Ten Minutes NOT Long Enough to Bake Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Bake Test SamplesVideo #323: A side by side comparison test, that proves why polymer clay MUST be baked properly… or it will break!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Why 10 minutes is NOT long enough to properly bake your polymer clay pieces, no matter what you may have heard elsewhere.
  • Why some advice on the web is just plain bad.
  • Test sample comparisons of Premo Sculpey polymer clay baked for 10 minutes and 60 minutes @ 265F – 275F and their differences in strength and appearance.
  • Why you need an oven thermometer and a timer to get a proper cure for your polymer clay projects.
  • The BIG differences in quality between under-baked and properly baked polymer clay sculptures, polymer clay jewelry and other polymer projects.

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… How Long Do You Bake Polymer Clay?. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Jocelyn, 13 December, 2012

    Cindy, just love these short clips that refresh a skill or method. Please, keep them coming!

  2. Tantesherry, 13 December, 2012

    Subscribed & Thumb’s Up’ed :)
    as always the best advice on the web
    comes from our Cindy <3

  3. Catalina L, 13 December, 2012

    Great advise! I have learned the time and temp is very important when making quality pieces. As well as having well conditioned clay. Craftsmanship should be a priority when creating jewelry, art, or any craft. It will make all the difference. I still hate sanding but that makes all the difference, too!

    I do know that the Sculpey Eraser Clay is recommended to be baked at a lower temp and for only ten minutes. It is not good to over bake this type of clay. Maybe the other person thought all polymer clay was the same.

    Just glad I found you Cindy! I have never received bad advise, bad information, or incomplete instructions from you. You are well informed and easy to follow.

    I have been having trouble making the Opal Beads. I will try again and if I’m still having trouble I will send a shout out!

  4. Karen R, 13 December, 2012

    Oh wow….I’ve been baking pieces for only 20 minutes. Crap. Well at least I know the mistake now, and can fix it from here on out!

  5. Susan R, 13 December, 2012

    Hi Cindy,

    My old toaster oven has been on its last leg for several months now to the point that I have to jiggle the thermostat knob to get it to the right temp. and hold my breath that it doesn’t spike to 350 causing me to have a melt down.

    Well my sweet sweet 19 year old son has taken note of what his mother has gone through and today gave me my Christmas present early which was the Amaco Clay Oven. I am thrilled my baby boy would put so much thought into this and have read great reviews about the oven. The “one” downfall I find with it is that the timer only goes up to 30 minutes.

    I have looked around on the blogs on here for anyone with a solution for this since you recommend everything bake 1 hour. I don’t know how to get around the 30 minute timer problem.

    Common sense would say re-set it once it goes off at 30 minutes for another 30 minutes but will I risk the oven already starting to cool down? Any suggestions?

    Thanks

  6. Cindy Lietz, 13 December, 2012

    Hi Susan, that is so sweet of your son! Nice when kids tune into their mothers.

    I would just set the timer twice and not worry about it cooling down too much as long as you get to it right away. The hour makes up for any fluctuations that happen in the oven.

    Make sure to still use an oven thermometer though. All ovens are notorious for incorrect temperature readings, no matter the type or brand.

    Hope you enjoy your new Christmas oven!

  7. Susan R, 13 December, 2012

    Thanks Cindy :)

    I “thought” that would be the way to do it but wanted to get your expert advise before I had any under baked clay that I thought was baked properly.

    Yes I adore my sons ability to be in tune with what I’m doing and pray he carries this over to his one day way way down the road wife.

    I hope you and your sweet family have a very Merry Christmas !

    ~ Susan

  8. Michele Dickey, 14 December, 2012

    I’m so happy that I found this out early when I became a member!! It saved me so much time, energy and clay!! I had done alot of projects before I became a member and they were all of course under baked. All I did was re bake them and I was able to save all of my hard work!! I had glazed some of my projects so of course I didn’t re bake those but I was able to save most of what I had done previously.

  9. Efrat L, 14 December, 2012

    Hi Cindy,

    Wonderful tip with the baking time.

    Keep on having fun with the Polymer Clay.

    Efrat
    The Netherlands

  10. Lana Fuller, 14 December, 2012

    Cindy,

    I have two questions:

    I would like to know how to properly store polymer clay. One instructor told me to use lightly waxed deli sheets that could be purchased at Costco and a couple of other stores. However, we don’t live near any of the stores she named, and I can’t find them anywhere. The plain deli sheets seem to dry out the clay too much. Some people have said not to use plastic or Tupperware containers. Would baggies work?

    My other question is this: I’ve purchased a few packages of clay lately that have been so dry that they crumble into tiny pieces before they make it through the pasta machine. I’ve tried adding water, but have had minimal success. In the end, I threw out about four packages because it was such a mess. I’ve decided that the next time, these packages are going back to the store. It has happened a lot with black, transparent, and white. The other colors seem to be OK so far. Is there something I can do to make these crumbling clays usable?

  11. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2012

    Hi Lana, these are great questions! I have talked about both issues a few times on this blog, but they are so common I will put them on the list to do again in a YouTube video to help better clarify the confusion for everyone. In the mean time, here are a few things that will help.

    First, here is a link to a video that will helpful for you: clay storage. It has some great tips on how I store my clay as well as jewelry supplies in my own studio.

    As far as your crumbly clay problem, take the clay back when you can. If you can’t, then there are several things you can do. Please note that oven cured polymer clay is oil based and not water based, so water won’t work as a re-conditioner. Mineral oil, baby oil, clay softener, TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey), Fimo Quick Mix, or Sculpey Mold Maker are all products that can work if used in small amounts and worked in slowly.

