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Topic: Specific finishing glaze YOU use...  (Read 4735 times)
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KatrinaCritters
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« on: October 16, 2008 07:40:52 AM »

Here's the thing: My local craft store is HORRIBLE about stocking their glaze that is either Fimo or Primo or Sculpy..... it's been so long since I've bought some, I can't even remember what the name of it is.  I'm weird like that -- I stock up on stuff.  Almost hoarding it.

And I'm nearly out, and the Christmas season is quickly sneeking up on me.

I'd like to know what YOU use to give your Polymer pieces a glazed, GLOSSY, finished look.  Nothing matte.  I like the shine of a gloss finish.

I also have small children, so nothing that is severely rank in smell or fumes.

Please share what YOU use, what you know works, something that is an air-dry, brush on glaze.

PLEASE!! HELP!! I would like to know the name brand of whatever that I can walk into a store (not big on online ordering) and walk out with when I need it.

ANY help would be most appreciated!! Thanks!
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Diane B.
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008 10:37:58 AM »

I use the polyurethane called Varathane (water wash-up, glossy, with IPN, UV resistant --there are 4 versions, 2 of which are water-based, but that's the one with IPN).  It's probably the gloss finish most commonly-used by more experienced clayers, along with some who like Future/Pledge --aside from sanding and buffing to get a gloss finish (many high-end clayers do both the Varathane and sanding-buffing for the most sublime finish).  

Fimo's "mineral/spirit-based" gloss finish is/was probably the best one out there but it's very very expensive for even a small amount.  It also looks like it's finally been discontinued though you might still be able to find some online. (Fimo's water-based finishes aren't-weren't very good though, surprisingly.)

Sculpey's Glaze*** (see changes to this product below) finish is rather thick and gloppy and more susceptible to bubbling during curing, though many crafter-clayers aren't aware of the other finish possibilties so many use it. 
Also, Polyform has recently put out a new brand of clay called Studio by Sculpey, and with it, a "new" version of both gloss glaze and liquid clay under the Studio brand name.

(Premo doesn't make a finish that I'm aware of.  Premo is manufactured by the Polyform people who also manufacture the Sculpeys, so they probably don't want competition for their Sculpey Glaze and "new" Studio finish.  Premo is quite a different clay than Sculpey though --originally created to the specifications of a clayer, not Polyform's).

All of those liquid finishes are water-based except the one that's alcohol-based, so no fumes/smells/dangers for any of them.  
(You wouldn't want to use a petroleum solvent-based finish --anything that cleans up with mineral spirits, etc-- directly on polymer clay anyway because it would eat into the clay over time.)

As for walking into a store anytime, the only one you'll find quite that easily without doing a little checking is Sculpey's Glaze unfortunately.  

Once you buy a quart of Varathane, or a bottle of Future, though they'll both last a reee-e-ally long time.  Even if you can find only a gallon size of Varathane, clayers generally decant Varathane into a smaller container to use (with an air-tight lid).  That keeps the stock in the original can from getting thicker from evaporation over time, and the smaller container is just easier to deal with. (I use baby food jars and old spice bottles, etc.)

Varathane can be found in various hardware stores, particularly ones like Tru-Value and Ace, but some people have reported finding it at Walmart and a Sears Hardware store at some point.**  (There's a store locator on the Rustoleum website that might help too.)  
Check out this page for more info about finding Varathane, as well as ways to apply it, etc. (and info about the other finishes as well):
http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/finishes.htm
(...click on Varathane)
**sometimes store clerks will say they don't carry Varathane, but it's usually just in a different place than they expect --generally with the other polyurethanes, for sealing bare wood

polymerclayexpress.com even has it in a 4 oz version (a lot more expensive by volume than buying at a hardware store though)
http://polymerclayexpress.com/finish.html
And I've been told that the Kelly Moore paint stores carry a brand of polyurethane that also has IPN... it's called Kelthane.
***edited later to add:  The original Sculpey Glaze has now been changed to a polyurethane (now looks milky in the bottle instead of clear).  It may even be one with IPN, but don't know for sure. It may come in both Gloss and Satin.....The Studio by Sculpey line also has a polyurethane in a small bottle. (Both are still a lot more expensive than buying at a hardware store tho.)

