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Baking Polymer Clay

Creating with clay is a unique, personal process that can produce so many possibilities, whether you’re making crafty, home décor like photo frames, mason jars and candlesticks, fun figurines, functional structures or crafts with kids. The best thing about working with polymer clay is how versatile and workable it is — and it’ll never dry out or crack, so it will stay soft and pliable until you bake it in your home oven. Whether you are wondering how to bake polymer clay earrings or are looking to bake a home decor piece, baking your clay creation properly will ensure a long lasting finished memory! Here are some tips and techniques ton baking polymer clay:

 

 

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FAQ — How Long Do You Need to Bake Polymer Clay?

Polymer clay is a great versatile medium that lets you express your creativity. Perhaps one of the most attractive qualities of oven-baked polymer clay is its ability to maintain its suppleness before baking and hardened shape after baking.

Baking is an important step when crafting with polymer clay. It's not too difficult, but it can ruin your hard work if done wrong. Here are the answers to some FAQs and an outline of everything you need to know about baking your polymer clay crafts.

Why Do You Need to Bake Polymer Clay?

When you order your Sculpey® polymer clay, you'll get to play around with the soft texture. You can shape it, carve it and add all of the little details you want. However, polymer clay needs to cure to capture your hard work. 

You cure polymer clay by baking it in the oven. If you don't bake it, then it remains in its malleable state and risks getting misshapen or damaged.

How Long Does It Take to Bake Polymer Clay?

The most important factor when baking polymer clay is making sure your oven is at the right temperature. Some crafters find that their oven's recorded temperature is inaccurate, which can affect baking times. Test the accuracy of your oven by using a thermometer before baking.

At Sculpey®, most of our clays have similar baking times. Each of the following requires 275 degrees F, or 130 degrees C, for 15 to 30 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness: 

Sculpey Bake Shop®: Our Sculpey Bake Shop® is great for kids with active bodies and wild imaginations. You can rest easy if our polymer clay is left out because it doesn't dry out. Just store any extra clay for future use.

Sculpey Bake Shop® Glow in the Dark Clay: As you may have guessed by its name, our Sculpey Bake Shop® Glow in the Dark Clay glows in the dark once cured. All you need to do is hold it under a light to charge it, then turn off the lights. This clay is also non-toxic, like our other clays.

Keepsake Clay®: One common use for polymer clay is to capture handprints and other molds for memorable keepsakes. Our Keepsake Clay® will arrive at your door in a premade kit, and all you have to do is have your family member — big, little or four-legged — make their impression.

Original Sculpey®: Our Original Sculpey® is recognized as America's first oven-bake clay. It can be sanded, drilled, carved, painted and much more once it's been cured.

Sculpey Bake Shop® Light: The Sculpey Bake Shop® Light is great for people who struggle with fine motor movements or for little hands still developing those skills. It's lightweight and even floats after baking.

Sculpey Premo®: A versatile option for professional crafters is our Sculpey Premo®. Our Sculpey Premo® holds detail well and is reliably durable.

Sculpey Souffle™: If you enjoy a softer option when crafting with polymer clay, you'll enjoy our Sculpey Souffle™. It's flexible and capable of holding dainty shapes, great for making tags and other papercrafts.

Sculpey III®: A good introduction to polymer clay is our Sculpey III® because it's easy to use. You can color any polymer clay with pigments, but we offer a wide variety of colors to save you an extra step. 

Super Sculpey®: Do you enjoy carving little details into your craft? Then, you'll enjoy our Super Sculpey®. This clay retains lines or shapes you carve and doesn't sacrifice any other features, like softness or long-lasting storage.

Super Sculpey® Firm: Going a step further, our Super Sculpey® Firm™ also captures any fine details, achieving a finish that isn't as easily achieved by other polymer clay types.

Super Sculpey® Medium™: Our Super Sculpey® Medium™ clay is comparable to our Super Sculpey® and Super Sculpey® Firm™ clays. They all hold detail very well, allowing you to practice many different techniques.

