Thursday, September 22, 2011

My burning desire [The polymer clay adventure continues]

Experience is indeed the best teacher.

I just want to share with you my burning desire for polymer clay art. 
Seriously... I want to show you the first few products of my baking 2 months ago.

My teacher taught me well but experience is the best teacher.
For the lack of a convection oven, I used our once-only used oven toaster and bought a new oven thermometer.
There are many books, blogs and articles on the web that give instructions on proper baking and they are all correct in saying that "You should know your oven...  Oven toasters are tricky...  Bake by using one brand of clay...  Test your oven to avoid mishaps."

I did a lot, if not all mistakes on my first try: 
1.  I didn't test the oven toasters' temperature beforehand.
2.  I set the thermostat to the required temperature (130C/275F) without checking the
actual internal temperature using the oven thermometer.
3.  I used 2 different brands of polymer clay (Sculpey and Kato polyclay) 
that required different temperatures for curing.
4.  I set a separate timer for 15 minutes without monitoring the baking process. 
By the time I checked it, it was burnt!  It was good that I baked outside the house, open air and all because of the fumes.  Yup, I know that the fumes are toxic so I panicked!

Here's the outcome:

Here are the things that I learned and suggest to you if you are a clay newbie:

1.  Check and test your oven to see if the thermostat is the same as the internal temperature.
2.  If you are not confident about your oven, closely monitor the baking process.  Otherwise, all your hard work will go to ashes (no pun intended).
3.  Kato polyclay has a higher tolerance for burning than Sculpey as stated in it's higher curing temperature.  The big flowers were made using Sculpey and the small red and yellow roses were made using Kato polyclay.
4.  Don't be afraid to try and learn from your mistakes.

Since then, I have never burned any of my baked polymer clay projects.

Now, my burning desire for polymer clay continues!  YAY!

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