“Help Cindy! Can you tell me if there is a special way I should bake this item?” ~Aims
I received a somewhat desperate sounding email the other day from Aimee Abson (aka Aims). Wanted to answer it publicly so that everyone can learn from the information, as well as join into the conversation too. Here what she said…
Can you tell me if there is a special way I should bake this item? It is going to be a large pendant.
I’m afraid of it not staying flat. As you can see there are 2 levels to it. Should I put something on top and what? I am thinking that with the different thickness’ that the clay would heat and expand? differently and I’m afraid they might warp.
The piece is 9cm x 5 1/2cm and on the thinner side it is 8mm thick while on the thicker side (the one with the stripes) it is 13mm thick.
I’m still struggling with trying to get them print free even with the cornstarch. I have a tendency to touch things I didn’t want to touch – shaky hands I guess – and then I end up having to fix again. I’m wondering if sanding after might be better because then the piece will be hard.
I made matching earrings (not shown) that are quite a bit thinner. They are 3 1/2cm x 5 1/2 cm and on the thinner side are 3mm thick while on the thicker side they are 7mm thick.
Thanks so much Cindy.
Now, I had to think about this for a bit. The piece is very cool looking and different than anything I have baked before. So I wanted to make sure my advice was good. I’d hate to see something go wrong.
Here’s what I came up with for you Aims…
I would put it on a piece of card stock and then on a smooth ceramic tile. Tent with another piece of card stock and bake for about ten minutes. This should set the clay well enough so that it doesn’t get fingerprints or marks on it when you do the next step.
Now carefully turn it upside down and place into a bed of cornstarch. Nestle it down into the cornstarch so it is properly supported and flat. Tent it again and bake for 1 hour.
The reason I suggest baking upside down in cornstarch like this, is because any trapped air in the clay tends to bubble up to the surface during the baking process. Better that this happens on the back side where you can finish sand more aggressively as compared to the front.
This being a relatively thick piece, I doubt it will warp at all. But the first 10 minutes of baking as described above, should help to set the piece and reduce the potential for warpage.
As far as any fingerprints or marks you may have gotten on the piece before baking, you will need to spend some time sanding them out afterwards… which I would highly recommend you do for this project.
Hopefully everything works well for you Aims. Just to be sure, I would only do one of your pieces at a time, just in case you run into any problems. And if something does go wrong, be sure to come back and write about it here, in the comments below, where we can do some trouble shooting.
Also, it would be great if you would send in a photo once everything is finished and shiny. I’m sure everyone would love to see how things turned out. Your pendant and earring design is beautiful and wonderfully unique Aims!