Polymer clay is a petroleum-based clay that you can use just like earthen clay with much more benefits. Where earthen clay makes your hands and surface dirty, if you can prepare the polymer clay correctly, you can create anything without making a mess.
The only hard part while working with this clay is preparing or baking it. Various brands have various processes of baking the clay. Sometimes you need to bake it in an oven and sometimes you just need to add hot water to it. You’ll find the detailed instruction on the packaging.
How To Harden Polymer Clay Without Oven
Some brands instruct to bake the powdered clay mixed with water at 275 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. In such a situation what can you do if don’t have an oven? You don’t need to be disappointed. You can create beautiful art and craft even without an oven. You can use any kind of heat embossing tool like a heat gun or hairdryer to prepare the clay.
The process of baking the polyclay with a hairdryer or heat gun is the same. You have to put the clay on a nonstick surface and blow hot air from an even distance. Make sure all the polyclay gets heated and don’t blow hot air in one place. Or else it’ll overheat and burn. After baking the clay you have to leave it at room temperature to harden.
Hardening Polymer Clay Using Stove
Any type of stove can be used to bake polymer clay. You just have to ensure the instructed temperature. The temperature should be around 230-245 degrees F. but if you’re baking clay on a stove you have to check it every 15 minutes to see if it’s ready or not. Then you can leave it at room temperature to harden.
Hardening Polymer Clay Using Microwave
You can use a microwave to bake the clay if it can be used as a regular convection oven. The temperature and time to bake it should be followed as instructed. You can follow the instructions from the brand’s website too. After baking, you have to leave it at room temperature for about 24 hours to harden.
Air Dry Clay
However, you can’t air-dry polymer clay. There is another type of clay called air dry clay, only that can be air-dried. In case you can’t use an oven, hairdryer, or heat gun then you should go for air dry clay instead of poly clay. It takes one to two days to set fully. Though air dry clay is cheaper but not as durable as polymer clay.
Curing Polymer Clay In Boiling Water
Here cure is another word for baking, which is needed to be done before hardening the clay. As you know boiling water’s temperature is 100 degrees C but the poly clay has to be cured or baked at more than 120 degrees C. So if you cure your polymer clay in boiling water, later it won’t harden and you won’t be able to make flawless crafts.
Polymer Clay: Warning
While preparing the polymer clay make sure you’re not working in a tiny space. Because poly clay releases toxins while baking, curing, and hardening. If you work in a tiny space the fumes can cause many types of inconveniences. Besides, baking them with any food would be harmful so you should avoid it. Also, don’t use these clay-made things as kitchenware.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is There A Way To Harden Polymer Clay?
If you can’t harden polymer clay you can’t work with it. Because after hardening it comes to a smooth durable state. Only in such a state the clay can be cut and shaped perfectly. It can be hardened by cooking in an oven and microwave. Also by curing it with a hot embossing tool’s airflow.
How Do I Harden Polymer Clay In The Microwave?
To harden poly clay in a microwave you need to slice the clay into small pieces and then place it in a nonstick bowl or plate. Then you can bake it at 210 to 300 degrees F for 15-30 minutes.
How Do I Harden Polymer Clay Before Baking?
After opening the clay from the package, it’s found in a solid and sticky state. You have to bake it in order to harden (make it smooth and durable). So that you can give it various forms and shapes. Hence you can’t harden the clay without or before baking.
The artists prefer polymer clay over any other clay because of its consistency. While working with other clays you can get messy and dirty. But in the case of poly clay, it won’t happen. Also, it doesn’t dry out fast like earthen clay and gives you enough time to take a break between work. Although the process of curing it is a bit sensitive.