Selling Polymer Clay Jewelry at the Public Market

Becky Sue, Mark Mizell and Cindy Lietz At Astoria Public Market OregonVideo #306: Roadtrip #1-11: “Barrettes is what got me started… 7 years ago!” ~Becky Sue Mizell

In today’s video, Becky Sue tells the story of how she started out by making one polymer clay barrette 7 years ago… and then quite quickly ended up with a hundred of them. So her family decided that she should start selling. Ever since, she’s been setting up a booth at the Astoria Public Market in Oregon, every Sunday from May to October.

Be sure and stick around to the end of the clip, cause you’ll hear why Mark (Becky Sue’s husband) felt that he should go to confessional after snagging some Grizzly Hackle Feathers at a Fly Tieing shop.

When we met up with Becky Sue and Mark at the Public Market in Astoria, it was a beautiful sunny day, with a soft breeze and a charming lively atmosphere. The smells of candy popcorn, fresh baked bread, Mexican food and seafood were in the air. And the intriguing and colorful displays of cut flowers, art and all kinds of handmade goods filling the streets, made for a relaxing yet fun afternoon.

To give you a better idea of what the Astoria Sunday Market is all about, posted just below is a time lapse video of the magic of this wonderful event as it takes over the streets in full glory, and then disappears without a trace after a long and eventful summer Sunday spectacle.

Neat EH? Isn’t it great to see someone making a go of selling their own art jewelry! I love to see people succeeding while pursuing their creative passions. Becky Sue and Mark are the perfect example of a couple who has figured out how to “Make What They Love and Love What They Make” … while generating some income to support themselves too!

I am very proud to have influenced their work. It is rewarding as a teacher to see Becky Sue doing something with what she is learning and making it worth her while to do so. It was also really nice to see that she was working alongside with her husband. They make a terrific duo!

Oh a little side note: You know that six degrees of separation thing where you are only 6 people away from knowing anyone in the world, or something like that? Well turns out that there was a connection of this type between Mark in this video, and Alisa Burke from a previous PcT Roadtrip Video. This connection is actually a lot less than 6 degrees!

While chatting with Alisa at her gallery, we talked about heading out the next day to the Astoria Market to see one a member’s jewelry booth. She said she had seen some polymer clay work there, and asked who we were going to see. When we told her it was Becky Sue Mizell she was delighted and told us that she had a teacher in High School named Mr. Mizell where she grew up in Seaside, and wondered if they were one in the same.

Well when we connected with Becky Sue and Mark, he confirmed that he was indeed her teacher and asked what she was up to. It was fun to tell him that she had become a successful mixed media artist and author with a new gallery in Seaside. He was pleased to hear that and said he would be sure to check it out.

It was fun for me to witness just how small the world really is. That we are often more connected than we think, and that there are artists and creative people making income for themselves even in these turbulent economic times. It was especially nice to see when so many people feel discouraged about their  futures.

Now of course running a creative business isn’t for everyone, but it sure is nice to see when it can work for someone!

Have you ever thought about selling your polymer clay work? Tell us your story below!

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Freda K, 15 November, 2012

    Becky Sue has so much variety in her polymer clay work. I think I’m going to have to branch out from my jewelry since it isn’t selling very well.

    Enjoyed watching the market going up and coming down. That was great!

  2. Patty J, 15 November, 2012

    excellent made my day

  3. Andrea Paradiso, 15 November, 2012

    The fan shaped one is for me…if only I had long hair! Becky Sue and Mark, you both have that certain look in your eyes when you talk about your art. NO!…don’t you EVER stop!

  4. Natalie H, 16 November, 2012

    Wow… It was great to see this road trip video …. I just did my second craft fair and guess what I sold the most of … My hair barrettes … i love making them

  5. Patt W, 16 November, 2012

    Wow – I would LOVE to visit Astoria Market ! How much fun is this ?? Becky Sue was very interesting. She started with PC with barrettes. I started because I love Opals, but they are out of reach cost wise. Guess these things really do happen for a reason. Aren’t you glad they did !!!!!

    These road trip videos are so much fun to see. SOOOOOOOOOOO glad you and family are doing this. It widens our view of the world. Thanks so very much……….Not gushing! I really mean it…………..