Future-Pledge can sometimes be found at grocery stores, but more often at places like Target, etc.  (The U.S. version has recently been acquired by the S.C. Johnson people, so the newer bottles are being called Future/Pledge or something like that, but are the same formulation.)

There are other polyurethanes and other acrylic finishes that can be used to give gloss too as well as other materials like 2-part epoxy resins or glues, plus white glues and "dimensional" white glues, acrylic mediums*, clear embossing powders, etc., but those often aren't as unscratchable as Varathane and Future, or they're much fiddlier to use.


HTH,

Diane B.

P.S.  I should have added that I do use Future sometimes too.
I use it when I give classes because it is thin, and so it dries quicker than Varathane which can be important when time is tight.  I can also apply it very quickly by just putting some on a cloth or even in my hands, then rubbing the items all over.  And it's probably even cheaper than Varathane.
I've also used it on still-warm clay to just give a little sheen to an item rather than a heavy gloss... it really sinks in fast so doesn't pool on the surface that way.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009 08:26:31 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

POLYMER CLAY "ENCYCLOPEDIA" 
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few of my photos
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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
GeekToys
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2008 02:00:14 AM »

Varathane!
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KatrinaCritters
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2008 06:28:08 AM »

THANK YOU guys!! Appreciate it!
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gamekitty
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2008 11:59:32 PM »

Hi there,

I do use Mod Podge as well. Mod Podge gloss is a pretty good alternative if you are in a pinch. It is easily found in stationary stores and craft stores. It is a glaze/glue/sealer so it has multiple applications too, although honestly I never used the glue function but the glaze is pretty close to the sculpey glaze except it is not as thick.

I also use Studio by sculpey glazes. It is Sculpey's new line of glazes. I got some to try. It is much closer to Mod Podge than I thought. It is not very thick at all like their old glaze and you can brush it on and then bake it if you use it on unbaked clay, which is a new feature if you want it. 

I hope this helps.

Regards,
Betty
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Diane B.
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2008 09:10:52 AM »

Quote
I also use Studio by sculpey glazes. . .  It is much closer to Mod Podge than I thought.
It is not very thick at all like their old glaze and you can brush it on and then bake it if you use it on unbaked clay, which is a new feature if you want it.

Thanks for that info about the new Studio by Sculpey gloss glaze!  I had assumed that their "new" glaze and "new" liquid clay were just rebranded from their regular Polyform-Sculpey ones (I guess the liquid clay is the same though, unless someone else knows otherwise). 
Making the new glaze thinner was a good idea since that's basically been the main objection to Sculpey Glaze's sometime handling and re-baking difficulties.  Do you think their new glaze is just a regular polyurethane?

(Varathane and Future are also able to be baked on raw clay, though clayers have seldom done it, and can also rebaked to make them harder especially if temp is kept under 250 F and time is less than 10 min/etc when the finish is thicker).

The thing about ModPodge, other brands of decoupage medium, or even thinned white glues, is just that they're more scratchable after drying/curing than "harder" acrylic finishes like Varathane, Future, etc., in situations where they could get stress or abrasion.  I've also heard that ModPodge is more susceptible to later clouding if humidity is high compared to another brand of decoupage medium, Royal Coat, and definitely more susceptible compared to Varathane/Future/etc.


Diane B.
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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)
gamekitty
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2008 11:14:56 AM »

Hi Diane,

Well I have used Mod Podge for years without problems, but California is not exactly known for humidity issues except this year and so far so good. I guess that is why I wrote in a pinch Mod Podge would work.

