A Crafts Community For Craft Ideas & DIY Projects - Craftster.org
Help | About | Contact | Press | Advertise | Terms | Site Map
Welcome, Guest.
Please login or register.
Random Tip: Need help? Click the HELP link at the top of the screen to read the docs or ask at the Help Desk.
Total Members: 296,600
Currently Running With Scissors:
612 Guests and 20 Users
Home Craftster Community Crafting Articles Craft Tutorials My Craftster Crafting Calendar City Guides Craft Shop


Pages: [1] 2  All
Jump to page:
  Show Images Only     Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
Topic: FINISHES for clay (info) --gloss, satin + liquids, waxes, sanding-buffing  (Read 11878 times)
Tags for this thread:  Add new tag
Share the love... Pin it Submit to reddit add to Wists
1+
 
Diane B.
Offline Offline

Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


View Profile WWW
« on: August 18, 2007 09:50:26 AM »

This is basically an informational post about finishes that can be used --and also shouldn't be used-- for polymer clay.  
(It's mostly things I've written before, but by putting it all together here I can have a fairly comprehensive summary of info to refer quickly to when questions about various types of finish and their differences come up . . . there is just a bit of overlap between the 2 sections though).



There are a number of ways to get a glassy look on polymer clay... each has its advantages and disadvantages.
 
Btw, no finish is necessary on polymer clay since it's waterproof all by itself, and many clayers use no finish at all, or they "sand-and-buff" to get a glossy surface or just a beautiful sheen.
Liquid finishes can be used though to give a high gloss--or slight gloss, or no gloss, depending on choice-- to clay surfaces, or they can be used to seal various things onto the clay's surface to keep them from oxidizing or from falling off, etc. (...note that metallic powders like Pearl Ex won't need a sealer unless they are not well rubbed in or unless they'll get a lot of abraision in use).

quick summary of possible finishes:

One can simply apply a (water-based) liquid acrylic/plastic finish to baked clay.

There are two most-commonly used liquid gloss finishes by clayers because they do a good job and are cheap by volume:
.....water-based polyurethanes, which are clear finishes that are sold for sealing bare wood (the most-used brand is Rustoelum's Gloss Varathane--used to be made by Flecto)
.....clear "floor polishes" (Johnson's Future, now called Pledge With Future Shine, is the most-used but may be called by other names like Klear/etc outside the U.S.)
(there are other brands of both those types though)
There are also finishes put out by the clay manufacturers:
...Polyform's Sculpey Glaze, etc. (see bottom of this post for changes in Sculpey's finishes)
...Fimo's Special Lack ...they used to sell 4 versions of varnish --gloss/matte, water-based/alcohol-based (the alcohol-based gloss version was by far the most popular) ...they're hard to find now though, or no longer made? or only 1 version still available? which is a water-based one and not very good)

There are also other materials that can be used to give a glassy shine:
....e.g., acrylic mediums, clear embossing powders, permanent "white glues" thinned with water and "dimensional" white glues," 2-part epoxy resins and 2-part epoxy glues, etc-- but all those either require more work or won't be as strong.

The other main way to create a high gloss is to wet sand a bit (at least 400 grit then 600 grit), then buff with an electric buffer (hand-buffing won't take the clay all the way up to a glassy shine--only a sheen).
If one is sanding lots of small roundish beads (without powders/leaf, etc. on their suface which would be abraided off), using a regular kiddie tumbler can save a lot of time and wear and tear on the hands. There are other electric devices that can be used instead of a tumbler too.

Translucent clays or liquid clays (Translucent Liquid Sculpey, Kato Clear Medium, Fimo Decorating Gel) can also be used, then sanded/buffed to give a glassy shine... but if you want them to actually be transparent as opposed to just translucent, a very thin layer needs to be used (certain other techniques will also help with clarity).

(Some people use only one of those techniques... some people use more than one technique in the same piece --though in a certain order).


a few variables about using the possible finishes:

...thickness varies between liquids
..... e.g., Future is thin (so often more than one coat is necessary for real visual "depth", and will actually give a sheen rather than high gloss shine if it's applied while the clay is still warm), whereas Varathane is thicker and with one coat can give a deep, thick shine (it can also be dipped into for even thicker glassy shine)
.... Sculpeys Glaze is really thick (and gloppy)
.... Fimo has 4 finishes; the "spirit"-based Gloss one is probably the best finish there is for polymer clay, but it's really expensive!