  6. tantesherry, 16 November, 2012

    Thank you Becky Sue and Mark for sharing your story with us :)

    I guess it’s been a couple of years now since our little local craft/farmers market closed down (still sad over all of that…) anyway – seeing you guys at your market brought back A Lot of Happy memories for me. It also reminded me of how much Hard Work was involved LOL

    One ‘bad’ moment came during my 1st year at market – it was a really hot day and a lady bought one of the 2 barrettes that I had just completed… not 20 minutes later she came back holding my/her barrette in Two Hands!!!
    So after making my apologies (and returning her $) I removed the other barrette from the table … blah blah blah .never made another one.
    BUT I WANT TO. (i did try to fix them with weldbond glue – no luck) BTW : I backed them with TLS and a small sheet of clay (Premo) and cured for an hour … maybe not enough TLC or maybe my backing sheet was too thin OR … any help would be gratefully rcvd :)

  7. Jocelyn, 16 November, 2012

    You might be able to get back into the barrette business, Sherry, and they would be gorgeous based on your other work. The trick is to find a clay that when bakes doesn’t go rigid, still has some bend and give to it.

    Think the solution Cindy gave earlier to loosen up clay for the extruder might work here. Mix in a tiny amount of flexible mold maker and ta dah! When gluing to the metal finding, think again, use of a glue with a little flex, like a silicone glue would due to trick.

    Also, at Tonya’s FB tute site, Mandarin Ducky just posted a new vid about flexible ways to make hair ornaments, spirals. Hairsticks are huge if you can cover them, as would be truly flexible, non breakable hairbands. Even adding charms to elastics or other hair holding devices is a great way to go.

    Ultimately though, there are many different textures and thicknesses of hair, and in the hot summer, it has to go up off your face and neck. Think if folks offered variety of styles and thickness holding options, the more business for us, lol.

  8. Cindy Lietz, 16 November, 2012

    Jocelyn has some great tips for you Sherry! (Thanks Jocelyn!)

    A tutorial on making barrettes is a great idea! I am going to have to put some thought into one (or a few) for you guys. Need some new barrettes myself, since I never seem to have time to get into the hairdresser! lol

  9. Becky Sue M, 16 November, 2012

    Thanks, Doug and Cindy, for making us look so good on the video. Furthermore, thanks to your artistic ear, you managed to edit just enough to make us appear more intelligent than we really are. It’s also been heartwarming to read the responses to the piece. You have a standing invitation to stay at our home any time you find yourselves on the North Coast of Oregon. Nice meeting you both. Nice meeting your kids, too. Take good care. Mark and Becky Sue

  10. Natalie Herbin, 26 November, 2012

    Hi Becky Sue
    I loved your display of your hair barrettes … I too am hooked on making them… I have only done 2 craft show so far and the hair barrettes are what I sold the most of in the last one… The only problem I have is figuring out how much to sell them for… I don’t want to make it too cheap … Then they don’t thinks its of any value but I don’t want t make it too expensive either … I have used several of Cindy techniques in. The design … The mermaid tail looks great in barrette form as well as the mokugame …. Each cut gives me a different look … I use bake and bond to hold the Barrettes as well as sometimes placing some clay under the clip and over the ends… Both seem to work … If they do come apart I use E 6000 …great stuff …. Any suggestions you can offer me on pricing would be a great help … can go to my Flickr account and see some of my work .. All comments.good or bad will be greatly appreicated…
    I have my first really big craft show this Sunday …@they realy did a great job of advertising … so I hope to do better than the last two
    Again all your work … Plan to use your technique to display my barrettes … It will take up less table space…. Keep in touch
    Natalie Herbin Aka safti

  11. Becky Sue M, 16 November, 2012

    I also use TLC and backing sheets to connect my decorative piece to the metal barrette. I run the sheet on the second from the thickest setting on the pasta machine and cut it into 3 pieces. l place a piece under the arch and one on each end of the barrette. Once in a while great while (3 in 5 years) they come off but I fix them again for my customers. I tell them that I will do that for them if they ever have a problem. I also wear them every day and have never had one come apart. So give it another go. I use Premo also.

    Becky Sue

  12. Natalie Herbin, 19 November, 2012

    What does TLC stand for ? When I make. My barrettes I mix my all my colors with translucent white … This seems to make softer to work with…. Nreturns so far but it just started selling them…..I use E600 to hold the metal clip …on my first batch I did us bits of clay across the middle….I saw in another web site that it had you make a valley to place the clip in so that it was level with the barrette and then place a matching piece of clay over it … This gives it a smoother look on the back…I also use cards to gauge the thinkness of the barette because I felt the thickest on the pasta machine was too thin… I always take a thin layer of my canes to cover the barrette … This apes me to get more out of the cane…like we do for beads.

  13. Michelle Adams, 17 November, 2012

    I’ve never made barrettes, but I wonder if you roughed up the metal piece with some sand paper first if that would help the pieces to stick together better. For example bake the polymer onto the barrette, pop it off, rough up the barrette then apply the glue and stick them back together. Also, like others suggested, adding the mold maker would make the polymer more flexible.

