Does polymer clay get harder as it cools?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium used by artists, crafters, and hobbyists to create an array of creative projects. From intricate jewelry to detailed sculptures, polymer clay offers endless possibilities. One common question that arises among those who work with polymer clay is whether it gets harder as it cools. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating properties of polymer clay during the cooling process and provide insights into its behavior.

The Baking Process

Polymer clay is composed of polymer particles, plasticizers, and pigments. When heated in an oven, the plasticizers soften and allow the particles to fuse together, resulting in a solid and durable object. The baking temperature and duration vary based on the brand and type of polymer clay being used.

Cooling and Hardening

As polymer clay cools, it does undergo a process of hardening, but the extent of this hardening can vary based on several factors:

1. Initial Hardening:

During the cooling process, polymer clay goes through an initial hardening stage. This is when the polymer particles solidify and bond together. As the clay cools, it becomes less pliable and takes on a more solid consistency.

2. Full Curing:

While the initial hardening occurs relatively quickly as the clay cools, the full curing or strengthening of the polymer clay continues over time. This means that even after the clay has cooled down completely, it continues to become stronger and more durable over the course of hours or even days.

3. Final Properties:

The final properties of polymer clay, including its hardness, strength, and flexibility, are determined by both the baking and cooling processes. Proper baking at the recommended temperature and duration is essential to ensure the clay reaches its optimal hardness and strength.

Factors Affecting Cooling and Hardening

Several factors can influence how polymer clay cools and hardens:

  • Thickness: Thicker pieces of polymer clay may take longer to cool and harden completely.
  • Size: Larger pieces may require more time to cool and cure thoroughly.
  • Type of Polymer Clay: Different brands and formulations of polymer clay may have varying hardening properties.
  • Room Temperature: The ambient temperature of the environment can affect how quickly the clay cools and hardens.


Yes, polymer clay does get harder as it cools. The cooling process initiates the hardening of the polymer particles and the bonding of the clay’s components. While the initial hardening occurs relatively quickly, the full curing and strengthening of the clay continue over time. Understanding the properties of polymer clay during the cooling and curing processes is essential for achieving the best results in your creative projects.

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