...strength  & longevity vary
...... dimensional glazes/glues, clear embossing powders, and acrylic mediums are all much more scratchable than the Varathane/Future/Sculpey Glaze/Fimo's laquer mentioned, and sometimes are more susceptible to clouding from later humidity
......the Gloss Varathane also has something called an "interpenetrating network"--IPN-- which makes it bond down into the surface of the clay better than most other wood finishes and other finishes, plus it's UV resistant
........not all brands of wood finish are the same in other ways too (compared to Minwax, Golden, and/or others)... e.g., Varathane is very strong/unscratchable, doesn't "require ventilation" when applying, is less resistant to humidity while drying and afterward, has UV protection, etc
.......Future is less permanent than Varathane ...it's actually soluble in water if exposed to a lot of it, even after drying and rebaking; humidity can also penetrate Future if in long contact, turning the finish cloudy & sticky... also "immediate" solvents for Future are alcohol and ammonia, but even later products with ammonia can cause problems (some hair prod's, perfumes, etc.) ...Future is not UV resistant, though most clayers don't see problems with yellowing from UV exposure at least partly because of where we use it....Future will also peel off more easily if not applied and baked correctly
.....(polyurethanes-Varathane and floor polishes-Future can be "re-baked" 5-15 min at 200-250 F to "harden" them and increase adhesion even more)

...time varies
..... most water-based finishes will dry fairly quickly (but may not fully "cure" for a week), whereas epoxy resins take 24 hrs. to cure (for each layer, if there is more than one)... some water-based ones will take longer than others though because they're more responsive to humidity, temp, etc.

...safety varies
...... 2-pt epoxy resins (and epoxy glues) are less good for lungs than the acrylics we use and require at least some ventilation (...though they're still better than polyester resins --Castin'Craft, etc-- which require a lot of ventilation, and which won't work well as final finishes anyway)
......2-pt epoxies do give an extremely glassy shine though, whether they're brushed on, poured into clay cells, etc.

...heating varies
...... some of these can't or shouldn't be heated (may bubble or yellow)... whereas some can be reheated, and will become even "harder" (but can't be heated for a long time at a higher temp)

...sanding and buffing
........sanding and buffing in the most common way we use for baked poymer clay is generally a bit more work, but it really doesn't take much time per piece (lots of small beads, etc, will be a problem though)
...various different kinds of equipment and various supplies can be used to sand and buff to make things easier, including tumblers, but also some other quite unusual equipment/materials
...sanding (and buffing) are sometimes followed by clear liquid finishes, and the finishes themselves can also be sanded and buffed

alot more info on all these things and more on these pages:

Finishes (all the liquids mentioned --plus some "waxes" though those won't give a glassy shine)
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/finishes.htm

Sanding & Tumble-Sanding
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sanding_tumbling.htm
Buffing & Tumbling-Buffing
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/buffing.htm
....also using a rotary tool (Dremel) for buffing and/or "sanding"
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/tools_Dremels_worksurfaces.htm
(...click on Sanding or Buffing, under "Dremels"...)

Translucent Clay
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/translucents-glow.htm
(...click especially on Clearest Results...)

Liquid Clay
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/LiquidSculpey.htm
(... click on Finish...)

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@
more info --some overlap with above


Only one brand of polymer clay actually has a natural "sheen" after baking --(Kato Polyclay).  
The other brands naturally have a matte finish (Sculpey is the matte-est, with Premo and Fimo being in-between Kato and Sculpey).

