Is polymer clay shiny after baking?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular crafting medium that allows artists and hobbyists to create a wide range of projects, from jewelry and sculptures to decorative items and more. When working with polymer clay, one common question that arises is whether the clay remains shiny after baking. In this article, we’ll explore the factors that determine the final finish of polymer clay after baking and how to achieve a shiny or matte appearance as desired.

Effects of Baking on Polymer Clay

When polymer clay is properly baked, the heat causes the plasticizers and other components to undergo a chemical process that transforms the clay from a soft and pliable material into a solid and durable one. The baking process, usually done in a home oven, is essential for curing the clay and ensuring that it maintains its shape and integrity over time.

Natural Finish of Baked Polymer Clay

The natural finish of polymer clay after baking is typically matte or slightly satin. This means that the clay’s surface is smooth but not highly reflective. The level of shininess can vary depending on factors such as the brand of polymer clay used and the baking conditions.

Achieving a Shiny Finish

If you prefer a shiny finish for your polymer clay projects, there are several techniques you can use:

  • Sanding and Buffing: After baking, you can achieve a shiny finish by sanding the surface of the clay with fine sandpaper and then buffing it using a soft cloth. This process helps to smooth out any imperfections and enhances the shine.
  • Applying Varnish or Glaze: You can apply a clear varnish or glaze to the surface of the baked clay to achieve a glossy finish. There are various types of varnishes and glazes available that are specifically designed for polymer clay.
  • Liquid Clay: Some artists use liquid polymer clay to achieve a glossy finish. Liquid clay can be applied to the surface of the baked clay and then baked again to create a smooth and shiny appearance.

Matte Finish

If you prefer a matte finish, you can achieve this by leaving the baked clay as is or by using matte varnish or finishes specifically designed for polymer clay. Matte finishes can provide a more subtle and natural appearance to your projects.

Experimentation and Creativity

Ultimately, whether you prefer a shiny or matte finish is a matter of personal preference and the specific look you want to achieve for your polymer clay creations. Experimenting with different techniques and finishes allows you to explore your creativity and create pieces that reflect your artistic vision.


In conclusion, the natural finish of polymer clay after baking is typically matte or slightly satin. However, you can easily achieve a shiny finish through techniques such as sanding and buffing, applying varnish or glaze, or using liquid polymer clay. The choice of finish is a creative decision that allows you to customize your polymer clay projects to your desired aesthetic. Whether you prefer a glossy shine or a more subdued matte appearance, polymer clay offers versatility and flexibility for achieving the perfect look.

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