  14. Cindy Lietz, 19 November, 2012

    Great tips guys! Thanks for sharing with everyone!

    Natalie, TLS stands for Translucent Liquid Sculpey. Liquid clay by any brand will work for the suggested use as well as my favorite Sculpey Bank N’ Bond.

  15. Natalie Herbin, 26 November, 2012

    Thanks Cindy,
    I forgot that … I do use the Sculpey bake and bond on th barrettes…I guess AT&T age I need to write thing down more often so I don’t ask th same questions again …
    I did write a note to Becky Sus telling her how much I love her barrettes …. I too have over 75 made… Hope to sell them this Sunday at the biggest. Vendor. Show I have gone to …they expect 2500 people …it free music and entertainment for all … It’s a Jewish Music Festival and Rejoice < that's its title)….they did a lot of advertising for it and have placed the vendors set up between the entertainment and the food…what a great idea… Hope it works… People always like to eat and they have to pass by us to get to the eats….I'll let everyone know how it goes..wish. Me luck
    Natalie aka Safti from saftiscreations

  16. Natalie Herbin, 16 December, 2012

    I have never rough up the metal barrette- I use TLC to connect the metal to the clay or I use 3pieces of clay like Becky does …there doesn’t seem to be a problem with them coming apart

  17. Jocelyn, 16 November, 2012

    Wow, nice to meet you Becky. And hubby, lol. Get most of my feathers in the woods or from the local tackle shop, drives the management crazy.

    Very impressed by your set up and display. You offer a great selection of items. Learned a lot. Becky, hope you continue to be thrilled by your new customers, that process is so rewarding.

    Willow and Doug, that market set up and breakdown was simply awesome. Thank you for taking the time to bring that to us!

  18. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 16 November, 2012

    Hi Jocelyn – we can’t take credit for the time lapse footage. That was a clip that someone else posted on YouTube. The fellows name is posted at the end of the video.

  19. Jocelyn, 16 November, 2012

    Welp, good find, good share….loved it. Thanks Doug!

  20. tantesherry, 16 November, 2012

    Wow just Wow
    ok this wonderful information is going straight to word pad
    <3s & ((hugs)) for All

    Jocelyn – thank you for the thought you put in to another mess of mine :)
    I kept say'n ' well yeah thats a good one ' and a bunch of 'of course (mental clomp on head)' and when you said 'ta dah' I snorted right out loud :)

    Becky Sue thank you for the setting thickness and the best part: finding out what a great average you had on yours not breaking !!! that bit of news has me excited to try again (ty)

    Cindy, if we are voting, I vote yes on a barrette tutorial
    and lastly Doug (poor Doug) as stated by Jocelyn above Good Share!!!

  21. Elaine Faulks, 16 November, 2012

    Astoria Market seems a good place to set up a booth and it was really great to meet Becky Sue and Mark. Such a friendly couple, I am sure that goes a long way when selling to the public. Good to know you have customers comming back to buy your amazing pc and feather stuff. Long may you continue.

    (I never knew what barrettes were ’till I visited the US)~. Here in the UK, we call out hair accessories, hair clips or hair slides, how boring is that?

    I too have been into fishing tackle shops and as well as feathers, bought a few storage boxes. When I told the guy what I really wanted them for he asked to see some of my finished pieces and said he never knew you could make such classy jewelery from polymer clay.

    The time lapse video was great and the music which I think is a piece called “Dance Macabre” really suited this clip. So a big thanks to Doug for sharing and to Cindy for the great interview………….cheers xx………….

  22. Catalina, 16 November, 2012

    Hi, Becky Sue! I, too, started to make hair barrettes but I keep getting side track. Loved your variety of color and textures in your pieces. You do this every Sunday for months? Wow! What a nice visit you must have had with Cindy and her crew.

  23. Michelle Adams, 17 November, 2012

    Hi Becky Sue, Mark, I love your creativity and appreciate all the hard work I know you guys put into your business from crafting to setting up and selling. One of my favorites are your journal covers. I love the textures, the colors and the layering – very nice. Mark…your story made me laugh out loud! Too funny, your secrets safe with me and also gave me an idea that I never thought of before, lol. Blessings to you both and thanks Cindy and Doug for another great video. BTW, I also enjoyed the time lapse video that was cool.

