Polymer Clay is a wonderfully versatile crafting material that you can bake at home. But the question of how long to bake polymer clay earrings will inevitably rise once you get going. So what’s the answer?
Bake polymer clay earrings for 15 minutes per 1/4 inch of clay, between 110 and 130°C (230-266°F), according to the packaging of your chosen brand of clay. You’ll know they are done when they bend but do not snap after baking.
But it’s not as simple as that my friends…
Read on for a quick guide on baking polymer clay earrings, including a full baking guide for each brand and the ‘whys’ that will save you a lot of hassle in the long run when working with this fun stuff!
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How long to bake polymer clay earrings and why?
Polymer clay is wildly popular with crafty folks, either as a hobby or as a small business venture – sounds fun, doesn’t it? Entertain yourself or make money using your own oven with these squishy blocks of colourful clay; wow!
But how long do each brands take to bake, and how do you get it right?
Here’s an A-Z break down of individual brands and their baking time, so you have a comprehensive quick guide to hand:
Cernit: 30 minutes between 110 and 130°C (230-266°F)
Fimo: Maximum of 30 minutes at 110°C (230°F)
Kato Polyclay: 10-30 minutes at 150°C (300°F)
Original Sculpey: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Pardo Art Clay: Min 30 minutes at 120 decrees (248 F)
Pardo Translucent Jewellery clay: Min 30 minutes at 120°C (248°F)
Premo: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness. If thicker, initially bake for 15 minutes and then add another 5 minutes, another 5, and so on until done.
PVClay: 15-20 minutes at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey III: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Sculpey Souffle: 30 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
Super sculpey: 15 minutes per quarter inch (6mm) of thickness at 130°C (275°F)
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Keep in mind all ovens are different, the packaging instructions give an adequate but not perfect guide, and often the clay needs to bake a little longer to properly fuse the components it’s made up of.
However the packaging instructions are ‘good enough’ if you’re starting out and not batch making clay designs for sale.
But what if you want PERFECT results? Read on…
The best thing to do is to run test pieces, get to know your brand of clay and how it bakes in your oven.
If you want perfect results, make test pieces of your brand of clay in varying sizes and thickness and keep notes on how long they take to ‘perfectly’ bake in your oven.
The note taking is crucial, and will stop you forgetting your times and having to run a test batch again – phew!
If you’re looking to create Polymer Clay jewellery to sell for example, getting to know your brand of clay and your oven is key, for perfect results every time.
If you’re just starting out and enjoying clay as a hobby or fun activity, the packaging instructions should suffice.
The strength of clay will increase with baking time, which isn’t mentioned on clay packaging, I suppose this is in case something goes wrong and the clay is cooked for waaaay too long and customers take it too literally – “I want SUPER STRONG clay so I’ll cook it for 4 hours!'”. I’m joking, but no that’s not the way to do it.
Adding an extra 5-10 minutes onto your baking time and checking test pieces for results is the best way to go about it, until you’ve found the perfect time combination for your brand of clay and your oven.
How can you tell when it’s done?
If your designs are still bendy when they come out of the oven this is normal, depending on thickness and brand, but many beginner crafters take this as a sign the clay is not done.
Even properly baked pieces can still be bendy because of what Polymer Clay is made out of; it’s vinyl (plastic), so when still warm it will bend slightly, unless the design is super thick. This is the reason why clay that isn’t baked properly can be brittle and break, because it hasn’t been exposed to heat long enough for the plastic component of the clay, the dye, the stabilizers etc to properly fuse.
So if you can’t tell by feel (bending the already bendy clay), the proper way to tell is trying to break a piece – sounds crazy right? Why would you break one of your new lovely little designs, just to tell if it’s properly done?
The answer is to add a ‘test piece’ to your batch, that you don’t mind breaking in order to check if the whole lot is done!
Make sure your test piece is of the same thickness, and if you want, you can go into as much detail with your test piece as your main batch, if you want the test to be super accurate. But I find that as long as the test piece is a similar shape and thickness to your design, it should be a good enough indicator.
Here’s the TEST: If it bends BEFORE it breaks, then it’s done. If it’s not fully done it will SNAP in two because it’s still brittle. Unbaked clay will also chip when drilled.
But please note, some brands of clay are quite brittle by nature and might still break even if they are properly done – for example the Sculpey brand. I would suggest you really get to know your clay, and perhaps opt for stronger brands.
After it’s baked
After your new gorgeous designs are properly baked (bendy but not snapping), the next step to properly complete the baking process is allowing the clay to cool.
If you start to drill, or paint your clay before it’s sufficiently cooled, things can go wrong. It’s best to store your designs somewhere safe and wait a couple of hours, or even a full day, before you take on the next step. Cooling allows the clay to properly harden after the heat of the oven, making the structure of the piece stronger and less susceptible to damage or brittleness.
This is an added time requirement onto baking that isn’t often talked about.
So, in actual fact, the full length of baking time, including the crucial cooling period, can be 24 hrs, so be patient and make sure your lovely designs turn out to be the best earrings they can be!
I hope you enjoyed my quick guide on how long to bake polymer clay earrings, and you’re feeling confident to start baking your own whimsical and fun designs!
With these tips and the ‘whys’ now under your belt, you should be well equipped to start learning your brand of clay and how it behaves in your oven.
In this article I only scratched the surface of the world of polymer clay, starting with baking. I have also provided a How-to Guide for beginners, a Sales Guide for selling polymer clay earrings on Etsy, and a bumper list of earring Design Ideas, so you’re never stumped by clay-makers block!