Having Problems Keeping White Polymer Clay Beads from Getting Tarnished During the Baking Process?
Has this ever happened to you? You put some crisp white beads in the oven to bake, and out comes some grey-brown-purple tinged beads! Yuck! Especially yuck if they were snowman beads like the ones I made one time!
I’ve learned a few polymer clay lessons in my time, but learning how to keep white beads white was a useful one. This lesson I learned via the Internet, the public library and a fair amount of research.
So to keep your light colored polymer clays light, here are the instructions:
1) Keep your work area clean. Your white clay beads will never be white no matter how much sanding you do, if your clay is filled with bits of lint, hair, other clay and debris from your workspace. Wipe it down with baby wipes, rubbing alcohol or baby oil regularly to keep it clean.
2) Keep your hands clean. There is really no point rolling a white ball of clay in your hands, if your hands are still red from the last batch. Baby wipes, baby oil or rubbing alcohol works here too.
3) Clean your oven. If you have a spilled over cherry pie in the bottom of your oven, the smoke will end up tarnishing your beads. Smoke does not help white beads at all! This is yet another reason why a dedicated toaster oven is a good idea.
4) Use an oven thermometer. Light clays are really sensitive to high heat so make sure the temperature is right by always using an oven thermometer. Oven elements get old. Just because it was OK last time doesn’t mean it’s OK this time.
5) Tent your beads. Take a piece of office paper or parchment paper and crease it down the center lengthwise. Then place it on top of your rack of beads, like a tent. Make sure the tent does not touch the element! This will keep any direct heat from hitting the beads and scorching them. You can also get the same effect by putting your bead rack inside of a dutch oven or some other lidded oven-safe baking dish. Another way, is to completely bury your beads in a bed of cornstarch to protect them from discoloration.
I hope these instructions for keeping your polymer clay beads white when you want them white was a valuable lesson! If you have any tips and tricks to add please let me know. There were enough discolored snowmen this past winter without us beaders adding to them!