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6 Tips: Firing clay in the oven

Especially in times of Corona, the air-drying clay is a welcome change. Either you air dry it – depending on how strong the walls of your piece will be, this process will take a few days to two or more weeks – or you can bake it in the oven, this way it will be more shatterproof and won’t take as long to finish. If you decide to fire (rather bake) the clay in the oven, I have some helpful tips for you here.

1. The basis

First you need a suitable modeling clay in any case. Here you have a relatively large selection possibility. In addition to FIMO, Keramiplast Papiermaché, wood modeling flour and others, there is also air-drying clay, which you can dry in the air, bake in the oven or fire in the ceramic kiln.

You can find more information about this and working with air-hardening clay in our article Clay without firing – is that possible?

2. Why actually bake in the oven?

Exactly, why should you actually put your work in the oven if the mass is called air-drying? Quite simply, if it has to go fast, you catch up with the baking up to three weeks (depending on how long the drying would have taken with you), which the work should actually dry in the air.

In addition, the whole thing is harder and therefore more unbreakable.

3. Use the whole oven!

Just like in the ceramic kiln, you can also use trays in your oven to stack smaller works such as jewelry, hanging decorations, or even bowls and plates. This way, you’ll make the most of your oven and save yourself some time!

4. Does the clay need to be dried before it goes into the kiln?

Ideally, you let your work dry for about two days before you put it in the oven. Thus, you ensure that it is really no longer moist before baking. If you have no more time and you really need the object tomorrow, for example for a last-minute Christmas gift, then let it dry for a few hours and bake it a little longer than indicated on the description. No guarantee for any breaks or cracks! 😬

5. How fast and hot is baked?

Since the modeling clay is rather cold or has room temperature, you should not immediately put your work in the hot oven.

As with the kiln, you can place the objects in the cold oven. Set the controller to 110°C and bake the whole thing for about two hours. After that, simply open the oven and let it cool down – now your work is ready to be painted! 🙂

Attention: This applies especially to our Witgert-Airdry. For other masses like those mentioned in 1. the basis, you should always pay attention to the packaging label.

6. Patience & children?

Exactly, there is almost no such thing! The best part of working with clay is the modeling itself and the colorful painting, the drying process is more or less uninteresting. Children do need to learn that not everything can always happen now and immediately, but it’s still nice if the waiting time can be shortened a bit. A big advantage especially with a bunch of kindergarten kids 😉

So a few days to dry, off in the oven and then it’s off to paint with acrylic paints.

The disadvantages

Of course, as with normal fired clay, there are disadvantages.

You should not put your work especially in places that have a fairly high humidity, such as the bathroom or kitchen, because the clay is not waterproof or solid. Thus, you can already think of the next disadvantage – your work is not an object of use, but simply beautiful decoration to look at.

The clay becomes harder through baking, but is still fragile clay and thus not protected from breakage.

Conclusion

Despite the disadvantages, modeling at home with air-drying clay (with or without children) is really fun – you can also see it as a preliminary stage to pottery with normal clay – and the works are super suitable as a decoration or as a small gift for special people.

In addition, the air-drying mass is a cheap alternative to clay, because you model, bake and paint everything at home and thus save the trip to the ceramics studio, the firing service and the waiting time until you hold the final work in your hands.

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