Essential Polymer Clay Tools – Oven Thermometer

Polymer Clay Oven Thermometer A Must Have ToolVideo #488: To bake polymer clay properly, never ever trust the temperature dial on your oven.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Must Have Polymer Clay Tools.
  • The oven thermometer is one of those essential tools that every clayer should have in their studio.
  • Most oven temperature dials are not very accurate.
  • Oven dials are commonly off by a wide range that is guaranteed to cause you grief.
  • Oven Thermometers will provide accurate temperatures when they are placed inside your oven.
  • Bake polymer clay at recommended temperature for the brand of clay you are using.
  • Temperatures that are too low, will cause your polymer clay to be under cured.
  • Under cured clay will be weak and prone to breakage.
  • Temperatures that are too high, leads to burned or scorched polymer clay.
  • There are many brands of thermometers available, and they are inexpensive.
  • Keep oven thermometer in your oven while preheating, as well as the full baking period.
  • Place a pencil mark on your oven dial at the correct temperature, so that you know where to set it next time.

Do you have any suggestions for videos on tips, techniques or products you would like to learn more about? Let me know in the comments section below!

My goal is to help you to learn 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
  1. Josh M, 27 February, 2014

    Hey! I’m in the process of baking my clay and I seen your video. I have my clay in my oven right now at 200° for 15 mins as told by other artists. I use super sculpey firm and regular on a vinyl toy called “munny” + “dunny” by kidrobot. I was curious. How long and at what temperature should I bake my toys in the oven for them to be cooked properly without melting the vinyl toy underneath the clay?

  2. Cindy Lietz, 28 February, 2014

    Hi Josh, I assume that your piece is now out of the oven, since it has been a day since you wrote this comment. How did it turn out?

    I am concerned about a few things though… first of all, I have never baked clay on a vinyl doll so I do not know whether or not it can handle a higher temperature or not, but I do know that 200F is pretty low and may not be high enough to cure your clay properly, especially in only 15 minutes.

    Each brand of clay is a little different but even if you used Fimo which bakes at the lowest temp that I know of, at 230 F, you would have needed to bake it for a minimum of 30 minutes and ideally for 60 min at the full 230 F degrees for you to get any strength at all in your piece. If it were Premo or Kato Polyclay it would need to have been baked at an even much higher temp. At that low temp and short time, your piece is badly under cured and will be very brittle.

    Since you have already baked it, you may want to try baking it again at the temp that your brand recommends. Get an oven thermometer and bake for a full 60 minutes… that is assuming that your piece will not melt. So stay close by to monitor if it can handle the heat.

    I did see a woman who made polymer clay covered “My Little Pony’s” so I am guessing it might be possible… but as always you need to test and test safely to really know if something works or not.

    Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  3. Giselle C, 04 March, 2014

    I had never had a google/youtube account until I started searching for information on polymer clay. I found your page and was immediately hooked. I thought to myself, there has to be a way to bookmark this page for later, so I can keep coming back and learning from this wonderful woman, so I created an account. I’ve added a few subscriptions since then, but it all started due to you, Cindy. And it’s not that I am new to youtube, I’ve been coming here for years. :) You are wonderful!

  4. Liz Edge, 07 March, 2014

    I have a problem, I am new to polymer clay and had some bought for me for Christmas. I haven’t used it yet but wanted to make some things the other day. I have got Fimo clay which says it needs to be baked at 110 deg. My oven will only go down to 150 deg. Apart from having to by a new oven, is there anything I can do to get over this? Would it be ok if I tried baking it with the oven door open a bit to lower the temperature? I don’t want to waste it. Thanks

  5. Cindy Lietz, 07 March, 2014

    Hi Liz, Fimo is made in Germany, so the 110 degrees is in Celsius. I am guessing that your oven is in Fahrenheit but I could be wrong. Any way 110C = 230F. If your oven is in Fahrenheit than bake your Fimo at 230F and it will be fine. If it isn’t I am afraid, just propping the door open, probably won’t work very well, because, your oven will be constantly heating up, trying to keep it at the 150C and when the elements are always on, they will most likely scorch your clay. Hopefully it is just a Celsius-Fahrenheit thing and everything will work. But either way, make sure you are using an oven thermometer. Temps on oven dials are notoriously wrong. Good luck!

  6. Liz E, 08 March, 2014

    HI again, Unfortnately my oven is in Celsius and has the heating element in the top, it is the oven part of a combination microwave, I was only going to se the oven as I know microwaves can’t be used. I was going to put the tin inside a roasting bag to stop it getting scorched and to keep the fumes in. I gess as I can’t get the temperature low enough, I’ll have to either abandon doing the clay or by another oven. Thanks for your help anyway.

