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Hey crafters! These days polymer clay has been so popular among crafters that this industry leads to many innovative ideas for designs. The art crafters use polymer clay to make designs to sell and exhibit their skills.
Along with the disruptive techniques in the industry, crafters have to face some problems. One of the major issues they come across is how to make polymer clay strong enough to a durable extent. We are here to help you out regarding the strength of the polymer clay.
How to Make Polymer Clay Stronger
To make polymer stronger is directly related to the baking techniques. You don’t need to bake the polymer clay in high-temperature rotary kilns, as happens in pottery making. You can easily bake the polymer clay in ovens.
Baking depends on the brands of the polymer clay and our requirements. There are special guidelines for every brand of the polymer on how to make polymer clay stronger by baking.
Our research suggests, usually, the range is between 230°F – 275°F for preheating your oven, and the baking time for the polymer clay is in between 15-30 minutes.
Why Does the Polymer Clay Become Soft?
In the warm weather, when your workspace is also hot and when your hands sweat, clay becomes too soft and sticky.
That soft clay is of no use for art crafters and designers. So, this major problem is dominatable if you follow the guidelines we are outlining here.
Making Polymer Clay Workable
Polymer Clay is a soft PVC plastic that you can use only after baking in the oven at the suggested temperature. Some crafters make mistakes in understanding the structure and nature of polymer clay.
Since it is not like natural clay so when you leave it open, it does not gets hard or dry out in the usable form. Rather, it gets partially cured under the sunlight or through any other source of heat. This partially cured polymer clay will be of no use and thus the wastage of time and money.
As a crafter, you know when you need to cure or make the polymer clay stronger. So, when you are done with your sculpture and designs, your next focus is on curing the polymer clay.
Is It Optional to Make Polymer Clay Stronger?
No, making the polymer clay stronger is mandatory in designing and crafting the items.
While designing the items like jewellery, human dolls, buttons, statuettes, etc., it is essential to make your polymer clay stronger. Otherwise, polymer clay gets too soft to use for designing craft items.
Another problem you might face is the stickiness of the polymer clay. This also stems from the softness of the polymer clay. So, you need to make your polymer clay stronger to make it workable.
A Step by Step Guide
Our guidelines are not limited to a specific set of experts. They are paving the way for every type of crafter whether he is a beginner or a seasoned expert in the field.
We have underlined the guidelines for all those who want to work with polymer clay and are interested in art crafting and making sculptures.
As mentioned earlier, every product has specific guidelines when it comes to baking polymer clay. So, the time and temperature depend on the product. So, my recommendation is to read the guidelines given by the product maker.
- Make the Polymer Clay Cool Enough
When you start working with the clay, you may bother if it starts getting sticky. To overcome the issue, place the polymer clay in a freezer or an ice bag for 10-15 minutes.
The process will remove the danger of polymer clay becoming sticky. Whenever you feel it is getting sticky, the best method to cope with the issue is to place it in a freezer or an ice bag.
By doing this, you always remain in the process ready format.
- Avoid Temperature in Your Workspace
You should then adjust the temperature of your workspace. As warned above, the warmer weather may cause the polymer clay to become partially cured. So, you should adjust the temperature accordingly.
Here are some suggestions.
- Work in an air-conditioned room or at least switch on the fan.
- Drop the curtains.
- Don’t let the sunrays enter.
- Bake the Polymer Clay up to a Certain Limit
To make the polymer clay stronger, you have to bake it to harden it. Baking the polymer in an oven in itself is an art. The capacity of the polymer clay decides the baking time limit and the temperature.
Experts suggest the baking capacity depends upon the clay model. If your sculpture is bigger, then your baking time is also greater.
- Calculate the Correct Baking Time
To calculate the right baking time, you should have a standard formula that leads to fruitful results.
The given time in the instructions of a brand or a product is the perfect and accurate time if your sculpture is not thicker than ¼ inch. It is the standard size of the sculpture. If your sculpture is thicker than ¼ inch, there is a simple formula.
Divide the thickness of your sculpture by 1/4 and then have it multiplied by the standard baking time given in the instructions.
- Allow the Polymer to Cool Down
That is the main part of your strategy for making the polymer clay stronger. Now, when you have baked the polymer clay according to your standard calculations, it needs some time to cool down.
When you take the model of polymer clay out, it is not hard. It is too soft to use. So, you should allow it to cool down. This way, it becomes hard and strong.
Many experts suggest a test to see whether it is hard to the usable extent. That is, you try to enter your fingernail into the sculpture-if it enters, it means it is not to the usable extent.
If you are in a hurry, and you want to do all the process in minutes rather than seconds. Here are some suggestions. These are very helpful when a state of emergency is declared, and you need to do it.
- Decrease the temperature of your workspace.
- Blend it with the older if it is available. That process removes the stickiness from your clay.
- Leave the clay open
- Use pasta machine. Place the polymer clay between two pieces of plain paper and run it through the pasta machine. Always start with the thickest part of the machine.
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