Polymer clay is one of the most popular types of clay art forms. It’s accessible, simple to use, and a lot of fun! It comes in a wide range of attractive colours that appeals to both children and adults.
Moulding your polymer clay is very easy and enjoyable, but baking it is where many problems seem to arise. Baking clay can be a daunting thought if you aren’t sure how to do it, or if you’re worried your oven isn’t up to the job.
Not everyone has a basic oven in their home, or some might have one, but their oven temperature might be shaky and inconsistent. If this is the case, a lot might think this problem is easily remedied by microwaving their clay, but that is the worst thing to do.
Microwaving your polymer clay creation will cause it to melt, hardening only inside but not at all the outside of your clay. It will completely lose its shape, and might even ruin your microwave too. Polymer clays are made largely from plastic, which isn’t only harmful to the microwave, but when heated up in one, the melting process can cause the polymer clay to release toxic fumes from it that could possibly make you unwell.
A simple fix for this problem would be to buy a toaster oven. The right one will come with an inbuilt thermometer, timer, a helpful wire rack, baking tray and convection systems. All of these combined will promise a smooth way for you to bake polymer clay.
There are thousands of makes and models to choose from, though, so to make your life easier, we’ve written an article to let you know the best toaster ovens on the market for your clay creations.
Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.
|Product Name||Why We Chose It|
|Mueller AeroHeat Convection Toaster Oven||It has a wide range of capabilities and a large interior as well as a sleek exterior.|
|GE Convection Toaster Oven||It’s a convection oven that comes with the perfect accessories.|
|Black+Decker Toaster Oven||An inbuilt timer.|
|Hamilton Beach Toaster Oven||Sleek and simple with a compact and unique shape.|
Best Toaster Oven For Polymer Clay
So what toaster ovens should you be investing in? You’ll want it to be large enough to bake polymer clay while also small enough to fit on your countertop.
You’ll also want it to cure polymer clay at a consistent temperature with effective heating elements, in the same way official clay bake ovens do.
So what does that look like? Scroll through our selection to check out the best brands for polymer clay baking.
This toaster oven is one of the most popular on the market! This is because it has a wide range of capabilities and cooking functions, which means that there’s also a wide range of temperatures perfect for baking polymer clay.
It also means that it doesn’t have to just be for polymer clay, you can use this for many different purposes too. And because it’s so advanced and spacious, you can cook yourself a nice snack while you wait for your clay to finish baking as well. Baking clay in the same oven as your food won’t affect your food, as long as you adhere to the correct temperature and timing.
The temperature is more precise than others. The Aeroheat toaster oven comes with a temperature dial so that you can adjust the temperature according to the needs of your polymer clay.
It’s also large enough for you to fit in your sculptures whilst also small enough for it to be a handy countertop toaster oven. The Mueller AeroHeat toaster oven also has a powerful convection fan that works to evenly distribute heat throughout the oven, ensuring even baking, making it both energy-efficient and great for your clay creations.
This toaster oven comes with a multitude of accessories such as a wire rack and a baking pan. A baking pan already provided means that you won’t have to go through all of the fuss of trying to find a perfectly even cooking surface to bake your polymer clay.
A provided oven rack will also help with space so that you can bake more than one creation, as well as delicious snacks, at the same time. It will also encourage even heating. If you bake polymer clay close to the bottom of the toaster oven, you risk burning your clay by overheating it.
Ge Convection ovens also come with a halogen heater that helps to hurry along the pre-heat process. This heating element is great if you’re in a hurry! You’ll be able to put your timer on much quicker when you’re sure the oven heat is optimal before you start to bake.
If you put your clay into a cold oven and begin your timer, you can’t be sure that it will effectively heat, as the timings will be off. When baking polymer clay, timing and temperature should be precise.
This is also a convection oven, so you’re promised even heating throughout your oven as well. Curing polymer clay as well as baking polymer clay won’t be a problem with this oven, and neither will cooking.
The Black+Decker stainless steel toaster oven is a lot smaller and sleeker than the previous options mentioned above. It’s definitely a toaster oven countertop. If you’re not sure you want to make any large sculptures and you think you might prefer making small things like keyrings, jewellery etc… Then this is perfect for you.
It won’t take up too much space and it’ll do exactly what you need it to. It comes with an oven rack too, which is great for baking multiple things and your polymer clay will gain access to even heating.
It has an inbuilt timer which will give you peace of mind if you’re concerned about overbaking/underbaking. Once the timer goes off, the oven will automatically turn off, so you can do other things and not worry too much about your creations.
The Black + Decker toaster oven is a great oven for baking polymer clay! Its small, stainless steel body promises ease for both cleaning and space. Baking clay can be hard for people whose home ovens aren’t perfect for them and don’t have a lot of space for large toaster ovens, this model, however, will slot into your kitchen just fine.
