Make Polymer Clay Pendants and Flat Beads Smooth and Bubble Free

Trapped Air Bubbles in Polymer Clay

Trapped Air in Your Polymer Clay Beads or Pendants Can Quickly Ruin a Piece of Jewelry:

There are a few tricks that you can do to prevent air from getting into your clay. Here are a few of them along with some tips for minimizing the problem if some bubbles do happen to show up:

  • The very first step of any polymer clay project is to condition your clay. Take care not to trap air in your clay at this early stage in the process. Make sure that the fold side always goes into the pasta machine first, so that the air can escape as the layers are squeezed together. Tearing the sheets instead of folding can also help. To learn more about using your pasta machine properly, read this article: Conditioning Polyclay without Trapping Air Bubbles
  • Pop bubbles in raw clay with a pin or a knife, when ever you see them.
  • You can stretch clay to release air pockets that may be trapped inside.
  • Clay that is too soft will trap air bubbles way easier than firm clay. Firm up soft clay by leaching it on a piece of paper.
  • Bake flat beads and pendants in a ‘ceramic tile sandwich’. For some tips and instructions on how to do this, read this article: Baking Polymer Clay Pendants
  • Bake flat pendants and polymer clay sheets face down. Hot air rises, so it stands to reason that air trapped in clay will rise as it bakes. Placing your pieces face down will at least send any unwanted bubbles to the back of your piece.
  • If you do see bubbles in your flat pieces after baking or after using a heat gun, place them inside of a ’tile sandwich’ while the clay is still warm. When the piece cools many of the bubbles will have disappeared.

So if you want to make polymer clay pendants and flat beads smooth and bubble free, try out the trick outlined above. You’ll be happy you did.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


  1. Cindy Lietz, 22 September, 2008

    If you have any tips and tricks of your own on for avoiding bubbles and trapped air in your polymer clay beads and projects, make sure to share them here in the comments section.

  2. MJ, 23 September, 2008

    Cindy,

    The tip about baking face down makes all kinds of sense but I never thought about it. As Yakov says “you will now”.

  3. Cindy Lietz, 25 September, 2008

    Yeah don’t I know it! Only starting doing this a little while ago myself! Thanks for dropping by MJ, it’s nice to hear from you again!

  4. Daniela, 15 March, 2010

    Thanks a lot in your tutorial. They are very helpful to me because I am now beginning to creating jewelry from fimo. Big greetings from Macedonia

  5. Cindy Lietz, 15 March, 2010

    You are very welcome Daniela. Thanks for sharing from Macedonia. For my benefit (and hopefully others too), I looked up some info about your country over at the Wikipedia site….

    Macedonia is a landlocked country located on the central Balkan peninsula in Southeastern Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but as a result of a dispute with Greece over its name, it was admitted under the provisional reference of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

    Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Greece to the south and Albania to the west. The country’s capital is Skopje, with 506,926 inhabitants according to a 2004 census. Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, ┼átip, Ko?ani, Gostivar and Strumica. It has more than 50 lakes and sixteen mountains higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft).

  6. Phaedrakat, 15 March, 2010

    Welcome, Daniela!

  7. Cary H, 08 December, 2010

    I have a problem with 8×8 ” approx 1/8- 1/4 ” thick sculpey sheets that I make imprints on – they are getting bubbles when they bake. Should I bake bake longer at a lower temperature say 200 for 16 min? Thank you so much. Cary

  8. Phaedrakat, 12 December, 2010

    @Cary H: Hi Cary, I thought I’d leave a comment about your bubbles problem. You mentioned trying to bake at 200F, but I think that temperature is probably too low to properly cure your clay. It doesn’t hurt to bake clay for lengthy periods, though…it’s a “too hot oven” that burns clay, not length of time.

    Did you try the tips in the article above to avoid bubbles? There are some important ones…and it really helps to avoid creating them in the first place, before getting to the baking stage. But once you’re there, the “tile sandwich” tip works quite well, or you could try baking with the “good” side down, so that bubbles rise to the top (wrong side.)

    If you’re being careful while conditioning your clay, yet still getting a great deal of bubbles, your clay is probably too soft. Leaching it can help, or you may just need to try a firmer brand. Well, I hope this helped…but if you’re following all these tips, and still have problems, leave another comment. Perhaps Cindy or someone else has some other/better advice for you. Best of luck! Kat

  9. Cindy Lietz, 12 December, 2010

    @Cary H: Looks like Phaedrakat did a great job answering your question. A neat trick for reducing bubbles (I talk about it in the article above), is to ‘pull’ your sheet of clay to stretch and release the bubbles when you’re conditioning it. It’s easier to explain in video, so I hope you get what I mean.

    @Phaedrakat: Let me say how wonderful it was to see you here this morning Kat! I have been thinking about you lately and wondering how you’re doing. We have missed you. You are always such a warm and friendly help to everyone here at the blog. Thanks for your detailed comment for Cary. I am sure she really appreciates your help!

  10. pollyanna, 12 December, 2010

    @Phaedrakat: I was also wondering how you were Kat. Hope all is getting better. Also, I havent seen Silverleaf here. Hope she is okay. Anyone know?

  11. Silverleaf, 14 December, 2010

    Hi guys, I’m okay! I wasn’t well a while back and didn’t really go online for a couple of months and I haven’t really got back into the habit of commenting yet. bear with me, I will try to communicate more…

  12. pollyanna, 14 December, 2010

    @Silverleaf: Glad to hear you’re okay. We do have a great ‘family’ here and do worry about it’s members. I recently saw a poly clay hedgehog with little wires for it’s prickles and thought of you.

  13. TrudyM, 04 June, 2011

    Hi everyone; I’m journeying with with the polymer. So I’m working with black fimo and after hand softening and then through the pasta machine, it looks like it has the measles! I put the clay in the freezer to firm it up and I’m still having the air bubble issue. And yes, I am putting the fold through the machine first. I started out with one bubble and now it spread. Help please?

  14. Cindy Lietz, 11 June, 2011

    @TrudyM: Sounds to me like your clay is quite soft Trudy and causing you some bubble problems. That’s good that you are putting the fold in the right way, that will help. pulling or stretching the clay will also help to release the bubbles. Another thing you can try, is rolling your clay out on a thicker setting. If it is very soft and warm, and you are running it through the pasta machine at a thin setting, it can be very difficult to avoid trapping air in the clay.

    There are more tips and tricks regarding bubbles and soft clay on this blog and in some of my tutorials. Just use the search box at the top of the page to find the info you need.

    Hope that helps!

  15. TrudyM, 04 June, 2011

    Sorry, black premo, not fimo.

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