Can polymer clay be baked twice or rebaked?

Made a mistake or want to add something new to your polymer clay design after it’s baked? Wondering if you can rebake it? Here’s where you need to know.

From jewellery to figures, there are many different ways to use polymer clay to create unique and beautiful designs.  But what happens if you make a mistake or want to add something to your creation after it’s already been baked?

Can you rebake polymer clay?

The short answer is yes, you can safely rebake polymer clay. But there are some things you need to know before you return to your oven.

First, it’s important to understand what polymer clay is. Polymer clay is a type of plastic that can be molded and shaped into any form you desire. Once you’ve created your design, the clay needs to be baked at a specific temperature and for a specific amount of time to harden and set.

Why would you need to rebake polymer clay?

But why would you need to bake it more than once?

There are a few different reasons. One of the most common reasons being the polymer clay didn’t harden the first time around and it’s still bendy after baking.

And, if making complex forms, it’s often the case that the creation will be built up in layers,a firm foundation is needed on which to place additional design elements, or a piece of a model needs hardening prior to placement so it doesn’t distort when positioned. The eyes of creatures are a good example of this. You make the eye socket, roll the eyeball and push it into place but in the process of insertion, it deforms. Baking the eyeball first makes it firm, allowing it to be positioned and moved around in the socket without the risk of damaging it in the process.

Alternatively, there are those times we all have when a mistake is made, we forget to do something or didn’t notice an error until after baking. Thankfully, being able to rebake polymer clay means errors and commissions can be fixed and the item being made rebaked so nobody ever knows.

And of course, there are times when a finished item gets broken and needs repairing.

For any of these reasons, baking twice or more is the answer. It’s perfectly safe to do (as long as the clay hasn’t been painted, glazed or vanished) and a perfectly legitimate technique.

How to rebake polymer clay

Rebaking polymer clay is exactly the same as baking it for the first time: preheat the oven, bake it at the recommended temperature and duration and then let it cool. However, there are some things you need to keep in mind when rebaking polymer clay.

First, you should never try to rebake clay that has been contaminated with dirt, dust, or other debris. This will cause the clay to become discoloured or to crack, ruining your design. You also should be careful not to overbake the clay, as this can also cause it to crack or become brittle.

Another thing to keep in mind when rebaking polymer clay is that it can be difficult to get the clay to unbaked clay to stick to already baked elements. This is because the surface of the clay hardens as it bakes, making it more difficult for new layers to adhere. If you have this problem,  use a liquid – my preference is Fimo Liquid Gel, it gives a stronger bond than other liquid clays I’ve tried.

In conclusion, while it is possible and safe to rebake polymer clay, it’s important to do so carefully and to follow the manufacturer’s baking instructions.

Finally, if you are having problems with your polymer clay baking, consider an alternative oven. I’ve written an article on a low-cost oven I tried out and now use for all my polymer clay projects. Read the article about this polymer clay oven. It’s made my polymer clay modelling so much easier, I can’t recommend it enough.

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