Should Polymer Clay Still Bend After It’s Been Baked?

Should Polymer Clay Bend After It Is Baked?Video #489: It depends on the thickness, but yes, polymer clay does stay somewhat flexible.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • A very common beginner baking question.
  • Is it normal for my polymer clay to still be bendy after baking?
  • Help… did I do something wrong?
  • Polymer clay is not like regular earthen clay that cures rock hard.
  • Polymer clay, like Premo Sculpey for example, remain flexible when baked, especially when thin.
  • In this video I show samples of baked polymer clay at various thicknesses, and bend them to show how much flexibility you should expect.
  • 2-3 playing cards thick = very flexible.
  • 6-8 playing cards thick = slightly flexible.
  • 14-16 playing cards thick = very stiff.
  • Temperature can affect flexibility. Cool Temps = Stiffer. Warm Temps = More Flexible.
  • Some coatings will affect stiffness, some won’t.
  • Thin flexible coating like Aleene’s Jewelry Gel will not make the piece stiffer.
  • Thick Resin coatings like UV Resin Lisa Pavelka’s Magic Glos, will make the piece much stiffer.
  • The short answer to “Should it Bend?” is “Yes. Depends on the thickness how much it’ll bend.”

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. Cynthia Ryan, 03 March, 2014

    Hi Cindy, I would like to see a video that would help me apply UV Resin Lisa Pavelka’s Magic Glos. I have tried to apply it many times, but I have problems around the edges of the pendant, where it either over flows or does not cover close enough. It looks good before I place it in the UV light machine. Also I get a lot of bubbles that I don’t seem to see before I put it in. Please help! Thanks, Cynthia

  2. Cindy Lietz, 03 March, 2014

    Hi Cynthia, Thank you for the suggestion. I have added it to the list!

  3. Vicki-W, 04 March, 2014

    TFS! Great info packed into a short tutorial.

  4. Regina P, 05 March, 2014

    Hi cindy , i am just starting out with clay , i am so thankful i found your help , and now i can learn many things i need to know. I would like to know your thoughts on cold porcelain air dry clay . If theres any information you could share , kinda like what can be used to condition it. Thank you for your time , i love watching your vids ,so much helpful information : ) peace & love always regina p

  5. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2014

    Hi Regina, thank you for your kind comments! As far as cold porcelain goes, I haven’t use it, so I can not give you any advice there. Maybe someone else here has?

  6. Jocelyn C, 07 March, 2014

    Welcome Regina!

    You’ll find a treasure trove of knowledge when you use the search box in the upper left. Unfortunately, not much on the cold porcelain, we heat our clay here.

    Suggest you Goggle the term, find tons of info that way. Good luck!

  7. Sue F, 07 March, 2014

    Not all polymer clay brands are as bendy as Premo. In particular, Kato, when cured properly, is both extremely strong and extremely rigid (you can cure it so it’s flexible, but I generally prefer it to be rigid… makes sanding much easier!).

  8. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2014

    Thanks for letting us know that about Kato Polyclay Sue! Still haven’t had much chance to work with Kato Clay yet… waiting for better weather so I can work with the windows open. :)

  9. Janine Gerade, 07 March, 2014

    Hi Cindy!
    Thanks for the tips! I just got my Renaissance wax and LOVE IT! I did a quick sanding skipping numbers (I know I shouldn’t but I am short on time) and then the wax and it came out wesome. I see a UV light behind you in this video that looks like the one my manicurist uses for my gel manicure-do you use that to cure the uv resin?

  10. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2014

    Hi Janine, thanks for your feedback on the Ren Wax! I love it too! Yes, that is a UV lamp… I use it to cure UV Resin on my clay. Here is a link to the tutorial page if it looks interesting to you: Polymer Clay Tutorial UV Epoxy Resin

  11. Brenda Reau, 08 March, 2014

    I would like to use polymer items on craft projects that might be washed. Can a finished piece ( glossed or buffed only) be put into a washing machine?
    Thanks Cindy!

  12. Cindy Lietz, 12 March, 2014

    Hi Brenda, when I make buttons I prefer to use techniques that can be just sanded and buffed. That way I don’t need to worry about the finish coming off in the washing machine.

  13. Mira Ackerman, 10 March, 2014

    Hi Cindy!
    I like to kindly ask you to explain how to use traslucent polymer clay in jewelery making and what are the advantages of using it.
    Thank you

  14. Jocelyn C, 10 March, 2014

    Hi Mira! You might want to try popping in “translucent clay” in the search facility in the upper right corner, which will provide you with a ton of links and information on this topic previously covered by Cindy on the blog about it.

  15. Rhonda Magee, 15 September, 2014

    Why is it packaging says to bake 30 minutes..and artist day they bake items for an hour? Thank you

  16. Cindy Lietz, 18 September, 2014

    Hi Rhonda, I think the manufacturers know that everyone’s oven is different, so rather than go into that, they play it safe by recommending less time. (IMO… They don’t mind that much if your pieces break since that means you will probably buy more clay… but they are worried that you’ll burn your stuff and blame them.) Buy a cheap oven thermometer and bake your pieces longer… the professionals all know this is the only way to have a durable product, so that is why we do it.

