Clay blocks are usually found in locations where both sand and water are present, most commonly appearing in shallow water (especially along the coast of island groups). They can also be found underwater in swamp biomes. When searching through the water for clay, it can be distinguished from sand by its slightly blue-gray color. When mined with a shovel, four clay balls will drop. Clay is considered to be moderately difficult to obtain because of the speed at which shoveling underwater is reduced. In the Village and Pillage update, there's a chance masons will throw clay blocks with the hero of the village effect present.
- In real life, the color of clay can actually be bright red, a deep red, tan, or brown due to iron mixing with the clay, not just gray. Clay will also keep its color in block form. This means that bricks, after clay is smelted in the furnace, should be gray and not red-brown.
- Clay is usually found underground in the real world, unlike in the game, where it is commonly found in shallow water.
- If inventory space is tight, clay balls can be formed back into clay blocks using the inventory crafting grid. This is a good way to conserve space, but the blocks must be placed and destroyed again to get the clay balls back.
- As of the 1.6.1 release, clay blocks can now be smelted into terracotta (then-called hardened clay), which can then be dyed. This makes clay blocks, wood, and Netherrack the only blocks that can be smelted. Clay is also one of the only blocks that, when smelted, makes a block. The other block when smelted makes a block, is terracotta, it makes glazed terracotta; the other two make items, namely charcoal and Nether bricks respectively.
- It is best to find a way to shovel the clay above water, as it will take longer to break the block while underwater. The creation of an indent in the riverbank can also reduce the amount of time needed to break the clay block because it allows a player to dig from the safety of an air pocket while underwater.
- During Beta 1.6, in newly generated chunks, clay blocks were nearly nonexistent. To be specific, clay only generated when the x and z coordinates were the same which severely limited the amount of clay on the map, but this was fixed in 1.7. Back then, clay was actually rarer than diamond. This led to the phrase "You missed clay!."
- In update 1.7, clay in its terracotta form became much easier to obtain with the introduction of the mesa biome.