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Can you 'part-bake' polymer clay?

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  • Can you 'part-bake' polymer clay?

    Might be a silly question, I dunno....

    Is it possible to bake very small pieces of clay for just a few minutes and leave them to cool so they would be hard enough to keep their shape if you wanted to push them into another piece of unbaked clay?

    Does that make sense?

    Would they most likely burn when returned to the oven to bake the final piece? Perhaps you can cover the tray or something to protect them a bit?

    Sorry if it's a dumb question, I probably will experiment a bit, but thought some of the experts might know already.
    I've previously hardened things in stages when sculpting with Super Sculpey - but I used to boil that in water so there wasn't any danger of it burning.
    http://www.kookizu.com
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  • #2
    Hi

    As long as the temperature is ok when you cure your clay, then the amount of time you bake it for or the number of times you put it back in the oven wont burn it.

    It is probably best to completely cure the small pieces that you want to harden, as if they are not cured properly they may be quite brittle.

    Have fun!

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    • #3
      It isn't a dumb question at all.

      Doll makers often use this technique to partially harden limbs etc before continuing with their work, I have heard. Some will use hot air guns, the type sold for embossing.

      HOWEVER....

      All the clays have been reformulated over the last couple of years, changing the plasticizers used in them. It seems to me that in general, the new formulations of clay are not quite so flexible as they harden compared to the older ones.

      So it is important to do some tests of what you are trying to do before using the technique on an important project.

      it could be that when you come to the final baking, the already partially-hardened areas might expand / contract at a different rate or with less "give" and cause the piece to crack.

      So I would say try it, just experiment first!
      Emma
      www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
      www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
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      • #4
        Thanks ladies

        I will have an experiment - good to know that if I do things properly the twice baked bits shouldn't turn into shriveled little black lumps anyway!
        http://www.kookizu.com
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        • #5
          ejralph is right. I bake many times to complete a sculpt. I start with the head, Then torso. legs and arms then lastly the fiddly hands and feet with their tiny fingers and toes. So they are in and out of the oven many times for the full bake each time.
          I lay them on a bed of cornflour to stop them going flat on the bottom if that makes sense?
          Another tip, I blush with makeup and a soft brush before I bake. Its much more subtle than paint for cheeks and knees heels elbows etc.
          Have to admit I don't do much testing like I should. I tend to go for it LOL! xxx


          Folksy shop http://www.folksy.com/shops/Fairyweb

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          • #6
            Ah that's good to know Pepsi - if those tiny little fingers on your sculpts can take the heat that gives me hope!
            Out of interest, which brand of clay do you use for the sculpts?

            I'd read about this baking in cornflour thing. Came across it when I was looking for tips about why my white pieces were looking a bit yellowy after baking - they suggested burying them completely in cornflour to help avoid that so I bought a huge box of it.

            Oh I have another little question - is it possible to tint white clay with acrylic paint? I have some really nice high pigment liquid acrylics lying around from my illustration work. I don't think I've used a coloured clay straight from the packet yet, so if tinting with paint works it might be better for me to just buy the huge packs of white clay to make pastel shades...
            http://www.kookizu.com
            Jewellery & Accessories

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            • #7
              Yes I have tried it before. I have made my own porcelain clay and added acrylic paint too. Its a bit messy though. I tend to just blend the colours of clay I have now to get the shade I want. Just like mixing paint haha!!
              I like Fimo classic. The soft is too soft for my clumsy fingers. I have tried Fimo puppen and find that it moons ( Moon like spots on clay) when baked. So back to my Fimo classic now.
              Like the Idea of burying them. The flour tends to go a bit lumpy after a coupe of bakes mind.
              Hope that helps darl. xxx


              Folksy shop http://www.folksy.com/shops/Fairyweb

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              • #8
                I think the general rule with clay baking is that you can bake longer and more often, just don't bake hotter.

                Emma
                Emma
                www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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                • #9
                  Anyone used Kato clays.

                  Donna Kato has amazing books of really incredible designs and I'm just wondering if anyone else has seen them.

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                  • #10
                    I haven't used Kato clay for a few years, so not experienced their latest formulations. Quite liked the colours and the stiffness when I did try it. I just couldn't tolerate the strong plastic smell of it. Also found it looked quite "plasticky" when baked and was a little prone to fine cracks.

                    So, on the whole it didn't really suit my needs. But it is a great clay and lots of people love it to death, especially for caning.

                    Remember though - you can do the techniques used in Donna's projects with any brand of polymer clay. It doesn't have to be Kato. Each brand has its own quirks and so on, but all techniques will worth with all the major brands.

                    Emma
                    Emma
                    www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                    www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                    www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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