    I have done several posts about both of these topics, so your best bet until I can make specific YouTube videos, is to use the search box at the top of the page, to find those articles here first. Hope that helps!

  12. Jocelyn, 14 December, 2012

    Hi Lana!

    Save that clay, every last piece.

    Cindy has tutes on using old crumbly clay as is, that are beautiful. One that comes to mind is the xxxxxxx bead tute.

    The search facility here taps the archive. I put in “fix crumbly clay” and came up with several pages of applicable advice you have instant access to when needed.

    Think if you use terms like “clay storage” “wraps for clay” etc. you’ll find a lot of answers.

    I use Cindy’s method for storing flat clay pieces, where she puts them between plastic sheet holders in a binder. For canes, I use glad wrap then put them in drawers, the scraps go by color in plastic bags in another binder. I really love that binder system, it really keeps you organized. Think if you got the extra thick binder, you could even use some plastic inserts or bags to store your cane collections.

    For moving or covering or baking stuff, found that parchment paper cut to size, manilla cardstock as shown in tutes by Cindy, or blank both side post cards work fine. Used to use the deli, but found paper by roll was cheaper.

    Hope this helps, all best.

  13. Jocelyn, 14 December, 2012

    Sorry, forgot to fill in my blanks. The two tutes that could use old crumbly clay are Jupiter Beads and Mirror Image Hearts.

    Definitely would chop conditioned good clay and add it to the old or crumbly clay so it all sticks together well. I have done both several times and have gotten excellent results.

  14. Lana F, 17 December, 2012

    Thank you for all that great advice. I’m definitely going to look up those tutorials and try the storage methods you recommended. I’ll also be looking forward to seeing the new tutorial that Cindy is going to make.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  15. Natalie Herbin, 25 December, 2012

    How do you get the flat sheets out from the page protectors or am I thinks of the wrong stuff

  16. Cindy Lietz, 26 December, 2012

    In the How to Salvage and Re-use Leftover Color Blend Pieces video, it shows how I slice the sides of the pockets so you can easily put clay in and out of the protective sleeve.

  17. Vivian M, 14 December, 2012

    Hi Cindy, I have been searching in your search box for metal, metal gauge, metal size, etc. and couldn’t find what I was looking for and I’m hoping you can help me out with this. I bought the Bigkick machine and would like to purchase sheet metal to customize my own designs, but I don’t know what type of metal and gauges I could use that will not damage my machine. I have also called Sizzix, vintaj and scrapbooking and neither of them were completely sure, one told me she thinks it’s 25 gauge and the other said he thinks is 21-24 gauge, and being that I have to order the metal sheets over the internet, I would rather know for sure what type of metal and gauges will be appropriate to use on the Bigkick. If you do have that info in here, please let me know what wording to use for the search. I appreciate any assistance you can give me, thank you. Vivian

  18. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2012

    Hi Vivian – The quick answer is 24 gauge. And a good search word to use is “Bigkick” or “Bigkick Metal” or “Embossed Metal”

    You will find lots of discussion on this topic in the comments section of this post… Embossed Metal Jewelry Findings

  19. Andrea Paradiso, 14 December, 2012

    Cindy—

    I’ll add that I agree with Norieta and also that I think you are looking fabulous! You are quite the movie star. GO, go, go!

  20. Amanada E, 14 December, 2012

    Hello Cindy,

    I just discovered your videos yesterday and I’m so thankful already! Its exciting to find another Canadian PC Artist!

    I make a lot of multi-layer pieces. I was wondering if the full curing has to be done in one shot in order to maintain that strength, or will it reach that state if it goes in for 30 minutes, cools off and then say goes in for another hour with the second layer of clay added.

    Thanks
    Amanda

  21. Cindy Lietz, 14 December, 2012

    Nice to meet you Amanda! The great thing about polymer clay is that you can do multiple bakings. Just make sure the last layer gets a full cure of 1 hour and all is good.

    It is a great way to preserve the layers should you be worried about them getting damaged before adding the next layer. If you are adding baked clay to raw clay, it is not a bad idea to put a thin layer of TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) or Sculpey Bake and Bond as a glue. Helps to strengthen the bond greatly. Hope that helps!

  22. Debbie G, 15 December, 2012

    Hi Cindy
    I’ve found your information so helpful so many times, thank you for your generous sharing.
    Having just watched your video about covering glass balls/ornaments, then this video about curing time – I’m thinking I may have a clue to the answer to this question, but I’d rather ask the expert.

    I make Bottles of Hope, putting clay over glass bottles.I’m often the one who gathers them from others and delivers them too. I’ve noticed that some fully covered bottles seem to end up much later with cracks in them.

    Do you think this is a case of under-curing? Some Bottles of Hope I receive from classes that were given, and probably not cured long enough. Could I give them one last baking for the 60 minutes? Does the thickness of the glass base have any effect? And aren’t you concerned about bringing the oven up to temperature from cold with polymer clay in the oven – wouldn’t the initial blast of heat while the oven is coming up to temperature be a problem? Or do you tent your pieces or shield them in some way?

    And here’s an offering for you. My wonderful engineer husband suggested using TWO oven thermometers to check the temperature in my oven, from DIFFERENT brands. Apparently the settings on those babies can be off too – my two different oven thermometers read 25 degrees different! So I use the average of the two as the correct temperature.

