Polymer Clay 101: How long should I bake my clay for?
Hi everyone! For the month of June, I decided to publish beginner-friendly quick tips for polymer clay crafting each week! These are often asked questions by the beginner, and things that might take them time figuring out on their own. I know it took me quite some time figuring it these things out by myself!
This week’s often asked question is:
“How long should I bake my clay for??”
Most clay brands already have the recommended baking time and temperature specified in their packs. If it were that easy though, why am I even making a blog post about it?
See, there are a lot of tutorials or crafters that specify a baking time for their polymer clay creations. A lot specify no more than 5 minutes.
This can’t apply for all clay creations, and it’s a mistake to try to bake all your charms at this set time!
My Sculpey III pack says at least 15 minutes for every 1/4 inch thickness. There are very few charms that are even 1/4 inch or smaller than that, most are bigger.
While you COULD bake a charm and it could appear baked and cured in five minutes, it could also be raw and undercured inside, with the heat barely reaching to the inner core of the clay. It only appears cured because the outside will harden.
Having a raw core could cause decay and brittleness in the long run. This usually doesn’t show until years, so very few people notice it.
But it’s extremely noticeable when you try to drill a hole or screw a screw eyepin into your charm. The entire charm could break from pressure, since you’re basically drilling into something that is still soft inside, the pressure causing the outer shell to break.
So my tip? Try to follow the instructions on the pack. Especially if you would like to sell your creations professionally—you want to give your customers something that’ll last them a lifetime.