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How to Work with Polymer Clay

By: Maria Nerius

If you've ever wondered, "How can I bake polymer clay?" you've come to the right place. Our step-by-step guide on how to work with polymer clay will tell you how to mold and bake polymer clay. We've also included some great tips and ideas to get you started on your next project.


Polymer Clay
 

Materials

  • Polymer Clay: Clay specifically designed to be cured in household oven or toaster oven
  • Baking Tray: To place clay items on to bake, cover with aluminum foil.
  • Rubberstamps, Clay Tools, Molds: To make patterns or images into the clay.
  • Craft Knife, NuBlade™, Tissue Blade (or other thin cutting tool).
  • Optional: Dedicated Pasta Machine or Food Processing Unit (to condition clay). Dedicated Rolling Pin: To evenly flatten clay if necessary for your project.

Step by Step

  1. Preheat oven to temperature recommended by manufacturer. Make sure you check the label because not all manufacturers recommend the same cooking temperature.
     
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly. Condition the clay by kneading it in your hands until pliable.
     
  3. Roll clay out to 1/4” thickness. Stamp an image into the clay with a rubberstamp. Or press clay into any type of mold and remove. You can also make 3-D figures like a teddy bear or snowman. Trim with cutting tool if needed.
     
  4. Place on clean cooking sheet. Place in heated oven.
     
  5. Note baking time on label. Manufacturers vary, but an average is 15 minutes per 1/4” thickness. Clay hardness as it is cured/cooked by the heat.
     
  6. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool before handling.
     
  7. Never use an oven temperature higher than the manufacturer’s recommended temperature. Never let clay burn or smoke.


Tips

  • There are wonderful cutting, shaping, and design tools on the market for polymer clays, but don’t forget that toothpicks, paper clips, cookie cutters, and pencils are handy tools too
  • Polymer clay adheres to most surfaces with a dab or two of glue. Make an embellishment for the front of a scrapbook, diary or journal.
  • Another wonderful way to use your rubberstamps. You can make buttons to coordinate your designs and projects.
  • Polymer clay can also be hand shaped or sculpted. There are also push molds available to help create 3-D elements.
  • There are texture plates available for creating a whole sheet of texture for a background or building element. This clay can be used to create 3-D sculptures too.

 

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