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Everyone has used air-dry clay at some time in their lives. The ease of letting the clay cure outdoors and then utilizing it immediately makes it a good option for many.

However, since air-dry clays aren’t as robust as baked clays, it’s recommended to bake it to ensure it lasts longer.

It is safe to bake air dry clay in the oven. However, you must be cautious about the sort of clay you use and the temperature you employ, since the improper mix might result in dangerous effects.

Continue reading for more information on baking air dry clay and some useful safety guidelines to keep your project going.

Does Air Dry Clay Need To Be Baked?

The advantage of baking your clay is not just that it protects your hands from sticky catastrophe; it also keeps moisture away from your completed items (source: The Creative Folk).

Baking normal clay removes water and prevents moisture buildup, which may lead to yeast and mold growth (source: CraftKnights).

If you want to wear your air dry clay necklace for an extended period of time, make sure there is no moisture in the air when you put it on.

Air dry clay does not need baking since it includes baking soda, which acts to harden the clay after air drying. However, there are times when baking is advised.

For example, if you want to paint your handmade clay with acrylic paint, you should bake it first to eliminate any surface oils that can interfere with paint application (source: Senior Care to Share).

The baking process is what gives clay its strength and rigidity. Until you bake clay, the heat converts the water into steam, which expands and works as a glue, binding your pieces together when they dry.

Can You Oven Bake Air Dry Clay To Make It Dry Faster?

You may speed up the drying process by oven baking air dry clay. However, most companies mention on their label that air dry clay should not be baked. Still, most people are unaware that you can use your oven as a kiln and dry your clay using the same processes as a conventional kiln.

If you’re not sure how to use your oven as a kiln, here’s a simple tutorial:

  • Begin with a clean, undamaged piece of clay. First, make sure all of the gaps and holes are filled with new clay.
  • Place the clay in a cold oven, set the temperature to no more than 200°F (93.33°C), and let it alone for 30 minutes, or until the clay is dry on both sides.
  • The heat from the oven causes the clay’s moisture to boil and solidify into a solid state.
  • After around 30 minutes, turn off the oven and let it to cool fully before removing it from the oven.

How To Bake Air Dry Clay: Temperature and Timings

The baking time varies depending on the job. When baking air-dry clay, keep an eye on the oven temperature; too high and you’ll burn the surface before it’s dry, melt, or distort the clay (it’ll appear like porcelain). Explosions may also result from an abrupt temperature shift.

In contrast, if the temperature is too low, the clay may clump. Furthermore, it may take several days for all of the clay parts to cure on the exterior.

A temperature of 150-200°F (65.56-93.33°C) is good for little things. If you have a thermostat, put it to good use. If you don’t have one, there are various options for controlling the temperature:

  • Make use of parchment paper. Place a baking pan lined with parchment paper in an empty oven set to its lowest temperature, roughly 150°F (65.56°C). Make sure the oven has been well cleaned (you don’t want to inhale hazardous odors every time you bake anything).
  • Make a timer.The time it takes to bake the clay depends on how dry you want it. When it cools, it gets tough. Bake the clay for 30 minutes on average, or until it is dry on both sides.
  • Mid-oven bake your clay. Bake the clay in the centre of the oven. This prevents your oven from heating unevenly, emitting weird odors, and perhaps damage your work by exposing it to high temperatures. eHow (source).

Will Air Dry Clay Explode in the Oven?

We recommend sticking to flat-surfaced, oven-baked clays. They will not only not explode, but they will also be more accurate. The key is in how they’re cooked.

When clay is baked on a flat surface, it loses its elasticity and ability to shrink as it dries.

As they dry, oven-baked clays become more hard and brittle, which is why it is advised that you store them flat (source: Answer To All). This ensures that their texture does not alter when they dry and shrink somewhat in the oven.

When baking clay without a fire, be careful when opening the oven door; a quick rush of hot air may easily break your clay into dust.

If air dry clay is kept in the oven for too long, it might explode. The longer you keep it in there, the higher its temperature rises, and it may explode.

If a piece is still blazing and thickening but seems to be about to explode, put on an oven mitt and remove it quickly. If you don’t catch it before it explodes, you’ll have caught it shortly before it does.

How to Bake Clay in the Oven

Step 1

Determine which kind of clay will be most suitable for your project. Polymer clays work nicely for little items and components no thicker than 1/2 inch. For bigger and thicker sculptures, air dry and fine art clays work well. An itemized list of tools and supplies may be seen on the final slide.

Step 2

Be patient and let time do its thing. Place the item in an out-of-the-way location with free air circulation and away from direct sunlight, such as the top of the refrigerator. Depending on the thickness of the piece, allow 7 to 10 days for it to fully dry out. Attempting to accelerate the oven drying process might result in fractures.

Step 3

Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Arrange the pieces on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving plenty of space around them. Aluminum foil balls may be used to support delicate components of a project. Bake for about an hour. As with baking cookies, keep an eye on the process since the pieces might burn. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the projects to cool to room temperature.

Step 4

Using an oven thermometer, check the temperature of the oven. Adjust the oven settings until the temperature stays close to the temperature specified on the box. Each brand of polymer clay requires different baking temperatures. When combining different kinds of polymer clays, use the lowest suggested temperature.

Step 5

Place the pieces on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 265 degrees Fahrenheit if no particular temperature guidelines are provided. Bake for 15 minutes for every 1/4-inch of thickness. Allow to cool in the oven.


You may bake air-dry clay in the oven if you use normal safety procedures while handling hot clay. Also, remember to allow it to cool fully before touching it.

Clay shrinks while drying and cracks if the drying process is uneven, which is simpler to avoid in an oven since it dries more slowly and uniformly than a heated room.