Baking & Curing Clay
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Baking Polymer Clay and Other Curing Techniques

First off... read the package directions carefully.  Follow them.

  • Different polymer clays bake at different temperatures and different times. 
    • Experiment first, better to wreck the tester piece than the one you've spent hours on
  • When in doubt... test your oven with a thermometer and test strips.
    • Clay can darken and burn
  • Always let cool all the way though before your next step, whether it's baking again, or painting or picking it up.
    • Else you could end up with finger prints

Here we just present extra techniques our members use.

When making large amounts of a design, I will also mold it, lay it face down on polyester batting, and attach the pin back with liquid Sculpey before baking.  The batting keeps the clay off the pan surface and supports the project, preserving the details and avoiding the lovely shiny
patch you get when the clay bakes on a metal surface.  (I have dedicated pans and cookie sheets solely for baking clay  It is important that the batting is rated such that it won't melt in the oven though.

== Ealhswith

If I need to avoid flat spots, I usually bake the item on a bed of soft quilt batting.

== Denise

On an average, I've been doing mine at 20, since I use a small toaster oven that doesn't quite hold the heat as well. If you make something thicker, I would try either putting tinfoil in the middle of it to give it the bulk, or do like anything else you bake, turn the heat down a little and bake longer. And remember if you have something on the spindly or longer side, it's better to put the clay around wire first.

*thinks back to the lovely circlet she made that fell apart after it cooled because it had no inner support*

== Aranel

Baking often for shorter periods works well.  I will bake a pin that is 1/4 thick for 30 min.  Then I paint the details and bake it again.  You can bake something many times without burning it as long as you let it cool between bakings.

== Ealhswith

Everything you want to know about baking clay, including a lot of stuff you didn't think you needed to know:


Baking Sculpey with a Heat Gun

A Heat gun is your best friend ever. I bought one for about $25 at Home Depot for heating PVC pipe for a non-costume related project (and it works brilliantly for that, as well as getting paint off things like my front door).

The best thing I found it for so far is that you can use it to bake Sculpey outside the oven. Do it where it's well ventilated (I did in the kitchen with a window open and the vent going) because it does release fumes (Sculpey fumes - if you've used Sculpey you know what that's like) .

For example, I made papier mache  dealies and then built up designs in Sculpey on then. Without the heat gun the alternative would have been to make some sort of form out of maybe tin foil to support them, then bake them, and then hope that the shape was close enough to the papier mache I made that they'd fit on well. This way I just built them directly on the papier mache and baked them in place with my heat gun.

Just be careful because the heat gun will soften glue a bit (so if you do your papier mache with glue as  did it will become sticky for a moment, though not enough to lose shape) and keep it moving, since it can scorch your Sculpey and probably set your paper on fire too, I would imagine. But with minimal care it seems pretty safe.

== Aya


Something helpful to know about can boil it. If you've got a big enough pot this works really well when you're making something that you don't want to have to lay down on a pan to bake since that creates a flat mark on the clay. It only takes about 3-4 min for it to harden when boiled.

== Cassandra

There is some debate about whether boiling cures the clay all the way, but they've been boiling these clays in Scandinavia for years.

Boiling can give you more vibrant colors, especially with the pure white.

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This page was last updated 04/22/08