Baking Polymer Clay (continued)
Additional tips and tricks for successful polymer clay baking
Always preheat your oven before baking.
The oven temperature fluctuates the most until it reaches the set value, with temperature spikes exceeding the set temperature sometimes by as much as 20°F. That is why after your oven is turned on, it is better to wait for about 20 to 30 minutes before placing your polymer clay items inside.
Use a piece of scrap polymer clay to verify your baking conditions.
Bake a couple of sacrificial pieces of clay along with your polymer clay items (at least the first few times). Make these pieces from the same brand of clay that you are using in your project and use the same thickness (or diameter, if you are making beads). In the oven, place these pieces in close proximity to the polymer clay items that you want to bake. When you think the baking is completed, let the scrap clay pieces cool down, and then try to break them. If they are too brittle, you need to bake your items longer.
When placing your polymer clay items in the oven, take care to position them as far as possible from all the heating elements and the walls of the oven.
There is a temperature gradient in any oven, with the most consistent and reliable temperature in the middle of the oven. The temperature is higher close to the heating elements and the walls, and it is lower close to the oven door.
Shield your polymer clay items from the upper heating element with a piece of aluminum foil.
This is especially helpful for polymer clay in light colors, because some of the clay brands are prone to darkening during baking.
If possible, insulate your oven to reduce the temperature spikes during baking.
There are many ways of doing it, but the easiest way is by placing bricks or ceramic tiles on top of the oven.
To enhance the translucency
of polymer clay items made from translucent clay, immerse the finished item into an iced-water bath immediately after baking.
If you are concerned about the smell while baking polymer clay items
, consider these suggestions:
In a nut shell:
- place your oven in a well-ventilated area or in an isolated room (which can be vacated and closed during polymer clay baking);
- loosely wrap your polymer clay item with foil or place it between two disposable aluminum pans clipped together;
- after baking, leave your polymer clay item in the oven to cool down, if possible.
- know your oven,
- always set it up carefully,
- read the temperature instructions on the polymer clay package to figure out the optimal baking temperature,
- measure the thickness of your items to calculate the minimal baking time,
- use proper materials to position your polymer clay item on during the baking process.
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