Super Sculpey® Living Doll: Our Super Sculpey® Living Doll is specially designed for doll-makers and studios, or anyone looking to create realistic figurines.

Liquid Sculpey®: Our Liquid Sculpey® is a liquid clay that you can use in a variety of ways. It's good for miniature pieces or using in molds, and for re-baking layers or as a final coating for a resin-like finish.

Other Baking Times

Other Sculpey® polymer clays that require different baking times are:

Sculpey Bake Shop® Bendy Clay: Instead of hardening when cured, our Sculpey Bake Shop® Bendy Clay stays rubbery and bendable. But, it does earn some integrity and structure during baking. Bake this polymer clay at 285 degrees F, or 120 degrees C, for 20 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness.

Sculpey Bake Shop® Eraser Clay: A fun twist on polymer clay, Sculpey Bake Shop® Eraser Clay manipulates like normal polymer clay but hardens into an eraser once cured. It's great for beginners, professionals and kids. Bake this polymer clay at 250 degrees F, or 121 degrees C, for 20 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness.

How Do You Know When Polymer Clay Is Done Baking?

Polymer clay stays soft while it's in the oven, and it will feel soft right when you take it out. The clay will harden as it cools. That means you can't eyeball the polymer clay to determine if it's done. You have to trust your estimated baking time.

If you leave your clay in the oven for too long, it can overheat and potentially crack and split. One method some crafters use to check their crafts is a "tester" piece of clay. Roll a bit of clay to the same thickness as your project, and bake it. If the tester comes out right, then you're ready to bake your project. 

Do You Have to Bake Polymer Clay Right Away?

Sculpey® clay can sit out for months before baking. So, if you're someone who likes to take long breaks during projects, you'll enjoy the capabilities of polymer clay. Polymer clay is oil-based and maintains its moisture, which also keeps it malleable. 

If you plan to set your polymer clay out for a long time, make sure you place it somewhere safe. Also, put cling wrap or another protective covering over your clay so it doesn't collect dust or other debris.

Shop Reliable Polymer Clay at Sculpey®

Are you a beginner crafter looking for a new hobby? Or, are you an experienced crafter looking for different types of polymer clay to try? Browse our wide selection of polymer clays online. And, for crafting inspiration, visit our how-to page!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


You might be wondering what to bake polymer clay on — and it all depends on the piece. For flat items like frames or objects with flat surfaces, like the bases of figurines or the bottoms of jars or candleholders, a flat surface like a metal baking tray, ceramic tiles or glass will work fine. Make sure to use a parchment paper or aluminum foil to cover ceramic tiles so your items don’t develop an unwanted sheen from touching the ceramic surface you have created. For objects that are round, or for shaped sculptures you want to perfectly preserve, you’ll need to choose another kind of surface. Polyester stuffing, cardboard holders, shaped aluminum foil or the Sculpey® bead baking rack will help your clay items maintain their shapes while baking.
The right temperature to bake polymer clay- When preheating your oven to bake your polymer clay, make sure you consult the directions on the package. They should give you an idea of what temperature to bake which clay and how long to leave it in the oven. In general, our clay lines like Pluffy™, Premo! Sculpey®, Sculpey® III and Sculpey® Soufflé™ bake at 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
Again, your package should give you a good estimate of how long to bake your polymer clay. The time you’ll need to leave it in the oven depends on the thickness of the unbaked clay. Measure or approximate the depth of the thickest layer of your creation. The directions on your package will tell you the baking time per a specific measurement, such as ¼ inch. For example, you’ll need to put Sculpey® Soufflé™ in the oven for an estimated 30 minutes for every ¼ inch of thickness, while 15 minutes per ¼ inch is recommended for Sculpey® III.To be cured completely and achieve the final level of hardness, you must allow your polymer clay to cool properly.
Now that you know how to bake polymer clay at home, it’s time to start crafting your creations! To find the best clay lines of polymer clay and explore the possibilities, browse our top-quality clay here at Sculpey®!
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