Hello all of you Sculpey and Fimo enthusiasts! Do you need a toaster oven for baking your polymer clay projects instead of your home conventional oven? I’m here to talk about the whole baking end of things.
Maybe you’re somebody who is sensitive to fumes that get thrown off naturally by the process, or maybe you are just looking to be more energy efficient. Either way, I want to be of help as a longtime clay-er (that the right word?)
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The standard instructions you may find on your package of clay always say something along the lines of “bake at 275 degrees for about 20 minutes …if your item has a fourth inch of thickness” That’s about all we’re told, anyway.
But there is much more to being a successful clay baker than following “hard and fast” rules!
Is a Toaster Oven Good For Polymer Clay Curing?
I do have a toaster oven – and it gets the brunt of anything I have along the lines of pizza, garlic toast, you know, things like that. This little guy is about 10 years old (it was actually a gift from my now deceased husband back when we were courting) and it still runs like a top.
Now would I use it as a clay baking tool? Yes and no. YES if the clay object in question is fairly small. This would mean things like jewelry pieces and beads, small trinkets, or something that is fairly flat, too. My little oven is 8″ in height, 9″ in depth and 14″ wide. It has two positions on the inside that I can move the rack to.
I usually keep things on the lower rack to minimize scorching. No to most other items, though – I would be concerned about the top of the object in question being too close to that top heating element; which you can tell is pretty close, and it could typically result in dark spots, and the rest of the object, might not get touched at all and end up semi-soft.
So if you’re still with me, Yes to using your toaster oven, if you’ve got one, for very small clay objects, only. Like these chalk powder colored beads I did recently – they turned out great.
In other words, if you focus is on jewelry pieces, beads, keychains, or miniatures….you should be A-Ok. But if you’re looking to create a wider variety of objects d’art, read on!
Can You Bake Polymer Clay in Your Home Oven Safely?
I do, and I’m just fine. I turn on the ventilator fan above afterward, though. But I don’t have any concerns about toxic fumes. Some people are, and that’s OK too. Generally speaking, my favorite brand of clay, and yours, no doubt, is labeled as non-toxic. I realize that’s a rather simplistic answer, so I did go to check out Sculpey’s website for further info on an explanation.
The odors that may result from the clay forming in the oven, are not toxic but they may become an irritant if the clay reaches high temperatures. The clay itself is made from polyvinyl chloride which gives it its flexibility.Polymer clay should always bake at an optimum temp of 275 degrees F...it will burn at 350.Click To Tweet
In addition to the other clay tools in your collection, you may also want to consider the use of an oven thermometer. Because all ovens are different, you may need to calibrate yours for best results.
If you are thinking about a special, designated oven for your work another option is a convection oven. They operate differently in that they are constructed with built-in fans that keep the temperature distribution even.
So you may be less likely to encounter dark spots, uneven baking results, etc. if you already own one of these, that’s just gravy! I wouldn’t ask you to spring for one of these out of necessity for your clay work.
Anyway, smaller, designated ovens like the toaster and convection have these advantages –
- Lower energy output (that would be great when you’ve got a high yield going on)
- Removes concern about food contamination (which as I mentioned earlier, you have nothing to worry about, but it’s all up to you.)
- They don’t make the house hot (especially in the spring and summer where I live, this is a real blessing)
The Ideal Oven For Baking Clay?
A good convection oven like this one may be the best way to go. This one I found is cited as being excellent as a designated polymer craft clay oven.
It’s a nice size and won’t take up too much countertop space, with a width of 11″, depth of 7.5″ and height of 5″ so a little bit smaller than the one I own.
You are encouraged to preheat for best results and there is a built-in timer that will ding when it has reached the optimum temp for the project as opposed to a cold start. The temp setting will not go over 300 degrees so you will have peace of mind when in use.
Some Additional Polymer Clay Baking Tips
Cover your project with aluminum foil while it’s in the oven (loosely like you’re wrapping chicken or something.) This will help minimize the odor.
And if you’re sensitive to the smell, you ca always open the window…( I have heard of some clay artists keeping their “dedicated oven” out in the garage for this reason)
Use an oven thermometer and always keep the temp under 300.
Use aluminum foil to line the dish you’ve chosen if it’s one you cook with…I always do this with a flat Corning ware dish, or one of those Pyrex dishes that are made of glass that are made well for this as they are made for temps below 300 so it works well.
Anyway…good luck to you, enjoy your clay baking! And let me know in the comments what you have experienced with regards to clay, ovens, etc.