Yes, polymer clay will harden as it cools after baking. The hardening process occurs during baking when the clay molecules undergo a chemical reaction and bond together, forming a solid and durable structure.
Baking Polymer Clay
When polymer clay is exposed to the appropriate baking temperature, the heat triggers a process known as “curing.” During curing, the plasticizers in the clay begin to evaporate, causing the clay to become more solid and rigid.
After removing polymer clay from the oven, it will continue to harden as it cools down. As the temperature decreases, the polymer chains within the clay become tightly interlocked, contributing to the overall hardness and stability of the material.
Testing for Hardness
To ensure that your polymer clay creation has fully hardened:
- Allow the piece to cool completely before handling it.
- Gently press your fingernail into an inconspicuous area of the clay. If the clay feels firm and does not leave an indentation, it has hardened properly.
It’s important to follow the recommended baking instructions provided by the polymer clay manufacturer to achieve the best results. Proper baking and cooling are essential for creating durable and long-lasting polymer clay projects.