  24. Dixie Ann, 17 November, 2012

    This was a really great video. Becky and Mark you did a fantastic job on your barretts, earrings and journals. I love those kinds of outdoor markets and unfortunately we don’t have one here anymore.
    They just opened a year round market which limits the amount of vendors. Cindy you are so good at interviewing (maybe you missed your other calling) and you are so good at bringing out the “rest of the story”.(I had such a good laugh at Marks.) I was impressed with the way Becky took one or two items and really built it into a nice craft business. I really enjoyed the time lapse video too and yes I am all for a Barrette tutorial or any other ornament we use in our hair.
    I just finished my first tie clasp which is similar to a barrette and I used super glue to hold the polymer piece onto the metal. Sure hope it holds. Thanks Doug for the great video shots.

  25. Joyce Folsom, 17 November, 2012

    Becky and Mark, you are a remarkable couple, complimenting each other. Becky your creativity is just wonderful. The variety in your barrettes is just beautiful. I would have one of each. Also love your earrings, book coverings and salt & pepper shakers. You are so creative and have such a pleasant outgoing personality I would love to be one of your returning customers…..but Florida is just a bit too far away. So enjoyable to spend time with all of you in the video. Continued good luck with your sales.

    A barrettte tutorial gets my vote too.

    Cindy, did you do a book cover tute yet? When I have more time I will have to research my own question but for now its simpler to ask the question.

    Thanks to all for your efforts in bringing us these roadtrip videos. They bring so much enjoyment and inspiration.

  26. Cindy Lietz, 18 November, 2012

    Thanks Joyce! Looks like I will have to add a barrette tute to the request list.

    In regards to the journal cover tutorial, I haven’t done that yet, but I have been thinking about it. My plan is to make a Scrapbook/Journal for the PcT Roadtrips. I thought it would be fun to make one while we were on the road so that people who meet with us can see where we have been and be part of the book as well. I gathered stuff from our first trip but found I didn’t have time to put it together along the way. (I will try and get it started before we go on the next trip so I can bring it along though. And hopefully I can plan in a little more free time for the next go around.)

    I can see these Roadtrip books filling up pretty fast, so I anticipate there being many of them. I would love to make polymer covers for for each of them. Will start putting some thoughts into that and see if I can’t add Polymer Journal Covers to the tutorial request list as well.

    Man there really are unlimited uses and ideas for polymer clay aren’t there? Will have to add more years to my life in order to get to them all! :)

  27. Sandra J, 19 November, 2012

    Cindy I often wonder how you manage to do what you do anyway with only 12 hrs of daylight, Do you actually sleep? or do you somehow manage to extend your daylight hours? :) Truthffully i have lain in bed and thought how on earth does Cindy do all this? Your team (family) must be a HUGE help to you. Doug, you are an amazing man, to stand by your wife like you do, encouraging and being a true help-mate. Kudos to you all. You are truely an amazing family.

  28. Cindy Lietz, 19 November, 2012

    That is really sweet of you to say Sandra! To be truthful, the reason why Doug and I can do so much is that we try our best to work with our strengths. We each have our roles and work extremely hard 7 days a week to bring you guys the best polymer clay learning experience we can.

    To over simplify our roles, Doug handles all the technical, business, publishing stuff and I handle the content creation. For my part, I make sure to work on new ideas and techniques almost every day. Constantly experimenting and playing around with a material is how you come up with new ideas. And committing to creating new tutorials and color recipes every month forces me to get them done. If I waited for when I had time to create, I would never get done what I need to get done.

    There is so much that we are not able to do though and need to start building a team which goes beyond the two of us. The kids do help when they can, but they are students and have their own work so are only available during school breaks. Besides they are still just kids and need to play video games sometimes too!

    We are at a point now that the business is getting too big for us to handle without help. A good place to be, but very overwhelming at times.

    So hopefully soon we will be able to add some new ‘voices’ around here, so we can focus on what we do best… bringing you cool videos, wonderful information and friendships, so that you can “Make What You Love… Love What You Make!”

    Oh yeah and btw… I’m not getting much housework or yard work done! lol

  29. Rosy Simpson, 19 November, 2012

    thank you guys so much for your hard work, I benefit so much from your videos. Your guys are a blessing in my life. Am making lots jasper and in sanding I found that using those rubber finger tips (that you use to sort paperwork with ) really helps.

  30. Natalie Herbin, 26 November, 2012

    Thank sound like a great idea…I have to go the staples and see if they have those rubber finger tips.. I hate those fonger prints on my work … I do use the corn starch but that gets messy… This seems a lot neater

  31. Jocelyn, 11 December, 2012

    Cindy, this quote struck me:

    “We are at a point now that the business is getting too big for us to handle without help. A good place to be, but very overwhelming at times.

