Are you looking to make a pair of earrings or pins? You may be working with metal and polymer clay and questioning the baking procedures. We created this article to answer if you can bake polymer clay with metal in it and how to.
Yes, you can bake polymer clay with metal in it. You can double-check the properties of your metal, but the majority of metals are fine to bake at temperatures of about 275 degrees Fahrenheit.
We will talk about how to bake polymer clay with metal and if it sticks. Keep reading for this answer, a list of what other materials can be baked with polymer clay, and more.
How To Bake Polymer Clay With Metal
As you bake your polymer clay, check your clay's packaging for the exact baking requirements. You will adjust your baking times depending on how thick your clay pieces are.
Before shaping your clay over your metal piece, clean the metal with soap and water to remove any oils present. Additionally, you can use an alcohol swab to clean your metal.
Dry the metal completely and place your clay as desired. Depending on what glue you are using, you can apply glue between your metal and clay before baking. However, many crafters prefer to apply adhesives after baking.
Metal can be baked with polymer clay, including liquid clay. However, it is helpful to research the type of metal you are working with to know if the material will expand with heat.
Will Polymer Clay Stick To Metal?
Before baking, polymer clay is sticky and will stick to the metal piece you are working with. However, after baking, your clay most likely won't remain stuck to your metal unless a mechanical grip is present.
Embedding your clay into your metal before baking creates the strongest bond between your metal and clay. This type of bond is not always possible if you are working with smooth, flat surfaces.
When you can't get this physical bond, you need to utilize glue. Some glues you can use to stick polymer clay to metal include the following:
- Super Glue
- G-S Hypo cement
- Urethane Glues
- PVA Glues
If your project becomes stressed, the glue bond may fail over time. To decrease the chances of this happening, thoroughly prepare or clean your metal surface and lightly texture your clay piece so the glue has a surface to latch onto.
Can You Bake Polymer Clay With Wire In It?
You can bake polymer clay with wire in it. Many crafters utilize wire when making clay sculptures, rings, decorative accents, supported beads, and much more.
The melting point of crafting wire is exceptionally high, at over 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit (ca. 871 °C). At no point should you be baking polymer clay at this heat, in either an oven or kiln.
Utilizing wire in projects, like sculptures, can create a better baking experience. This wire supports thick or long clay pieces not to crack and break during the baking process.
Both copper and steel wire is safe for baking with polymer clay. There is no danger of losing the structural integrity of your project due to the high melting points of either material.
Read more on our blog post, "Can You Bake Polymer Clay On Glass?"
Can You Bake Clay With Tin Foil In It?
Tin foil is a useful material for polymer clay crafters for many reasons. You may use it for baking your project, shaping your structure, or covering your clay before placing it in the oven.
So, yes, it is entirely safe to bake clay with tin foil in it. You can use tin foil as the core for polymer clay figures or any other project that has a bit of depth.
The lack of expansion of tin foil means it will not come through and crack your clay pieces. Furthermore, having a foil core helps you create uniform thickness with your clay, making the baking process that much better.
However, you need to be mindful of air bubbles between your clay and tin foil. While the foil will not expand, air bubbles will expand with heat, putting your clay at risk for cracking.
What Materials Can Be Baked With Polymer Clay?
The world of polymer clay is vast, and the projects you create will end up being multimedia pieces at some point. It is useful to know what you can and cannot use with your clay.
Polymer clay can be baked with the following materials:
- Aluminum Foil
- Paper (cardstock, parchment paper, wax paper)
When working with multiple materials, you should double-check the melting temperatures of each material and research if the material will expand or contract with heat.
Expansion and contraction can morph your project, break your clay pieces, or create cracks along your project.
Furthermore, because it is safe to bake your polymer clay with these materials does not always mean the clay will stick. Often you will need to work with glue to adhere your polymer clay in the desired positions.
Are There Materials That Cannot Be Baked With Polymer Clay?
Knowing what you cannot use with polymer clay is just as helpful as knowing what can be used. Polymer clay is relatively versatile, allowing what you can create with so diverse.
However, some materials should be avoided. For example, polymer clay is incompatible with most plastics. Even before baking, polymer clay can soften or melt plastics.
Polymer clay contains plasticizer, a chemical that makes plastics soft or flexible. This is why even polymer clay in its raw form is hazardous to most plastics.
Additionally, baking plastic creates dangerous conditions. Not only is the melting point for plastics quite low, the fumes it will give off can create risks for you and your home.
Why Is My Polymer Clay Brittle After Baking?
It is disappointing to remove a clay project from the oven to find it brittle and cracking. This brittle state happens when the clay has not cured correctly during baking.
An inadequate cure happens because of too low temperatures or baking times that are not long enough to reach all layers of your clay. Specific brands of clay can be more susceptible to becoming brittle than others.
Luckily, you can re-bake polymer clay. To fix brittle or cracking pieces of clay, you can use liquid polymer clay or add clay dust to your cracking or brittle spots.
It is crucial to allow your project to cool completely before adding new pieces or fixing cracks. Before returning your project to the oven, review your specific clay's baking time and temperature requirements.
Read more on our blog post, "Polymer Clay Not Hard After Baking - What To Do?"
What Happens To Over baked Clay?
Under baking your clay can be fixed with little effort, but what happens if you overbake your project? Baking your polymer clay at too high of a temperature or for too long can burn or scorch your clay.
Additionally, burnt polymer clay can release toxic fumes. These fumes create a stench that can irritate your eyes, nose, and mouth while leaving a lingering smell in your kitchen.
You cannot get the clay back to its original color once polymer clay gets burnt or darkened due to over baking. In some cases, you can use paint or varnish after baking to hide burnt or discolored areas.
Over baking and under baking create extra work for you at the least. These mistakes can entirely ruin your polymer clay project in more extreme cases.
Thoroughly going through baking instructions for your specific clay is vital to baking your project right the first time, giving you the results you are after. You can add a temperature gauge to the inside of your oven to further monitor correct baking temperatures.
You can bake polymer clay with metal in it. Polymer clay can be baked with various other materials, like glass, ceramic, and wood. We hope you found this article helpful when baking a project of your own. Happy crafting!
Looking for more insights into baking polymer clay? Have a look through our blog post, "Can You Bake Polymer Clay In An Air Fryer?"