When working with polymer clay, you may notice that it undergoes a transformation during the baking process that results in increased hardness and durability. While polymer clay does harden significantly during baking, the cooling process after baking also plays a role in its final hardness.
Baking and Curing
When polymer clay is baked in an oven at the appropriate temperature, the heat triggers a chemical reaction that causes the polymer particles to fuse together. This fusion leads to the creation of a solid and rigid structure, which contributes to the hardness of the clay.
Cooling and Solidification
After the baking process, as the polymer clay cools down, it continues to solidify and harden:
- During the cooling phase, the polymer chains within the clay further cross-link and strengthen.
- This cooling process helps lock in the changes brought about by baking, resulting in a more durable and rigid final product.
For the best results in achieving hardness and durability, it’s important to follow proper baking techniques and cooling procedures. Allow your polymer clay creations to cool completely before handling them to ensure they have reached their maximum hardness.
By understanding the role of both baking and cooling in the hardening process of polymer clay, you can create creations that are not only beautifully crafted but also structurally sound.