How to Bake Polymer Clay: Part 3 – Tips and Tricks – The Blue Bottle Tree

Polymer cadaver, besides called polyclay or fimo, is a modeling material that you can cure or bake at home in your regular oven. today is a focus on Tips and Tricks for getting the best results when curing ( baking ) your projects. Check out the other articles, besides. Part 1 was on Choosing your Oven and Part 2 was about temperature .

Polymer Clay Baking Tips and Tricks

  • Polymer clay must be baked long enough and hot enough to get complete fusion.
  • Delicate structures need to be supported during baking, so use a bed of cornstarch or polyester fiber for this. Toilet paper or paper towels also work well.
  • When baking on tile, to keep the back of your item from being shiny, bake on a piece of copy paper or cardstock.
  • The oven’s element can be fiercely hot, causing browning even when the temperature setting is correct. Always cover your work.
  • Preheating is best as many ovens spike during the preheat cycle.
  • Boiling does not give a complete cure of polymer clay.
  • Ceramic tiles can help an oven maintain a stable temperature.
  • Make sure to read the articles on polymer clay ovens, choosing a temperature, and baking time.

Protect your polymer clay during baking. Learn more newbie tips at The Blue Bottle Tree. end the confusion about baking

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Baking and Curing Polymer Clay

Learn about the right temperature, times, ovens, and baking setups to ensure optimum results. No more break or sear projects !

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end the confusion want baking help ?

Baking and Curing Polymer Clay

Learn about the mighty temperature, times, ovens, and baking setups to ensure optimum results. No more broken or scorch projects !

Learn More

How Long Should I Bake Polymer Clay?

It ’ south no wonder that people are confused about this one. here ’ s what respective packages of polymer cadaver tell you about baking duration :

  • Fimo: 30 minutes
  • Pardo Art Clay: Minimum of 30 minutes
  • Cernit: Approximately 30 minutes
  • Kato Polyclay: 10 minutes
  • Premo: 30 minutes per 1/4″ (6mm) of thickness
  • Sculpey Original: 15 minutes per 1/4″ (6mm) of thickness

These are the absolute minimum times that you should use, and the commend 10 minutes for Kato is just plain erroneous. Polymer cadaver become much stronger when it is baked longer than these minimal times. You cannot burn or damage polymer clay by baking it for a very long time, even hours, as long as the temperature is correct. Unlike food, which will burn if left besides long in the oven, polymer clay will not burn if baked at the correct temperature. The limit factor, though, is that light colors of polymer clay will darken and brown with longer times in the oven. It does not damage them, but it will easily ruin your impression, particularly if you ’ re working with light or translucent polymer clay .
I always recommend baking at least 45 minutes per 1/4″ of thickness and even longer for thick pieces. For optimum results, do what works for you, not what a package says .
not indisputable you ’ ve baked your nibble long enough ? Read about how you can tell if your polymer cadaver is baked by testing the flexibility hera .

Position in the Oven

When you put your polymer clay in the oven, try to center it as army for the liberation of rwanda from any heating element as possible. You want good tune circulation around your items so that the heat can distribute evenly inside the oven. Put it on the center torment, equidistant from the elements, and keep it away from the oven ’ second walls. This is obviously more unmanageable in a toaster oven as the bake chamber is so small. But if parts of your project are excessively close to the inflame component, it will burn .

Protecting your work from the heat

As anyone who has ever held their hand above a stave ’ randomness heating component can attest, it gets terribly toasty ! even if the overall temperature in the oven stays where you set it, every time that heating component cycles on, it glows red hot and can singe your polymer mud pieces if they ’ re besides close. Some ovens don ’ triiodothyronine regulate this very well and the component will scorch things, quite badly at times. The best way to protect your beautiful artwork from baking disasters is to protect it and shield it from the heating system by keeping it covered up .
Aluminum foil pans protect polymer clay from the heat during baking. The Blue Bottle Tree.
I use an aluminum foil patty pan, most often the 8″ x 8″ size because my 6″ ceramic tiles fit absolutely in the penetrate. ( Those of you outside the US will need to find the sizes that work for the materials you have where you are. In the UK, I know you can get 150mm tiles and 240mm square pans. ) For larger projects I use larger pans and tiles. You could use a sail of aluminum foil. Or a cover roast pan. Or an top down pan. Covering your work protects it from the inflame element and it besides helps keep the heat contained at a brace level inside the pan, leading to a more complete and reliable remedy .
Another fantastic bonus of using a covering is that the chemical smells that come from baking polymer mud will be greatly contained. The few times that I have baked uncover, my conserve has come to me, worried, because he could smell the clay and thought it was burning ! ( It wasn ’ thymine. )

