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How to bake polymer clay

Figure 7a

When it comes to baking polymer clay safely, temperature and length of time are extremely important. Most polymer-clay manufacturers suggest baking the clay at a certain temperature and length of time per 1/4-in. (6.5mm) thickness, and it is important to follow those safe-use instructions.

Burning the clay is not only irritating and smelly, it can release hydrochloric gas and other harmful fumes. Make sure to keep an oven thermometer inside your oven to measure the temperature during baking. It’s more common than expected for an oven’s temperature dial to be inaccurate – even by 25 degrees or more!

Temperature limits for popular brands:

  • Fimo (Eberhard Faber GmbH): Avoid temperatures over 266 degrees F (130 degrees C)
  • Kato Polyclay (Van Aken International): Avoid temperatures over 275 degrees F (135 degrees C)
  • Original Sculpey (PolyForm Products): Avoid temperatures over 275 degrees F (135 degrees C)
  • Premo! Sculpey (PolyForm Products): Avoid temperatures over 275 degrees F (135 degrees C)

Polymer clay is extremely temperature sensitive. After you’ve finished making a cane, the clay will be warm and mushy. Always let the cane cool before slicing it. If you have a need for speed, place the cane in the freezer for 90 seconds before slicing it. 

To avoid excessive waste when building canes, keep the ends trimmed throughout the process. Still, expect to trim 5-20 percent waste from the ends as you work; this is necessary because the ends don’t display the pattern as well as the rest of the cane does.

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