About a week ago I had some made some flat shapes to use as jewelry charms from my tub of air dry clay. They dried fully in about 2 days, which is about what I figured it would take for them to dry (it would probably have a quicker drying time or longer depending on the item crafted, room temperature, etc). However, inspite of my frequent flipping of them so that they dry flat, only one really had dried flat. But for the most part they are all workable really.
With some quick research, I found that I should have remembered my art classes from high school when we worked with clay. Needless to say I had a duh moment and am currently working at getting another few pieces rolled out and cut to dry. I'm glad that we are working on the kiddo's bedroom and have some extra scraps of drywall laying around lol. This time around I am going to sandwich the pieces between two pieces of drywall and see how they dry that way. It might take a day longer, but we'll see how they turn out.
So in the mean time, I am working at sanding the edges of the pieces I had already made. The air dry clay that I am using, Sculpt it! by Sargent Art, so far I am pretty pleased with the results. It's non-toxic which is really nice since I have a 4 year old son, 3 cats, and 2 puppies who love to chew. So being non-toxic is a must in my house. It has a pleasant scent when you are handling it. I haven't tried sculpting anything like figures yet. But for making charm bases, it works wonderfully.
It is pretty durable since it's taking a little bit of effort to sand it to the smoothness I am looking for. I have been using regular 100, 200, 220 grit sandpaper you find at the hardware store. Sanding it goes pretty fast which is nice because I like instant gratification a lot of times. I haven't tried using wet/dry sandpaper. But since it dries to a ceramic like texture, I would think you could sand it with the wet/dry stuff. I am going to try that out at some point because if I make actual figurines, I would want a really smooth surface. When hand sanding, it produces very little dust which makes for easy clean up.
I've noticed if my hands are a bit dry, I don't have as much work time with it. But having a little bowl of water to dip my fingers into to keep the clay moist helps. As far as using water to moisten, it's a bit of trial and error to keep it from getting too slimy when working with it. If you add a drop at a time and work it in before adding more, it's not a problem.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the product.