    Thanks again for all your wonderful information.
    Debbie
    Bottles of Hope

  23. Natalie Herbin, 16 December, 2012

    What are bottles of hope … I have never heard that term before….
    I do have a suggestion about the baking and would like go get Cindy’s imput . No matter what I am baking .. I use a cookie sheet.,then a large ceramic tile that fits the cookie tray then parchment paper, then a layer of batting, then the it’s to be baked , then another layer of battingand finally another cookie sheet..i0ppacw it in the oven when the temperature reaches between 255and265 and bake for 60 minutes and nothing has burned… If there is any tr as ulsnt. Lay on the items and place them in an I e bath and every thing comes out great … Since I started using the meshid Nothing has burned or cracked! What a relief after all the work we all put into our work…hope this helps others

  24. Debbie G, 16 December, 2012

    Thanks, Natalie!
    I should not post when I should be sleeping, it usually means all the brain is not working.

    You’re layers of cookie sheet and batting above and below the pc item are similar to what my engineer suggested. We’ve got a large tile in the oven, and put a large glass baking bowl into the oven. And it’s inside THAT where I put my items to be baked. An oven inside an oven, so to speak. It helps keep the temperature moderated around the actual piece. I’ll have to include your batting above and below the piece, thanks!

    It also occurs to me that those pieces that have cracked on me are from early days – when I was baking for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch. Will have to get on the 60 minute program that Cindy has shown to be so much better.

    Bottles of Hope is a cancer outreach program. The whole story can be found at BottlesOfHope.org. I don’t want to hijack Cindy’s wonderful space when it’s written elsewhere. The short version is they are former medicine bottles transformed into beauty with polymer clay, then given to patients going through the stress of dealing with cancer as Bottles Of Hope.

  25. Cindy Lietz, 16 December, 2012

    It is heartwarming Debbie to hear that you are so involved with the bottles of hope program. It is a very special thing to be giving to others like that.

    You may be onto something, suspecting that the clay may be under baked and causing the cracking. It may indeed work for you to save some of the pieces by re-baking them, but it won’t be a guarantee.

    Most pieces can be baked again, as long as they don’t have a finish that doesn’t like heat. Some finishes are fine to be baked, like Sculpey Glaze and Future Floor Finish and others, but some may not be, so watch the piece very carefully to see how it is doing.

    As far as the heat getting too high for the amount of time to heat up the oven, that usually isn’t too much of an issue, if you have properly tented your pieces, and don’t let the pieces get any higher than 300F.

    As far as batting goes, there are lots of people who like to use it as a bedding for their pieces. Although it can work nicely, I find it tends to leave marks on the clay and embedded threads from the fiber in the clay if the clay is quite soft. I prefer to set on a bed of cornstarch or baking soda, if the piece is sculptural and needs support during baking.

    There is tons of info on this site on baking, if you use the search box at the top of the page. Baking problems are very common, so I plan to do plenty of PSA style videos to help better clarify the issues for every one. Hope that helps!

  26. Debbie G, 16 December, 2012

    Hi Cindy, thanks for the reply.

    I’ll see if I can salvage the cracked polymer, but will also make sure I bake long enough in the future. The more I read and investigate, that seems to be the problem. Our guild does Bottles of Hope classes and programs, and bake the bottles in toaster ovens during the class. I suspect those bakings are less than optimal. :/ So I’ll give them another round when I get them home.

    Thanks again for your help!
    Debbie

  27. Natalie Herbin, 25 December, 2012

    Cindy
    Thanks for that info that I can re bake items that I have covered with future shine.. Oh , when I had items that cracked from not letting the cool down. Properly… I just put another thin layer of clay on the back or around it were ever the crack was and that would look ok and re bake them .. Saved my mermaid tail. Pendant that way.
    Oh Merry Christmas to everyone

  28. Jocelyn, 19 December, 2012

    My Mom received three of these lovely Bottles of Hope while battling cancer and she loved them. Interestingly, each of the bottles used translucent clay so that when she put them on the upper window frame, they glowed. I will be forever grateful to those anonymous clayers. My nieces have them now, and love them.

  29. Debbie G, 24 December, 2012

    Jocelyn, it’s so good to hear that the Bottles of Hope are delivering on their intent. Thank you for letting us know. Would you mind if I reprinted your comment on the Bottles of Hope website? I would put your comment just as you wrote here, with your name Jocelyn, if you don’t mind. It would go here

  30. Sue F, 16 December, 2012

    I just have to butt in here :D to say that it’s also important to use the correct temperature for your brand of clay: in particular, don’t use too low a temperature!

    Kato, for instance, REQUIRES curing at 150C/300F to reach proper strength, and curing for long times at lower temperatures will not compensate for that at all: Kato cured at Premo’s 130-135C/265-275F for over an hour will STILL be very much weaker — ridiculously so — than if you cured it at Kato’s 150C/300F for just 20 minutes (not that I recommend such a short curing time there either; that’s just to illustrate how weak the result from the long time at low temperature is).

    20 minutes is the “10 minutes thermal equalising time plus 10 minutes curing time” mark I use for my own testing. I posted some Kato curing temperature and time test details for anyone interested, but the key outcome from those tests is that using the correct curing temperature is vastly more important to the strength of the final result than curing time is, at least for Kato, even though I used the upper end of the Premo temperature range in those tests. Once you’re using the correct curing temperature, however, increased curing time definitely resulted in stronger clay… up to a point, after which the strength dropped off slightly (but was still significantly stronger than with a short curing time) and discolouration became more noticeable. The results from those tests and others let me choose my normal curing parameters to maximise strength and minimise discolouration: what I use for Kato is quite different to what I use for Premo on its own (I totally agree with Cindy’s recommendations there).

