The Best Clay To Bake In A Home Oven - Spinning Pots (2024)

You don’t necessarily need to have a knack for clay throwing in order to create some amazing craft items. A simple model created with hands can be baked in your home oven. However, you need to select a clay variant that is suited for baking purposes. So, how would you know which clay is ideal for your home oven?

Let us get straight into it!

Table of Contents

Hardening vs Non-Hardening Clay

You can work with 2 types of pottery clay that include non-hardening and hardening variants. The hardening variants tend to harden in 3 different ways that include:

  • Via kiln firing
  • Via oven Polybaking
  • Air-drying

On the other hand, non-hardening clay tends to be reusable and malleable. Most of the hardening clay variants can be hardened in your home oven as compared to air-drying or kiln firing. Both these clay variants can be used for creating permanent art pieces, vessels, or figurines.

Which Clay Is Ideal for Your Home Oven?

Before you start shopping for desired clay, you need to ensure that it can actually be baked in the oven. The best clay variant that can be baked in the home oven is no doubt polymer clay. You can also bake air-dry clay in a home oven for faster drying. However, it isn’t baked per se. Rather it just speeds up the moisture evaporation process.

So, polymer clay is an undefeated winner when it comes to baking in the home oven. You can bake both polymer clay as well as air-dry clay in the home oven.

Polymer Clay: What Is It?

Polymer is versatile modeling clay made from PVC or Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride base. It tends to stay soft when kept at room temperature and left uncured. However, it hardens after baking in the home oven at a manufacturer-recommended temperature.

Polymer clay is available in a range of colors that include light pastel hues going all the way to vividly bright colors. It can be crafted with special effects such as metallic, mother pearl, granite, and more. It attains a permanent shape post-curing or baking in an oven. An ideal choice for polymer clay is the DeeCoo Store Polymer Clay which comprises 70 vibrant colors. It is perfect for your oven-baking needs and comes with multiple accessories for easy crafting.

The Best Clay To Bake In A Home Oven - Spinning Pots (1)The Best Clay To Bake In A Home Oven - Spinning Pots (2)

However, the end result might vary depending on how long your baking time was and the shape or thickness of your model. You might also need some special products such as polymer-compatible glue or surface finishing to ensure you get the perfect output. Moreover, polymer clay can be expensive compared to air-dry clay.

Polymer Clay FeaturesDescription
TextureVery malleable before baking
Ideal Curing Temperature129oC-135oC
Curing Time15 Min per 1/4th of an inch or 6mm thickness
ToxicityNon-toxic but releases irritating fumes when burnt
Safe for ChildrenYes, but it should not be consumed (Must be used under adult supervision)

Which is the best home oven for polymer clay baking?

In order to bake polymer clay, you can make use of any standard oven available at your home as long as it maintains the right temperature throughout the baking procedure. Polymer clay baking is safe when done in a home oven. However, there is one thing debatable when it comes to dedicating an oven for your polymer clay crafting needs.

While some say you don’t necessarily have to have a separate home oven for baking polymer clay, some potters argue otherwise. Some brands might mix harmful chemicals into the clay to make it cheaper in terms of pricing. So, if you bake such polymers in your home oven, the toxic fumes might stay within and then mix in when you heat up your food.

Using a small home oven is fine. However, a tiny oven might lead to higher burning issues of the polymer clay. So, it is better to ensure that you bake your polymer clay in a large oven. Doing this ensures that your clay is heated up evenly from all sides as opposed to being exposed to one-sided heat.

It is better to use a convection oven as it houses a fan to help with an even temperature distribution. Most home ovens do have a digital readout. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your home oven is controlled digitally. It is mostly mechanical guesswork.

Most home ovens tend to be wildly incorrect. You might see one temperature reading on the screen, but the temperature inside could be way more or less. This is why it is better to get another thermometer and place it beside the piece to ensure you know the exact temperature.

All brands are different when it comes to the formula for creating polymer clay. One works for you doesn’t mean another will work the same way. You need to test and try brands of your choice to see if it works for you. Prepare a small batch to ensure you don’t waste a lot of product during the testing phase.

A home oven and a microwave aren’t one and the same. You definitely cannot bake your polymer clay in a microwave. Alternatively, you can use options such as halogen ovens, Nu-Wave ovens, or even turkey roasters.

Does Polymer Clay Produce Toxic Fumes During Baking?

Standard polymer clay doesn’t produce any toxic fumes if it is baked at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. However, it runs the risk of burning when baked at a temperature that is higher than 350oC.