    So hopefully soon we will be able to add some new ‘voices’ around here, so we can focus on what we do best… bringing you cool videos, wonderful information and friendships, so that you can “Make What You Love… Love What You Make!””

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful to offer internships? I cannot think of a better person and family to learn from than you folks. As part of a course of study in the arts for a bachelor’s, as a skill booster to those who wish to learn more about the industry, or, as a gift from a family member (preset time limit/skill set)?

  32. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 11 December, 2012

    Hi Jocelyn (and everyone else too),

    That is VERY interesting what you said about internships, because… I’m currently thinking through how to set up a mechanism that is heading in that direction.

    Basically, I’d like Cindy to be able to do short video clips on the fly (raw, unpolished, unedited, quickie dispatches), as she is working through the creative process of developing our PcT tutorial products.

    There is SO much behind-the-scenes trial-and-error stuff that happens in advance of when the final PcT videos are actually released. I’m thinking that sharing at least some of this “pre-content” would be an invaluable learning experience for some of you… what went right, and even more importantly, what went wrong types of lessons.

    We would open this up to just a select group of interns (as you say). And rather than charging $$ for this additional benefit, I would like to see the participants play a larger role in helping to manage and nurture this growing PcT community, both here at our site, as well as in a broader setting on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr and in the various polymer clay forums that we really have not had time time to support.

    OK.. that’s my shot across the bow… so to speak. I’m curious to see what the level of interest would be in turning this idea into a reality.

    @everyone reading this…. let me know your thoughts…

  33. Jocelyn, 12 December, 2012

    Love this idea, it could be such a booster if you want to expand you own business and learn from some very talented and disciplined people.

    I am sure as the word gets out, and folks think about it, you’ll be flooded with requests.

    Another WIN-WIN situation.

  34. Sandra J, 11 December, 2012

    I know i would be interested in this sort of thing. Would you think that this sort of opportunity would be appropriate for people outside of Canada and America? There is so much you guys can teach.

  35. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 11 December, 2012

    Absolutely… Sandra. Actually, over 20% of the membership is already based outside of North America, and we would be thrilled to see that number grow.

    The nice thing about distribution of digital learning products, is that international borders really don’t pose that much of an obstacle.

    We are even open to possibilities of having voice-overs done in non-english languages… especially if someone who speaks the language, would be interested in partnering with us as a foreign correspondent of sorts.

  36. Sandra J, 12 December, 2012

    what a neat idea.

  37. Karen R, 15 December, 2012

    I love the community here… I wish I would have discovered you guys sooner!

    I’m really confused and need advice. I make lots of jewelry and clay is my new medium. I’ve been making clay barrettes and assumed that baking them on the barrette was okay, to help retain shape. I have noticed, however, that the smell the oven emits when they are baking is horrible and nearly makes me sick. I am wondering if the metal is burning the clay? My temp never goes above 300 on my in-oven temperature gauge. So I am now looking at the cornstarch method. Do I just have to eyeball it close to the curvature of the barrette, then build a cornstarch bed underneath each barrette? What about the ones that get folded around the barrette as part of the design? Does burying them in cornstarch help keep the metal cooler? Would lowering the temp help if the metal is going to keep the temp hotter anyway?

    I’ve done lots and lots of searching on this site and have found some GREAT info that has helped but nothing that answers this question specifically. Someone in this thread mentioned adding molding putty to the clay?

    Sorry for the sheer number of questions in one post… I have a lot of learning to do and I know I’m in the right place for it!

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  38. Tantesherry, 16 December, 2012

    Hi Karen
    I’ll start, although Cindy will be the best one to help:)

    1st welcome to the friendliest place on earth :)

    Baking on metal is fine, I cover tins all the time

    Don’t trust your ovens temp. gauge (ever) get one of those oven thermometers (or two)

    I only use the corn starch to stabilize pieces that tend to rock from side to side, as far as I know the corn starch does nothing to the temp. one way or another — just read a bit more about maintaining a consistent temperature and cure for no less than an hour

    regarding “molding putty” – sorry but I’m not sure what that is, but I wouldn’t do it till Cindy gets back to you

    The Search box, above right, is your best bet. Dixie Ann did a fabulous comment pertaining to finding hot/cold spots in your oven (look for that while your searching).

    I hope some of this is useful, Cindy has made quite a few psa (free videos) lately that you will love—- lots of great advice

    ps- come back and let us know of any other questions you might have

  39. Jocelyn C, 16 December, 2012

    Karen, Cindy’s latest stuff on baking clay properly sets the standard, one of the best sources of info on the web, so use the search engine on the site. There is a ton of information contained within all Cindy’s blogs, tutes, and commentaries, and it is an amazing resource.

