If you've been working with polymer clay, you know how important the baking process is. Baking your project essentially cures your creation. You'll use a conventional oven for baking polymer clay in most cases, but are there other ways to bake these projects? If you have an air fryer at home, you may be looking at it with this question in mind. We researched whether it is possible to use an air fryer to bake polymer clay and other options out there for when you are without your usual oven.
Yes, you can bake polymer clay in an air fryer. Essentially, an air fryer is a small, forced air convection oven. Follow your usual precautions to ensure the temperature is accurate, and your project doesn't burn, and this method can work.
You know you can use your air fryer for baking your project, but how is it done? Keep reading as we give insights into this process and look into how you can keep your polymer clay flat when baking.
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Can You Put Polymer Clay In An Air Fryer?
An air fryer is a small convection oven that sits on your countertop. A fan circulates heated air at a fast pace, heating or baking the items inside. Many bakers have compared the results from the air fryer to a regular toaster oven. With this in mind, yes, you can put polymer clay in an air fryer.
When baking your clay, place an oven thermometer next to your project. This way, you can ensure your air fryer was achieving an accurate temperature for your polymer clay.
Some air fryers do not have temperature settings that go low enough for baking clay. Double-check the settings on your device with the recommended baking temperature on your clay packaging before going with this baking method.
Adjusting the temperature in an air fryer can be more difficult verses convection ovens. And the small baking space can be an issue if you are working on larger projects. Considering these two aspects, air fryers can be used to bake polymer clay, but they aren't always the ideal device for the job.
Oven thermometers are great for accurately monitoring temperature for baking polymer clay. You can find one here on Amazon.
Read more on our blog post, “Polymer Clay Not Hard After Baking — What To Do?”
Can You Air-dry Polymer Clay?
If you don't have access to a baking device right away, you may be wondering if polymer clay will air-dry. The answer is no, polymer clay will not air-dry and needs to be baked at a specific temperature to cure properly. This is bad news for those who don't have an oven, but good news if you want to take a break from your project and return later to finish it.
When left out at room temperature, polymer clay will not harden. You can even keep opened polymer clay for years if it is stored properly. Polymer clay won't change consistency until baked, and there's no time limit as to when your project needs to be cured.
If you don't have access to an oven, there is time to find a place where there is one. In a pinch? We also found some tips and tricks when it comes to baking this clay without an oven; we will discuss this next.
Learn more about this topic in our blog post, “Can Polymer Clay Air Dry Without Baking?”
How Can I Bake Polymer Clay Without An Oven?
Without an oven, you will need to find other ways to bake or cure your polymer clay. Many crafters turn to toaster ovens, as these can be dedicated to clay projects, are smaller than a regular oven, and offer the same degree of temperature control.
There have even been crafters who utilized their stovetops to bake their polymer clay projects. Have a look at the method used below using a stovetop, plates, and a bowl to cover the clay item.
The most important aspect of baking polymer clay is having a consistent, accurate temperature. Use your oven thermometer to ensure the temperature settings or heat from the stove are giving you the correct amount of heat for thoroughly baking your project.
Read more on our blog post, “Can Polymer Clay Explode In The Oven?”
Can You Bake Polymer Clay In The Microwave?
While an air fryer isn't the best option, it can still be used to bake your polymer clay when you don't have an oven to use. However, using a microwave for baking polymer clay should never be attempted. Microwaves distribute heat unevenly, and it is nearly impossible to control the temperature while cooking.
Attempting to bake a clay project in the microwave will result in a burned project or, at the very least, one unevenly baked. Save yourself the disappointment of a ruined project and stick to baking in your oven or toaster oven.
How Do You Keep Polymer Clay Flat When Baking?
When baking thin or flat pieces of polymer clay, there is the chance that the piece(s) will heat unevenly, or air can get under the clay. These processes will cause pockets, textured spots, or raised areas on your clay. You can do things to prep for the baking process to decrease the chance of or avoid these outcomes entirely.
You want to ensure your baking surface is as flat as possible and the contact is even. Instead of placing your flat piece of clay directly on a metal baking sheet, you can place it on top of a piece of card stock.
Go a step further, and place your cardstock on top of a ceramic tile. The card stock creates a smooth flat surface to stick to, and the tile allows heat to be distributed evenly.
If you have the supplies, you can create a sandwich of cardstock, ceramic tile, and parchment paper. Do this by placing a piece of parchment paper on top of your flat piece of polymer clay, followed by another ceramic tile. You may need to bake a little longer than usual to allow the heat to get through these extra layers.
Allow everything to cool completely before removing the tiles and paper, and enjoy your flat, thoroughly baked polymer clay item.
Read more on our blog post, “Can Polymer Clay Get Wet? Is It Waterproof After Baking?”
How Thick Can You Bake Polymer Clay?
You can get very creative with polymer clay projects, creating items of all sizes, colors, and shapes. Is there such a thing as too thick when sculpting these creations? The recommendation for baking polymer clay is to bake for 30 minutes per 1/4-inch of thickness. However, there is a limit for overall thickness.
If you exceed a thickness of 1.25 inches, you may start seeing cracks in your polymer clay during baking. Reaching a thickness over 1.25 inches can also result in a project that is baked on the outside but soft inside. This can contribute to your project falling apart over time, or breaking into pieces due to unbaked clay becoming brittle.
Always reference the clay packaging for the exact temperature and time to bake your project, as each brand of clay can differ slightly. If you are unsure that your clay has baked all the way through, you can play with baking slightly longer than the recommended time but at the same temperature to avoid burning your project.
Polymer clay can be baked in an air fryer, but it is not the best option due to size and difficulty controlling temperature. If this is your only baking device, it can be done, but take steps to monitor baking temperatures.
Conventional or toaster ovens are ideal for baking polymer clay, but some crafters have figured out how to create a DIY oven on a stovetop. In any baking situation, always follow the recommended temperatures and bake times provided by your clay's packaging. We hope you found this article helpful when you go to bake your polymer clay project. Happy crafting!
Are you looking for more tips for working with polymer clay? Have a look through our blog post, “How To Remove Fingerprints From Polymer Clay.”