The hamilton beach countertop toaster is a sleek model. It’s incredibly popular among the polymer clay community for its size and many capabilities.
It’s great if you want something small and simple to fit perfectly on your countertop without taking up too much space. It’s incredibly simple to use with several different functions, the most important being baking and a timer that automatically shuts the oven off when the time is up.
The Hamilton Beach toaster oven is also very modern and sleek. No matter the theme of your kitchen, its unique shape and compact size will suit any space you put it in. It’s broiling rack will ensure even heating for your polymer clay as well as additional space within the toaster oven for other things too.
What to Consider When Buying a Polymer Clay Toaster Oven
1. What Sort of Creations Will You Bake?
If you’re thinking of creating large sculptures, you’ll want to make sure you buy a toaster oven big enough that can also withstand enough heat to effectively, and thoroughly, bake your creation. If you only want to bake things like jewellery or small charms, however, then this doesn’t matter so much.
If you’re thinking about bigger things, though like sculptures, dishes etc… Then you’ll want to think about, not just the size of your toaster oven, but also its capabilities. A convection oven is always a good idea for polymer clay, but especially if you want to make larger pieces.
Convection technology ensures that your toaster oven will heat efficiently and effectively. It does this by encouraging an even circulation of heat throughout the baking process. Not only does this make convection ovens energy efficient, but it also promises that your polymer clay projects will turn out wonderfully, no matter the size.
Some projects also require that you bake your polymer clay several times before your project is completed. This might be because you need to attach additional parts to the main body of your clay, or you might be using a glaze that would require being heated within a toaster oven. If this is the case, then a conventional oven will promise that your clay is hardened without it burning polymer clay.
2. The Best Tools To Ensure A Smooth Baking Process
Baking polymer clay isn’t as simple as just putting it in the toaster oven and hoping for the best. If you want your creation to turn out beautifully, then you’ll need to protect it in the baking process.
Keep your creation on a flat surface like a ceramic tile, parchment paper or glass tile.
Create a foil tent to cover and protect your clay in the oven.
If you follow these two main top tips, your polymer clay items are more likely to come out perfectly.
A foil tent will prevent random brown spots from appearing that might make your model look burnt. The random brown spots often appear due to ineffective heating, where some parts of your clay creation receive more heat than other parts due to ‘hot spots’ within your oven.
Although, making a foil tent for larger pieces can be bothersome. A convection oven that promises a consistent temperature with great heating elements could be a good option for you if you find yourself with consistent brown spots.
Ceramic tiles are also great for baking polymer clays. You can use them in the creation process by having them act as a ‘table’ for you to work on, and when you’re ready, you can stick your clay, and your tile, in the clay oven and be on your way.
A ceramic tile will keep the bottom of your clay model smooth so it will be less likely to need sanding. It will also keep your clay from getting stuck to anything after you’ve baked it and before you prepare to put it in the oven.
Due to its slick surface, you should be able to pull your polymer clay piece right off without damaging it. Simply putting your clay on a metal baking pan might cause your polymer clay to stick to it, and cause problems later on in the process.
3. Thermometers Are Your Best Friend
Like with all clay, the temperature is important. When you’re baking polymer clay, you need to make sure that you thoroughly read the packet and bake it for exactly the right time at exactly the right temperature.
The baking instructions will help to keep your clay from getting warped, burned or falling apart. If you underbake it, your clay will be prone to breakage, and it won’t have that elasticity that polymer clay often has, if you overbake it, it can burn and become crumbly.
Burning your clay can also result in toxic fumes being released. These chemicals won’t hospitalize you or cause anything severely bad, but they can cause nasty headaches etc…
To prevent this, you’ll want to pick up a thermometer, especially because toaster ovens are known to have sensitive temperatures. They can overheat at times or have random temperature spikes.
Some do come with oven thermometers though, which is great for those of you who don’t have one or can’t find one. If temperature spikes are common for your current toaster oven, picking up a toaster oven with a temperature dial that promises to stick to the exact temperature, will be a game-changer for you.
4. Choose The Right Brand
Toaster ovens are a great option for all brands of clay, but some brands will fare better in the baking process than others. A recommended option would be Polyform polymer clay. It’s the most reliable brand that’s been around for years, constantly altering its ingredients to create the best clay for everyone.
Your polymer clay creations depend on you choosing a brand that’s effective, and bakes well. Polyform polymer clay comes with baking instructions, as well as tips. Because it’s so popular, there will also be plenty of videos and articles showing you how to use this brand of clay also.
If you can’t find any polyform polymer clay, then a polymer clay buying guide is highly recommended! You can then choose which ones to work with according to your project. You can also choose which one works for your oven temperature.