    Tested my toaster oven pretty thoroughly and was dumbfounded by how easy baking became after surrounding the interior of the oven and the top with a deep metal tin of as many beach stones as I could fit, lol. No more smell when bonding metal to clay, no spikes, and it’s nice when checking on things to be able to hold those warm beautiful stones in your hands.

    Cindy’s second trick is to use baking soda, lots of it. I bake in the small aluminum loaf pans. One inch at least on the bottom, set your items in place, and pour more on top, and bake 60 mins at least. A lot of folks bake stuff multiple times in the finishing process, and think it accounts for a superior buffing. I think I can tell the difference just by the sound of the bead dropping on the floor, the more you bake, the “harder” the bead.

    The soda is easier to handle than cornstarch, not as much dust and it seems to rinse off or brush off easier. You can still use the “bead rack” wires with the loaf pan and Sucru silicone to customize it for the sizes of the beads you bake. Best news with the baking soda is that you eliminate browning. The object is totally protected, so your whites stay that way.

    I’ve tested this over the last couple of weeks with some of my most cherished polymer creations over the years, bury them and bake away. Unbelievably awesome results. The next buffing is superior, and absolutely no color change from the original bake.

    It works with flat objects as well, but you might need to find another sized tin to fit some of the work. Just level the baking soda, insert a tile, place your flat object on it, another tile and surround and cover.

    You need a station to work from to handle the method, I keep everything in a rubber dishpan and work next to the oven. A sieve or a colander with larger holes works best to drain off the soda, then you can just dump into into a glass or plastic spouted container for next time. Hot stuff so use some caution, but it’s easy once you get the hang of it. Easy clean up with water and/and or a dry paint brush.

    Be interested to see if others agree with these results after testing. Limited mobility so baking and browning has been the bane of my existence since moving to rental housing, since I must use the kitchen out-take fan for all heat. These one or two extra steps have changed this hobby for me from a fingers crossed horse race to peace and contentment.

    Thanks Cindy. You do not know how much I appreciate it.

  40. Jocelyn, 16 December, 2012

    Sugru, lol.

  41. Karen R, 16 December, 2012

    Hi Tantesherry,

    Thank you for your response! I do have an oven thermometer and use it faithfully. :-)

    I have found SO much information on this website! Last night I sat here and read for probably 6 straight hours (do I know how to party on a Saturday night or what?). At one point I just buried my face in my hands and just started laughing because one thread lead to another suggestion on another thread, which lead to another video on another thread and before I knew it I had 9 (!) tabs open on my web browser all from this site pertaining to some sort of question I had, or a question that I didn’t have but now do. I’m finding some great answers, though, and will soon be lining my oven with ceramic tile to help stabilize it.

  42. Dixie Ann, 16 December, 2012

    Hi Karen R. and all the new clayers welcome to the greatest spot on earth. We love having you join our community and after reading your comments, I laughed because I did exactly the same thing after I joined, spent hours reading and looking at everything. I also purchased all the back videos.
    I had worked with polymer clay for about a year but just couldn’t get anywhere until I joined Cindys PCT site. It was the best decision I ever made. Karen R. we have two clayers that I know who make a lot of Barettes, Becky Sue and Natalie H. I’m sure these two gals can give you a lot of tips on how they work with them. Also what concerns me most is you mentioned the smell emiting from your oven that is making you sick. This sends up a red flag that would mean to me something is too hot and is affecting the materials you are baking. As Sherry suggested, an oven test should determine the cause. Also if you are using a metal barette blank, some of them have a coating on them and if the oven is too hot, you might be smelling it burning off. I believe that both Becky Sue and Natalie use Bake and Bond to affix their clay to the metal blank. I’m sure Cindy will jump in here also and offer the best help. Good luck doll, we’re so glad your here.

  43. Karen R, 16 December, 2012

    Thank you for your responses everyone. :-) You’re all so nice here!

    @Dixie Ann: I have a really sensitive nose to begin with. Subtle smells can have an affect on me so I’m sort of doubting myself saying “well there aren’t fumes so it’s ok” but I just don’t think it is.

    I had an image of myself pop into my mind this morning of me while things are baking: I’m exactly like a cat eyeing a mouse. I stand there staring at the thermometer, looking at every angle of the oven to make sure there’s no smoke. Any time the temp rises I watch it while saying “don’t go higher” like it can actually hear me, and then I started messing with the dial. I *gasp* open the door if it gets to 300 because I don’t want to burn anything (I’ve already ruined one oven, this is my 2nd). So I’m probably causing the very things I’m trying to stop from happening. But the smell sometimes makes me not want to bake anything for fear that I’m making the same mistake again. Sensing my frustration this morning, my fiance said “maybe you need to step back a minute and just experiment with pieces you haven’t spent hours already trying to perfect. You aren’t relaxed while you’re baking which is defeating the purpose of how relaxed you were when you were creating”. Soooo true.

