Baking Polymer Clay on Corn Starch or Baking Soda

Baking Polymer Clay on Corn Starch or Baking SodaVideo #463: A baking technique that works great with sculptural polymer clay items.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • A few years ago I posted about Baking Beads on a Bed of Cornstarch. It has been getting a lot of pins and re-pins on Pinterest.
  • Today’s video post is an update on this popular topic.
  • I mostly make polymer clay beads and jewelry projects, so I mostly bake on a ceramic tile or on a bead baking rack. But there are times when it makes a little more sense to bake either on a bed of cornstarch or a bed of baking soda.
  • It is a good idea to place sculptural pieces like polymer clay flowers, dolls and other beads that have a lot of detail or curved areas that may droop or get damaged somehow in the oven, onto a bed of baking soda or cornstarch while they are baking. It helps to support and protect the pieces.
  • You use either cornstarch or baking soda, depending on the brand of polymer clay that you are have.
  • I use Premo Polymer Clay and prefer to use cornstarch. It is ultra smooth. Won’t leave a texture on the clay. Rinses clean off after baking. Won’t leave a residue on the clay. And it doesn’t adversely effect the strength of the clay after baking.
  • However for Kato Polyclay users, I have heard that cornstarch will weaken the clay when baked in it, so they prefer to use baking soda instead. It is a grittier powder than the cornstarch and can leave a slight texture on the clay. I have also found that it can leave salt stain’s on the surface which can be difficult to remove.
  • Don’t leave raw polymer clay in your cornstarch or baking soda for very long before baking. Both powders are very absorbent and will leach out the polymers, plasticizers and oils from your polymer clay, making it more brittle after baking. Once you place your piece in the powder, make sure to bake right away, and you won’t have any issues.
  • I forgot to mention in this video, to not put pieces that have liquid polymer clay on them, into the cornstarch or baking powder. The powder will bake right into the liquid clay and stay white! Thank you to Tammy Kennedy for mentioning this tip.
  • Use aluminum rectangular cake pans 20cm x 14cm x 3cm (7-7/8 in x 5-1/2 in x 1-1/8 in) which fit perfectly in my toaster oven. There are many sizes available which you can look for in your local grocery or general merchandise stores. Another advantage of these tin pans, is that you can use two of them together… one as a base and the other as a lid. It makes a nice little mini-oven to bake your pieces in. They can be clipped together with metal binder or bulldog clips from a office supply store.
  • Bake your pieces in the cornstarch/baking powder at the correct temperature for your brand of polymer clay, but bake for at least one hour or longer. I usually bake for 75 to 90 min just to be sure. It takes the heat longer to reach the buried polymer clay, so it is important to bake for a slightly longer period of time.
  • I do plan to do a PcT Test Lab Video in the future to see which brands do better in which medium…. so I can give you a bit more scientific proof on which one will be best for you to use. But that will need to be another day.

Question of the Day:

Have you ever used cornstarch or baking soda for baking your polymer clay? Which brand of clay did you use? And what were your results? Please leave your answers in the comment section below?

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
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  1. Dear Cindy,

    I know you did a tutorial on faux Jasper but I cannot find a video tutorial anywhere on faux Malachite. Would you be willing to cover this and maybe Opal too. All the faux Opal videos in polymer clay don’t really look right. But I bet you have a Jim Dandy sure fire opal technique. I am interested in making faux focal beads big enough for wire wrapping as pendants. The Pardo Translucent clay is an interesting thought for opal. What do you think?

    Thank you,
    Rose Mary Abbott

    • Hi Rose, I should put Faux Malachite on the list. There have been a few others who have requested it also. As far as Faux Opals go, I do have a tutorial on that a long time ago: Faux Opal Bake and Bond Technique

      It is one of my more tricky tutorials but the effect is worth the work. It is done using liquid clay, so the Pardo clay may not make much difference in this particular case. Though it would most definitely be a good choice for other opal techniques.

      Thanks for your suggestion!

  2. I am so glad I learned this tip from Cindy. Since I use strictly Premo clay the cornstarch is perfect for my sculptures but also I have used it a lot for my oversized beads simple because if I hang them on a bead rack they tend to elongate the holes while baking and who wants wonky holes! I purchased the square and loaf size aluminum pans and use one for the bottom and one for the tops. I also use a set of them for fiberfil to bake some items on when called for. Thanks Cindy for ALL your great tips you have been so generous to share with us.

    • Hi Andrea, with all the sculptures you do, you may find the cornstarch to be very handy in supporting and/or protecting delicate pieces in the baking process. Let us know if you do end up trying it.

      Glad that you liked the mini-oven idea. You could make one in any size you like. Would just depend on the size of your oven.

  3. Hi, I decided to see what the clay looks like when baked in baking soda. So I half filled a glass bowl and put it in my clay oven. It was a disaster. I had forgot that my oven is the fan forced kind. It blew the baking soda everywhere. I just wasn’t thinking. It was so funny.

    • Oh my Cynthia that does sound like a disaster! Too funny! I will have to keep that in mind, since I will be getting a new convection oven for Christmas! Have a wonderful holiday! If you do decide to bake in baking soda again, maybe clip on a lid… :)

  4. Hi Cindy,

    I am just getting into working with polymer clay and found your website. Thanks for the wealth of info and help you provide for us out here. It has been very helpful for me.

    I had a couple questions. First, if I bake my creation on a ceramic tile, which has already been fired and glazed itself, will the piece be adhered to the tile?

    Second, what is the best way to attach a piece to a journal cover?

    Thanks so much for all your guidance.

    • Hi Laurie, one of the clan here, if baking on a ceramic tile you should put a piece of light colored cardstock, white paper or parchment paper on your tile first. If you don,’t your piece will stick to the tile but more often it will have a partial glaze where it sat on the tile and I
      ‘m sure you don’t want that. If you use the search function at the top of the blog you will find most answers to your questions. If you are attaching pieces to your journal cover Cindy recommends several different glues, one of which is Lisa Pavelka’s Super Glue so be sure and check out the search function and I’m sure you’ll find all the help you need. Good Luck, nice meeting you, Dixie Ann

    • The piece should not adhere to the piece because that tile and its glaze fire at thousands of degrees and you shouldnt be firing your clay at thousands of degrees so it wont adhere to the tile unless you melt your piece.

  5. Hi Cindy, I have a question re cornstarch residue on polymer clay beads. After shaping a round bead, I then dust my gloved hands with cornstarch and ‘reshape’ the round bead to make it ‘perfectly’ round (So the cornflour is only on the surface). But I noticed after baking, the cornflour residue still remains on the PC bead even after washing them. The only way to remove them is to polish them, which I am not keen to do (esp for hundreds of them). I like using the cornflour because it makes the bead look ‘really round’ but am not too keen on the residue. Any tips?

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