Well if you are reading this I might guess you were like me and have burned a couple of your masterpieces. I know how frustrating it is to take your hardwork out of the oven and discovering that what you sculpted was not a beautiful cupcake but instead a blackened lump of clay. It sucks and I have been in the same exact situation. At one point I burned so many projects that I gave up for a good 2 or 3 months. But, I am here to tell you: Don't give up!
First of all, the very first thing I want to warn you about is your temperature. I always cook on the low end (around 250 degrees for Sculpey and Michaels brand clay). I found that whenever I cooked the clay at the mid to high range of the packages temperature I got the most blackened lumps. So, check your packages temperatures and dial your oven to the low end. Investing in a oven thermometer is also another smart move. Most ovens will waver a little bit below or above the actual temperture so investing in an oven thermometer will help you to pinpoint a certain temperature.
Next, set a timer! I know this one seems kind of ridiculous but I am horrible about setting timers and burned a lot of clay by leaving it to bake for too long. I usually cook my pieces for about 10 minutes. With bigger pieces than miniature food I would recommend cooking the clay for a bit longer. Also, if you are cooking a masterpiece I would suggest just checking on it every couple of minutes just to make sure you don't see the starlings of a burn.
Tile Bake Tray
I recommend using a tile (you can get them for less than $5 at The Home Depot or Lowes) to place your clay projects on to bake them. I have had great success with the tile I currently have and believe that it accounts a lot for my ability to now cook my clay without burning it. I don't know the science behind using metal vs. tile or how the tile cooks better, I just know that the tile has been a huge help!
I have also found that cooking in a small toaster oven and greatly decreased the amount of clay I burned. Now, having one of these to cook clay is not necessary and unless you plan to invest a lot of time or start a business you probably do not need to spend the money to own one.
If you are cooking a piece that is more fragile, whether it be long, skinny pieces or an overall thin piece I would recommend dousing the clay in an ice water bath immediately after taking it out of the oven to give it more strength.
I know how frustrating cooking clay can be. And if you still don't have success after implementing my tips you could try making simple patties of clay and playing around with settings like temperature and time until you find what works for you.
If you still are having issues with cooking you clay shoot me an email or leave a comment down below and I would love to help you out! Thanks for reading my blog!