    I will soon be lining the oven with ceramic tiles and will experiment with a piece of clay I’ve done nothing to. Part of the problem comes when I put the tile of my pieces in a pre-heated oven (the ceramic tile lays on a metal pan that came with the oven, and has baking soda all in that pan to help with smell). The temp drops significantly and then I can’t get it back to where it was when I preheated it. So maybe after I have more tiles in there, I put it all in at room temp and let it go to 265, then leave it be for an hour. Untouched.

  44. Jocelyn, 16 December, 2012

    Karen, trust me, anything you can put in or on top of that oven that will absorb heat will work. Lava bricks from the grill, stones, glass mosaic tiles or globs, bricks, concrete, metal pie filling beads, cast iron pans, lol. It is amazing. Once you get your system set for your products and oven with one day of testing, bliss is in your future. Since we use tiles in flat work, they are great, but, other materials work too.

  45. Tantesherry, 16 December, 2012

    Hi Karen

    I’m one of those that just uses my regular oven, not a toaster oven

    There is a tread on here about using two of the disposable turkey
    roasting foil pans held together with cloths pins or something in a reg. oven — to contain fumes, smells also to keep dirty oven bits from getting on your clay

    OK I had a point when I started….
    oh yes, the stressing that baking is causing you – That’s why I stopped using a toaster oven a long time ago :)
    it’s easier for me just to clean the oven :/ than worry at the toaster oven

    ps: I did the same marathon read too when I 1st found PCT :D

  46. Dixie Ann, 16 December, 2012

    Karen R. I too have a very sensitive smell because I have COPD but I don’t have any problems using Premo Clay baked at 275 degrees. The girls are right about lining your oven with tiles either inside, or outside or however you want to stabilize the temp in your oven. Just remember that they will hold the heat and your oven might get hotter if you put tiles inside your oven and even on the bottom shelf. If you have normally baked at 275 degrees and add tiles, your oven might jump to 300 degrees because of the extra tiles. This is why it is so important to find the correct temp your oven puts out in any given situation. If the smell really bothers you, I would suggest a large roasting pan with a lid and bake it in your regular oven at whatever temp your clay recommends. You should probably put it on a ceramic tile and set the tile in the pan. Do the same with the baking soda as Jocelyn recommended but put the baking soda in a seperate oven proof dish and then set it in the roasting pan. Be sure you have tested your large oven to see what temp it registers first. It is not recommended that you bake polymer clay in the same oven you bake food unless you use this technique, and don’t use the roasting pan to bake any food in either. Save it just for the clay. I hope this helps. I know your getting info from everyone but we each have our own way of getting the job done and like Cindy says, it’s just a matter of finding your own way of doing it that is comfortable for you. Your finance is right, always test with some scrap clay first and if it doesn’t come out the way you expected, chalk it up to experience learned and start over. Just have fun!

  47. Cindy Lietz, 16 December, 2012

    Awesome discussion everyone!! Thanks soooo much for coming to Karen’s rescue with such well thought out answers. Looks like we have taught you well! You have all become ‘clay ambassadors’ here in the PcT Community!

    Welcome Karen! As you can see everyone is very friendly and sincerely want to see you have fun and succeed in your polymer clay journey.

    Proper baking, is a very important issue… one that I will continue to address until all the problems are solved (if possible). The answers everyone shared are correct. The only thing I can add is to suggest (like they have) to continue to use the search box at the top of the page, and to dig deeply into the comment sections for more solutions.

    I will do more PSA style videos on baking, to help clarify the process for everyone. Once you have a system that works for you and your specific set of tools and the types of pieces your baking, the whole baking issue becomes a ‘non-issue’. I am never stressed anymore when I bake stuff. I chuck it in, with my things set up how I like it, make sure the temps right, monitor it, and pull the stuff out an hour later. No problems… no worries.

    Oh just one more thing… A slight warm plastic smell is normal. A strong awful burnt plastic smell, means that it is burning. Also each brand can have a difference to the smell they omit while curing. Kato Polyclay, being the strongest smelling. Make sure that you have good ventilation, especially if you are sensitive to the smell.

    Thanks for your comments! Glad to have you here in our happy clay family!


