A bake-in-the-oven clay is a any type of clay in which sculpted pieces are finished or hardened by baking them in an oven for a specified amount of time. While oven bake clay, such as polymer clay, is readily available in stores, such items contain ingredients that can be toxic if swallowed or harmful if over-cooked. Creating your own bake-in-the-oven clay will help you save money and is safer, particularly if you will be using the clay with young children.
Basic Bake-in-the-Oven Clay
To make a very simple bake-in-the-oven clay combine 2 cups of flour with 1 cup of salt and 1 cup of hot water. To give this clay a smoother texture add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Combine the flour and salt before adding the hot water. Mix the clay thoroughly and allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes before kneading the clay and using it to craft your own sculptures or pottery.
Baker's clay is another oven bake clay that can be made with ingredients found in most kitchens. You will need 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of salt, 1 teaspoon of alum and 1 1/2 cups water. Mix together all the ingredients. If the clay feels too dry add another tablespoon of water. The clay can be colored by kneading in food coloring. For multiple colors of clay, first divide the clay into sections then add a few drops of food coloring to each section and knead it in.
Baking the Clay
Once you have sculpted items using the basic clay recipe, bake in a 300 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until hard. When removed the clay will have a slightly brown baked look to it. If you would prefer the baked clay to look whiter, cook at 250 degrees for about 50 minutes or until hard. You can give items a golden appearance by brushing them lightly with egg yolk before placing them in the oven. Baker's clay should be baked at 250 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn the items over and bake for up to an additional 90 minutes.
Oven baked clay can be used to make a variety of clay items. One easy method of using the clay is to roll out the clay with a rolling pin and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. These shapes can be turned into decorations or pins and can be painted or decorated after baking. You can use the clay to sculpt small figurines or to make your own beads.
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