Any clay can be given a sheen though right on up to a very high gloss shine though, in several ways:

WATER-BASED FINISHES (some are much cheaper than others):
--Future-Pledge floor polish, Mop 'N Glo  (cyanoacrylates)
(thin... will give a sheen if applied while the clay is still warm from the oven, or will give a gloss shine if applied when cool... sometimes several coats are used for very high gloss, drying between each coat)
--clear acrylic finishes for bare wood like Varathane
(thicker... the Gloss version will give a glossy finish whether applied to warm or cool clay... multiple coats can be used, or the item can be dipped for a very thick high gloss shine... there is also a Semi-Gloss and a Satin in the water-based line, both of which are fairly matte; the Gloss can be made more matte though in various way)
--clear fingernail polish (the acrylic type, not "enamel")
--special "glazes" made for polymer clay
..Sculpey Glaze --the old original verion very thick and gloppy (clear in a jar)
.....the new Sculpey Glaze is probably an IPN polyurethane like Varathane (Gloss or Satin), as is the Studio by Sculpey finish (Gloss only?)
..Fimo has Gloss alcohol-based finish which is really nice but very expensive (and now discontinued probably)
..PolyGlaze is not as tough as polyurethanes and Future-Pledge above and may get scratches)

polyurethane/acrylic SPRAYS
--acrylic sprays can be used to to seal and/or give a bit of gloss, but they must not have a petroleum-based solvent in their propellant because those materials will begin to dissolve the clay over time (can take months to show up) and make it sticky... sometimes heating or recoating with a pure acrylic then heating can help that, sometimes not... sprays also should be applied lightly, in several coats drying between each... probably won't give as even a coat as if brushed-on or dipped
--several brands that seem ok re propellant (some are gloss, some matte) on clay are Varathane spray (Gloss), some of the Krylons like it's Acrylic Matte Fixative, Plaid's Clear Acrylic Sealer (gloss), and Patricia Nimrock's Acrylic Matte Sealer, al though regular liquid finishes can also be applied with atomizers, etc.

--other things like clear embossing powder or 2-part epoxy resins and other things can be used... but they're either more difficult to use (resins), or don't give as good a result

For more info on all those, check out this page:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/finishes.htm

SANDING + BUFFING
--baked clay can be sanded a bit with (black, wet-dry) sandpaper (and a little water to keep any dust down and to keep the sandpaper clean) ...the grits usually used are 400, then 600, but a few clayers go much higher.... be sure not to skip grits though if you go higher  
... if the clay is then rubbed briskly on fabric (jeans, bedspread, towel, etc.), it will get a nice "sheen" on the surface
....if the clay is instead buffed with an electric buffer (using a fabric buffing wheel), it will get a nice sheen on the surface if buffed for a short time... but if buffed for a longer time, it will get a glossier and glossier surface
(...some people like to sand and buff, then apply a liquid finish as well)

For more info on sanding and buffing, check out these pages:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sanding_tumbling.htm
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/buffing.htm

PASTE WAXES
Some (though not many) clayers use a clear wax like carnauba or shoe wax to give their smoothed or sanded clay a bit of sheen... then it's buffed after application.


HTH,

Diane B.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010 09:50:28 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Kurtzie
Kurtzie
Offline Offline

Posts: 890
Joined: 09-Jan-2007

kitty feet


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2007 07:58:38 AM »

if i already put gloss on a piece is it to late to sand it? could i sand and gloss again? or will that make it gloppy?
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I love personal swaps, PM me!

My ETSY! Including Hooker on the Go Keychains!
http://LittleGemsbyKari.etsy.com
Diane B.
Offline Offline

Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2007 09:00:07 AM »

You can definitely try to sand off all the previous acrylic finish (though if you'd baked the finish, it will be more difficult to do), then start over.  You may have to play around with the best grits to use though because you want to get through the acrylic fairly quickly but not take off too much of the clay surface (though that may not matter if you haven't used powder, or leaf, etc., or thin decorative clay on top of core clay, etc.).   Once you've gotten the sealer off, then using progressively finer grits, sand your way back up to 600 before buffing or doing another finish.

Depending on how smooth and flat your original acrylic finish was, you can also just sand it down thinner, then do the rest.

