What can you not do with polymer clay?

Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium for crafting and sculpting, but there are certain things you should avoid to ensure successful and satisfying results. In this article, we’ll explore some important “do nots” when working with polymer clay.

Avoid Excessive Heat

Polymer clay cures and hardens through a baking process in an oven. However, exposing polymer clay to excessive heat can lead to scorching, burning, or even toxic fumes. It’s essential to follow the recommended baking temperatures and times specified by the manufacturer to avoid damaging your creations.

Don’t Mix with Regular Clay

While polymer clay can mimic the appearance of traditional clay, it should not be mixed with other types of clay. Mixing polymer clay with air-dry or kiln-fired clay can result in unpredictable curing, uneven textures, and potential cracking or breakage once cured.

Avoid Overworking the Clay

Overworking polymer clay can lead to a loss of texture and detail. Continuous kneading or excessive rolling can cause the clay to become soft and difficult to sculpt. It’s best to work efficiently and avoid unnecessary manipulation to retain the desired texture and shape.

Don’t Skip Conditioning

Conditioning polymer clay is an important step to soften the clay and make it more pliable. Skipping this step can result in uneven curing, cracks, or a crumbly texture in your finished piece. Properly conditioning the clay by kneading it thoroughly helps ensure optimal results.

Avoid Contamination

Cross-contamination of colors and materials can affect the final appearance of your polymer clay creations. It’s crucial to clean your hands, tools, and work surface between colors to prevent unwanted color mixing. Using dedicated tools and keeping a clean workspace can help prevent contamination.

Don’t Neglect Safety Precautions

Some polymer clays may contain additives or chemicals that could be harmful if ingested or inhaled. It’s important to work in a well-ventilated area and wash your hands after handling polymer clay. Additionally, avoid using kitchen utensils for clay projects to prevent cross-contamination with food items.

Avoid Thin and Fragile Structures

Polymer clay can be delicate in thin and delicate structures. Unsupported thin pieces are more prone to breakage or bending during handling or baking. Reinforce delicate designs with armatures or thicker sections to enhance their durability.


Working with polymer clay offers endless creative possibilities, but it’s important to be aware of the limitations and potential pitfalls. By avoiding these common mistakes, you can achieve impressive and long-lasting results in your polymer clay projects. Remember to follow proper guidelines, practice safe handling, and experiment with different techniques to unlock the full potential of this versatile medium.

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