One other nice bonus that comes from using the foil pans is that I have a cover for my unbaked pieces in the studio apartment. sometimes I ’ ll have the pan sitting there for days until I ’ ve made enough pieces to bake. The cover keeps the dust and curious kitties from ruining my cadaver .
If you use a toaster oven and have a bantam space, you could use the bantam aluminum foil proto-indo european pans the like way that I use the larger pans. Any pan with a eyelid that is oven safe could be used to protect your clay while baking. Keep your center open for a little unpainted alloy box, or tied a canister. Run it through the oven by itself first to make certain it will handle the heat, though, just to make sure .

Maintaining a Constant Temperature

convection ovens are much better at keeping a consistent temperature, but conventional and toaster ovens use a hot element, cycling on and off, to keep the distance heated. The beaming inflame from the element can burn your clay, as I ’ ve already stated, but there ’ sulfur besides the problem that curing of your items can be inhibited if the temperature doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate stay high the whole fourth dimension. If your oven is one of those that gets reasonably cold before the element kicks back on, it might be helpful to place ceramic tiles on the extort in the middle of the oven. This will act as what ’ south called a “ estrus sink ” to help hold and evenly distribute the heat. You could besides use an old pizza stone if your oven is bombastic enough .
This is why I use a ceramic tile in the bottom of my hydrofoil pan baking organization. It helps keep the temperature changeless. I besides use my ceramic tiles as employment surfaces, if this is a new mind for you, you might want to read about how ceramic tiles are one of my most indispensable tools .

Support and Protective Material

When you place raw mud on a glazed ceramic tile and then bake it, the places where the clay touched the tile will be glazed. To prevent this, merely place your item on a piece of bit copy newspaper, an index calling card, or a nibble of circuit board breed. Don ’ triiodothyronine worry, the wallpaper will not burn. But make sure that it doesn’t have any printing or writing on it as the inks could transfer to your clay .
If you ’ ra baking round beads, setting them on a flat surface is a recipe for frustration ! To keep them from rolling all over the place, merely accordion fold a piece of space copy paper and set your beads in the folds. They ’ ll stay in one place and they won ’ t have glistening spots .
baking polymer clay beads
Another method is to use a part of polyester quilt bat. Again, it won ’ thyroxine burn in the oven, and it keeps your pieces from getting a glazed spot. Batting is a great instrument, besides, if you work with sculpt and necessitate to support parts of your pieces during baking. Just use lots of polyester fiber fill up to prop it all up .
One thing to note about using newspaper, though. Don ’ t leave your art musical composition on paper for very long before you bake it. You might notice an oily spot on the composition …that ’ s the fluid plasticizer that ’ south leached out of your cadaver. A small sum won ’ thyroxine hurt your clay ( make indisputable to discard the wallpaper subsequently, though ). But if excessive amounts of plasticizer are leached out, it might weaken your piece .

How to prevent browning of your clay projects

translucent and light colors of polymer mud are very susceptible to turning brown during baking. This is not an indication of cauterize and is not dangerous, but it is frustrating. It ’ s equitable one of those things you have to work around and there are some things you can do to prevent, or at least minimize the trouble. Before we get to those, though, make sure that you are baking at the justly temperature and are covering your pieces during baking to prevent the heating system element from damaging your work. here are a few early things you can try .

Bury your Beads

Another scheme to protect your polymer clay from the hotness of the oven is to bury them in baking sodium carbonate ( bicarbonate of sodium carbonate ) during broil. other people use cornstarch or salt. To do this, just pour an oven-safe bowl of your front-runner powder, dig a fix, and put your beads inside. Put the whole thing in the oven to bake. After baking, you will need to rinse the powder off the beads. Some people report that cornstarch is harder to rinse off and leaves a blank residue, so you might prefer to use baking sodium carbonate if that ’ s the casing. Regardless, preceptor ’ t leave the beads sitting around unbaked in the powder for very long, though, for the same argue as with the wallpaper above. The plasticizer can possibly leache out of the beads, leaving them brittle .
If you bury polymer clay beads in cornstarch during baking, it will help protect them from browning. Article at The Blue Bottle Tree.

