So, it begins. The arduous and slightly terrifying task of finally putting my carefully, painstakingly, hand crafted figurine in the oven.
NB – I’ve never used polymer clay before, nor have I ever made my own figurine before.
Oven thermometer – check. Tin foil – check. Enough balls to put it in the oven – not checked?
Firstly, it juuuuust about fits. Just about. With enough room to add a supporting piece of thick copper wire to keep it in place during baking. Secondly, prior to cooking a polymer clay figurine which requires the exact temperature of 110 degrees Celsius, I presumed that the temperature gauge on my conventional oven would do. It would not. I’ve ended up cooking it on what looks like about 125 degrees, but my oven thermometer says 110. If not cooked at the right temperature for the right amount of time, you risk the clay cracking, breaking, burning, or just not cooking at all.
I wanted the arms to be placed in such a way that when it was dry, he would be holding his alarm clock. Obviously I can’t bake an alarm clock in the oven, but I needed something to base his arm positioning on so I used yet more tin foil as a guide of where to place his arms. I put them into position in front of the tin foil and then held them in place with small wire around his fingers that I then pushed into the tin foil. I used the most delicate wire I could find, and pushed it around two fingers on each hand, and then stuck into the foil. It seemed to do the trick before I baked it, but I guess I’d have to see what happened when it was dry.
My figurine would take 30 minutes to cook, plus extra time to allow it to cool down to room temperature. I sat in front of my oven for the full thirty minutes. I felt like I was watching dramatic news unfold on the television: Must. Not. Look. Away.
See how little room there is in there?? Stress. But he just about fits. I cooked his head and hat separately to his body, as I will attach these later to the wire ‘neck’ from the top of the armature. I also have plans afoot for his hair, so I needed to leave the hat off too.
When it finished cooking and it hadn’t exploded/cracked/shattered in the oven, I did a cry. My mother came downstairs to find me in front of my oven, softly weeping at the sight of my clay figurine.
But here I am. Alive. Pleased. And it came out perfectly! Nothing is glued together in the picture, it’s all just resting very delicately but I wanted to see what the final outcome was looking like! Fortunately it doesn’t tip or fall so I’ve gotten the weighting just right too. I placed the alarm clock in his arms just to see what it looks like, and I must say I’m incredibly impressed with myself. I’ve made larger things out of natural clay before, but not polymer clay and certainly nothing this small or intricate.
LOOK HOW IT STANDS BY ITSELF.
Go ahead, swoon with me. I’m currently at an unmanageable level of stress/excitement/deliriousness, but thankfully, it survived the encounter with the oven. Now I’ve just got to paint it, and then he’s finito!