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Baking Polymer Clay (continued)

Baking temperature for various polymer clay brands

Different brands of polymer clay require different temperatures for baking. Also, some brands have changed their formulations over time, resulting in changes to their recommended baking temperature. Luckily, there is an easy way to find out the baking temperature: it is printed on every polymer clay package. Always keep your polymer clay packaging and check it before setting up your oven.

Here are a few examples of the recommended baking temperatures for different brands (the purpose of this table is to demonstrate the importance of verifying the baking temperature for every package of clay, and not to give you a complete and accurate reference):
If you decide to combine two or more different types of clay with different baking temperatures in one project, bake the mixture at the lowest temperature required for each of its components.

Baking time for polymer clay

Recommended minimum baking time usually is 30 minutes per 1/4" of thickness at the appropriate temperature (except for the Sculpey clays, for which the recommended minimum baking time is 15 minutes). The thicker your polymer clay piece, the longer you will need to bake it (for example, a set of round beads 1/2" in diameter will require at least 60 minutes of baking). Many polymer clay artists (including myself) prefer baking polymer clay for longer than the minimal recommended time. This helps to make the finished polymer clay items stronger. I usually bake my polymer clay items for about twice as long as the minimal time based on the thickness of a particular item.

If you have a complex sculpted piece with parts of different thickness, calculate your baking time based on the thickest part.

A complex piece may be baked a few times in between the sculpting sessions, if necessary. To save time, the first baking sessions may be shorter than the recommended minimal time. It is important to make sure that the baking time for the final session is at least the recommended minimum baking time for the final (combined) thickness of your item. This assures its durability.

What to bake your polymer clay items on

For flat objects, use glass or ceramic tiles. To prevent thin flat sheets of polymer clay from warping during the baking process, sandwich them between two ceramic tiles and keep them in this position not only during baking, but also while the polymer clay is cooling down.

Shiny spots may develop on the surface of your polymer clay items that are coming in contact with ceramic tiles during baking. If you want to avoid this, cover your tile with a sheet of paper.

Dimensional pieces (such as round beads or small sculptures) may be baked on polyester stuffing or batting, on a pile of cornstarch or baking soda, or on various holders made out of cardboard, paper towels, crumpled aluminum foil, and other materials. Keep in mind that polymer clay softens up a little bit during baking, so any protruding parts have to be secured and propped up during baking.

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