    Anyway, I expect the same thing would apply with Premo if you cured it at Fimo’s 110C/230F, i.e. that it would not achieve its full strength no matter how long you cured it for, but this comment was mostly for anyone new to Kato who is reading this blog.

  31. Jocelyn, 17 December, 2012

    Excellent, thanks Sue!

  32. Debbie G, 18 December, 2012

    Good point, thank you! Will keep that in mind too.

  33. Tantesherry, 19 December, 2012

    Sue
    just a note to tell you how much I enjoy reading about your experiments And how lucky we are that you share your results
    -sherry :)

  34. Sue F, 21 December, 2012

    Thank you, ladies! I wish I had more time to experiment… doing the mad scientist thing is just as much fun as making proper pieces. For me, anyway! (I have had my sanity questioned :D) Maybe next year…

  35. LeAyne P, 19 December, 2012

    Can polymer clay be used to repair larger chips on edge of dishwasher and microwave plates if baked for 60 minutes at 265 to 275 degrees? I liked your tutorial.

    Thanks,
    LeAyne Petersen

  36. Jocelyn, 19 December, 2012

    Not sure, use the search facility in upper left to access archives for specifics. No clay should be used on an eating surface or utensil that will enter the mouth. But, if these plates are decorative, and worth experimenting with, try it. You might just discover a new use (come back and let us know too).

    Welcome LeAyne, and all best….

  37. Jocelyn, 20 December, 2012

    LeAyne, scrolling around and found this video which might be of help to you if you are trying to save the plates to use.

  38. Cindy Lietz, 21 December, 2012

    Thanks LeAnye! You may be able to ‘fix’ your plates with polymer clay, but they will be for decorative use only. They will not survive the dishwasher and definitely should not go into the microwave or they will burn. But if you want to play around and make them into some sort of decor item with polymer clay… go for it! Most dishes should be able to handle being baked in the oven. You would probably need to use glue to bond the polymer to the plate after baking, since the clay won’t stick permanently to most non-porous surfaces.

  39. Jocelyn, 24 December, 2012

    Deb G…No more room to reply in that thread so I had to start over to the left again, lol. You surely may share. They were given to her at the Westerly Hospital in Westerly RI when she received her chemo treatments there, and were donated to her anonymously, but my understanding was that they were created through a Bottle of Hope project at the Southern Connecticut Polymer Clay Guild. They brought her much joy, and us too, later after she passed. Such a wonderful idea and project!

  40. Leslie Y, 30 December, 2012

    That was a great demonstration. I have always baked a little longer, but never up to an hour. Can’t wait to give it a try.

  41. Stuffie U, 11 January, 2013

    Ok,

    This is great information, thank you so much for sharing your knowledge… my question is in your video the clay samples were 5mm/5 cards think and best results were 60 curing time… so if I have a piece that is 2 or 3 times the thickness would I double or triple the curing time? I ask because I normally cure for 30 minutes between 265 and 275 and they seem brittle… so I cured for 60 minutes and I still have the same result.

    (also I checked my oven temp about every 15 minutes and noticed that at one point the temp was 300, would that have caused the brittleness?)

    Thanks for your help!
    Stuffie Ü

  42. Cindy Lietz, 13 January, 2013

    What brand of clay are you working with Stuffie?

    Some brands like Sculpey III and Craftsmart are brittle no matter how long you bake them.

    With thicker pieces of Premo I still usually only bake for one hour, but you may want to do some testing on this yourself. Make up some samples in different thicknesses and bake for different times (write it down so you don’t forget) and then try and break them. This will give you the most accurate results for your brand of clay and your oven. Use an Oven Thermometer to make sure your oven is actually at the right temp.

    Come back and let us know how it went.

  43. Stuffie U, 16 January, 2013

    I use a toaster oven to bake my items as well as a Thermometer, I was pretty confident that my temp was correct. So I did more experimenting, turns out it was the clay I was using, I was using sculpey III… so I added some Premo Translucent to the sculpey III and was much happier with the results. I tend to purchase sculpey III because of the color pallet (ok, I am lazy, I just don’t want to have to mix every color I use, LOL) but I think I am going to start phasing out my sculpey III stock and buy more Premo in the future, either that or just get used to adding Premo’s translucent to the colors I can’t live without.

    Thanks for the input, and the great information you provide all of us.
    Stuffie Ü

  44. Vivian M, 21 January, 2013

    Hi Cindy, Great video, thank you. My Premo clay is not braking anymore since? I have been baking it at 275 for up to 1 hour. I have been using Fimo soft and classic for a while now and recently switched to Premo because of the shine it gives after buffing it and the strength after firing it at the appropriate temperature. I’m really excited about this clay especially after I saw how it bend without breaking on your video. Again, thank you very much for your demonstration.

  45. Cindy Lietz, 22 January, 2013

    Oh Vivian that is awesome news! I am so glad you found the answers you needed and that you are finding success with baking your polymer clay. Now you can focus on Making instead of worrying about Baking! :)

  46. Holly Likes, 02 June, 2014

    Hi, Cindy! I had a quick question about baking. I know you are a big supporter of baking 60 minutes but does that vary on size? The projects I’ve seen where you mention that seem to pretty widely vary in thickness so i wasn’t sure! I’m looking to bake some round items about .5-1 inch thick. Still 60 minutes? :)

    Thanks in advance! =

  47. Cindy Lietz, 03 June, 2014

    Hi Holly, I pretty much bake everything for 60 minutes unless it it really thick (over an inch) then I bake for 90 or more minutes. I find that especially for the thin pieces, that could get broken easily, I like that extra security of knowing it s properly cured.

  48. Adrian Wolverito, 23 September, 2014

    Hi, Cindy!