    PS To Karen:
    Your comments are currently going to moderation, which means there is a delay before they show up on the site. To have them publish instantly without any waiting at all, what you can do on your next post is to use either “Karen R” or your full name in the name field, instead of just Karen. This way, the system will be able to always tell exactly which Karen you are… there are quite a few :-)

  48. Dixie Ann, 17 December, 2012

    Hi Karen R. Here is a link for you to the Polyform website where they have pictures and directions for making some cute barrettes.
    Hope you enjoy this.

  49. Karen Reshetar, 18 December, 2012

    Thanks everybody!

    @Dixie Ann – that was very helpful, thank you!

    @Cindy – thanks for the tip, I didn’t realize that.

    I’m rigging up my oven, yay! Can tiles touch the heating element on the bottom (underneath), or is that a big no-no?

  50. Dixie Ann, 18 December, 2012

    Karen R. probably not a good idea for the heating
    rods to lay or touch the tiles. Good luck doll.

  51. Cindy Lietz, 18 December, 2012

    Yeah I agree with Dixie-Ann. It might cause the element to over heat.

  52. Karen Reshetar, 20 December, 2012

    I bought some tiles and arranged them safely in my oven. I spent an afternoon this week meticulously taking notes about how long it took to heat to 250 degrees, how accurate the dial was to the inside thermometer, and then slowly raised the temp, waiting and taking notes on where the temp actually landed and whether or not it stayed there, etc. I ended up overshooting a little and had a difficult time getting the temp back down, but I think that’s actually good because it means it won’t spike. I feel much more relaxed about it, though I will probably try the same thing again before using scrap clay to test it out. The highest the temp got was 300 degrees. Is it safe to say that it will burn at that temp? What’s my “wiggle room”? It’s hard to see 265 on my thermometer but 275 is okay. Should it never ever go above 275?

  53. Cindy Lietz, 20 December, 2012

    You should be fine Karen. The best temp to hold at is 275F but if it goes to 300 for a couple minutes before dropping back down. You should be OK. Use your nose as a guide, as well. If it starts to smell it is probably getting too hot. Your best bet is to do a test sample in a light color and see how it goes. Let us know how it works for you.

  54. Jocelyn, 20 December, 2012

    Kudos, Karen! So happy for you.

  55. Dixie ann, 20 December, 2012

    karen R. if you can stabilize the temp between 265 and 275 and then bake your piece for 1 hour, you should be just fine. That is of course if you are using Premo. Other clays have different temp settings so just check your brand. If you go any higher you might start to get a slight smell and your beads might get discolored or darker. If you are using 50% or more of translucent, I would recommend you bake your piece at around 250 degrees for 1 hr. then dunk it in ice water right out of the oven. Once it’s cooled, you can go ahead and bake it again for another hour and dunk it in ice water again. This keeps the translucent from getting darker in color and also makes it much stronger. You should also always tent your pieces when baking since it protects them from the heat.

  56. Cindy Lietz, 21 December, 2012

    I see Dixie that you and I were typing at pretty much the same time! Thanks for answering Karen too. I really appreciate all the support you give to everyone here at the blog, and for how helpful you are to me in answering questions. Have a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. Merry Christmas!

  57. Natalie Herbin, 23 December, 2012

    Hi Dixie
    Never thought of rebaking the items Make with translucent a second time …..I do a lot a tenting…I use a large cookie sheet… Then a large tile… Then parcent paper… Then my items … Then batting… Then a piece of heavy brown paper.. And finally another cookie sheet upside down…. Nothing burns any more… This is all placed It regular oven on convection bake at about 254 ishwhich reads on my extra temp thermometer. At about 275 … Bit now that you said to lower a little bye be I use a lot of translucent clay in my stuff to abori 250 I will have to recalculate the oven temp… I find using translucent clay I can use less of thesis color and it gives a mutted effect

  58. Karen Reshetar, 06 January, 2013

    Successful baking has been achieved!! I haven’t tried my new setup with metal barrette blanks underneath the clay yet, but I will when I have another batch ready to go. I did a geometric shape pendant the other day that I am going to use for a resin mold and it came out beautifully. No scorch marks, no horrible smell. I set it on cardstock paper and loved how the back looked compared to not using cardstock. I sanded it with the micro sanding pads and it is soft and smooth and beautiful.

    I loved how Cindy at some point said baking would become a “non-issue“. I feel like I can breathe much easier now. Thank you all for your help!

  59. Dixie Ann, 06 January, 2013

    Yay Karen! that is wonderful news, I am so glad for you. All it takes is patience, trial and error and a lot of help from Cindy and your clay family. You Go Girl!

  60. Jocelyn C, 07 January, 2013

    Great news, Karen….congrats, girl!

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