Baking Polymer Clay Pendants in a Ceramic Tile Sandwich

Baking Polymer Clay Pendants

Vid #40: How To Bake Polymer Clay Pendants So You Don’t Have To Spend As Much Time Sanding and Finishing:

Some of the first pendants I made with polymer clay ended up looking horrible because no one showed me how to bake them properly. Eventually I learned though. And now I can help you to avoid making some of the same mistakes that I made as a beginner.

During the baking process, it’s best to sandwich your flat piece of polymer clay between two ceramic tiles. Make sure the ceramic tiles have a smooth glazed finish on the side that is next to the clay. Also, it’s best to use white card stock or parchment paper layered in between the clay and the actual tile surface.

This technique will keep both the front and the back side of your jewelry pendant as smooth as possible as it is baking. And what this really means is less time required for final sanding, buffing and finishing.

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The full version of the “Baking Flat Pendants” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course [SEE Video #37 of 39]. There are a few tricks to baking polymer pendants so they remain flat and smooth. In this video I show you what to do AND what not to do.

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Comments

  1. When baking polymer clay items that need to be flat can you also use one of those new non-stick baking sheets that they are selling or will they leave a funky residue or “shine” on the bead?

    If you are baking them with the ceramic tiles do you have to increase or decrease the baking time?

  2. Are you talking about one of those silicon mats like the Silpat liners? I’m not sure if they would be good or not. Might be great… might be horrible… would have to test that.

    When you bake on a ceramic tile it does even out the temperature so you can bake it longer. I recommend baking for way longer than the package says. To learn more on that technique click on the ‘baking beads’ link by my name.

  3. Places Like Home Depot and many tile shops, sell single ceramic tiles. The color doesn’t matter though they should be as smooth as possible so texture doesn’t get transferred to the clay.

  4. Does the baking time change using the ceramic tiles? I’m concerned my pieces may have not baked long enough sandwiched in between two ceramic tiles. Is there a way to tell if a polymer clay piece is baked long enough?

  5. It is a good idea to increase the baking time when baking between tiles. I always bake all my beads for 1 hr anyways so this seem to be adequate. You can’t really tell that easy if your clay is baked hard enough without breaking it, though it does feel harder and sands nicer when it is baked right. Kind of something you get a feel for over time. Thanks for the comment Lisa!

  6. Thank you Cindy for your answer! Wow, you bake your beads for an hour! That is great to know. I was afraid to bake too long, thought it would burn the clay. And that was going to be another question on mine… how can you rebake pieces (after adding raw clay to it) without burning the previously baked piece. But, I guess that burning the clay has only to do with the oven temperature? Would an hour at 275 degrees be safe?

  7. Yes Lisa. You can re-bake your beads as many times as you like. It is more about temp than time. I like to bake at 265 though, seems to work for me. For more info on baking for a longer time, click on the link by my name.

  8. Cindy,

    Last night I attempted to do a pendant with an Acrylic Floor Finish. I mixed the future floor polish with a little Pearl Ex powder and applied it to the clay. After the polish was dry and the piece finished I was on to baking. I did the “sandwich” sort-of…I forgot to put wax paper between piece and tile and it Stuck to the tile. So….when I attempt this again will the floor polish stick to either wax paper or cardstock???
    Or do I have to bake without “sandwiching” the piece.
    Hope this makes sense. THanks for any direction you can send me in.

  9. Thank you for your comment Shelly! That’s too bad that happened to you.

    It is important to put the Future floor finish on after you have baked, sanded and buffed your piece. If you try to put it on before it has been baked, the clay won’t cure properly and everything will also stick.

    I know some people like to put their finished baked pieces with Future on them and stick them back into the oven to harden, so this is probably where the confusion came from. In that case the piece is hung from a bead rack so the finish doesn’t stick to anything.

    You were right to try and sandwich your piece with the tiles, just don’t put the future on at this stage. Also don’t use wax paper because the wax will stick to the clay as well. Use regular office paper or parchment paper instead and you will have great success.

    Make sure to read some baking articles on this blog. If you type ‘baking’ into the search box at the top of this blog, you will get a whole list of articles.

    Let me know if you need any more help.