Experiment with Time and Temperature

Higher temperatures and longer bake times lead to more brown. therefore reducing the temperature or the duration of baking can solve the problem of browning. But, as I ’ ve discussed previously, that can besides lead to weakened and underbaked projects. I suggest carefully experimenting with minimizing the broil time and temperature while at the same time monitoring the project ’ randomness force. You need to bake long and hot enough to be in full cured and solid. Try the other strategies first, and if you calm have unacceptable browning, then try experimenting with the fourth dimension and temperature of baking .

Preventing Plaques and Cracks

Plaques are milky areas that appear in the middle of a man of polymer mud after curing. They look like they ’ ra tune bubbles but seem to happen when there was no obvious air trapped in the crude clay before baking. It ’ s more obvious in translucent and light colored clay. It ’ second been suggested that they are caused by body of water vapor or publicize collecting in the mud during curing and that they are caused by or exacerbated by astute contrasts in temperature during baking or cooling. You will see more plaques when you ’ re baking besides close to the heat element .

Can you bake polymer clay more than once?

A common interview for those new to polymer clay is “ Can you bake polymer clay more than once ? ” The answer is YES! There is no reason you can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate bake a man of cadaver as many times as you need to. In fact, for complex pieces, it ’ south common to bake parts of the man individually and then assemble and attach them after baking. It ’ mho besides perfectly fine to attach sensitive clay to baked mud and broil that. Sometimes it ’ s the merely way you can get certain effects .

High Altitude Baking of Polymer Clay

If you live at a high altitude, then you already know that the laws of physics can do some foreign things to your baking times and temperatures. Because baking times for food needs to be adjusted at high altitudes, many people assume this is the lapp for polymer cadaver. It is not. There is no water in polymer clay, so the air pressure differences of altitude are irrelevant.

Alternate Methods of Curing


Do not use a microwave to cure polymer clay. It ’ s the wrong kind of heating procedure. It ’ s not going to cause sparks or anything like that, but it will cause roll of tobacco when it burns ! Read more about it in my article about it here .


For some reason, there is a controversy about using boiling water to cure polymer clay. Some people say that it works, but that good international relations and security network ’ triiodothyronine naturalistic. Water boils at 212°F (100°C), which is a temperature too low to cure polymer clay. You ’ five hundred think that adding more heat would raise the temperature of the urine, but in reality, it doesn ’ t. Blame physics. now some people will say that boiling for a long time does give a dispatch cure for polymer clay. I am very, very disbelieving of this .
however, I can conceive of why you might want to boil a polymer cadaver sculpture, for case, to allow the water to support the detail long enough to partially cure. This might be helpful with building complex thin projections or pieces that would normally be besides diskette to bake without the hold of the water system. You would then in full bake the token at a proper temperatures in the oven. But that ’ s not something most of us are going to be dealing with .

Heat Gun

A heat accelerator is a valuable creature for working with polymer clay. You can spot bring around polymer clay with a estrus accelerator but you have to be identical, very careful to keep the grease-gun moving at all times and not get besides close to the clay. Heat guns produce enough heat to scorch and burn polymer clay causing it to blister and turn bootleg ( and produce irritating fumes ). Yes, I hang my capitulum in shame here. I have done this. But a long as you ’ ra ace careful to avoid burn, you can sort of “ soft cure ” mud to get it to solidify. You might use this proficiency if using melted clay to assemble a sculpture, for exemplify. But it ’ s not a complete bring around and you would hush need to amply cure your plan in the oven .
Cynthia Tinapple does use a inflame artillery to cure her polymer in place in the wooden bowls she creates with her husband Blair Davis. But she besides uses a digital thermometer to make certain the clay is actually reaching curing temperature. For most of us, this international relations and security network ’ t a by and large reliable manner of curing polymer clay .
well that ’ s all I can think of. You should have a pretty adept estimate of how to bake polymer cadaver. now go make something beautiful !
This article was Part 3 of a series on Baking Polymer Clay. Part 1 was about Choosing the Right Oven and Part 2 was about Using the right temperature. Next is Part 4, How long to Bake Polymer Clay .

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