Tent Polymer Clay While Baking To Avoid Scorching

Tenting Polymer Clay Baking TipVideo #423: The tenting shields your beads from the direct heat of the oven elements.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Tenting your polymer clay while baking so it doesn’t scorch, burn or darken.
  • Tenting is called tenting because the folded piece of cardstock you put over your clay to protect it, looks like a little tent.
  • Tenting your polymer, protects it from the direct heat from the elements in the oven.
  • I show two samples of the same color, sized and shaped polymer clay pieces. One baked under a paper tent and the other not. It is amazing the color differences between the two. One is the original color and the other is blackened all the way through the piece.
  • Tenting is easy to do… just fold a piece of cardstock (I like to use file folders) down the center and open it like a tent. Place over your polymer clay pieces while baking. The hot air can still get inside, but tents offers protection from the direct heat.
  • It works great on your bead rack too.
  • Make sure that your tent isn’t too pointy. You don’t want it to get too close to the elements in your oven or it will burn. This is especially important in small toaster ovens.
  • The paper can handle going into the oven at the low temps that polymer clay is baked at. Just don’t let it touch the elements and you will be fine.

Question of the Day:

Do you have trouble with scorching your polymer clay? And do you think this baking trick will be helpful for you?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
  1. Rayney N, 09 September, 2013

    I had given up on polymer clay because everything I made scorched. The only things that didn’t scorch were so under baked they fell apart after a week or two. I will pull my supplies out again and give this a try! :)

  2. Lilith S, 09 September, 2013

    this was very helpful, my polymer clay creations always ended up looking darker when i baked it and i couldn’t find a way to stop that from happening. now its not a problem :)

  3. Tante Sherry, 09 September, 2013

    I had No idea that scorching was so harsh on polymer clay in a toaster oven
    –well I should have known do to the fact that my toaster oven burns half of our bread every night unless I stand there and move it around ;)

    So I’m glad to be able to use my regular oven to bake my clay – But I still tent per Cindy’s advice :)

    that visual aide on this video really opened my eyes though – when you said they were baked together I was amazed….hence this rambling lol — Have a Great week everyone!!

  4. Freda K, 09 September, 2013

    My polymer clay oven burned the last batch of items I baked – large lumps on it – even though the temp gauge read 65 degrees at 30 minutes. Now I’m afraid to use it. I want to bake in my regular oven and want to use two aluminum cake pans, one upended on the other to keep any fumes inside. Will the aluminum keep the pieces from darkening or will I need to cover with tent or parchment paper too?

  5. Cindy Lietz, 09 September, 2013

    Hi Freda, the pan idea should work for you fine, but metal can often create hot spots, so do make sure to line the bottom of your pan with paper or cardstock first. Your lid will make the paper tent unnecessary, as long as it doesn’t touch your pieces.

    As far as your pieces burning, your oven dial may be off. You will want to use an oven thermometer. If you are already using one and you still have problems, it is possible that the thermometer isn’t reading right and you may need to try a different one.

    There is tons of info here on the blog on baking, so make sure you use the search box on the top of the page. Between the info here and on the rest of the blog, you should be having no problems baking in no time. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

  6. Dixie Ann, 09 September, 2013

    I usually try to tent but there are times I need to tent with other items. In baking a translucent piece I actually placed it under a clear glass but allowed the oven to warm up and cool down with the piece in the oven first. It turned out perfect and no discoloring. I baked it at 275 degrees and of course it was Premo. To bake my sand dollars I placed them on large wooden balls that had a flat bottom and set them on a large tile. I then covered the whole thing with a stainless steel bowl. They also came out perfect, baking at 275 for 60 minutes. It’s fun finding different things to experiment with and use for baking. I have a 5 step process for baking. a) have the best oven you can afford for baking your clay. b) always tent or cover your items. c) always bake for 60 minutes. d) always use a thermometer e) always bake at the recommended temperature for the brand of clay you are using. It also doesn’t hurt to check your temperature periodically while you are baking to see if there are any temperature spikes. I check mine about every 20 minutes. If you haven’t had much luck in the past with baking, please, please don’t give up. Check out all the great tips here at the blog and try it again. We would love to hear about your successes. :)

  7. Natalie Herbin, 10 September, 2013

    Hi Dixie
    I also check my clay every 20 minutes…. It makes me feel better to know that everything is ok …. Also I keep check of the temp… I have been using my convection house oven with no negative effects on my cooking afterwards

  8. Natalie Herbin, 10 September, 2013

    Hi again Dixie
    I put a y of my work that contains translucent clay in an ice bath… I think that Cindy had mentioned this in one of her videos… But I could me mistaken …. I read so many website on polymer clay that it might have been someone else… Eitherway if works but I may try yours since a bake of nose with just regular clay a d have to leave them in the of to cool down…. It would eliminate one step

  9. Cindy Lietz, 11 September, 2013

    Thank you Dixie Ann for your wonderful and in depth explanation of the baking process! That is very helpful for everyone!

