Polymer Clay Talk -  Temperatures while baking your clay... (649 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)1/2/17 1:21 AM 
To: All  (1 of 12) 

I offer knowledge from an engineer who has observed the issues of working with polymer clay for many years.

1) Oven thermometers built into ovens (regular ovens, toaster ovens, convection ovens, any oven...) are calibrated to keep an oven 'around' the temperature you set it for. Not exactly AT the temperature you set. Not even all that close for much of the time in the oven. And the internal thermometers in an oven are also usually not well calibrated. Which brings us to purchasing another thermometer to put inside your oven to see what's going on in there.

2) Almost all oven thermometers purchased off the shelf are as badly calibrated as internal oven thermometers. The best way to accommodate for this is to buy 2 thermometers, -from DIFFERENT manufacturers- and believe the oven is at about the mean temperature between them. For instance, if one reads 150F and the other reads 100F, the oven spends more time around 125F in general.

3) If you REALLY want to know what is going on in your oven, buy something like a Thermoworks ChefMate 


Yes, expensive. OH so worth it. (And when you use it with your actual food cooking you'll be amazed.) But back to polymer clay - Use an oven temperature probe, which measures the temperature of the air in the oven. To the 10th of a degree kind of thing. Within something like every second. It has an alarm you can set for both the highest and lowest temperatures that are acceptable for what you're doing at the moment. 

I have a fairly good convection oven (not the top of the line, but up there). I was shocked to discover when I set my oven for 275F, the oven air temperature varies from about 190F to 295F multiple times within just minutes, without even opening the door. Just during a normal closed-door cooking cycle. So the idea of 'KEEPING your oven at 275F' or whatever is just not going to happen. The best thing you can do is try to keep it as close as possible, and keep it in there a long time, hoping it will get to the soaking temperature (275F) that it needs for long enough. 

Just wanted to offer some information from a knowledgeable and researched standpoint.

Happy Claying!

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From: carmancrew1/3/17 7:49 AM 
To: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)  (2 of 12) 
 71371.2 in reply to 71371.1 

Great Information! Thank you for taking the time to share

& Happy New Year!

Pam Carman


From: Melody011/5/17 8:38 AM 
To: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)  (3 of 12) 
 71371.3 in reply to 71371.1 

Debbie, Thanks so much for sharing this helpful info!

Anita in AZ




From: BrickleBears1/8/17 7:55 AM 
To: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)  (4 of 12) 
 71371.4 in reply to 71371.1 

What do you think about polymer clay ovens? They have one at Walmart for about $40. Do they work well? Do they have a built in thermometer, or do I need to buy one separate? I was just wondering if anyone had any experience with these because I'm probably going to get one. I can't use my regular oven. Would a toaster oven be better?


From: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)1/8/17 10:37 AM 
To: BrickleBears  (5 of 12) 
 71371.5 in reply to 71371.4 

I"m unfamiliar with the pc ovens at Walmart. An oven with convection is helpful, because it does keep the -whole- oven about the same temperature. Certainly the pc world has been using ovens that look like toaster ovens without convection for a long time with not too much apparent problem.

Another thing to keep in mind is 'radiant heat'. Meaning, the direct heat delivered by the elements. Anything in the direct line of the elements stand the chance of getting scorched. Think of it like getting a sunburn - even on a not unbearably hot day you can get a sunburn. So it helps to keep your pieces out of direct line of the element. That could be as simple as covering/tenting them with aluminum foil.

Happy Claying!



From: BrickleBears1/8/17 11:26 AM 
To: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)  (6 of 12) 
 71371.6 in reply to 71371.5 

The oven comes with an instruction book, so hopefully this will provide plenty of guidance for newbies. Walmart has another PC oven that is around $80. I thought about getting that one instead because it might work better, but I don't have very much to spend. Besides, I am assuming that an oven designed especially for baking polymer clay can function as intended but you never know.



From: amyfb1/8/17 12:58 PM 
To: BrickleBears  (7 of 12) 
 71371.7 in reply to 71371.6 

I went through multiple ovens before I found one that wouldn't burn the clay. Some of the cheapest ones are the absolute worst for how they cycle the heating element.


From: BrickleBears1/8/17 2:01 PM 
To: amyfb  (8 of 12) 
 71371.8 in reply to 71371.7 

Thank you for letting me know that. I won't buy that oven now. I'll either save up for an expensive one, or bake the clay in my gas range. The gas range might end up being my best option. The oven needs to be cleaned, but I don't want to clean it. Will it work anyway?

Do you think I could encounter any problems baking my clay in a gas range? Would that be ideal, or would a toaster oven work better?


From: amyfb1/8/17 3:31 PM 
To: BrickleBears  (9 of 12) 
 71371.9 in reply to 71371.8 

The most useful advice I read everywhere on line was: get a thermometer and test the oven you want to use. There is just no consistency or reliability from one oven to the next.

sad but true.

i'm using a breville brand, digital oven. it lives on the patio outdoors so i never have to worry about inhaling fumes while baking the stuff. it has been in service for almost two years and cost $200 I think. But i'd rather spend the money up front than spend it in $40 chunks more frequently for   stuff that doesn't meet my needs.

i'd personally be sure to use the oven roasting bags to keep fumes from collecting in the oven if you're going ot share it with your cookies and pot roasts.



From: Debbie G / Twinkle (debtwinkle)1/9/17 2:07 AM 
To: amyfb  (10 of 12) 
 71371.10 in reply to 71371.9 

The oven roasting bags seem to be an excellent idea, closed tightly until the items cool and/or you take it outside to open it. You could even put two aluminum foil pans together like a clamshell inside the roasting bag to keep the bag from sitting on your items. 

But the big thing is that ovens do NOT keep consistent temperatures. Having it inside a roasting bag & foil clamshell helps, because the air inside those thing will not fluctuate as much as the air inside the oven in general. It's like an oven inside and oven. I'm using a Hamilton Beach convection oven - not the top of the line, but up there. And even it fluctuates amazingly. I believe it's just inherent in ovens. I'll have to test my regular oven and see how much it fluctuates. Baking food is just not as fussy as curing clay.



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