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Person using polymer clay to sculpt a figure on a ceramic mug

Polymer Clay Crafts to Bake in Your Oven

The beauty of polymer clay is that anyone can uncover their inner creative genius with it. The ease of sculpting and curing makes it a quick-adaptive material to build and explore. No special tools or equipment needed—just you, your oven, and a little imagination.  

To get started, try any of these fun polymer clay craft ideas:  

  • Coasters  

  • Garden markers  

  • Planters (We especially love this beautifully patterned DIY clay pot or these quirky mini-planters.) 

  • Photo holders 

  • Bookmarks  

  • Magnets 

  • Decorative wine toppers 

  • Jewelry (beads, pendants, earrings, etc.) 

  • Ornaments (snowflakes, snowmen, gift boxes, etc.) 

  • Figurines or paperweights (garden gnome, top hat, book, etc.)  

There are also several creative ways to apply unique patterns and textures to your crafts using everyday household items and techniques.  

Here are some simple ideas with the potential for impressive results: 

  • Layer colors and then fold and shape them to create a marbled effect. 

  • Layer strips of different clay colors in perpendicular—or abstractly angled—directions to create a woven pattern. 

  • Press and then carefully remove a leaf into the clay to create an organic print. 

  • Use a basket, stamp, or piece of fabric to create a defined print. 

  • Use thread or floss to score or cut straight lines. 

  • Use a fork or edged butter knife to create a rough texture. 

  • Cut out accurate shapes with a bowl, jar lid, or cookie cutter. 

How to Bake Polymer Clay in the Oven 

Different polymer clay pieces may require various curing methods depending on size, brand, and paint. You can find the most accurate temperatures and curing methods listed on the clay packaging. For most pieces, though, you can follow these standard steps using your normal household oven:  

  • Gather a baking sheet or clay tile, parchment paper or plain cardstock, aluminum foil, and an oven thermometer. The parchment paper or cardstock will provide a protective barrier between your clay and the baking sheet. This will help to avoid the clay sticking and avoid contact with your baking sheet that may be used to prepare food later. Using cardstock instead of parchment paper will help to prevent shiny spots on your piece.  

  • Set your oven to the best polymer clay oven temp: 230 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. (Exact temperature recommendations will be listed on the clay package or brand website.) Once the oven is preheated, test the temperature with your thermometer. 

  • Lay your fully shaped clay pieces on your parchment or cardstock-lined baking sheet, and cover the pieces with a tented piece of aluminum foil, or a baking pan. This will help protect your clay from burning and will regulate the temperature.  

  • Bake your clay for the recommended time, which is typically 15 to 30 minutes for every 1/4 inch of thickness. Occasionally check your oven temperature for consistency, using your thermometer.   

  • Check that your clay is fully baked. To do so, wait till it has cooled. Then press lightly on the clay with your fingers—the surface should be firm but not brittle enough to break. 

  • Optional: Complete your piece with a water-based clear matte, satin, or gloss finish. However, options can be tricky for mixing with your paint and clay. It’s best to choose a finish that is specifically for polymer clay—most polymer clay brands will have their own.  

Those polymer clay oven instructions might seem overly simple, but that’s because polymer clay is durable and difficult to mess up. It’s a perfect medium for your craft nights with family and friends of all ages. Just be sure to supervise any kids who’ll be hanging out near the oven.  

FAQs About Polymer Clay Crafts 

Can you put metal in the oven with polymer clay? 

It’s safe to bake metal of any kind with your polymer clay, and metal can also be a useful tool in shaping and stabilizing your art. Because polymer clay won’t stick to metal, aluminum foil, or glass, you can use these materials to get the desired shape or a mixed-media piece. For example, a wire photo holder can be baked with a clay base attached to it. 

Can you cook polymer clay in a toaster oven? 

Toaster ovens are suitable for smaller-scale polymer clay crafts. Also, toaster ovens are much more time and energy efficient, making them an underrated, space-saving appliance for simple, everyday cooking and clay crafts. However, you should consider that toaster ovens heat faster and are smaller. So make sure you are correctly gauging temperature and keeping your taller clay items at a safe distance from the top heating coils, to avoid any burn spots.  

Can you paint polymer clay?  

You can use any water-based paint on polymer clay, but typically acrylic paint that’s applied before baking will provide the best results. You may find that different paints have slightly different reactions to the heat. Post-bake paint has a unique look, which you may prefer over pre-painting. You can get even craftier by experimenting with homemade options like a fun glow-in-the-dark paint.  

What if Your Oven Doesn’t Cooperate?  

A working oven with an accurate thermostat makes craft night—and every night—a lot easier. If your oven isn’t heating properly or is showing other signs of wear, your local Mr. Appliance can help get your oven and craft night back on track with service and regular maintenance. You schedule an appointment here or give us a call at (888) 998-2011 today.