  10. Eunice M, 10 September, 2013

    Cindy thanks so much I am so far behind on your helpful videos and making pretty things but I chose this email to open and am so happy I did as cool temps arrive and gardens get shut down I will fold some card stock and get ready to bake some pretty beads and no longer be worried about them coming out just as I put them in. You do good work!
    Thanks so much.

  11. Geaux G, 10 September, 2013

    Short, sweet, helpful. Thanks so much!

  12. Natalie Herbin, 10 September, 2013

    I found an alternative to the tenting
    Here’s what I do for when I am doing a lot in my oven :
    Using 2 cookie tins:
    Place a large ceramic tile in one.. The a piece of parchment paper ….. Next a layer of batting….. Then I place all my beads on the batting as well as my bead rack… Then I cover everything with another layer of batting and lasy I place the other cookie sheet on top … This allows me to move the tray in and out of the oven easier….. I do preheat the oven at 265 …… This might seem like a lot to do but since I started doing this not a single thing has been burned and I can do about 50 or more beads of all different shapes at one time… I do a smaller version of this for the toaster oven… Let me know what you think of my method

  13. Dixie Ann, 10 September, 2013

    Hi Natalie, good to hear you have found a baking technique that works for you. So glad to hear everything is working out for you!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 11 September, 2013

    Hi Nathalie, Like Dixie Ann said that is great you have found a baking system that works for you. I know a lot of people like to use batting as a place to bake beads, but any of the batting I have tried has left little fibers and markings on my beads. I prefer to use a bake rack where the bead is suspended in the air and nothing touches them. If I do have a bead that needs support, like a flower with large petals, I like to bake on a bed of cornstarch or baking soda. At least it is smooth and can be washed off after baking.

  15. Freda K, 11 September, 2013

    Natalie: I do basically the same thing without the batting because I’m not doing beads right now. I bought two disposable cake pans at the dollar store and put one over the other, clipping them together. I put a tile in the bottom with a piece of parchment paper on it. I’ve only done this once, but the pieces didn’t darken at all and the two owls are still happy sitting serenely with the other pieces.

  16. Dixie Ann, 11 September, 2013

    All who is interested…..Michaels is having their $.99 cent sale on all Polymer Clay starting this Sunday Sept. 15th and running a week through next Sat. Just came out today. Time to take inventory!

  17. Jane V W, 13 September, 2013

    Cindy, greetings from Olympia, WA. I check out your free videos every time you offer them. Am still claying and I especially appreciate the tenting tip. My projects almost always darken and this is SO helpful! Thank you!

  18. Terri Banerian, 23 September, 2013

    Which is better to cover your clay? Aluminum foil or cardstock? I heard both methods.

  19. Cindy Lietz, 23 September, 2013

    Hi Terri, as long as there is no risk of touching the elements, I prefer to use cardstock over tinfoil. Tinfoil is a little floppy and if it slides down and touches the clay during baking, it can leave a shiny spot or scorch mark where it touches. If car stock touches the clay it won’t leave a mark at all. Tinfoil will work instead though, if you’re worried that the paper might touch the burners. It is up to you.

  20. Holly M, 15 April, 2019

    Hi Cindy!

    I am finding that my pieces are changing colour after baked using the tile sandwich technique, I am using two oven themometers so I know that the temperature is correct? The clay is a white colour.. what Can I do? I need them to be flat still.. help!

  21. Cindy Lietz, 16 April, 2019

    Hi Holly, are you positive that your white clay is actually white? It might be white translucent, which will change color when baked. Also, some of the lower quality clay’s like SculpeyIII and Craftsmart, can discolor in the oven. The best white clays are Premo, Cernit and Kato. Then Fimo Classic or Professional. You may need to try a different clay for your specific project. Good luck!

  22. Wardiya DeBaz, 01 May, 2019

    Cindy, I am very new to this. Just making memorial flower beads for my sisters and cousins with old flowers they have. Recently, I’ve been asked to make beads from fresher flowers that I dry out. I have been following you and reading all these questions and answers. My questions is, My flowers brown when i bake the beads, How can I avoid this, and keep the actual flower color? Do I HAVE to bake the bead?

  23. Cindy Lietz, 03 May, 2019

    Hi Wardiya, the reason the flowers turn brown when they are baked is that they still have moisture in them and they “cook” while baking. Make sure the flower petals are completely dry, and you won’t have the same issues. They will darken a bit though… a dark red rose for example will darken to a deep burgundy or even black when they dry out. But they won’t turn brown and yucky like the cooked flower petals do. Good luck!

  24. Wardiya DeBaz, 10 May, 2019

    Thank you so much, Cindy. That makes a lot of sense. I haven’t been waiting long enough.

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