Are you seeking (or considering) a convectional oven for baking polymer clay? That’s smart! One advantage is that there is more room than in toaster ovens, which are not a bad idea either, but you may be limited as far as size of the objects you can bake in them.
They generally use less time, but because convection ovens operate differently with the use of an inner fan that circulates heat, it can prevent temperature spikes or accidental scorched areas which are hard to get rid of once your project is set.
So yes, this is a good idea. Now I probably wouldn’t make a purchase like this to dedicate exclusively to clay – it’s a bigger investment than that of a toaster oven.
However if you have your eyes on a model you’ve heard lots of good things about, I’m here to help! I am all for looking into one of these if the benefits outweighs the disadvantages. There are some that are smaller (most are about the size of a microwave) and some that have toaster ovens with convection functionality too – or it’s one of the options.
That would be a great thing to have, so let’s look at that now. I’m going to be going over 4 models today!
Breville – This is an Australian-based company that makes lots of different kitchen appliances. This is the least budget friendly out of all of them, but it’s definitely worth a second look.
The inside dimensions measure 13.5″ lengthwise, 11.5″ depth and 7.25″ in height. According to the labeling it will accommodate a 13″ pizza, so you should have plenty of room with adequate clearance to bake figurines, wall hangings, and more. You can choose a preheat setting and it will reach the optimum temp pretty fast.
KitchenAid This brand appears to be very popular among the polymer clay crowd – as it’s not humungous in size and won’t take up too much room. There are 4 preset functions, and two racks, so if you wanted to bake two batches of beads you certainly could. There are six different options for which to raise the rack(s) to get the optimum position.
Hamilton beach – Everyone knows the Hamilton Beach brand….this oven comes in two different colors -stainless steel or black. There is also one that is slightly bigger although it’s hard to tell at first. There are three positions to move the rack, and a digital readout with LCD display. You’ll have an easy time seeing what’s inside as it does its thing. At a dimension of 21″ wide, 11″ in height and 13″ depth.
Enjoy the convenience of a toaster oven with the versatility of dinnertime function – clay time will be fun time for sure as long as you do your homework and be sure to follow the procedures of “syncing” the temp before hand (using an oven thermometer – yes, you should still do this, even with a convection oven.)
Another few tips to keep in mind: You may not have to “tent” your clay project (refers to arrangement of aluminum foil so it’s kind of arched in the center, hence the name tent) But you may want to be sure the foil is secure so that the fan doesn’t blow it around inadvertently.
You can use a ceramic tile in the baking pan as these are good for “heat sinking” your projects and minimizing temp spikes. You should also refrain from using cornstarch or baking soda to keep round beads in as that substance, too , might get blown around by the action of the fan.
Well I hope this post helps you out if you’re considering a convection oven for your polymer clay endeavors. Good luck! and Enjoy!