  17. Feree M, 25 November, 2014

    I have problem and so far I could not get a good answer from anyone including Sculpy people.
    I use primo and sometimes fimo. My large pieces like vase are cracking during curing.
    I used different thickness, different time and different temperatures. And still have problem.
    Some pieces or brittle and brake easily. I am very frastrated and don’t know what to do!
    I here most artist talking about baking one hour at 275 degree. When I bake that long my work
    Would be very fragile and break easily.
    I check the temperature often and still have problem.
    Could you help me befor I go crazy?

  18. Jocelyn C, 27 November, 2014

    Hi Feree! Perhaps suspect conditioning issues if you are using brand name clays and proper baking. Maybe, it needs to be worked longer to “wake it up?” Looking at my old stuff that did not wear well (thank goodness I kept it, rofl), I suspect that I might have rushed that part, especially after watching the conditioning process with Premo, when Cindy did the video this week… Conditioning Polymer Clay By Hand Without Any Tools

    I rebaked all my old stuff covered in baking soda during a period of time when Cindy did a blog/video on “baking” several years ago, and then kept refinishing some pieces. I was amazed at the better finishes that resulted after that rehardening bake of an hour.

    But, I’ll bet I did not condition enough, in the eagerness to play.

    Had problems with cracking when I completely covered something, like beach stones (no vases). To be able to do that successfully, eludes me still. So I moved on to covering little metal things like jar caps, and they hold up. Always double bake, the second time in a bed of baking soda.

    The search facility has tons of info on this topic, just pop “conditioning” or “baking” to access the vault.

  19. Janice Armistead, 28 November, 2014

    I didn’t know where to put a general question, so I chose here????.
    After polymer clay is baked, is it safe to use for edible items to be displayed in, such as a polymer clay bowl with candy in it that doesn’t have a wrapping on it.

  20. Bertha A., 29 November, 2014

    Hi Janice,

    Everything I’ve read says do not use polymer clay for food dishes or utensils. The best explanation I’ve seen for this is that polymer clay cannot be properly cleaned to prevent bacterial growth – it is too porous. Makes sense to me as even a proper hand cleaning probably risks damaging the clay or leaving behind soap residue.

    If you could find an insert that you can remove to clean, you could probably build a pretty polymer bowl around it. For example, try a simple clear glass bowl.

  21. Hayley K, 02 January, 2016

    I’ve made an ornament of my son’s handprint with craftsmart polymer clay and it’s still pretty soft. I’ve baked it for a half an hour, I popped it back in for an hour. Is it supposed to still be so bendy? Its about 1/4 in thick. I was going to paint it with acrylic paint, but it seems too flexible to me.

  22. Gayle C, 23 April, 2017

    Does it crack if you make it textured and thin?

  23. Jocelyn C, 24 April, 2017

    Hi Gayle

    What type/brand of clay did you use?

    Cindy’s done tons of blogs and videos addressing this topic thoroughly. Go to the Search box in the upper left corner and type in stuff like “best thin clay” “clay flexibility” “baking times” etc and you’ll find she compares all the the clays for a variety of charactics.

    Nothing more frustrating than having a piece you’ve lovingly produced fail. Hope this helps…..

  24. Brenda Menge, 06 May, 2017

    I made 2 bangles (first time) using the Pandora models. I baked for 1 hour at 275
    Are they suppose to be flexible or hard? Mine are flexible. I would like to find out if I did something wrong before I bake others. I was watching one of your videos yesterday and you said something about leaving items in the oven 3 hours before (you forgot) and it was fine except maybe a little rubbery. Made me wonder about mine.

    I am a member and I love your videos.

    thank you

  25. Cindy Lietz, 09 May, 2017

    Hi Brenda, a properly baked piece of polymer clay is usually very flexible (some brands more than others). Like I mentioned in the above video, it is a normal property of the clay. Go ahead and bake your other pieces if you haven’t done so already.

  26. Brenda Menge, 06 May, 2017

    Its Brenda again, I forgot to ask about a particular tool. I saw it used maybe by you or Pandora. Can’t remember; however, the tool has bent ends that can be used to make eyes, mouth etc. Basically, it is thin on both ends, curved like a smiley face, one end bigger than the other, and can be used for detail work.

    I have search several web sites and cannot find it. I ever ordered a couple of items that I thought might be it. I will be sending them back.

    Thank you in advance for your help

  27. Cindy Lietz, 09 May, 2017

    Hi Brenda, it wasn’t me that showed that tool you’re speaking of. Could it have been Cristi Freisen possibly? I know she has some unique sculpting tools, it may have been her that you saw the tool from.

