How Do You Bake Liquid Polymer Clay Without Browning?

My goal when I’m making my faux glass beads out of liquid polymer clay is to end up with the most transparent color I can that stays true to the color mix I made. It can be surprisingly hard to keep lighter blues actually blue, or clear completely clear!

The single most important thing you can do to prevent liquid polymer clay from browning is to cover it while you bake! In addition to covering your creations, check your oven for temperature accuracy, use a tile in the bottom of your baking pan to keep the temperature steady, and also check on the piece’s progress in increments while it’s curing.

Cover Your Pieces While They Bake

Creating a “tent” with foil, or placing your pieces in a covered aluminum pan, will significantly reduce the chances of your transparent liquid polymer clay browning while it bakes. I prefer using two shallow aluminum baking pans, where one is flipped over acting as a “lid”, because the ones that found fit my small craft oven perfectly. A piece of aluminum foil is harder for me to keep positioned in a way that it isn’t touching my beads.

When I’m baking particularly lightly-colored faux glass beads, I also make sure that the bead itself isn’t close to the edge of the baking pan – I position them so that they are suspended on a mandrel in the center.

Use a Ceramic Tile in the Bottom of Your Baking Pan

Placing a ceramic tile underneath your pieces makes a huge difference in stopping transparent liquid clay from browning, especially when you’re working with light colors – or trying to keep your clear actually clear looking. It’s the only way that I’m able to get my transparent, light-blue beads to stay blue after baking.

ceramic tile in baking pan

Test Your Oven Temperature

If you’re having a really hard time getting your transparent pieces to turn out without a yellow or brown tint, then it might be because your oven is running hotter than you think it is. Make sure you use an oven thermometer when you’re working with liquid polymer clay. I ignored that step for quite a while, and it would have saved me multiple hours of frustration if I had just checked!

Check on the Progress in Increments

Something else that I like to do with a new batch of light-colored transparent beads is check on them often during baking. By new batch, I mean a color that I haven’t already figured out the baking time yet for.

I usually make one sacrificial bead, put it in, and check it until either it finishes baking at the time I expected or I take it out earlier when it starts showing the beginning signs of browning. Once you make note of this time, you can keep future batches in a couple minutes less to avoid the color change.

When you’re checking on your liquid clay pieces in increments while they bake, you can usually catch them at the very beginning stages of browning before it’s too noticeable.

Is there any way to salvage liquid clay pieces that have yellowed?

When my faux glass beads turn slightly yellow/brown, I just go with it – even if I was really hoping for an ocean blue. I add another layer of a yellow/brown/amber mix and usually that makes the bead color look intentional.

What colors of liquid polymer clay are most likely to brown?

In my experience, light blues and greens will easily begin to yellow or brown while you’re baking. Trying to make a completely clear bead is also pretty difficult – the clear transparent clay tends to have a very slight yellow color to it after baking if you’re building it up in layers like I do. You can camouflage this slight yellow by surrounding it with a border of brown. This will make the light-yellow parts look almost completely clear in contrast with the brown.

faux glass disc bead tutorial

Will baking each layer individually make it turn out clearer?

I’ve tried that a few times, and as far as my experiments go – no, it didn’t have any effect on making a crystal-clear bead. Baking each layer (or every few layers) also doesn’t seem to stop the light blue/green colors from changing. Covering the pieces and using a tile in the pan had the most impact.

Final Thoughts on Baking Liquid Polymer Clay

The best way to stop your transparent liquid polymer clay creations from yellowing or browning in the oven is to make sure that you’re tenting them while baking and using a ceramic tile to keep the heat even. In addition to making sure the pieces are covered while baking, checking your oven temperature for accuracy and checking on the pieces a few times during the bake will also help prevent the color change.

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