    I’m a bit confused. The following was copy-pasted from Sculpey’s Premo website:

    “Baking Instructions

    Bake at 275 °F (130 °C) for 30 minutes per 1/4 in (6 mm) thickness. DO NOT MICROWAVE. Baking should be completed by an adult. DO NOT EXCEED THE ABOVE TEMPERATURE OR RECOMMENDED BAKING TIME.”

    So, is it better to bake for 60 minutes, even though the manufacturer recommends 30 minutes?

    (I can’t argue with the results on the PcT TestLab video above, though. So any thoughts/comments will be much appreciated!)

    Thanks!

  49. Cindy Lietz, 24 September, 2014

    Hi Adrian, I can understand why you are confused. I just said this in another thread so I’ll just copy it and share it here as well…

    “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.”

  50. Adrian Wolverito, 24 September, 2014

    Awesome, Cindy! Thank you! =)

  51. Rachel V, 03 April, 2015

    Hello,
    Have you found that Red Premo’s aren’t as sturdy a clay as the rest? And does Sculpey Bake and Bond seem to hurt the strength of the clay at all? Also I am not sure but does baking in stages hurt or help your clay pieces?

  52. Jocelyn C, 09 April, 2015

    Hi Rachel!

    Trying to help Cindy out by answering some questions. You are right in suspecting red is an issue. For some reason, and this goes across all manufactures, especially when the clay is not brand new, red can be a problem.

    Think it might have something to do with the composition/chemistry. I find that reds get crumbly quickly and age quickly. This means that when you use it you must make sure it is properly conditioned before beginning a project, so search “conditioning” and maybe even “red” to get all the videos, blogs, and commentary folks have provided here since 2009.

    For the next two questions, no and no, LOL! You can also check that by typing those questions into the search box in the upper left corner to get that information.

    All best, and hope that helps. Glad you are with us!

  53. Jenifer Moore, 16 May, 2015

    I’m so frustrated I could scream! 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 250F to 300F, have two temp gauges in oven, cover with a tin cake pan, use a metal baking pan with tiles and paper or file folders or cardboard under my pieces-all are as brittle as egg shells-no matter the thickness of the piece. I love doing this but if I can’t bake it to USE it what is the point? Use Sculpy clay exclusively. Please help Cindy? anyone suggestions?

  54. Debbie Goodrow, 16 May, 2015

    I can see how that would be frustrating! And I suspect it’s the brand of Clay: Sculpey. I find it tends to be very brittle, no matter how perfectly you bake it. I know there are articles out there that speak to the various brands of clay and their strengths. A little research should help you out here a lot. I believe Premo and Kato clays are the strongest. (I’d go find a link, but with my skills that would take about 30 minutes, and I should have been in bed 2 plus hours ago!)
    Good luck.

  55. Jenifer Moore, 18 May, 2015

    Thank you Debbie! I have been doing just that, research, and I’m going to try both Primo and Fimo (in small qtys at first.) Ahhhhh there IS possible light at the end of the tunnel.

  56. Cindy Lietz, 20 May, 2015

    Hi Jenifer… it is great to see everyone coming to your rescue… :) It’s not you it is your clay. If you are using Sculpey III or Craftsmart polymer clay you will always have breakage… even if you bake it right. The only thing that clay is good for is something like a round bead that won’t easily break anyway. You will find if you read this blog that I use Premo almost exclusively. (Souffle is now getting used a lot too.) In fact type SculpeyIII and Craftsmart intot he search box and you will see how much I hate those two clays. I love the color range in Premo… I use it in all my color recipes. I love the strength, and versatility as well. You can do all the techniques including caning with it and it sands and polishes to a beautiful shine. Fimo is excellent too. I hear that the Fimo Professional line is really fabulous though I haven’t had the chance to work with it yet. Long story short.. switch to a better clay and you won’t be so frustrated anymore. Good luck… let us know if you need anymore help!

  57. Jocelyn C, 17 May, 2015

    Hi Jennifer!

    LOL, I hear your frustration. There’s a lot of advice and different ways to do things and you need to settle in on your own method. The only way that occurs is if you experiement a little with your oven and your choice of clays.

    First and always, make sure you start out with well conditioned clay. Sculpy (non Premo) can be soft, so folks don’t spend enough time here. Also non Premo Sculpy is notoriously brittle, so you want your first projects to be thicker with less fine details until you get the lay of the land.

    Would suggest that you switch to a major professional brand like Fimo, Premo, Kato, etc., if you plan to build a business and charge for your products. You want them to hold up over time. Sculpey soft brands are more for kids and round bead making.

    You first need to know how your oven works over one hour of baking. So you need to get out the oven thermometers, and a timer, and watch it closely. If you get high spikes of temp, and you are using a toaster oven, you can moderate the spiking by using glass globs, beach stones and tiles to line the bottom and sides of your oven. Once you are sure you have the oven in the “range”, then bake some test pieces the same shape and thickness of your piece.

    You must bake on tile or file stock, otherwise the bottom of the piece will bubble and burn. By the same token, if you use transparents and white, you must tent them to keep them from turning darker (they toast, lol).

    If your oven still gives you the willies, try building a pan with baking soda, and thoroughly covering your items in about an inch of it all around. That reduces most of the fluctuations.

    Use the search facility here to read. There are blogs, videos, and tons of reader comments on this issue that will prove invaluable to you.

    Most of all, I wish you the best of luck. There is nothing like opening the oven and seeing a gorgeous piece of jewelry that you designed waiting for you inside.