  28. Shinu J, 13 May, 2017

    u are awesome, i learned many from your clay classes, good job

    well, i used to buy clay from another person, and i am having many colour cubes in my shelf from last 2 years, so thought to try some thing new with that, i am not a master in this.

    well, i have tried to use those, but few are getting breaked, and cant do conditioning. how do u clear that issue?
    an i am from indian, in state kerala, here not that much clay experts around,
    so, as an expert, waiting to hear from you for the cheapest way to clear this issue.

    also, these are coming in regular clear plastic cover. so no writings on them, seems local, so how can i bake? as this one not having backing instructions?

  29. Sarya A, 05 August, 2017

    Hi !

    thank u so much for all ur videos they r so helpful

    I have a problem tho, whenever I try to bake a thin piece of clay its only flexible to a certain extent then it cracks, although I bake it for a full hour. what should I do? plz help

  30. Cindy Lietz, 08 August, 2017

    Hi Sarya, I am guessing you are either using a brand that is not strong, or the temperature is not quite hot enough. DO a search on this website, using the search box on the top of the page, and you can find more info on baking, using a thermometer and the different brands of polymer clay. Those videos will help you a great deal. Good luck!

  31. gooby, 25 April, 2018

    uhhh maybe use actual measurements in inches or centimeters instead of playing cards

  32. Cindy Lietz, 26 April, 2018

    Hi gooby, you would think that it would be easier to measure in inches or centimeters but when the clay is this thin, that is pretty tricky to do. I found using playing cards to be a much easier way to do it, whether you’re using a pasta machine or rolling it out by hand.

  33. Brandy C, 12 March, 2021

    Hi I loved your video it was very informative. I have a very important question though. I just got some polymer clay in a variety of colors off Amazon. I want to make a mini oven for my kids to bake in and cook on. I’m teaching them by starting small and safer. I was wondering if it is safe to make the oven/stove from this clay since it would be heating up by small candles so they can do their mini cooking and baking. I did read that if not cured well there could still be noxious fumes from being burned but Idk if the heat from the candle will burn it. I just want to know if it is safe for this mini cooking. I tried Google but it wasn’t helpful… it kept showing me everything but what I’m looking for… yes I plan to cure it after making the oven before using it and no I don’t have any glaze or anything to coat it. Unless using foil to line it would be ok. Any advice? I’m at a loss.

  34. Cindy Lietz, 15 March, 2021

    Hi Brandy, Polymer clay would not be a good solution for making a mini oven for baking with a candle. It could wrap around the outside of a glass or ceramic container since it can handle heat… just not a flame. That would scorch and or burn and definitely not be safe. Polymer clay is plastic and not similar to earthen clays at all. I would suggest using a airdry or low fire earthen clay instead for your mini oven. That would be way safer than polymer clay for a use like you’re suggesting.

  35. Dawn Z, 07 November, 2022


    We tried baking a half – inch ( by a ruler measurement) thick square as a tester at 260/270 degrees for 30 mins and it dried fairly hard, but it snappped in half?

    Any help is appreciated!

    Thank you!

  36. Cindy Lietz, 08 November, 2022

    Hi Dawn, in the video I mention that I bake all my pieces for an hour, whether they are thick or thin. Baking longer, at the temperature recommended by your brand, will ensure that all of your clay has had the opportunity to fuse together and get strong. Now, 1/2 inch thick is getting pretty thick… you may end up with cracking when it is that thick. The heat has trouble getting that deep without curing the outside first and then the steam from the internal clay causes the outside layer to crack. Try to keep the layers to not much thicker than 1/4 before baking. You can add multiple layers and bake as many times as you like. If you do a search on this blog or our YouTube channel, you can find several videos about baking. Good luck!

  37. Kirsten H, 19 January, 2023

    Hi there! I bake my clay earrings (they are about 1/8” thick) for about 15 minutes at 275. They are bendy when they come out but then dry pretty hard and snap when bent. They are also crumbling in the back when I try to drill holes for jump rings. How can I fix this? Is it bake time? Any help is greatly appreciated!

  38. Cindy Lietz, 25 January, 2023

    Hi Kirsten, sorry to hear you’re having trouble with breakage. Your pieces are breaking because of 3 possible reasons… 1) Low Quality Brand – use a good brand like Premo, Souffle, Cosclay, Kato, Cernit, Fimo. Definitely not Sculpey III. 2) Not baked hot enough – use an oven thermometer to make sure your oven is at the right temp. 3) Not baked Long enough – in the video, I mention that I bake all my pieces for an hour, whether they are thick or thin. Baking longer, at the temperature recommended by your brand, will ensure that all of your clay has had the opportunity to fuse together and get strong. If you do a search on this blog or our YouTube channel, you can find several videos about baking. Good luck!

  39. Cindy Lietz, 25 January, 2023

    Also a quick addition… when drilling, the drill shavings should be coming out in long spirals… if they are coming out in short chunky bits, the clay is under cured. Pop your pieces back in the oven and bake for another hour… you’ll see there will be a huge improvement in strength and drilling.

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