Is polymer clay “food safe” Or non toxic? Do you know how to to tell for sure? And other questions you may have regarding toxicity will be answered here. The versatility of this amazing substance extends far beyond jewelry and keepsakes…one popular project that’s getting a lot of attention is decorated mugs and silverware.
Have you seen these and wanted to do something like that too, but had concerns. I don’t want you to miss out on the fun of exploring that so I’ll give you the straight dope on safety. Mugs decorated with two dimensional art and silverware handles are hot items right now and they’re fun to make.
Pin for Later?
But First…What Does “Food Safe” Mean?
The question of “food safe” really goes back to “intended use”
There are different types of safety protocol for different items. For anyone who’s worked in the hospitality industry, you probably know the criteria very well. Polymer clay does not have the same type of criteria. Here is what Sculpey’s website says with regard to food safety:
The line of clay products are safe when used as indicated on the package.
Baking Sculpey clay in your home oven will not be a toxic experience. If, on the rare occasion that you smell burning clay, treat it as if you’d just burned dinner – turn the oven off, open the window, maybe crack the oven door, and just chill out. The odor will dissipate and things will be back to normal soon.
Most likely, you will not make this mistake unless you the temperature gets too high – which as I may have indicated earlier, is around 350 degrees F. So if you don’t have one already, get yourself an oven thermometer and double check as you preheat your oven, since ovens differ from model to model. Better safe than sorry!
So, in simple terms, safety standards written for art and craft materials do not have the same level of rigorous criteria assigned to them as do materials that will be used in an environment designed for serving food and beverages. Make sense? That does NOT mean you want to start chowing down on fake clay food, just exercise common senses with regard to handling it, understand the baking process, supervise your kids if they’re using the clay, and you should be A-OK.
Of course, you could always use your new cup as a pen and pencil holder, too. It’s up to you.
Be sure you hand wash these items, as needed. Polymer clay is not water soluble and pretty resilient, but I would not recommend dishwasher use, as dishwashers produce heat which could damage your work of art.
On the side of every block of clay, you should see a seal on the corner that has something that looks like “AP”. AP stands for “Approved Product” in accordance with the ACMI (Art and Craft Materials Institute)
You may also see a string of code like this: ASTM D-4236. The ASTM stands for the American Society For Testing and Materials (I looked it up) It’s pretty much the same approach I took with regard to checking out paint and its safety.
Safe for Kids?
I think polymer clay can be a great medium for older kids to enjoy working with, after all I was just 12-13 when I got my first taste of it . (Bad choice of words? No I didn’t try to eat it, lol) I pretty much understood oven safety and all that and so I kind of looked at baking my first project a little like baking my first batch of cookies…it’s exciting, but take precautions too.)
As long as you supervise them with the oven procedures I think they’d be fine. Also, the part about using knives…don’t forget to instruct them on using them properly, too.I know when I was that age I understood the correct way to use X-acto knives and to put the cap back on them when I was finished.
Also, Sculpey III, which is a little more entry-level, is good for kids, too, as it is the softest, it will be the easiest for them to work with. Graduating from stuff like “Play-doh” can be really exciting!
They will love the vibrant colors as well.
So relax, just exercise common sense, and have fun!