  58. Jenifer Moore, 17 May, 2015

    Thank you so much Jocelyn for your calming and very helpful reply. Just the thing I needed after yesterday. I really do appreciate this blog of Cindy’s and her videos and thought I had it down until I started testing older pieces I’d made. I have tons of the Sculpy (in for a penny…) I didn’t really think the clay mattered so I guess I’ll use it to do these test of my oven. Then bite the bullet, read up on clay brands and see which fits my work the best. It was SO very nice of you to listen and advise-PC’ers are fantastic!

  59. Jocelyn C, 18 May, 2015

    You are sweet to say that, Jenifer.

    I like the payback system. Cindy and Doug’s products and techniques have changed my life for the better, thus I try to give back to others here in the comments to thank them both.

    The best part of the system, is that when you are the recipient and trained, you can than turn and payback by helping the next newbie.

    Makes the world a happier place to be in, for sure.

  60. Jenifer Moore, 31 May, 2015

    Thank you all. LOVE THIS SITE! I baked my sturdier piece of Sculpey at 60 minutes and though not as hard as what Cindy says they should be they are TONS better than when cooking for only 30 (suggested on the label)
    Bought a few Fimo bars and I am a convert. One question, the Premo I saw in the store also had a Sculpey logo on it, Is Premo a SCULPEY product? In the meantime Fimo it is! Yea!

  61. Cindy Lietz, 02 June, 2015

    Thanks Jenifer! Yes, Premo is a Sculpey product but it is about a hundred times better than Sculpey III. Premo was made for the artist market and is not only very strong, but the colors are based on the artist palette, so the colors are very predictable. You will find I work in Premo, almost exclusively and currently base all my color recipes on it. Fimo is also a good brand. Especially the new Professional line which is very strong and now has a new true color system that makes it easier to blend colors. I have not yet had the chance to test the colors in the new Fimo Professional line, but am looking forward to its potential. Who knows, it may become my new favorite clay? We’ll see…

  62. Monika D, 23 August, 2015

    Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for many of your PCT tutorials.

    It’s been a long time since I was playing with my fimo and have some project I wanted to try.
    So am really enjoying your vids as they are on a multitude of topics that are proving to be extremely helpful.

    I will read through the comments above. However I am wanting to say thank you for your help already. I’m sure that there might be questions in future.

    Ooh actually I have a couple eek…
    If I want to apply the fimo to some reasonable thick glass is it ok to put them in the oven to bake directly onto the glass, do you know if it will adhere to the glass or would you recommend shaping it on the glass and then gluing or … what method would be best to stick it on the glass.

    I have the same thoughts of applying it to crystals like amethyst or rose quartz. Do you have any experience with these kinds of applications?

    I await your response in anticipation… thankfully am keeping my excitement at bay till tomorrow LoL on attempting to at least try the glass idea.

    Many thanks Monika
    (London)

  63. Cindy Lietz, 31 August, 2015

    Hi Monika, I am so happy that you are enjoying the videos! Yes you can bake on glass but there are some considerations to doing so. Big temperature fluctuations need to be avoided and whether or not you need glue, depends on the design. Since it would be impossible for me to teach you all that stuff in a tiny box, I recommend you go through my Mistletoe Ornament Class. It is not the same project that you referred to but it does teach you all you need to know about baking on glass… including designs that work and ones that won’t. Plus you’ll learn how to make a neat ornament :)

  64. Joel A, 27 January, 2016

    Hello! I have a few questions.

    I recently did a Star Wars figure in clay – no armature. I mixed Super Sculpey Firm with Premo. I baked the project several times (every time I added new details). Unfortunately, I was not happy with the results.

    The clay turned into a very rough ‘concrete’ piece. It was not bendable or soft as pvc. Also some parts broke apart, probably because I didn’t cure it long enough.

    So my questions are:

    1. Is it ok to mix different brands? Or should I avoid doing this?

    2. Is it ok to bake/cure the same piece over and over and over again until I’m done with final version?

    Bonus question… Is it ok to use a primer? I tried KRYLON PRIMER and so far so good. But I don’t know if it will last. What are your recommendations?

  65. Cindy Lietz, 27 January, 2016

    Hi Joel, your Star Wars figure sounds awesome! As far as your questions go, although many people mix their clays with some success, it is not something that I like to do. In fact I like to stick to one brand of clay whenever possible. Each brand is a little different in the way that it behaves, the temp it bakes at, its texture and its strength. When you stick to one kind of clay, you know how it will turn out… it will be more predictable.

    I pretty much only use Premo Sculpey clay for all my work. There are a few exceptions of course and I am always open to testing other products as well, but with Premo I know the color will be good, the texture smooth and beautiful (especially if sanded and buffed) and that when baked at 275F for a full hour, that it will be very strong.

    Yes, you can cure a piece multiple times. When I do that, I make sure to make the last bake a long one as well… at least 45 minutes and usually a full hour. That way whatever you added last is for sure cured.

    I work with the colored clays, so I rarely use paint, unless that is part of the technique. As far as primer goes, you will need to be very careful… especially if it is a spray finish. Most sprays have a propellant in it that reacts badly with polymer clay. Not all of them… but many. This can happen way later too, so unless you have had the piece sit for at least four or five months, you don’t know whether it is going to be compatible yet. Most acrylic brush on paints are just fine on polymer. Something like gesso will work if you need to prime your piece before painting.

    If you plan to add polymer clay to your artistic repertoire, than I would suggest that you purchase our very comprehensive beginners course. (It is a little dated and needs to be re-filmed in HD but the content is excellent and will give you a strong foundation of skills to get you off on the right path.)