5. What is the Correct Temperature For Your Polymer Clay/Polymer Clay Oven?
Not all toaster ovens are ideal for all polymer clay projects. Similarly to kilns designed for pottery clay, toaster ovens and microwave ovens might only reach a specific temperature. This can be a problem though, depending on the make and model of your toaster oven. It’s important that you check the best temperature for polymer clay to be baked before you buy your toaster oven countertop, as you’ll need to ensure it can reach that temperature. A small toaster oven might only be able to reach low to medium temperatures.
When you bake your clay, you must make sure that it’s being baked at the exact temperature instructed in order to achieve your desired results. Some recommend that you bake polymer clay at a very high degree, for example, 375, for 30 mins. However, this rule isn’t for everyone nor every polymer clay piece, and it might even be too high for some.
The length of time you bake your polymer clay is dependent on how thick, and how large, your creation is. If your clay piece is quite thick, you’ll want to keep it in your toaster oven for longer than 30 minutes. If it’s quite thin, sometimes 30 minutes might be too long.
You should always remember to never overbake or underbake your polymer clays. Undercooked clay can be hard to bend, or might be quite sensitive, so the slightest bump could either cause it to break or for parts to fall off of it. You’ll know if your clay is underbaked because it isn’t as bendy and flexible as properly baked clay is.
If you’ve lost your instructions and you’re a little anxious about baking polymer clay, a simple rule is this: Bake your clay for 275F, make sure to check your oven thermometer, for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch of thickness. If your clay is 1/2 inch in thickness, bake it for an hour and so on and so forth.
6. Best Toaster Oven Features
Discovering the perfect oven for baking polymer clay can seem overwhelming. It can be very easy to give up and just use your home oven. If you have something steady to heat your polymer clay with a reliable oven temperature, you should be set!
A regular oven should work just as well for hardening your creation, a dedicated clay oven, though, can provide you with different results. This is because a toaster oven includes many different systems that are put in place for particular reasons that work great for polymer clay!
These are things that conventional ovens might not necessarily have. For example, not all ovens have a timer or convection systems. Some might not even be stainless steel.
The best toaster oven can vary in many ways depending on the size of the room or the kitchen and the type of project looking to create. If you’re also hoping for a toaster oven that’s good for cooking food and baking polymer clays, then it’s handy to look out for the things listed below.
- A toaster oven with convection technology is great for both cooking functions and baking polymer clay. It’ll allow your food/ clay to be effectively baked all the way through.
Some conventional ovens have certain hot and cold spots, which can be a problem if you want to cook food while baking your clay in your home oven. A convection toaster oven, however, offers convenient cooking and effective heating for your clay in the same oven.
- An oven thermometer is a complete game-changer. Most conventional ovens don’t have these, but an oven thermometer can ensure that your toaster oven doesn’t have random temperature spikes.
- A brushed stainless steel door doesn’t sound quite necessary for a craft oven when you’re baking polymer clay, but it’s actually very helpful.
If your toaster oven is stainless steel, it will be more likely to last. It’ll also be very easy to clean. While polymer clay doesn’t leave any stains, it’s always good to be prepared. And if you’re going to buy a toaster oven, it’s good to buy one that will last and is rust-resistant.
- If you have a tempered glass door, you’ll be less likely to worry about accidents happening with little ones running around the house. Tempered glass is heat resistant, so touching it while it’s on won’t affect you at all.
Can You Use a Toaster Oven For Polymer Clay?
Definitely! Toaster ovens are accessible, easy to use and perfect for polymer clay. You can control the temperature and the time, and ensure that your creation gets heated all the way through without taking up too much space or energy. Many prefer toaster ovens to regular ovens for this particular reason too.
Does Polymer Clay Ruin Your Oven?
As long as you adhere to the cooking instructions and don’t overbake your clay, it should be the same as baking chicken nuggets in the oven. Polymer can’t melt either, modelling clay, however, can. Modelling clay can often get confused with polymer clay because of its colourful nature and smooth exterior. It’s an easy mistake to confuse one for the other.
You’ll want to make sure that you’re using polymer clay before baking it though. Putting modelling clay in the oven to bake it, as you would for polymer clay, can make the clay melt and get stuck to your oven. This is something you would definitely want to avoid.
What Is The Best Temperature To Bake Polymer Clay?
All polymer clay packages should come with instructions. It will list the best temperature and time to bake your clay to ensure it’ll come out of the oven perfectly. Each brand will have varying instructions, just because polymer clay contains different ingredients which vary from brand to brand, however, if you’ve bought a packet online and it doesn’t tell you how to bake it, then a general rule would be to bake your clay at 275F for 30 mins per 1/4 inch of thickness.
Make sure you check on it regularly though to ensure it doesn’t overheat.