  7. Linda D, 09 March, 2014

    I’m new to this craft and I really appreciate your explanation of basic procedures and tools to create the projects, thank you.

  8. De D, 18 March, 2014

    Hi, Just found your web site. It is great. I am interested in making polymer clay marbles. A couple of questions. I am finding it difficult to make them perfect and when I glaze them and let them dry, I sometimes roll them in the palms of my hands.This seems to dull them up. Should that happen, what can I do to prevent this and how can I get a perfect round marble? Thank you, .De

  9. Cindy Lietz, 28 March, 2014

    Hi De, you might need to use a bead roller, if you want your beads to be perfect, though they can be a bit of a pain to measure the clay properly. Amaco makes some good bead rollers you might like. And as far as the glaze goes, it is probably the oils and sweat in your hands that are causing the surface to dull. What brand of glaze are you using? It also could be that it is not compatible or that it is not a good enough quality. You may want to consider just sanding and polishing your marbles without a glaze so that there are no issues with the finish. Use the search box at the top of the page to help you find the answers you are looking for. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Nico B, 01 April, 2014

    Hi Cindy. This is not a message of urgency, nor is it to ask a question. I just wanted to let you know how inspiring and creative you are. I enjoy watching your clay tutorial YouTube videos all the time, and am amazed by each and every one of your creations. Your work is stunning, and I hope one day I will learn to be as great of a clay artist as you.


  11. Mark Robinson, 13 March, 2018

    Hello Cindy, l’m glad to have found your site! I was wondering if you might help me determine the baking time of my Super Sculpey medium blend bust of Boris Karloff as the 1931 Frankenstein monster. it’s a solid clay bust that is 11” high x 5.5” wide x 7” deep. These dimensions are approximate. This is my first Sculpey project that l hope to finish sometime this year. I’d love to email to you some photos of it while holding a ruler to him. I plan on baking him in my oven while tented with heavy-duty foil. Thank you so much!

  12. Cindy Lietz, 16 March, 2018

    Hi Mark, your piece sounds amazing! From your description it sounds like it is quite thick! Was this built on an armature of any kind or is it solid clay?

  13. Mark Robinson, 16 March, 2018

    He’s a solid Sculpey clay bust. I hope to finish him sometime this year. I appreciate your attention and any help you (or anyone else) can muster before he’s baked.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 22 March, 2018

    Hi Mark, after seeing the pictures you sent, I think it would be better to get some advice from someone who does larger sculptures like yours. I have some concerns that you may have some cracking when it is baked, since the clay is so thick. There is a guy on YouTube called The Polymer Clay Artist (his channel used to be called Brooding Tom). He does large sculpts like yours and I believe he also works with Super Sculpey. He may have some good advice for you. Good luck!

  15. Justine Sponder, 26 June, 2020

    Hi Cindy and Doug! I just found your YouTube channel and I’m in love! I just recently started working with polymer clay so that I can create 100% metal free jewelry for myself. Even the little I have taught myself has blown my mind but I have has some road bumps. For instance, my clay recently started becoming brittle after baked. A trip to Target and a $7 oven thermometer layer told me my toaster oven is not working right anymore.

    I saw in one of your videos that you once had an older oven. When I saw it, it was covered in tiles. Can you give any advice on helping an oven get and stay warmer? Also, my new thermometer is taking up precious space. Do you have any suggestions for more compact but reliable thermometers?

    I would love to have a newer like you have but I don’t think I can justify it quite yet.

  16. Cindy Lietz, 30 June, 2020

    Hi Justine, yes there are several things you can do to help stabilize your oven and get better results. Since there is more than one video that will help, I suggest you use the search box at the top of the page and use the words “toaster oven”. Under the Google ads you will see several Blog posts that refer to baking in a toaster oven. One of them talks about using tiles to help regular temp. I would watch those.

    One of my favorite surfaces to bake on now, that would be helpful for you, is a pizza stone. You can find them in toaster oven sizes as well as rectangular shapes but round is fine too.

    As far as oven thermometers that have a smaller footprint, you could look at getting an electronic one with a probe, but you’re going to want to make sure it can read the air around your pieces and not touch the rack or the baking surface. Plus you need to make sure that the door isn’t being held open at all by the cord on the probe. On large home ovens and little crack in the door won’t make that much of a difference, but on a small oven the heat loss will cause dips and spikes in temp, that will either cause unbaked pieces or scorched pieces (and sometimes even both.)

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