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Topic: Hello and polymer clay question  (Read 469 times)
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lemon floor wax
« on: November 05, 2005 06:44:22 PM »

Hi everyone, I'm Natalie and I'm new here.  LOVE this site. I feel like I should be jumping up and down screaming "I FOUND MY PEOPLE!!" so maybe I will. I was pretty worried that I was the only one in the world (or at least my state) that had wicked plans for Altoids tins, sparkly stuff and random things.
Anyhow, forgive me if this isn't the right place to ask this. My friend tells me that it is not, under any circumstances, safe to blake polymer clay in the same oven you use for cooking. She says I need to find a toaster oven and use it instead for the clay. I've been messing with polymer clay for a while now and I have never heard this. Any input would be appreciated.  Smiley
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« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2005 07:13:36 PM »

Dont know anything about polymer clay...but welcome to craftster!!

...i googled it for you and here's what i got:

Are there any dangers from firing the clay?
The main thing to remember when firing the clay is not to let your oven temperature get too high. If the clay gets hotter than 300 Fahrenheit, it can burn, and burning PVC gives off toxic fumes.

To avoid any chance of burning the clay, get an oven thermometer and calibrate the oven you'll be using. It's common for home ovens to be 25 degrees off the temperature on the dial, and if your oven runs hot you may be firing the clay at too high a temperature. Fire in a well-ventilated room; open your kitchen windows, and if you have a stovetop fan, turn it on during firing. For an extra margin of safety, some clayworkers fire in a toaster oven or portable convection oven which is placed outside, on a deck or patio.

Polymer clay normally gives off a slight odor when firing; this is nothing to worry about and not a sign that the clay is burning. Burning clay smells acrid and may cause your eyes or throat to sting. If you do burn a batch of clay, turn off the oven, open windows and turn on fans, and leave the house for an hour or two to give the fumes time to clear.

And this:

Its best to reserve a dedicated oven for baking polymer clay. Using your home oven is an option for very infrequent baking sessions, but you must thoroughly wash out the inside afterward with baking soda and water to remove any bakedon residue from the fumes, which will re-release when you use the oven later to bake food. Another option is to bake your clay inside a sealed baking bag (for baking turkeys), which should capture any residue released during the baking process. Discard the bag after each use.

http://www.stampington.com/html/beginningbasics_polymer.html

Hope that helps!

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« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2005 11:32:18 AM »

Hi Natalie, and welcome!

I do know something about polymer clay <g> (see link in sig. below).  This baking-safety issue has been around for a long time, but the polymer clay community as a whole has come to understand a few things about it, after talking with manufacturers, chemists, etc.   As with any topic though, you'll still hear all kinds of opinions, things-that-used-to-be-thought, etc.,  floating around at various times in various places.

There's a bunch more info on all this at my website (and I'll include a link to those specific pages below), but the bottom line is that it's okay to bake in your normal oven.   It's true that polymer clayers who end up doing a lot of clay however, do generally decide it's best to use either a "dedicated" toaster or convection oven, or to use an "enclosed" baking method in a larger oven (we're just acting from extra caution here though) ... just draping a damp paper towel over the baking clay almost qualifies as enclosed baking.

The issue of clay burning is different from simply where it's being baked and any plasticizer that may end up on oven walls though, and also different from the normal "odor" of baking polymer clay (which varies a bit between brands).  Actual burning of polymer clays occurs only over 385 degrees, and you won't have any doubt about whether it's happening because thick black smoke will be billowing from your oven of choice, you'll be coughing if you breathe a bunch of it, and pretty quickly your items will turn black and bubbled.... in that case, turn off the oven, open the windows to ventilate, and leave the area (taking children, birds, etc. with you), of course.   

Burning usually happens when the oven dial has been left at a higher temperature and not checked before baking (or after a child has fiddled with the dials, etc.).  The temp. can also get just too hot for proper baking though without actually burning the clay, and will cause it to darken or scorch at  temperatures lower than 385 ...that's usually caused by oven fluctuations, or certain ovens' temp. spiking, or especially the clay being too close to coils, walls, or conductive materials, etc.  If you ever do burn the clay (think it's happened to most of us once), then I'd suggest wiping down your oven walls (oven cleaner products are worse for you than polymer clay though), but unless you're baking a lot, it's not necessary to clean every time you use it.

So here are some pages at my site with much more info on these things:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/baking.htm
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/safety_health_cleaning.htm



HTH!

Diane B.
GlassAttic ...polymer clay "encyclopedia"
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm

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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)
lemon floor wax
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2005 08:37:09 PM »

Thanks both of you! Diane, I have seen your pages before...when I googled bottles of Hope. Actually, it was your page that inspired me to make a BOH for my sister who has breast cancer. I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.
Thanks again!
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« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2005 09:40:15 AM »

Happy to help with the "Bottle of Hope" ... I know it meant a lot to your sister (and best of luck to her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

They're fun to make, aren't they?  I like 'em especially because you can try out so many different techniques (since they're so small and quick)... kinda like popcorn, just one more. . . . Grin



Diane B.
GlassAttic ...polymer clay "encyclopedia"
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
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)
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