    Here’s the link to the course if you’re interested:

    I’d love to see photos of your figurine. I bet it is cool! Good luck!

  66. Rachel C, 02 July, 2016

    Hi Cindy?do you think the time is relative to the size?I’ve baked some tiny pieces?3x 2mm? of only 20 minutes last night?and they’re scorched. :-(

    Rachel from China

  67. Cindy Lietz, 03 July, 2016

    Hi Rachel, actually even the tiniest pieces do quite well with the longer baking. It needs the time to melt the particles together. If your pieces have burned or discolored, that is strictly because the oven got too hot… not the amount of time. Baking polymer clay is much different than baking cookies. Most oven dials are incorrect and some of the smaller ovens can spike in temp because they heat up and cool down repeatedly. Get a separate oven thermometer and you should solve your problem. Also there are tons of baking videos here, so type baking in the search box for helpful information. God luck!

  68. Swapna R, 27 March, 2018

    Hi Cindy,

    I am new to polymer clay and its so fascinating to see the wonderful things you can make out of it. I started with sculpey III and I learnt that its very brittle after baking. After doing so much of research online, I have come to know that Premo is the best clay that can withstand the stress and its not fragile after baking at right temperatures and long time. .

    I made the forget me not flowers

    I did the condition the clay properly so it gets soft. I can say the petals might me abt 1 mm thick or a biiiiiit less than that and I baked the flowers at 275 degrees( I have used a separate oven thermometer, made sure it gets till 275 and stays at 275 through out) and I baked about 1 hour.
    I let the flowers in the oven stay until its cool down and then took it out. I left it out for abt an hour and then did the stress test. I followed every step that I learnt online.

    I did the stress test ( I applied stress similar to something like breaking a hard cookie) and It Breaks !!! :(

    I felt so bad as I did so many trials and still breaks.

    Can you please suggest me if there is anything that I am missing or if there is anything that I can do to make it strong.

    I would really appreciate any kind of suggestion- Plz help

    Thank you
    Swapna

  69. Cindy Lietz, 27 March, 2018

    That sounds very odd Swapna. Is there a chance that the oven thermometer doesn’t work? Or that your oven is very small and cooling down too quickly or something? I would have to see for myself, to know exactly what is happening.

    What I would do is do some more tests on some scrap clay. Maybe bump up the temperature a little bit and see what that does. Try 285F on your thermometer and if that doesn’t burn, then try and break it. If that still snaps, then bake a little higher. Go as high as you can without burning it. The thing you are trying to do is melt the plastic particles in the clay, but not go so high that it burns.

    Hopefully that will help. Your forget me nots can be baked again, so all is not lost. Just keep playing with the temp until you find the sweet spot. Let me know how it goes.

  70. Swapna R, 28 March, 2018

    Hi Cindy, Its soo good to hear from you and I appreciate your fast response.

    I bought the oven thermometer just a week ago and I am guessing that should be a go.

    Coming to cooling; I have heard abt Quenching the baked pieces- where I take the baked pieces out of oven and put them in ice water immediately- Do you think that will make the pieces stronger ?
    I haven’t tried it but will do it.

    Thanks for your suggestion on the baking temperatures. I will bake some pieces tonight and test them at different temperatures and soo how it goes. I hope I find a solution to this issue as I really want to make some jewellery as I am so in love with the polymer clay wonders.

    I will post the results and I am really thankful to hear from an expert like u :)

    Swapna

  71. Cindy Lietz, 28 March, 2018

    Hi Swapna, the ice quenching making clay stronger thing is a myth. I have a video on that if you want to check it out. Since your thermometer is brand new, it is probably your oven then, so try those tests I mentioned and get back to me. I hope we can get to the bottom of this, so you can get back to creating! Good luck!

  72. Swapna R, 29 March, 2018

    Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for the details about Quenching and its surely saved my time.

    Baking Test: As suggested by you- I did test the baking at temperature 285 and I baked it for 1 hour and left it in oven for a hour for coolig.( used Premo)

    Results:

    Color: the bright yellow color is a bit dull but it didn’t burn the clay

    Stress Test: I have to apply more pressure and bend and twist to break it. I can say, it is a bit strong now compared to previous time. But it does break when I twist and bend it for about 2 times back and forth( almost at 30 degree angle) . I hope the video I shared explains what I am talking abt.

    I feel hesitant to give it to someone as a present, something that breaks.

    Question:

    Is it supposed to break when we bend and twist or should it be very strong and unbreakable ?

    I see so many artists come-up with these beautiful pieces and flowers look soo delicate and thin and I always end up with this question—wont they break ? and how do the buyers know it ? do we have to handle them delicately ? may be I have to buy one from other artist online and do a stress test to compare what I am doing it.

    Thanks for your kind suggestions and patience and it gives all new bees ( like me) immense encouragement to hear from an expert like you and not to feel lost.

    God bless you

    Swapna

  73. Cindy Lietz, 29 March, 2018

    Hi again Swapna, I looked at the video you sent… are you positive 100% that you are using Premo? The color looks a little off. Like it might actually be SculpeyIII. If it is actually Premo, keep testing the clay at higher and higher temps until you find a temp that bakes strong, without burning. I have tons of flower earrings that are WAY thinner than that that don’t break, so I think there is something happening with your oven. And perhaps your oven thermometer is either reading wrong or reading too slowly, so if the temp does drop it might not move down fast enough before it starts to heat up again. I wouldn’t worry about buying someone elses work, to test it. That’s not going to tell you anything because who knows how long they have baked it for. Just keep testing and let me know what happens.