When polymer clay burns, it tends to release an irritating fume comprised of hydrogen chloride. Some sources state that burnt polymer tends to release chlorine gas. However, that isn’t the case. If your polymer clay starts burning, make sure you leave the premises for a couple of hours and wait for the fumes to clear off.

The fumes might be nasty in terms of smell and might cause irritation among people who suffer from breathing problems. So, it is advised that you wear a safety mask in case your clay burns off due to uncontrolled baking temperature.

Practice Safety With Polymer Clay

When baking polymer clay in an oven, it is important to practice safety. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Always work in a well-ventilated space to mitigate any potential fumes. If you do not have a proper ventilation system in the room you are working in, ensure that it does have at least a window to allow the fumes to escape.
  • Polymer clay tends to be somewhat brittle after being baked in an oven. So, make sure you do not create an item out of it that would bear significant load. Moreover, it isn’t food-safe. So, using it for items such as cups, plates, or utensils isn’t advised.
  • With time, polymer clay can fade out if kept in a place exposed to UV radiation or sunlight. So, it is important to keep it away from direct sunlight to maintain its color vibrancy. Moreover, you can also add a coating of protective varnish or sealant to make it highly durable after oven baking.
  • If you are someone who has an environment-friendly lifestyle, polymer clay might not be the right thing for you. Polymer clay is made of synthetic and non-biodegradable materials. Unlike natural clays, it doesn’t break down naturally in the environment. So, if you are looking for something environment-friendly, polymer clay isn’t the right thing for you. You can work with alternatives like air-dry clay.
  • After you have baked the polymer clay in the oven, make sure you keep it away from places that get too much heat. This could be an area close to your oven or direct sunlight. When exposed to very high temperatures, the polymer clay becomes deformed or soft.
  • Make sure you properly condition and knead your artwork to avoid air bubbles from being trapped. These bubbles tend to create imperfections in the finished pieces.

What Can Go Wrong When Baking Polymer Clay In An Oven?

  • Overheating:

Depending on the brands and materials used in polymer clay, the oven baking temperature can vary drastically. So, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions and bake at the recommended temperature. If the clay is fired at a temperature higher than the recommended range, the artwork can emit toxic fumes, burn, discolor, or even result in a fire hazard.

  • Underbaking:

Polymer clay might not bake evenly in your oven, especially if it has the tendency for uneven heating or hot spots. Placing the clay in the center of the oven and opting for an oven with a convection fan will aid in a better baking process.

  • Changes In Color:

Some brands of polymer clay can darken or even change color during the baking process. So, it is important to test a sample piece to avoid any unexpected color changes.

  • Cracking:

Polymer clay tends to crack during the baking process if it is rolled too thin. This can also happen if there is any air bubble trapped within the clay. So, make sure you wedge the clay properly and roll the clay to the proper thickness to avoid cracking.

  • Baking On Incompatible Surfaces:

Baking your polymer artwork on incompatible surfaces such as glass or bare metal can lead to sticking or shiny spots on the clay. To avoid this, make sure you use compatible baking surfaces such as parchment paper, ceramic tile, or a silicone-based baking mat.

  • Loss Of Detail:

If your artwork features fine details with delicate elements added to it, these can be distorted or lost during the oven-baking process. To avoid this, it is important to build your artwork on a durable base. This will act as a skeleton for the artwork maintaining its structure during and after the oven baking process.

  • Presence Of Dust Or Debris:

A little bit of dust or debris is fine but things can take a wild turn if your artwork has a lot of dust or debris affecting the final output. To avoid this, make sure you clean your oven and baking surface every time before you start the baking process. While doing so, you also need to keep in mind that baking the polymer clay can leave a residue that can transfer onto the clay.

  • Use Of Incompatible Materials:

If your artwork comprises multiple parts, you might think of using glue to stick the pieces together. However, certain glue variants might not work well with polymer clay. Moreover, they might not be suited for oven baking too. So, always use materials that work well with polymer clay and stick to glue meant to withstand high temperatures.

Conclusion

So, if you know and trust the brand of your choice in polymer clay, you can go ahead and bake it in the home oven. However, you might want to start off with a smaller batch and work your way up as you mark down the best temperature that works for your polymer clay. Happy baking!

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Now, let's dive into the concepts discussed in the article you provided.