Btw, if you used Future in particular as your acrylic finish, you can also get it off in several ways...just soaking in plain water overnight may work, or soaking or scrubbing with ammonia (can be diluted a little) or products containing ammonia (actually quite a few things) or strong detergents.  Johnson even recommends Armstrong Floor Cleaner for removing its Future (hardware store). 
All those things work better the sooner you try them since acrylics are less "cured" than they will be later (and as mentioned, before baking too if possible).
(Those things won't work with Varathane and maybe other acrylic finishes, or they won't work as well, because Varathane is more resistant and permanent than Future.)

If you sand and gloss again, nothing shouldn't be "gloppy" but not sure exactly which thing you thought might get gloppy.



HTH,

Diane B.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007 09:04:19 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
japaya
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2007 10:28:47 AM »

Thanks Diane for all this info! the other day i was thinking about 2 parts epoxy resin to cover some pieces but i wasnt sure if it would work, so now im going to buy it. Oh and another finish that i love is matte but sanded, you know, first you sand (from 400 to 600 is more than ok) and then bake again for 5-10 minutes. For me works great cause i hate to sand but this requires little time sanding, and when you touch the piece it has a very nice and soft feeling^^
THIS ROCKS   Logged

you can see my gallery here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7201667@N03/
my blog (in spanish):
http://www.japaya.blogspot.com/
Diane B.
Offline Offline

Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2007 02:56:30 PM »

Quote
i was thinking about 2 parts epoxy resin to cover some pieces but i wasnt sure if it would work, so now im going to buy it.


(japaya, there's some info on using epoxy resins on this page of my site, if you want to check it out:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/other_materials.htm )

Quote
sand (from 400 to 600 is more than ok) and then bake again for 5-10 minutes. . . .  when you touch the piece it has a very nice and soft feeling

Yeah, the heat causes the clay to create the same effect as having "melted" on the surface and filled in all the tiny little scratches from sanding or unevenesses.... that alone can get rid of the whiteness created by sanding, but if the object is then lightly buffed (with a towel, etc.) afterwards while it's still warm/hot, that looks great for a sheen too.  (Some people have even done that between each grit to cut their total sanding time a lot.)

Diluent-Softener creates the same sort of sheen when it's applied to baked objects that have been sanded in the regular way (sandpaper) then reheated briefly, or even when it's applied to raw objects which have been smoothed with water, cornstarch, etc., then baked and lightly buffed.


Diane B.


THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Kurtzie
Kurtzie
Offline Offline

Posts: 890
Joined: 09-Jan-2007

kitty feet


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2007 03:47:01 PM »

If you sand and gloss again, nothing shouldn't be "gloppy" but not sure exactly which thing you thought might get gloppy.


i guess back story would have helped- i made shapes using cookie cutters (devoted to poly) to hopefully make fantastic christmas orn. some of the edges aren't what i want them to be, i thought glaze would cover the flaw but it didn't quite do it to my standard (I glazed after they came out of the oven. I didn't think about resurfacing the whole piece just the prob spot but i wasn't sure if doing that kind of pieces work would show and look gloppy or thicker and sloppy.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I love personal swaps, PM me!

My ETSY! Including Hooker on the Go Keychains!
http://LittleGemsbyKari.etsy.com
Diane B.
Offline Offline

Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2007 09:30:16 AM »

Quote
i made shapes using cookie cutters (devoted to poly)

Just a not about that. . . .if your cutters are metal, there's no reason that they have to be dedicated to clay because washing them well with soap and warm/hot water would easily be able to remove any tiny bit of clay or plasticizer still on them... if they were plastic, the edges could be sort of rough and in that case would be harder to clean well (but not impossible if you used a toothbrush with the soap/water). Plastic cutters also usually aren't as sharp as metal ones, and/or lose that sharpness over time... they can work with polymer clay, but there are some techniques that can help.

Quote
some of the edges aren't what i want them to be

What do you mean by this?   Were the edges actually ragged , or misshapen in some way.  Or did you perhaps use a mica-containing clay (like Gold) then have the "color" change on the edge . . . or what? 
(If the edges were just ragged or not cleanly cut through, there are various things you can do when using cutters to avoid all those things --if so, just mention that and I'll give you some info about it).

Quote
i thought glaze would cover the flaw but it didn't quite do it to my standard (I glazed after they came out of the oven.

