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Topic: Polymer clay gone bad  (Read 3108 times)
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kahluakiggy
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« on: August 22, 2006 11:42:56 AM »

SO....  I was making some Harry Potter polymer things for the HP for our kids swap...  and they came out beautifully!!!  Considering it was my first time shaping things into something recognizable, they were GREAT!!!

But, why would i post that in Stitch and BOTCH, you ask?  I'll tell you why:  15 minutes in my toaster oven and they are BLACK.  The golden snitch should not be black!   Cry  I'm so sad...  I followed the directions, but apparently my toaster oven of doom just doesn't do polymer.  I will try again, and this time, I will use the regular oven.

 Cry Cry Cry
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After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. -- Albus Dumbledore

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Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2006 12:56:40 PM »

Quote
15 minutes in my toaster oven and they are BLACK.


Oh, that's so sad!

If you aren't used to baking polymer clay, there are a number of things to know about darkening, scorching and actually burning.  For example, I don't know how large your figures were, but the closer the clay is to the coils, for example, the more heat they'll usually get (higher than the average of ambient heat in the air). 

 It's also essential to have a cheapie oven thermometer no matter what kind of oven clay is baked in because ovens often don't heat to the temp indicated on their dials.  Toaster ovens are even chancier because they can easily have hot spots (well, so can big ovens but there's more room for the heat to even out). 

Also certain brands and even colors of polymer clay can darken much more easily than others.  You said "black" though, which indicates to me the temp was WAY too high, and the clay actually burned...that usually happens at over 385 degrees, and also makes black smoke and releases fumes which aren't great for the lungs, but you would definitely have left the room if you'd smelled those fumes!

You might definitely want to check out this page at my site for all kinds of info on baking polymer clay, and the various ways to keep it from darkening:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm

I have a suggestion too  Grin... one way to actually salvage your black figures is to treat them as "uncolored statues" (maybe of metal or wood) which you can easily highlight or "gild" (with gold, etc.) or antique (in this case you'd have to use a light color)... both will bring out the details and give more realism . 
There are several ideas from others who've been in the same situation re using these techniques on that same page as above, under "Remedies for Already Burned Items" if you want to check them out.

(and there's more info on the techniques of highlighting and antiquing clay in general on this page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/powders_metallicwaxes.htm
(... look under "Techniques Summary")


HTH,



Diane B.


...check out the 2 NEW polymer clay boards here at craftster:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=238.0
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?board=239.0

« Last Edit: December 16, 2008 08:37:16 AM by batgirl » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
kahluakiggy
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« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2006 02:32:00 PM »

Sweet...Thank you so much!  I actually just redid them in the big oven and checked on them every 5 minutes, so they worked out the second time.  But your page is incredible!  I bookmarked it, because I think I rather like polymer clay, even with the disastrous first batch.  lol
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What doesn't kill you makes you stranger. --The Joker

After all, to the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. -- Albus Dumbledore

Sokka: My first girlfriend turned into the moon.
Zuko: Thats rough, buddy.
Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2006 09:49:16 AM »

Quote
But your page is incredible!  I bookmarked it, because I think I rather like polymer clay, even with the disastrous first batch.  lol

Thanks  Grin... and don't worry about the disastrous firsts (they happen to us all!!!)



Have fun!!!!!!! (and come join us over on the new polymer clay boards at Craftster)




« Last Edit: December 16, 2008 08:12:43 AM by batgirl » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
capitanjen
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2006 10:02:21 PM »

mine actually caught on fire once. heres the story:
i went to the dollar store, and i saw some clay there. as any 10 year old would, i begged my mom to buy it, and she gave in (it was only a dollar for 10 different colors!!). when i was done playing, i decided to bake it so it would harden. and uh... IT DIDNT. i went into the kitchen to check on it, and my oven was on fire!! i didnt even know what to do, because i was in so much shock. i went to get my mom, and i told her it was on fire. do you know what she did? she took FOREVER to get out of her seat and walk there. YOU CANT DO THAT TO A PANICING 10 YEAR OLD! they freak out! haha needless to say, we threw that toaster oven away.
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fght ff yr dmns. crft n yr slp.
ruby_soho
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2006 04:04:43 PM »

i'm afraid of this happening, but here's a question for you all:

how can you tell if the clay's done?  i think the stuff i recently made wasn't baked all the way, but i couldn't tell when i took it out of the oven.  i didn't want to risk THIS happening, but obviously the bendy clay situation isn't working. 
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Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


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« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2006 09:55:52 AM »

Quote
how can you tell if the clay's done?  i think the stuff i recently made wasn't baked all the way, but i couldn't tell when i took it out of the oven.  i didn't want to risk THIS happening, but obviously the bendy clay situation isn't working. 