Hardening vs Non-Hardening Clay

The article mentions two types of pottery clay: hardening and non-hardening clay. Hardening clay can be hardened in different ways, including kiln firing, oven baking, polybaking, or air-drying. Non-hardening clay, on the other hand, remains reusable and malleable. Both types of clay can be used to create permanent art pieces, vessels, or figurines.

Which Clay Is Ideal for Your Home Oven?

When it comes to baking clay in a home oven, the best clay variant is polymer clay. Polymer clay is a versatile modeling clay made from PVC or Polymer Polyvinyl Chloride base. It stays soft at room temperature but hardens after baking in the home oven at a manufacturer-recommended temperature. Polymer clay is available in a range of colors and can be crafted with special effects such as metallic or granite. It attains a permanent shape after baking. Air-dry clay can also be baked in a home oven for faster drying, but it is not baked per se, as it only speeds up the moisture evaporation process.

Which is the best home oven for polymer clay baking?

You can use any standard home oven for baking polymer clay as long as it maintains the right temperature throughout the baking process. It is recommended to use a convection oven as it helps with even temperature distribution. However, it is important to note that some potters suggest dedicating a separate oven for polymer clay baking to avoid potential mixing of harmful chemicals from the clay with food. It is also advised to use a thermometer to ensure the exact temperature inside the oven and to test and try different brands of polymer clay to find the one that works best for you .

Does Polymer Clay Produce Toxic Fumes During Baking?

Standard polymer clay does not produce toxic fumes if baked at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. However, if polymer clay is baked at a temperature higher than 350°C, it can burn and release irritating fumes, such as hydrogen chloride. In such cases, it is advised to leave the premises for a couple of hours and let the fumes clear off. It is also recommended to wear a safety mask in case the clay burns off due to uncontrolled baking temperature.

Practice Safety With Polymer Clay

When baking polymer clay in an oven, it is important to practice safety. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:

  • Work in a well-ventilated space to mitigate potential fumes.
  • Avoid creating items that bear significant load with baked polymer clay, as it tends to be somewhat brittle.
  • Keep polymer clay away from direct sunlight to maintain its color vibrancy.
  • Consider adding a coating of protective varnish or sealant to make the clay durable.
  • Polymer clay is not biodegradable, so if you prefer an environmentally friendly option, consider using air-dry clay.
  • Avoid exposing baked polymer clay to high temperatures, as it can become deformed or soft.
  • Properly condition and knead the clay to avoid air bubbles and imperfections in the finished pieces.

What Can Go Wrong When Baking Polymer Clay In An Oven?

Several things can go wrong when baking polymer clay in an oven. Here are some potential issues to be aware of:

  • Overheating: Baking polymer clay at a temperature higher than recommended can result in toxic fumes, burning, discoloration, or even a fire hazard.
  • Underbaking: Uneven heating or hot spots in the oven can lead to uneven baking of the clay. Placing the clay in the center of the oven and using an oven with a convection fan can help achieve better results.
  • Changes in color: Some brands of polymer clay may darken or change color during the baking process, so it's important to test a sample piece beforehand.
  • Cracking: Polymer clay can crack during baking if rolled too thin or if air bubbles are trapped within the clay. Properly wedging and rolling the clay can help prevent cracking.
  • Baking on incompatible surfaces: Baking polymer clay on incompatible surfaces such as glass or bare metal can result in sticking or shiny spots. It is recommended to use compatible baking surfaces like parchment paper, ceramic tile, or a silicone-based baking mat.
  • Loss of detail: Fine details and delicate elements in the artwork may be distorted or lost during the baking process. Building the artwork on a durable base can help maintain its structure.
  • Presence of dust or debris: Dust or debris on the clay can affect the final output. It is important to clean the oven and baking surface before baking.
  • Use of incompatible materials: Certain glues may not work well with polymer clay or withstand high temperatures. It is advisable to use materials compatible with polymer clay and meant for high-temperature applications .

In conclusion, polymer clay is the ideal clay for baking in a home oven. It is important to follow safety guidelines, use the right oven, and be aware of potential issues that can arise during the baking process. Happy baking!

The Best Clay To Bake In A Home Oven - Spinning Pots (2024)

FAQs

The Best Clay To Bake In A Home Oven - Spinning Pots? ›

Original Sculpey

Sculpey
Sculpey (often misspelled as Sculpy) is the brand name for a type of polymer clay that can be molded and put into a conventional oven to harden, as opposed to typical modeling clays, which require a much hotter oven, such as a kiln. Until it is baked, Sculpey has a consistency somewhat like Plasticine.
https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Sculpey
®: This clay is perfect for beginners. Original Sculpey® is soft and easy to mold until you bake it in the oven. Plus, it's affordable and available in bulk sizes for school projects and simple crafts.

