Oh no! It cracked again! Do you hear yourselves screaming the same quite often while baking clay in the oven? Seeing your creations break in the oven can make you go wild and angry and may also make you regret the same for the number of hours you may have spent while designing it. We understand the frustration and irritation that such a scenario can cause in the minds of a creator or artist.
Well, there is more than one reason that leads to the cracking of the clay even inside the oven. The clay goes through a lot of changes when it comes in contact with extreme heat. The sudden changing processes might crack it anytime. To prevent such mishaps, you need to learn about it precisely. So here we bring to you a few hacks that you can try the next time when you bake clay:
Conditioning of clay
Unconditioned clay is more prone to breakage; thus, it is necessary to ensure that the clay is conditioned well. It will prevent the clay from developing cracks. Also, ensure that the clay is free of air bubbles while the conditioning process, or again, it may cause the clay to crack.
Prevent under baking of the clay
Polymer clay is made using plasticizers, fillers, lubricants, binders, pigments, and PVC powder. While the temperature hikes up in the oven during the curing process, the PVC particles soften and start absorbing plasticizer, which further fuses to transform into a solid plastic mass. But if the polymer clay is not baked properly or is under baked, then the resultant product will be weak and will cause issues in the proper fusion of the particles. Under baked clay is not as flexible as properly baked clay and is also prone to crumble and break. Thus, the time and temperature factors should be taken care of during the baking process so that the clay doesn’t crack in the oven.
Always check the description section of the clay package to know about the required temperature of the particular clay. Here we have given a baking temperature guide that can help you to protect your clay from under baking or improper baking.
Types of polymer clay
|Cernit||215- 271°F||30 minutes|
Ensure the stability of the oven temperature
Always choose an oven having a steady temperature. The sudden fluctuation of temperature while baking a clay might result in issues like a burning or uneven baking. The uneven cooking leaves several parts of the clay body to remain uncooked. It promotes the rise of tension in the clay due to the difference in temperature, leading to breaking or cracking of your pot.
Try to find an oven that comes with a controlled temperature setting. Also, keep metals away from the oven to avoid temperature hike. There should be convenient paper tents to cover your clay for an even baking of the pot.
Cleaning the dust in your hands
Though this may sound a bit weird, yes, dust also plays a major role in breaking the clay. Even the slightest of dust particles present on your hands can cause the clay to break in the oven. So make sure that you clean your hands and wash it thoroughly before touching the clay or molding it so that you do not face any issues while tossing the mold into the oven.
Keep oils away from your way
Just like dust, you should also keep away oils from the pot surface. You can either use gloves to prevent sweat from sticking on to the clay or simply wash your hands every time while handling the pot. Not even a single drop of moisturizer or grease should not be there on the surface; else it can react abnormally with the clay while coming in contact with high temperature.
Staying at bay from weak clay for delicate and thin pieces
Weak clay is not something that you can call durable, and thus you need to be in possession of the right kind of clay for manufacturing thin and delicate pieces. All kinds of polymer clays are not the same talking in terms of their value, strength, and durability and stand useful for different purposes. Thus, if you are planning to make thin and delicate things, always make use of string clay so that it does not tend to break while being baked. Weak clays are brittle and can break easily, so consider buying the best brands that can serve useful for you. You can use 50-Color Polymer Clay for better and durable results.
Below we have given a list of polymer clay types having varying amounts of strength.
Polymer clay types
|Fimo||Firm and flexible|
|Sculpey||Brittle and breaks with bending|
|Premo||Soft and flexible|
|Cernit||Firm and flexible|
Burning of clay
Every potter needs to know that polymer clay does not tend to burn until and unless it achieves a temperature equal to or greater than 350°F. If you spot your pottery items turning black, then there are high chances that the oven is too hot, and the temperature is inaccurate. The heating element of the oven is switched on and off; it lets out a huge amount of heat. And, if your pottery article is placed in its close proximities, there are high chances that the item may face the wrath of the tremendous amount of heat exhibited from the heating element causing it to blacken and burn. Thus, you need to keep a check on the oven and the positioning of the object. Setting the oven’s temperature to a lower value will not help; instead, consider maintaining the right temperature so that the object does not become brittle and fragile.
Dry the clay entirely before putting it inside the oven
The presence of even a little amount of moisture in your clay while baking can result in explosions inside the oven. When you put your clay inside the oven, the moisture present in it tends to dry faster as it comes in contact with the high temperature. It creates unwanted stress on the clay, which breaks the pottery instead.
So, to prevent the occurrence of such damage, you need to be quite cautious. Always make sure that you have dried your clay completely before exposing it to the high temperature. After shaping the clay, keep it aside for drying up. Once the pot is entirely bone hard, only then you can take it for baking. Otherwise, you’ll risk your pottery piece.
So, these were a few clever tricks that you can try to back your clay effectively without causing it to crack. Ruined pottery can be quite disappointing, and not only does the clay break, but your heart breaks too on seeing those creations turning into a disaster. So, whether you are an entrant into the pottery industry or an expert, consider using these hacks to transform yourselves as a pro at clay art.