  74. Michelle C, 10 November, 2018

    Im new to polymer clay and I’m using Premo Sculpy. I’ve done test pieces that are pretty thin. All under 1/4 at various thicknesses. I baked at 275 (additional oven thermometer shows correct temp) for 30 min. and it’s on a ceramic tile. When it’s first out of the oven it is flexible but once it’s out for say 20 min or so it snaps when I try to bend it. It feels very stiff after it has cooled, a few of the test pieces were good five or ten minutes after taking out of the over but then thelonger it sat the easier the pieces broke What can I do to fix this? I did condition my clay prior to working with it.

  75. Cindy Lietz, 12 November, 2018

    Hi Michelle, polymer clay breaks if it doesn’t get hot enough for long enough. Small ovens heat and cool so often that even though you think you have it at the right temp, it may not actually be the right temp for long enough to melt the plastic particles. So to make up for it, bake even the thin pieces for an hour. If it still breaks after baking an hour, then try bumping up the temp just a little at a time until you get a strong result. You should be able to bend your piece back and forth, hard, multiple times before it breaks. Let me know if you have any more problems.

  76. Taylor W, 28 November, 2018

    Hi there, I’m probably going to sound like a broken record but I’m getting frustrated with baking my clay. Before I even baked my first batch I looked up many many videos on how to bake them, the tenting trick and timing etc. I am using a 5 sheet cardstock lined cookie sheet with a tent, an oven thermometer and baking them for an hour at 275. I’ve done two test batches so far and I have encountered two issues. First, is the smell, both while baking which goes away fairly quickly and technically controlled okay once aired out with open windows (except it’s winter here so brrr) but even after the pieces have cooled they have a very strong smell. My daughter even described it as metalic type of smell. None of the pieces burned or scorched. I’m worried because I am going to be selling my art soon and was hoping to add PC to the lineup, but I can’t do that if they smell like this. The second issue I’m having is even with all the proper setup my pieces are still breaking and I’m using Premo because I knew that Sculpey III had breakage issues. So basically I am currently stuck with a situation where I can’t make anything long, skinny or thinner than half an inch to an inch, because it will break, and even the pieces that don’t break have an unbearable smell…

    Here is a screenshot of a piece of Premo that broke/snapped

  77. Cindy Lietz, 30 November, 2018

    Hi Taylor, the problems you are having seem quite strange. First of all the clay should not have a very strong smell, if it is Premo. I am quite sensitive to smells and Premo doesn’t smell much to me at all. I have a terrible time with Kato Polyclay though, so perhaps you just have a similar issue with Premo. One brand you could consider trying is Cernit, since it is pretty much odorless. I have not been able to detect any smell coming from it, even when baking.

    Secondly, if the temp is actually correct and you have been baking for 60 mins, your piece should not be breaking like that. My guess is that your oven is heating up and cooling down, faster than what your oven thermometer is picking up, or that the thermometer is not working correctly.

    I would take that broken piece and use it as a test sample to figure out what is happening. I have a ton of baking videos (which it sound like you have watched several) but maybe something like putting a ceramic tile in your oven would help? Rebake your piece at a higher temp and see if that helps. Keep going higher until you find a temp that is hot enough to cure but not quite hot enough to burn.

    Lastly, the only other thing I can think of is that maybe the clay isn’t premo and it is something else? That super strong smell, seems kind of weird to me. Let me know if you’re still having problems. Thanks!

  78. Barb H, 14 July, 2019

    Thanks so much for this video. It has helped me so much! I couldn’t figure out how other people’s polymer clay was so flexible and mine isn’t. This cleared up a lot of questions for me. Barb

  79. Cindy Lietz, 15 July, 2019

    I am so happy to help Barb! Thank you for the kind words!

  80. Lena S, 27 August, 2019

    Cindy,

    I’ve been baking my Premo clay for an hour at the recommended temperature and have had no problems.

    But, I just heard that if we bake our clay at 25 degrees HOTTER than the package recommends it will make it really strong. I was curious if you tested this and how it might compare to curing it longer.

    Thanks,
    Lena

    (:

  81. Cindy Lietz, 30 August, 2019

    Hi Lena, I believe the info you heard was in regard to baking Kato Polyclay, which can handle being baked at the 25 degrees hotter than the package. None of the other brands that I know of, except for the liquid clays and some of the translucent clays, can handle that much of a bump in temp without getting scorched! Basically, you do want to bake as hot as the clay will handle without burning, but except for these couple of exceptions, you’ll want to stay pretty close to the temp on the pack. Burnt clay is super strong… but it isn’t pretty to look at!!

  82. Lena S, 30 August, 2019

    We were both watching the same thing. (:

    She was talking about Kato. But, I swear I heard her say that she understood it to work on other “popular brands” as well. So, it got me all curious.

    I didn’t know that burned clay got really strong. Interesting. Not a goal. LOL. But interesting. I would have assumed it would have gotten brittle.

  83. Cindy Lietz, 31 August, 2019

    Since she was mostly working with translucent, that would be the case… you could most likely bump up the temp a little and get a good strong end result even with the other high quality brands… though I don’t think you would want to go a full 25 degrees hotter with Fimo or Premo… I think they would still scorch. But the solid colors, especially white, could get very scorched at that temp. Probably get all weird and speckled looking in addition to the discoloration. It is something that should be tested… with scrap clay of course, because there will be a line where the color damage wouldn’t be worth the strength.

  84. Lena S, 03 September, 2019

    Thanks Cindy! If I have any “clay to burn”, I’ll give it a test and let you know what happens! (:

  85. Cindy Lietz, 03 September, 2019

    LOL!

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