6

Boiling washes the color down, and baking polymer clay in a classic oven is troublesome in my situation. Can I use a microwave though? If so, what settings? Any precautions needed? (say, a glass of water to create a "load" for the microwave)?

4
  • Microwave it with the goal of hardening it, as opposed to softening new stuff to make it workable?
    – user24
    May 6 '16 at 16:47
  • @CreationEdge: yes.
    – SF.
    May 6 '16 at 21:01
  • @CreationEdge: Well, I've heard about the possibility to soften polymer clay in the microwave oven, "but don't keep it in for too long (longer than 10 seconds, if I recall correctly), or else you'll bake/harden it". I don't know if the clay will become soft to the point of deformation first, before it gets hard though.
    – Ji Ugug
    May 10 '16 at 15:18
  • For the sake of anyone else stumbling on this post from a search, let me point out that many polymer clay projects utilize aluminum foil and/or wire to help give the piece form. Putting any type of metal in a microwave is a very bad idea.
    – Rayanth
    Jul 27 '16 at 3:39
5

Maybe, but it's probably not a good idea.


For one thing, the package says not to do it. The manufacturer isn't just saying that because they want you to buy a toaster oven -- putting it in the microwave will result in burning.

Because microwaves don’t heat evenly, parts of the mass will begin to cure and harden while others remain soft. Microwave ovens heat the inside of clay just as much as the outside, so as the cooking continues, parts of the mass will begin to superheat, melt, and actually bubble and boil while other parts of the polymer clay mass will merely begin to harden.
Source: Can you Bake Polymer Clay in the Microwave?

Not only will that ruin the project, it releases fumes which at best smell terrible, and at worst can cause respiratory distress and damage. For health and safety reasons, you shouldn't microwave polymer clay on its own.


Some crafters do say you can microwave polymer clay as long as it is completely submerged in water. Basically, this is boiling the item to heat it and cure it, but in a microwave rather than on a stovetop.
Sources: [1] [2]

But, some crafters say you still shouldn't -- the quality of the final piece will suffer.

Some people advocate using a microwave to boil water which contains the polymer clay. The problem with this is that ... boiling water never heats above 212°F (100°C) ... [below] the proper curing temperatures of most brands of polymer clay. While you may find that the item is hard after boiling, it will be incompletely cured and will be weak and easily broken. (This is true for stove-top curing as well.) Some brands of polymer clay will get an icky white residue when boiled... I think there’s room for experimentation there, but it’s very difficult to control the amount of heat the items would be receiving.
Source: Can you Bake Polymer Clay in the Microwave?


1
  • The quality of the item will suffer when boiled - and it seems microwave doesn't change it. Never mind the curing temperature, the pigments wash out and the colors become bland.
    – SF.
    Jul 27 '16 at 16:31
2

No, it requires baking to set.

I have a polymer clay only "toaster oven". It was designed for just using that medium. Look at your local craft store, or online 😊

2

Manufacturers have started reacting to their customers requests and produce some clays that can be cured in a microwave. It must be written on the packaging and there must be an instruction of how to cure it in the microwave.

The instructions I saw included:

  • The clay object must have a minimum thickness of several millimeters. You cannot cure thin sheets or delicate objects.
  • Always place a small bowl or cup of plain water with the clay object into the microwave. This prevents overheating of the microwave.
  • Don't place the clay object directly in the middle of the microwave plate. This prevents overheating of the clay.
  • Set your microwave to the power setting given in the instructions. If you cannot lower the power setting, chances are high that the clay burns faster than you can stop the microwave.

Remember that burning polymer clay releases toxic fumes. I wouldn't want that in a microwave that I wanted to use for food afterwards...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.