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FINISHING TIPS

From Amy Irving
Tip: "I'm relatively new to glazing polymer clay but my main experiment has been with two part epoxy resin. Warming both bottles in a bowl of hot water before mixing together helps the two liquids combine faster. Make sure to mix VERY well! The resin will go cloudy when you first start mixing it - don't panic! As you continue it will turn clear. I've noticed that if I stop stirring the mix just after it turns clear and apply it straight on my beads it will take a very long time to dry whereas the last of the mixture I use (when it's getting more gloopy) tends to dry within the instructed 24 hours. With epoxy resin it needs to sit in an area over 24celcius to cure. Be patient if your beads are still sticky a couple of days later - they may need longer to dry. I have noticed that mixing the resin until the slightly 'gloopy' stage encourages it to dry with 24-36 hours. My only difficulty is just enough resin on the bead that it doesn't form a drip at the bottom- I think this will take practice! I will try the recommended wood varnishes soon but have been advised to stay well away from clear nail varnish."

From Karen Ladykins
Tip: "I have had the sticky problem too and I have used probably all of the glazes on the market, except I haven't tried Kato polyclay yet. I use Sculpey polymer clay. The future floor polish and the Varathane polyurethane are the best in my opinion to combat stickiness. I have tried mod podge and then glaze sprays on my casting items that I make casting molds from and in a short time of a week the molds crack. At first they look great and I can make molds from them, but within days they start getting cracks in them and I have to throw them away they are in such bad shape. So I would not recommend mod podge and the glaze sprays. I only tried them by hearing that they worked for someone, maybe it works on certain BRANDS of polymer clay? Also, someone recommened Ailene's matte spray for stickiness, I tried that and it didn't help at all. So for me it will be Future floor polish and/or the Varathane polyurethane from now on."

From Tiffanie DeShields
Tip: "The first rule of glazing is to remember polymer clay is a plastic based clay which means and can be highly reactive to certain types of chemicals in products you use for glazing. The main rule of thumb I always use is to make sure you're product contains polyurethane and it's water based. Using products like Mod Podge and nail polishes will eat through all of your hard work and trust me I found out the hard way. My last year's Christmas ornaments had to be thrown out as well as a few other pieces I stored away.

Depending on my prodjects, I keep 3-4 types of glazes around. All of which can be purchased at your local craft stores either Hobby Lobby or Micheals. If I want my piece to have a high gloss shine then I always reach for Triple Thick; it is a super thick formula and only requires One coat, seriously. My other favorites are by DuraGloss and comes in finishes like Gloss, Satin and Pearl finishes and are my favorites because of their light formulas and fast drying time and they offer small bottles which run about $2-$3 depending on where you live. Look for these in the acrylic paint sections they're usually kept aside with other different finishes & it will say polyurethane on the label so definitely look for it to make sure you don't grab something else by mistake. Happy crafting!"

From Kendall Donovan Lee Ortiz Ruiz
Tip: "Mod podge is terrible in my opinion. It's great the first day but then the dust sticks to your charm and then I have no way to remove the mod podge without completely ruining all my hard copy work. But I will add I live in Puerto Rico which is a tropical island in the Caribbean so whenever a glaze doesn't work out I am quick to blame the humidity. Unfortunately it is likely the case that high humidity will make even the best glaze attract dust. Now I use Verathane and its 110% better than mod podge but still attracts dust while somehow never feeling sticky. . . no idea how it's possible but it's not that bad so I'll deal with it. I also use clear nail polish specifically Sally Henson nail hardener. It's a little thick but has never turned sticky or reacted to the clay. And those are the three glazes that I have used though I am looking forward to buying Future or some similar product."

From Amy Randolph
Tip: "I love using Future, and find the best way to use it for coating beads is to put a small amount (a tablespoon or so - you can always add more) in a heavy, high quality large ziplock bag. I string about 10 beads onto a piece of dental floss with plenty of room between them and knot it like a bracelet, then drop the bead string into the bag of Future. I remove as much air as possible, seal the bag and just knead, shake and move the bag contents around until the beads are covered. Doing it this way allows me to get all the clay surfaces covered fully with Future without getting any on my hands or anything else, and without wasting any Future polish. I can then remove a string of fully coated beads from the bag, squeezing them against the sides of bag as I take it out to remove as much Future as possible. I then hang the beads to dry, repeat if necessary, and bake to strengthen the Future. This bag of Future can be used repeatedly, and the ziplock seal keeps it from drying out until I need it again."

From Cheryl Weaks
Tip: "Just tried putting baked beads on a toothpick. Dip bead into Future polish & jam stick into a plastic covered Styrofoam disc to dry. Multiple dips give a high glass finish!"

From April Greene
Tip: "There is a spray finish called PIM II that is marketed as being a good replacement for old fashioned,"Sticky" style spray varnishes, as it dries on polyclay. Hard to find, but it's out there. Not for bargain hunters--tho' the big leagues of polyclay are not for penny pinchers, either. PIM II from their own page is $12.95 for an 11 oz. can, less for a smaller can. But crafting sites, which use Pim to set up printer ink images, will rip you off at $20.00 or more a can,so buy factory direct, girls!"