Hi,

First, your clay is probably done (certainly if you baked it for the appropriate temp for the brand, and for the appropriate amount of time for its thickness), but here's something from my polymer clay "encyclopedia" that may explain what you're concerned about, plus some things you can do if you're wanting thin polymer items to be stiffer :
(some info overlaps since it's from two diff. pages):

````````````````````````````````````````````

http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm
(from General Info subcategory)

how to tell if the clay is "done" after baking:
... first, it's important to know that polymer clays will all be somewhat soft when first removed from heating
....... they wont reach their final hardness & stiffness until they're completely cool

AFTER COOLING:
...it's also a common misconception that polymer clay will be rock hard after baking and cooling (like earth clay will be)... in fact, the surface of a baked and cooled polymer bead can actually be dented with a fingernail if it's pressed really hard (this isn't really a problem, because after awhile clayers don't expect a hard ceramic feel for polymer clay)
...also, any thin baked clay will actually be flexible... this flexibility doesn't seem to be a problem most of the time
(.........for ways to stiffen thin clay when needed, see Characteristics > "Strength & Flexibility"**)
......most of the polymer clay brands are similar in this flexibility with the exception of Sculpey (Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III) and now also to some extent probably the new version of FimoSoft
.......those actually feel "harder" after baking which can be good, but unfortunately flexibility is also lost and along with it much of their ability to withstand stress (they will break or chip more easily if stressed)
......Premo, FimoClassic, Cernit, and Kato will be a little rubberier in feel after baking, but much stronger & more flexible
......(however, remember that fairly rounded shapes of any brand will be difficult to break just because of the inherent strength of the shape... but in thin or projecting areas, the Sculpeys & possibly FimoSoft will be brittle) . . .
 

````````````````````````````

** http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Characteristics.htm
(Strength & Flexibility)
It is a common misconception that polymer clay will be rock hard after baking like earth clay will ...you can actually dent the surface of a polymer bead with a fingernail if you really try. I believe it's the "plasticizers" in polymer clay that give it some amount of flexibility.

This flexibilty shows up mostly in thinner pieces (and projecting areas) of the stronger clays (actually bendable when very thin). . . however, that's also what prevents it from breaking when stressed, as opposed to earth clays.
(Polymer clays also soften somewhat during baking, so will not attain their normal hardness till cool.)

Many of the polymer clay brands are similar in this characteristic
...but the exceptions are Sculpey (actually Sculpey, SuperSculpey and Sculpey III), and possibly the new version of FimoSoft.
......the Sculpey's are much "harder" after baking (don't know about new FS yet), although flexibility is then lost and therefore much the ability to withstand stress.
...(btw, roundish beads or items of any clay brand will be difficult to break though because of the inherent strength of the rounded shapes)

So the bottom line on strength for the mostly common clay brands is:
STRONG: Premo, FimoClassic, Kato, Cernit
WEAK: Sculpey, SuperSculpey, SculpeyIII, FimoSoft (probably)

However the flexibility of stronger brands doesn't seem to be a problem most of the time (most clayers don't even notice unless it's a really thin piece)

If you do want to make a thin clay piece stiffer though, there are several things you can do:
--back it with more clay
.....either lay the raw piece on another raw piece of same-colored clay and then cut it to the same size and shape just as a backing
.....or use a different color clay underneath a bit larger than the original piece, to act as a frame
--using liquid clay between layers can stiffen them a bit too
--embed some kind of armature inside the clay (like a bit of wire mesh or cardstock inside the ear of an animal, or a toothpick or bit of wire inside arm/fingers)
.....you can also use the Sculpey clays (they bake up harder) (or FimoSoft?) as armatures or cores, or as backing, under (or inside) other clay layer
.... this will make the outer layer also "feel" harder (some people like to create a 3-D shape with one of those clays, bake, then cover them with a layer of decorative clay)
.... if you want the piece lightweight also, you can use scrunched aluminum foil, various polystyrene foams, Sculpey Ultralight clay, or other things)
--attach the thin clay to a (non-clay) surface (e.g., covering a glass votive, or a metal Altoid tin)
--try to attach projecting bits (like arms or heads) to other clay with as much contact as possible (press an arm to its body, e.g.)
--mix your weak clay with a stronger clay (the resulting combo will have proportional strength ..mix .50-50 at least)

Some time ago I ran a flexibility tests on all colors and a few brands of the clay
.. I found out that color really doesn't matter...the one exception was translucent which seems to be somewhat stronger than some of the others.
....Fimo(Classic) is strong, but is not very flexible... Premo is as strong as Fimo & more flexible... Cernit is very strong but not too flexible...author?
(see much more about the relative strength and flexibility of the clay brands on this page, if interested: http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/tests.htm )


HTH,

Diane B.







« Last Edit: September 17, 2006 09:59:27 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
ruby_soho
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« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2006 09:59:41 AM »

excellent!  thanks, diane!
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i care about you a homemade oven mitt's worth.
FrogPuddle
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2006 11:41:22 AM »

ive been there, my beautiful purple pink beads came out black and deep brown, sigh, well the boys like them. but it was awful and there was this toxic cloud in my kitchen,  and my cat was running around all scared, yuck. that took time to air out!!  sorry to hear about the beads. Shocked
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Susan.R
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2006 03:17:11 PM »

One thing I noticed when baking clay is that toaster ovens almost never work.  There is too much direct heat on the clay since the heating coils are only a few inches away.

In a full-sized oven, the heat is much more ambient, so the clay bakes more evenly.

It really is a shame because I hate turning on my oven for small things that my toaster oven should be able to do just fine.
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