Monday, September 26, 2011

Oops! Bake not Broil!

This has happened twice now... Once the mistake was salvageable and the other... well, it's a good reminder of what NOT to do!------------------------------------->

Years ago, I bought a toaster oven at a garage sale for college and never ended up using it.  Four years later, I begin my career as a small business owner and polymer clay is my bread and butter and that toaster oven became indispensable.  These WERE a pair of pink-with-black-polkadot gauged earrings that would fit my 8g ears.  About half way through the 30 min. bake time I begin to smell that lovely chemical odor of burning plastic.  Polymer clay does give off an odor but it's usually bearable.  Not that day!

My husband, who had turned on the toaster oven for me, checked the timer and said everything looked great.  So, you can imagine my surprise when 15 min. later my jaw hit the floor as I gaze upon what had taken 3 hrs to create.  The toaster had been set to broil, not bake, and the earrings a mere inch from the upper heating coils became black mutilated twigs. Evidently, Polymer clay expands when it burns, and these grotesque, mummified curls were now twice their original size.  I have hung these up on my 'ideas' board above my desk as a subtle reminder, BAKE NOT BROIL!

A short two weeks later, I had again labored away for 3 hrs. to create my first polymer clay rose and again my husband had turned on the toaster oven for me (he really is helpful most of the time) and again we smelled burning plastic.  Realizing what that meant, my hubby leaped off the couch and pulled out my now black creation. But this time, I about cried with delight! The thin edges and surface of the rose had turned black but the the thicker, shielded inside had remained red. Because you should NEVER burn polymer clay because of the toxic fumes it releases, this little rose beauty is a one-of-a-kind treasure. 

Lesson learned- BAKE NOT BROIL!