It would make a difference in talking about correcting the "flaw" with a liquid finish whether you were trying to fill in some depressions or scratches/roughness, or were trying to do something else entirely. 
And also, why wasn't that attempt "to your standard"?... did the new finish create a "lump," or didn't fill in enough, or what?

Quote
I didn't think about resurfacing the whole piece just the prob spot but i wasn't sure if doing that kind of pieces work would show and look gloppy or thicker and sloppy.


If I understand what you're saying, you probably should be able to do "spot work" on a surface that was previously coated with a liquid finish.  The best way would probably be to apply some new finish to the problem spot and a little way around it, then allow the new liquid to "level" to at least the same height as the "good" surrounding finish (could be higher, but not lower or you'd have to do this several times)... then let dry. 
Afterwards, sand the whole area (including the area where the finishes overlapped) till the whole surface is smooth and hopefully of the same thickness. 
At that point, you could recoat  the whole piece with finish, or you could just buff any area that doesn't look like the rest of the finish till it has the same degree of sheen/shine.

(Separately applied layers of liquid finish shouldn't be distinguishable from each other unless perhaps they're there's a big difference in depth from one to the other... so if the change is gradual, there shouldn't be a problem. 
In woodworking as in polymer clay, many people intentionally build up layers of finish by applying one coat, letting dry, then sanding, and then applying another coat (repeating for as many layers as they want).  What's actually happening there is that a new coat of finish is actually filling in all the tiny scratches from the previous sanding as well as adding a new layer over the tops of the "scratches.")

HTH,

Diane B.



« Last Edit: October 04, 2007 09:31:12 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Kurtzie
Kurtzie
Offline Offline

Posts: 890
Joined: 09-Jan-2007

kitty feet


View Profile WWW available for personal swaps
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2007 05:24:26 PM »

thanks diane b. the edges were just a little rough/jagged but i gave it a whirl with a bit of fine sand paper and then recovered with glaze. its still drying but looks better already!

I just had visions of putting another coat on and it looking like your finger nails after you do one too many coats of nail polish.

it seems like my thinner pieces were the problems, when i used a bit thicker clay they cut through easier and the edges were smoother. I'll probably roll out a bit thicker piece next time and sand paper before i glaze.

again thanks for the help Smiley
THIS ROCKS   Logged

I love personal swaps, PM me!

My ETSY! Including Hooker on the Go Keychains!
http://LittleGemsbyKari.etsy.com
unico
« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2007 07:42:06 AM »

Thanks Diane,

You sure know about clay!  I've always had a problem with my finishes, but you have sure helped. Thank You so much!
THIS ROCKS   Logged
Diane B.
Offline Offline

Posts: 5061
Joined: 01-May-2004

GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"


View Profile WWW
« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2007 09:44:30 AM »

Happy to help! (both of you)  Grin

Kurtzie, you might want to check out my page on using shape cutters for tips/techniques re using them successfully, plus other ways to do cutouts as well:
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/cutters-blades.htm
(....the first half of that page deals with "cutters")


HTH,

Diane B.
THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
http://glassattic.com/polymer/contents.htm
few of my photos
http://s96.photobucket.com/albums/l163/DianeBB
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
Threads you might like:
Pages: [1] 2  All Jump to page:
  Send this topic  |  Print  |  Bookmark  
 
Jump to:  



only results with images
include swap threads
advanced search



your ad could be here!

How-To Videos
New York Fashion Week Spring 2014: Backstage With Hervé Léger
BEAUTY BUZZ: Jason Wu - NYFW Spring 2014
5-Minute Makeup for Your First Day of School
Get A Bright Summer Makeup Look
Get the Jessie J Makeup Look
Latest Blog Articles
Tute Tuesday: Fabric and Felt Bird Ornament
Cardboard Tube? Craft Supply!
Spotlight on: Art Dolls

Comparison Shopping




Support Craftster
Become a
Friend of Craftster

Buy Craftster Swag
Buy Craft Supplies
Comparison Shopping

Craftster heartily thanks the following peeps...
Moderators

Follow Craftster...






Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.3.5 © 2008-2012, SimplePortal
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

Copyright ©2003-2014, Craftster.org an Internet Brands company.