From Lanz Frago
Tip: "If you ever end up with sticky pieces after varnishing, it's because some varnishes react to the clay. What I do is that I varnish it again, so that the second coat of varnish doesn't react with the clay anymore and it doesn't become sticky anymore."

From Sandra Grudzen
Tip: "I could never find Flecto Varathane, so I bought Minwax Water Based POLYCRYLIC Protective Finish, and I like it much better than Future Floor Wax. I feel it gives a permanent finish to the beads that I make...and very glossy."

From Kim Monroe
Tip: "I have tried a few different techniques for polishing and what I found works best for smaller pieces is clear embossing powder with a heat gun. I love it and you have so many different choices on the market for color powders."

From Andrea
Tip: "An easy way to get your polymer items to shine or have a glazed look is to brush egg whites, covering the clay completely, before baking. After the item is baked there will be some little bubbles on it, just let the item cool and then lightly wipe off any bubbles and it comes out shiny, smooth and clean."

From Grannie
Tip: "Wax paper rubbed over polymer clay while hot from the oven will form a wonderful wax coating leaving the item velvety smooth to the touch ( when used on a doll it looks and feels just like baby soft skin.)"

From Lee
Tip: "I use primarily two finishes for my pieces, Mod Podge or a spray finish. Mod Podge works great because it dries quickly, can be thinned down easily, and you can have your choice of finish... glossy, matte, or glittery. When I don't have any Mod Podge readily available, I use spray finishes instead. But Mod Podge is great, cause it also acts as a glue so you can affix smaller baked pieces onto the main piece. And like some spray finishes I've used, Mod Podge is never sticky when it's dry. I had made myself Devil Horns for a halloween costume, and after painting some detail onto them, I sprayed them with a spray finish, but it ended up being really sticky, which isn't good since it'd be on my head and touching my hair. But luckily, I had picked up a bottle of Mod Podge the next day and it very easily covered up the spray finish and the piece was no longer sticky."

From Marcella Brooks
Tip: "Future Future Acrylic Floor Polish is a wonderful product for finishing polymer clay pieces in a high gloss shine, even if you haven't done much polishing or sanding beforehand. It can be brushed on, or sprayed on, with a wonderful depth to the finish. The "glaze" becomes even more durable if the piece is baked (200F for 10 minutes) after application. You can add as many layers as you wish, getting a deeper shine after each application. Some people bake in-between layers, or after a number of layers have been applied. I've tried both, and have had great sucess."

From Marcella Brooks
Tip: "Mica powders, such as Pearl-Ex and Powdered Pearls are often applied before curing, and mostly rub off without being sealed. Painting or spraying the sealant with Future or other sealants can often ruin the powdered mica's effects. For spectacular highlights to raised portions of texture, add mica pigment powder to a small amount of Future. It can be painted on the raised portions and won't rub off after it's dried or cured in the oven. This mixture can also be applied to un-cured clay; however,the Future will most likely bubble at the higher temperatures. Fortunately, the bubbles can be popped and another coat of Future applied and baked at 200F for 10 minutes with lovely results. "

From Jeanna Carroll
Tip: "I have heard that nail polish can yellow with time, although it is more convenient than a big can of Varathane. I spoke with a Behr rep who said that Behr Decorative Finish was compatible with Flecto but that it was better because it was tougher and non-yellowing. I've heard some say that their Flecto Varathane pieces yellowed and others haven't had that problem. I have never tried either because the gallon of Flecto I came across was over $40. The Behr came in a smaller container but I still didn't break down and pay the $15 for it. I've been using Future which is a bit too thin for me, and Sculpey Gloss, which is too thick for my liking. Picky, huh!? I saw a Generic brand Future in the Dollar Store for those penny pinchers like me! "

From Izzy Harris
Tip: "For anyone who wants a shiny, glass-like finish to their piece but isn't sure which finish to use, super glossy clear nail polish works great! It comes with its own brush and it dries quickly."

From Lesa Dill
Tip: "There's a wonderful product on the market that acts as both a mold release and a fingerprint eliminator on molded pieces. It's Downey Wrinkle Releaser. What's left on the clay evaporates. This product is superior to ArmourAll or Talc and allows artists to get great detail and clarity from molds."

From Darlene Kulczycki
Tip: "I found an easy way to use Future that saves the amount of leftovers. I strand the finished pendant on floral wire, bend it into a V-shape, and then dip the pendant into a waxed dixie cup filled with enough Future to submerse the item. I dip each pendant twice, then hang them on my baking pan that's lined with a paper towel and a piece of aluminum foil underneath. I let each item sit for a few minutes, and then, before I bake them, I take a small natural bristle paint brush and wipe off the drips on the bottom of each item. Repeat this procedure twice (baking two layers on the item) and you will find the results are pretty nice. Also, the remainder of the Future from the cup can easily be poured back into the container. This is a great way to cover the entire item, and to really save on the amount of Future you use."



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