Does baking polymer clay smell?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium used by artists and crafters to create a wide range of projects. Whether you’re making jewelry, sculptures, or decorative items, baking polymer clay is a fundamental step in the process. As you work with polymer clay, you may wonder: Does baking polymer clay smell? In this article, we’ll delve into the topic and provide you with insights into the odor associated with baking polymer clay.

The Baking Process

Baking polymer clay is an essential step to harden and set your creations. During baking, the polymer particles in the clay react to heat and fuse together, resulting in a solid and durable finished piece. Most polymer clays require baking at temperatures between 230°F (110°C) and 275°F (135°C) for a specific duration, usually around 15-30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6mm) of thickness.

The Smell of Baking Polymer Clay

Yes, baking polymer clay can emit a noticeable odor. The smell is often described as slightly chemical or plasticky, similar to the scent of heated plastic. This odor is a natural result of the chemical reactions taking place within the clay as it cures in the oven.

Minimizing the Odor

If you find the odor bothersome, there are a few steps you can take to minimize it:

1. Proper Ventilation:

Ensure that your baking area is well-ventilated. Open windows or use an exhaust fan to help dissipate the odor and prevent it from becoming overwhelming.

2. Baking Time and Temperature:

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for baking time and temperature. Baking at the correct temperature and not overbaking can help reduce the intensity of the odor.

3. Baking Enclosure:

If you’re particularly sensitive to the smell, you can consider using an oven-safe baking enclosure or a separate toaster oven dedicated to polymer clay. This can help contain the odor and prevent it from spreading throughout your living space.

Post-Baking Odor

After baking, you may notice a lingering but much milder odor on your polymer clay pieces. This odor will generally dissipate over time and with proper airing out.


In conclusion, baking polymer clay can produce a noticeable odor, often described as slightly chemical or plasticky. While the smell may be present during baking, it can be minimized by ensuring proper ventilation, following recommended baking times and temperatures, and considering the use of a baking enclosure. Remember that the odor is a normal part of the curing process and is not harmful. With these considerations in mind, you can confidently continue creating your polymer clay masterpieces and enjoy the satisfaction of seeing your projects come to life.

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