Are polymer clay oven reviews confusing you? Which type of clay craft oven bakes better, toaster, convection or microwave? What are the most important features?
Here's the answers plus three recommendations for 2015 models that will bake your Sculpey perfectly every time. And the best news is that you won’t have to take that long drove to Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Order them online and have them delivered right to your door.
There are many online
reviews and endorsements for ovens for baking polymer. Many date back to
the origins of the internet. Unfortunately, most of those models are
discontinued. However, the ones listed below are available right now.
Well, it’s NOT a microwave oven. The only way that you can safely cure clay in a microwave is to submerge it in a container of water. And that really limits the size of your pieces.
The best oven is any one that holds a consistent temperature evenly for the entire baking process. There are few experienced clayers who will recommend Sculpey or Fimo baking in a small toaster oven, they’re too prone to temperature spikes.
Ranked 3.4 out of 5 stars. Only 42% of buyers gave it their highest recommendation. The official name of this toaster model is the Amaco Polymer Clay and Craft Oven. But everyone just calls it the ‘Sculpey oven’, when they aren’t calling it other names.
Not much has changed with this oven since I first reviewed it. It still has uneven quality. It still has a reputation for not maintaining a consistent oven temperature. And it is small. You only have 5 inches of baking room between the tray and the inside ceiling of the oven. Yes, it’s an inexpensive countertop option, but if you pay just a bit more for some of the other choices below you won’t be as limited or be as nervous when you bake clay. If your low budget is the problem, check out tips on how to bake safely in your kitchen oven below.
This Hamilton Beach ‘toaster oven’ workhorse has been very popular for a long time. Not much has changed since I first reviewed them. As I'm writing this in early 2016, I find that reviews from the last six months show that the quality is still consistently good.
The San Diego Polymer Clay Guild has purchased these for use at their wonderful annual Fall retreat, Sandy Camp. For 4 days these ovens are used from dawn to almost midnight, sometimes longer. Ask me about my 1:00am baking and skunk adventure there!
Heather Kenney, the guild's ‘Oven Queen’ says, “We like it because it stays a consistent temperature and several of our members use this exact model at home including myself."
"We have used this model for the last five years at least at Sandy Camp and have not had any issues with the ovens themselves. It has been getting harder and harder to find the black model for $82 and this last year I had to buy the silver model which was slightly higher in price but worked just as well.”
I like both these clay craft ovens because they are BIG. You can fit two 9 x 13 inch baking pans on two adjustable, removable shelves. The dials are easy to set. They usually don’t have ‘hot spots’. If you find that the one you have does, try using the convection setting to move the air around inside. Make sure you do several test bakings first with a couple of different oven thermometers before you try curing a significant project.
I"d really like my next portable clay day oven is going to be one of these space age looking infrared/convection tabletop models. Imagine being able to keep an eye on your thermometer and your project at all times! No more opening the door to check the thermometer because you can’t see inside the dark interior. No more worrying that your translucent Fimo is burning.
The best seller in this category on Amazon is highly rated, with many reviews but it has a plastic bowl and top. What’s good for poultry won’t work with polymer. Clear, hard plastics deteriorate quickly when they come in contact with raw clay plasticizers. So for an oven that will last, buy a model with a glass bowl and cover.
Most of the complaints about these ovens on Amazon concern the halogen bulb burning out or breaking. I suspect that polymer clayers might have fewer problems with this because the material that we're baking does not spatter or splash and has minimal water vapor.
The Secura infrared/convection polyclay oven comes with baking racks, a pan and an extender which I’d use all the time. I just like the idea of keeping the heating element as far away from my project as possible.
If you still think you need to protect protruding parts that may be too close to the heating lamp, just put a little foil tent around your polymer. You can still see most of the piece to check it. But fasten it the tent down, some of these units have a fairly powerful convection fan and you don't want your foil blowing around.
The cheapest polymer clay oven choice is using the one that's built into your home kitchen.
Baking clay in your home oven is perfectly safe if you don't burn it. It also doesn't leave any residue on your oven's walls. It's not just me saying that, its the makers of Sculpey and Premo who have much better testing services and lawyers than I do. Read the Polyform Health and Safety FAQ page to get the straight answers.
But you or other members of your family may be sensitive to the smell of curing clay. So many of us that use our kitchen ovens to bake clay try to contain the smells.
There are many different methods. But the best and easiest one is to bake your piece inside a tightly sealed oven bag on a stiff cookie sheet. They are made of polyester or nylon and are resistent to heat usually up to 400 to 450 F (200 to 230 C).
All the odors are trapped inside (while technically not toxic they do smell a bit). When the cooking time is finished, take the cookie sheet outside your house and set it on a sturdy, non-flammable surface before you open the bag.
I usually bake in one of these ‘turkey oven bags’ (18 inches x 20 inches or 45.72cm x 50.8 cm). The same company on Amazon also has an 'ostrich oven bag' which is 30" x 48"(76.2cm x 121.92cm ) you'll need a BIG oven.
The bags are reusable as long as they don’t have holes in them. Do not use twist-ties with metal in them to seal up the entry hole as this can melt the bag. If you run out of the ties that come in the package, cut a half inch strip off the open end of the bag and use the long thin piece to tie the bag. Also keep the bag away from any heating elements or the oven sides so it doesn’t melt.
Even if part of your bag accidentally melts (usually because it got too close to a heating element) and you see a hole in it, your oven is still safe for cooking food right away.
PolymerClayer › Oven Recommendations