Tips & Tricks #3 How to bake polymer clay

Hello my friends! Today’s post will be about baking polymer clay. I’ve seen this question asked many times online. Often times new poly clay crafters will either underbake their clay or overbake their clay.

First off, let me disclose that i am not a processional clay crafter. However i want to share to you my clay journey so you don’t make the same mistakes i have, or learn something new entirely. Nonetheless, sit back and relax. This is going to be a long post!

How to prep your clay before baking :

When i was a brand new polymer clay crafter, i underbaked my charms oven and since i used sculpey III clay only it was well..very fragile. There were times where i even burnt my clay to a crisp.  Now i have learned how to prep my clay before baking so i don’t burn my clay and underbake it.

When you place your clay on the baking pan/sheet/tray. Before placing it in the oven. Put tin foil or aluminum foil on your baking tray. Then on top of that put a sheet of parchment /baking paper on top of the foil. This adds double protection from the heat of the oven. Next, create a ‘tent’ over your clay creations with tin foil/aluminum foil. This will allow even baking and help protect it from hot spots. This has helped me so much when baking my charms, now i never worry about my clay burning as the clay is protected well from hot spots.

Along with protecting your charms from burning and hot spots, this method will allow you to bake your clay much longer. From experience the longer you bake your clay the stronger it is. However, this may vary depending on your brand of clay, i suggest testing it out first with pieces of scrap clay. I use Sculpey, Premo, Souffle and Fimo Professional with this method of baking.

I bake all my charms in a toaster oven or a conventional oven (the one your home has a stove on top of)

1

 

Baking temperatures:

Lets talk about baking temperatures.

These are the temperatures i bake my clay at give or take some degree’s. :

Sculpey® III

Bake at 275 °F (130 °C) for 15 minutes per 1/4 in (6 mm) thickness.’

Premo! Sculpey®

Bake at 275 °F  (130 °C) for 30 minutes per 1/4 in  (6 mm) thickness.

Sculpey® Soufflé

Bake at 275 °F (130 °C) for 30 minutes per 1/4 in (6 mm) thickness.

Always read your clay package instructions before baking. It is very important you understand them, i do not recommend baking at a random temperature. Look up online what your baking temperatures are if you tore the instructions off your clay. Baking temperatures can vary a lot if you are baking in a toaster oven or a conventional oven.

Preheat your oven and use an oven thermometer to check the actual temperature of your oven. Preheating your oven will help ensure your clay bakes properly to avoid underbaking , overbaking and worst of all burning your clay.

When i bake my clay in the conventional oven i bake roughly around 250-275.When i bake my clay  in a toaster oven i bake roughly 150-175 degree’s. Toaster ovens are VERY hot and will have many hot spots. This is why i cut the temperature in half.  You will need to test your oven with your clay and see what temperatures and times work best for your oven as all ovens are different.  Check your oven every 5-10 minutes till you feel confident that you do not need to keep checking it.

Note that very light or translucent colored clays can burn easily or discolor easily. Lower the temperature a few degree’s to help reduce burns and discoloration.

If your clay is baked at the correct temperatures you can bake it for hours and it will not burn, however colors may darken or change with longer temperatures.

Lets say you already baked a piece of clay but might feel later that you underbaked it. You can put your baked clay back in the oven and bake it again. Watch it very carefully though! You can bake polymer clay as many times as you want at the correct temperatures.

Clay Baking Times:

Clay baking times can be very confusing due to packaging saying thickness, but don’t let this scare you! As long as you use the correct temperature on the packaging you are in the right direction!  If you are ever afraid of it burning, you can lower the temperature by a few degree’s.

When I bake my clay, i always bake it for an hour or a bit over to help ensure my clay is baked properly and is  not burnt. This goes for all the clay thicknesses I create in. This works for me personally, i do recommend you baking your clay long as possible to help ensure your clay is baked properly.  This can vary due to your oven and clay brands, always test your clay in your oven especially light colored, translucents and gemstone colored clay as they can darken or change completely from its raw/unbaked state.

After your clay is baked:

Now that your timer has beeped and its time to take your clay creation out of the oven. Before you take it out, turn off your oven and open the oven door. Leave your clay creation to cool of in there for 10-15 minutes. I do this before moving my clay creation out of the oven. This has worked for me personally as when i was a new clay crafter i would touch my clay creation right away and it would break or burn my hand. When your clay is fresh from the oven without cooling time it is still fragile and soft, it  has not had time to fully  harden.

 

I hope you enjoyed my little post on how i bake polymer clay. If you had diferent experiences, please let me know by commenting below! Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s