Thursday, September 26, 2013

Ask Eugena - Polymer Clay Help

The most frequent questions I receive are about baking polymer clay.  Here is one recent email, for example:

"Hi 
I purchased polymer clay for the first time probably two years ago, made very cute pieces for being the first time, and unfortunately burned them and quit. 

I recently started using polymer again.

...after watching videos and using precautions, even bought parchment paper, used the toaster oven, kept an eye, and in a fraction of a second noticed a piece burning. 

I found out that it was the tray, it was the toaster tray, regular metal, like a cookie sheet. I'm completely disappointed! I wanted to buy an oven specially for this, but I guess is what I baked them ON. I've read that glass is a good option too, BUT I'm wondering if silicon pan could be more useful. 

Thanks for your time :)
 Mari"

Below is a copy of my answer:

"Mari, 
I am sorry to hear about your struggles with baking your polymer clay pieces.  However, I think you are on the right pass, and once you figure this process out, working with polymer will be much more fun. Yes, your metal cookie sheet could be the culprit, and silicon pan could be a better option. I personally prefer ceramic tiles, because I use them both for working with polymer clay and for baking it. It also allows me to avoid any possible distortions that may happen when a raw polymer clay piece is being transferred from the working surface onto the baking sheet. 

Here is another idea for you to consider. Very often the ovens are not quite accurate. You may set it up to 270F, while in reality it heats up to 305F, for example. I strongly recommend checking the actual temperature of your oven with a separate thermometer. You can read more about it in my tutorial here: 

http://www.polymertutorials.com/catalog/polymer-clay-baking-tutorial.php 

Good luck and happy claying! 
Eugena"

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