MICROWAVING AND POLISHING POLYMER CLAY BEADS I received an interesting question from Kim "Irish Red" Kennedy on 19th May 2003 "Hi Garie, Have you polished any of the beads you've microwaved? I'd be interested to know if there is a difference in the finish. Kim " This prompted me to carry out the test and the result are interesting. The clay tested are Sculpey 3, Sculpey Premo, Super Sculpey, Fimo Soft, Fimo Classic and Cernit.
Before you start doing it according to my method, make sure that you use container that can be microwave. Put all the beads in the container and filled the water straight from the taps, the level to two third above the diameter of the beads. Put the container in the microwave and set the timer to 10 minutes. Remove the container after it is cooked. You will noticed that the water level have dropped one third due to evaporation. Cool down the beads or pour cold water into the container. Dry the beads with a cloth or tissue paper. You will noticed the change of color in all the beads. They are all lighter in color.
All the beads are very hard. Next I used a fine polishing compound and polished every single beads. After the polishing, I noticed that all the beads are back to its original colors. I realised that the change of colors was due to a whitish coating around the surface of the beads, and was , removed by polishing.
These are close up view of the half polished beads, noticed the shine on the surfaces, if you continue to polish the beads it will be even more shiner. You can also coats the beads with glossy varnish.
The cooked beads are very hard, you can drill and string the beads without breaking the beads. No color change to the polymer clay beads. Whitish coating are just clay residue which can be polished away. If you cooked clay figure or critter applying matt or gloss varnish will removed the whitish coating.
After all the test that I had conducted you can cooked the polymer clay in different microwave. oven. I do not encounter any serious problem, such as explosion in the super heated water. My advice, do not use any container that is not suitable for microwaving, always clean your microwave oven.
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