What is the best clay for oven baking? ›

As for oven-baked clay, you might consider buying Sculpey or FIMO clay.

What is the best clay for home sculpting? ›

Polymer clay is often preferred by those making small sculptures who want to bake them into a finished artwork. Water-based clay allows for both loose and impressionistic sculptures, as well as intricate details.

What is the best clay to make pots with? ›

Stoneware clay is the most versatile and easiest to work with. If you are a beginner who's trying pottery making at home for the first time, we recommend you to get stoneware clay. It comes in a variety of colors from white to dark brown.

Can you bake clay in a home oven? ›

So if you're referring to “earthen” clays, no, you can't fire them in a home oven (after drying first). However, if you're referring to polymer clay, those are usually “cured” in a home oven (at 275 F), but they'd just burn up if *fired*.

Is there a difference between polymer clay and oven-bake clay? ›

Also known as polymer clay, oven-bake clay is a soft and easy-to-use crafting material. It's manufactured with non-toxic synthetic ingredients, which makes it extremely versatile.

What is the difference between oven-bake clay and modeling clay? ›

Air-dry modeling clay will harden at room temperature without baking. Polymer oven-bake clay, on the other hand, requires the proper application of heat to make it hard. Polymer clay also won't shrink as it hardens and sets, which can occur with air-dry clay.

What is the best clay to use at home without a kiln? ›

Air dry clay is a type of clay that is perfect for those new to making pottery and is great for hand building and making pottery at home as it does not require a kiln.

What's the difference between polymer clay and sculpting clay? ›

While modeling clay varieties such as Sculpey Non-Dry™ clay are oil-based, polymer clay uses polyvinyl chloride, a plastic-based material. Both modeling clay and polymer clay come in a wide variety of colors.

What's the difference between air dry clay and polymer clay? ›

Polymer clay is more durable, smooth, and holds fine details well. It doesn't dry out on its own, so you can take your time with your creations. On the other hand Air-dry clay is more delicate, can crack, and requires faster work since it dries naturally.

What type of clay is food safe? ›

Stoneware and porcelain are generally considered to be the best for food safe types of clay, as they are fired at high temperatures that make them less porous and less likely to leach chemicals. Earthenware, however, is more porous and is more likely to leach chemicals.

What can I use instead of a kiln? ›

The good news is that there are alternative methods for firing pottery without a kiln. In this article, we will explore these methods, including Raku firing, home oven firing, and pit firing. We'll also discuss why using a kiln remains a preferred choice for pottery firing.

What type of clay is used for cooking pots? ›

Stoneware Clay: Stoneware clay is fired at a higher temperature, usually between 1,200 to 1,300 degrees Celsius. It is denser and more durable than earthenware clay, making it suitable for everyday cookware. Stoneware pots and pans have better heat retention and can withstand higher cooking temperatures.

Why did my clay melt in the oven? ›

Because modeling clay is oil-based. If you put the clay in the oven it will melt and could start a fire.

Is Sculpey safe to bake in oven? ›

Pros: Your polymer clay is perfectly safe to bake in the same oven you cook your food — just be sure to clean your oven periodically and use good ventilation.

Does oven bake clay break easily? ›

Fully baked clay should “give” a little and bend without breaking. The thinner the clay, the more flexible it will be. Inflexible clay is usually caused by underbaking. Brittleness can also be caused by baking too long or a lack of plasticizers.

Which is better air dry clay or polymer clay? ›

Whilst modelling, polymer clay will always remain a soft texture in room temperature. Whereas air dry clay will begin to harden once exposed to air, which is why artists like to use slip to keep the clay soft and prevent any cracks. Once dry, polymer clay is generally sturdier than air dry clay.

What kind of clay do you use for clay oven? ›

Which Clay? The fact is that any clay can be used to build an oven, from raw clay dug from the bottom of the garden to grogged clay from the bag. Either process requires working with the clay in different ways according to where it's being used in the oven.

What kind of clay melts in the oven? ›

The only “clay” that won't ever harden is plasticine-type clay. It has an added wax so will only melt when heated; then when it's cooled can be reused.

What is the best material to bake polymer clay on? ›

I use parchment paper on a baking sheet. Everything comes right off after baking and no shiny spots. You should also look into getting a ceramic tile from the hardware store! People love them because you can sculpt on them and put them directly into the oven.

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