How to Use a Microwave to Make Clay Hard

by Dan Harkins
If it's small and made of polymer clay, you should be able to use the microwave.

If it's small and made of polymer clay, you should be able to use the microwave.

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The final phase of creating arts and crafts in clay is the firing process. The recommended method is by using a dedicated firing kiln or kitchen oven with precisely calibrated temperature settings, but that's not the only way. If you make your objects with a special material called polymer clay and keep those objects small enough to fit inside a plastic container filled with water, a microwave oven should be sufficient to harden your final product.

Items you will need

  • Plastic containers
  • Polymer clay
Step 1

Sculpt your creations out of polymer clay. This medium comes in numerous colors, from several manufacturers.

Step 2

Don't make objects that will be too large to be placed inside a plastic container that will be filled with water. Some acceptable creations: clay beads, cups or flowerpots.

Step 3

Consult your microwave manual for its temperature settings. Make sure it doesn't heat at temperatures higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit. If it does, try cooking at half power. Any hotter than 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and your clay -- polymer or not -- will burn.

Step 4

Place your finished clay product in a plastic container that's taller than your creation.

Step 5

Fill the plastic container with water, fully submerging the clay piece.

Step 6

Heat the container on high heat -- unless your microwave requires you to use half-heat -- for five to 10 minutes, depending on the size of the piece.

Step 7

Watch the container as the time goes by. If the water starts to sink below the level of the clay piece, turn off the microwave and refill the water. Direct heat from the microwave may cause your clay to burn fairly quickly.

Step 8

Pour the water from the plastic container when the time runs out and feel your clay to test for firmness.

Step 9

Keep microwaving your clay piece in five-minute increments until you reach your desired hardness.

Tips & Warnings

  • Other types of creations that require kilning can be done in a microwave, such as fused glass jewelry, but only if a special microwave kiln is used (see Resources).

About the Author

Dan Harkins has been a full-time journalist since 1997. Prior to working in the alternative press, he served as a staff writer and editor for daily publications such as the "St. Petersburg Times" and "Elyria Chronicle-Telegram." Harkins holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

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