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Cooking clay

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  • Cooking clay

    I have never used polymer clay before but I have several packets of the stuff sat on my desk just waiting for me to finish work tomorrow and devote my weekend to them.
    A couple of questions I have though, I'm not making beads, just some figures which will hopefully look like animals once done, how long do I cook them for?
    What gas mark should I set the oven at?
    Do I need to wrap them in anything?
    Should I line the tray with foil or baking paper?
    How long can they wait before they have to be cooked?
    And finally what is the best varnish to use?

    Thanks for any answers, I'll be sure to post pictures of them once complete just to see if you can recognise what they're supposed to be!
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  • #2
    I can't help you with the gas mark question I'm afraid. But the packaging for the clay will tell you what temperature your oven needs to reach. Once you find the right temperature for the type of clay you are using, I am sure you will be able to google for a converter tool and find the approximate gas setting.

    To bake the clay properly, you need to hit the clays specified temperature and stay there for at least half an hour - maybe an hour even if you are making thicker items like figures.

    Its important not to burn the clay - go too high above the baking temp and it can actually burn the clay, releasing toxic fumes (this is obvious if it happens and different from the normal aroma of baking clay.)

    Too cool and the clay won't harden properly.

    For this reason, its a really good idea to use an oven thermometer - just so you can know for sure your oven is reaching the right temperature. More so if you are using gas, because you might need to do a few test bakings with an empty oven to first establish the exact setting on your own oven to get the right temp. You don't want to put in a project you have worked long and hard on and risk burning it because you don't know the best setting to use - so its better to work it out beforehand.

    You can wait as long as you like before baking - the clay is oil based and won't dry in the air. Just protect it from dust and nosey cats etc until you are happy and ready to bake.

    You can line the baking tray with foil if you want - I prefer baking paper.

    Once baked, allow the item to cool completely before touching it - it doesnt harden fully until its cooled down.

    Then you can varnish - use a varnish made by one of the clay companies ideally. Preferably the same brand as the clay you are using, so for Premo or Sculpey, you could use the Sculpey gloss. For Fimo clays, there are two Fimo Varnishes you can use - gloss or semi gloss.

    Hope that helps!
    Emma - unique art beads & more - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my - Like me at Facebook!


    • #3
      Aha! Here's something I can answer (ish)! Don't use gas marks but I put mine in for 130 degrees celcius and if I have alot at a time (which I try to do, saves energy) I put my models in for between 25-30 minutes. Try not too make anything too delicate.

      Jet x
      Sensible Animation

      "Enter a world of plasticine chaos..."
      Stop motion animator and 3D caricaturist.


      • #4
        Thank you both for your replies.
        I have a gas oven and I believe gas mark 1 is about double the required temp, there is a slow cook option but it doesn't say what temp it is. I don't have an oven thermometer but will definately get one.
        I've just made a small figure and shoved it in on 'slow cook' just to see how it cooks, only 15 minutes to go...
        If anyone on here uses a gas oven for baking and can advise it would be much appreciated.
        Thanks again
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        • #5
          Hi i use gas for my work and i bake at 1/2 a gas mark. Ovens do vary a lot but i have had the same oven for years. Maybe get a thermometer as suggested and always leave your oven door open for a while after you have taken your work out ( and the window) As Jet said always bake for the required time 30 mins.
          Look forward to seeing your creations.
          Anna x
          Folksy Shop


          • #6
            Thanks for all the replies, after baking it I don't think it needs varnish after all. It's great stuff to play with though, reminds me of play-doh when I was a kid!
            Pictures are on my blog now in time for Wendy's Handmade Monday.
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            • #7
              Im pretty new to all this polymer clay too. It all depends on what type of clay you have. I have only used some fimo which cooks at 110 degrees for half an hour. Sculpey on the other hand is a bit different it 130 degrees and the time you cook it for depends on the size of the animal.
              I do little animals and i tend to be a fan of fimo soft and fimo effect.
              I cook my animals as soon as i make them but as long as you store them in an air tight container it doesnt matter when you cook them.
              I cook mine on a piece of card board due to not wanting to contaminate a baking tray. You can how ever just cook them on a baking tray but you can not then use the baking tray for food.
              If you are doing bigger animals, to save on clay you can used aluminum foil and wrap the clay around it.
              I have bought some good books off of amazon for all the tips and ideas for the animals that i make, a good book I would suggest if your thinking of maybe getting any is: Clay Characters For Kids by Maureen Carlson.
              hope this helps


              • #8
                If you intend on doing quite a bit of clay baking, it's advisable to buy a mini oven especially for clay baking ( i bought one from argos for about £25).
                I also bought a special bead baking tray which is fab (around £25).
                For one of a kind & custom made chainmaille jewelry