  10. I know I’m a newbie but this trick I use may help someone. When I’m baking multiple flat pieces that are of different thicknesses, I put them all on an 8×10 piece of ceramic tile with parchment paper, clustering pieces of like thicknesses. Then – I use a “lid” tile for each grouping – I have 2×2 and 4×4 tiles- and I mix and match over the parchment paper so the lid tile rests evenly over all the pieces under it. So all the pieces that are a size 3 from the pasta machine are under one tile, and all those that are a 5 are under another, etc. That way my lids come into contact with the pieces evenly. Having tiles of several sizes is really helpful.

    I hope that’s making sense! I hadn’t read it anywhere yet, but like most things in the world, I suspect it’s not an original thought ;-) Synchronicity rules!

    edie

  11. Do you really cook beads for an hour? I just made some light colored (and translucent) beads, buried them in cornstarch, but I’m afraid to burn them!! It’s Sculpey 3.

  12. Normally I’d say, yes, cook ‘em for an hour! That’s proper for most beads. But, with light-colored clay you want to take some extra precautions. Have you baked beads in this oven before, or is this the first time? (I ask so that I can find out how other baking experiences went and if it seemed like you had any “hot spots”.) Did you use the oven thermometer, and did the temperature stay consistently in the proper range while baking? If you haven’t baked beads in this oven yet, you might want to do a test run with some scrap clay, just so that you can fine tune your process, and find the right spot on the dial that leads to the correct temperature on the thermometer.

    Then, once you have tested your oven and you know it will bake at the right temperature, you ready your piece. What kind of dish are you planning to use fill with cornstarch to cover the piece? If it is metal, you should place it on a ceramic tile. This way, if there are any hot spots in the oven, they won’t be magnified by the hot metal and end up darkening the clay even through the cornstarch. Even though you’re covering with cornstarch, you should also cover or tent the container your beads are in. One last question, how thick or large are your beads?

    Now you’re ready to give it a try. Turn on your oven and preheat it. Check the temperature. Maintain it at a slightly lower than pkg directions temp. Fill your dish with cornstarch, put the beads in and cover them with it. If the dish is metal, place it on the tile. Cover the pan, using its lid, or tent your beads with aluminum foil, heavy card stock, or a cut up folder. Put all of it in the oven! Leave them in for about 30 minutes, monitoring the temperature the entire time. It it’s all looking good, no browning of your beads at all, you can put them in for about 15 more. If they are really small beads, they might be well cured after that 15 min. Otherwise, check them again, if all’s well, you can put them back in the oven for another 15.

    If you’re using translucent, get some ice water ready to plunge your beads into once they come out of the oven. Then after that final 15 minutes, success! I know this seems like a super cautious way to go about it. But I hate ruining a bead. I burnt beads when I first started, so I want to help you avoid it, if I can. I hope this helped… :D

  13. hai,iam geetha can you please tell me at 250 celisus degree or 250 farenheit a polymerclay has to be baked? and for how long we have to bake. hope you shall help me..

    • @geetha: It depends on the type of clay that you’re using, but most Premo Sculpey clay needs to be cured between 256-275° F. (125-130°C). Fimo Clay bakes at lower temps, and Kato bakes at higher temps. You need to read the label of the clay, or if you don’t have it, write back with the type and we’ll see if we can help.

      You’ll want to bake most items for about an hour, using an oven thermometer (a separate one from the dollar store or in the kitchen supplies of any store.) The oven thermometer needs to be monitored so your oven doesn’t get too hot and burn your clay.

      There are lots of great articles on baking clay here at the blog, use the search box at the top left and use words like “how to bake clay” or “how long do I bake” “oven temperature” etc. You’ll get a list of articles with all kinds of info. Be sure to read the comments under the articles as well, since there are often more tips, tricks, and answers from Cindy there than in the original post.

      Actually, if you look back at the comments above this, there are several good questions with answers about baking, including temperature & length of time. Also, on the questions Cindy has answered, there are links under her name that go to great baking articles. Read up on these posts, and the comments under them, and you’ll learn quite a bit.

      You can also check out Cindy’s Beginner’s Course, which has 39 excellent videos that teach you everything you need to get started making polymer clay beads. The videos are short & to the point, and each one covers one topic. They’re easy to follow and the very best quality. Cindy also has a free newsletter that comes with 3 free videos and color recipes. The link for both of these is at the top of the page.

      Best of luck to you! Hope to see you around.
      ~Kat, Riverside, CA (Where are you from?)

