectant that is specifically made for polymer clay. We sell Sculpey® gloss glaze in our online store or you can find a different brand that is made for use with polymer clays in your local craft store.
Whichever product you choose, you want a product that will dry clear, doesn't turn yellow after time, and doesn't stay tacky. Also be careful that the protectant you choose won't start to break down the clay after time (spray paint does break down the clay, as well as not drying properly.)
Even with a protective finish, we do not recommend that you place your ClayLinks print outdoors. Our special formula is not made to endure harsh temperatures and changing weather!
Spray painting your ClayLinks print will cause you some headaches. Aerosol paint is not compatible with this type of polymer clay.
Spray paint will start to break down the clay over time. You will also notice that spray paint never seems to dry and stays sticky.
If you have already used spray paint and have a sticky print, you can try wipe the print with dryer sheets. The fine powder will stick to the tacky parts and make the print feel less sticky.
For unbaked prints:
First you will need to purchase a bottle of Sculpey® Bake & Bond from a local craft store or online. Use the Bake & Bond like glue to fill in the crack and press the two pieces together gently. Don't use too much or the excess will seep out when you press the pieces together. If this happens, just wipe it away with a clean paper towel or Q-tip. Before baking and after applying the Bake & Bond, smooth the crack over with a clean finger on both sides of the print until you can't see the crack. If the crack is through the actual impression then don't smooth that side, just smooth the back so you don't damage the impression. Then, bake the print according to the directions.
For baked prints:
We suggest using Elmer’s glue to fix cracks. Elmer’s glue dries clear, so you may choose to mix in a bit of clay dust with the glue to match the ClayLinks print. You can use fine grit sand paper to sand off a little clay dust from the back of the print to mix in with the glue before fixing. Use a small paint brush or tooth pick to apply the glue to the crack, press sides together, wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth and then keep pressure on the print until it is dry. Let the print sit flat overnight before hanging or displaying the print.