Many people are confused about baking their polymer clay creations. Hopefully this article will help you become confident about baking polymer clay efficiently.
But the Package Says…
I use Sculpey Premo polymer clay. I find it to be just soft enough, but not sticky. The package says to bake it at 275 degrees for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. I have done a lot of research and have found that baking it for one hour insures full curing. I bake my items on a ceramic tile and always tent it with aluminum foil. The foil prevents scorching.
But My Oven Says 275 Degrees…
Unfortunately, many ovens do not heat to the proper temperature. Some can be off by 25 degrees or more! To insure a correct baking temperature, you need an internal oven thermometer. There many available starting at around $6. Don’t go with the cheapest. You want it to work properly. You can use household ovens, toaster ovens, or convection ovens to bake polymer clay, but never a microwave oven!
What’s That Smell?
Some clays produce an odor while baking. Some people are sensitive to the smell. Properly tenting the items with a foil pan can help with this. You can also let the items cool in the oven before taking them out. If you plan to bake polymer clay often, you may want to opt for a toaster oven. The toaster oven should be dedicated to polymer clay only. Place it somewhere well ventilated. The problem with toaster ovens is they tend to have temperature spikes. This can affect the baking process by either scorching clay or under baking it. I will be reviewing toaster ovens shortly and will post the results! By the way, don’t bake food items at the same time as your polymer clay!
What Can I Bake My Polymer Clay On?
Ceramic tiles work great! But they can be heavy. You can also use foil pans or baking sheets used for polymer clay only. Using a foil pan with another foil pan for the top cover is effective. Use binder clips to hold them together.
It’s Baked, Now What?
After baking, you can let it cool in the oven or take it out. I just let it sit on the tile or pan until it cools. When the clay is warm, it is very flexible. It will stiffen up as it cools. Polymer clay can be baked several times. This is necessary when you adding pieces to your creation. Sometimes you will create a base then add other items to it. This is fine. Polymer clay does not shrink while baking although holes made in beads may get a little smaller.
What if I Mix Brands of Polymer Clay?
When using different brands of polymer clay, it is advised to bake at the lowest temperature on the packages. Some clays will darken at higher temperatures. You will just have to adjust the baking time (add some time to cure the higher temperature clay). I avoid this by using the same brand of clay. Less guessing and uneven curing.
I hope this helps you with baking polymer clay. Once you try a few times you will know how your oven reacts and proper baking times to use. Remember, over curing will lead to scorching, while under curing will lead to weak and brittle items.
Please leave a comment or question below. I will try to help you any way I can. Peace!