  14. Kat, love the transparent tips!

    Didn’t see this mentioned, though pretty sure Cindy talks about it in a video somewhere….I leave the tiles alone until everything cools so that thin objects, like bookmarks or postcards, come out super flat.

    Hate it when it curls, but, you can always rebake and flatten cool again.

  15. Thanks so much for your reply and info about polymerclay.iam from India.iam a beginner in polymerclay.still iam much interested in learning more about polymerclay beads,pendants etc,when i baked polymerbeads it came out good,but when i baked pendants in my convenction oven at 130 degree celisus for an hour,it came out flexiable.hope i can get more info about baking through mail.

    • @geetha: Hi Geetha, sorry, I have not been feeling well—just noticed your reply. After baking for an hour, your clay should be cured, unless the oven is not really baking at the correct temperature. Did you use an oven thermometer to make sure? Ovens very often are way off from what the dial says…

      If your clay is still flexible, it could be that it is thin? Very thin sheets of clay will remain flexible, even though they are completely cured. Is this the case? How thick is the clay you’re baking?

      As far as Fimo curing temperatures, they’re lower than other clays—I looked at a few bars to check. Fimo Classic in Black & some other colors cures at 230F/110C, so do Fimo Effects translucent (#014) and Fimo Soft colors. I did come across some of my older bars of Fimo Clay that have the higher recommended temps. I’m not sure if they changed because of the new formulas or because it gets better results. Either way, if you cured your clay for at 130 C for an hour, it should be fully cured (unless it’s really thick and needs to cure longer.)

      Let me know how thick your project is, and how you baked it (on a tile, bead rack, etc.) Also, did you use an oven thermometer? If you didn’t, your oven is probably at the wrong temperature. Get an oven thermometer, then test your oven. I’ll watch this thread for your reply. Also, think about getting the beginner’s course. It truly is helpful!

      I’m sorry, but I’m not sure what you meant in your last sentence—about getting “more info about baking through mail.” If you join and become a member, you can will get an email confirming any tutorials you purchase, and how to access them. If you sign up for the newsletter, it will automatically arrive every Friday via email. Your first one will include 3 free videos. Hope this helps!

  16. Cindy – hai, thank you so much for your your great course.i got it quickly. your way of teaching was wonderful.now i came to know more about polymer clay.After watching your videos i learned my mistakes. The beads which i made was improper &dull.when i put holes in the beads, i lost the shape of the beads.iam a house wife .iam from southernpart of india.(kerala).actually i don’t get any polymer clay here. when i visited malaysia, i bought some polymer clay &bead roller &pins from there.my both brothers are in states. They are coming to kerala for a visit. so i informed them to bring polymerclay & the basic tools from there. But iam not sure in america where polymerclay craft material is available. Iwant to make pendants, beads etc., & also i want to make it as a good hobby. hope in future also you shall help me with your great&valuable suggestions. once again i thank you &your great course. after becoming perfect in beadmaking&pendants i shall follow your other courses also. thank you…have a nice day..

    • @geetha: So happy you’re enjoying your courses, Geetha! I’m sorry you do not have clay available there for you. When your brothers come here, they will be able to get some for you, hopefully. In America, you can buy clay and some other supplies at certain craft stores. It depends which part of the country you are going to be able to tell you the stores, but the main places you can buy clay are Michael’s, JoAnn, & Hobby Lobby. These places also carry others arts & craft supplies.

      If you are asking a question that requires lots of input from members, you should ask for advice on the most current page or article, so you get a “wider audience” for your comment. To do that, go to where it says “Home” at the top of the page. Then click on the first article, which is the most current one, and ask your question or make comment. Otherwise, use the search box at the top of the page to find an article to post your comment under (a post with the same topic you’re writing about.)

  17. Hey, I was wondering about your ceramic tile method. We have marble tiles lying around my house, I was wondering if that would work in the same way? I mean, I could go and get the ceramic, but I’d like to see if I can use what I already have first, you know? Please and thank you so much~!

    Alicia~

    • @Alicia A: I’ve used a marble tile in the oven with polymer clay and it worked just great, Alicia. No need for you to run out and buy ceramic tiles to bake with. I also use an old marble tabletop to work my clay on, as well. It especially works well with clay in the summertime, as the marble is always cool.

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