Ya know, now I wish I know what the new Sculpey glaze is made out of. It actually did not say what it is on the package. I just notice that if you leave the cap off for a while (which I think all artists do that with the medium from time to time) it does not dry out and turn into this little glob, which is nice. The old one does turn into a nice little paste and after a while just goes completely solid.

I got some old timers to poly clay that swears by the old Sculpey glazes makes a better alternative to resin and frozen blocks of ice for recycling, BUT it is not something I would tried before. I should ask them how they do that.

Regards,
Betty
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Diane B.
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« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2008 11:36:47 AM »

Quote
I have used Mod Podge for years without problems, but California is not exactly known for humidity issues except this year and so far so good. I guess that is why I wrote in a pinch Mod Podge would work.

Hi Betty,

White glue-based finishes can also work fine on "miniatures" because miniatures are so small and so generally they won't be receiving a lot of abrasion and/or stress.  IMO, polyurethanes are better for polymer clay in general though because they're also great for polymer objects that are not small too --bowls, boxes, most jewelry, "coverings of all kinds," cards, medium and larger sculpts, and just everything else-- since polyurethanes are harder than dried white glues (also than "acrylic mediums," clear embossing powders, and some other possibilities) . .  and water-based gloss Varathane in particular is even better than most regular polyurethanes. 
Also, polyurethanes (and Future) can be hardened even more than usual by being subjected to heat.

Quote
Ya know, now I wish I know what the new Sculpey glaze is made out of. It actually did not say what it is on the package.

Just looked it up ... the MSDS for Studio by Sculpey Glaze says that it's a water-based polyurethane (polyurethane aqueous dispersion).

Quote
I just notice that if you leave the cap off for a while... it does not dry out and turn into this little glob, which is nice. The old one does turn into a nice little paste and after a while just goes completely solid.

I'm a little confused by which things you're referring to.  Both the old and new Sculpey glazes should begin to evaporate some of their water out and become thicker and thicker, and eventually become completely solid, but not sure that the clear acrylic Sculpey Glaze would become a "paste."  Does it? 
And are you decanting into a smaller container if you need to leave your finish out awhile?

Quote
I got some old timers to poly clay that swears by the old Sculpey glazes makes a better alternative to resin and frozen blocks of ice for recycling, BUT it is not something I would tried before. I should ask them how they do that.

". . . frozen blocks of ice for recycling . . ."?  Not sure how recycling relates to making faux ice cubes, Sculpey Glaze, or resin Huh, but any of those things (as well as solid or liquid polymer clay) could be used to make miniature faux ice cubes.  Could you clarify a little more, pretty please??


Diane B.

P.S.  My son is currently at UCSC  Grin



.



« Last Edit: October 22, 2008 10:08:46 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)
ilysa
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2008 08:59:35 AM »

I use Future Floor Wax, its easy and pretty inexpesive. You can put it on your items before or after you bake them. Have fun!
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KatrinaCritters
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2008 08:47:51 AM »

I use the polyurethane called Varathane (water wash-up, glossy, with IPN, UV resistant --there are 4 versions, 2 of which are water-based, but that's the one with IPN).  It's probably the gloss finish most commonly-used by more experienced clayers, along with some who like Future/Pledge --aside from sanding and buffing to get a gloss finish (many high-end clayers do both the Varathane and sanding-buffing for the most sublime finish). 

HTH,

Diane B.

P.S.  I should have added that I do use Future sometimes too.
I use it when I give classes because it is thin, and so it dries quicker than Varathane which can be important when time is tight.  I can also apply it very quickly by just putting some on a cloth or even in my hands, then rubbing the items all over.  And it's probably even cheaper than Varathane.
I've also used it on still-warm clay to just give a little sheen to an item rather than a heavy gloss... it really sinks in fast so doesn't pool on the surface that way.

I found Varthane in a small can at my craft store, and almost bought the glossy one, but at the bottom of the jar it said "gives a rich, natural, honey tone".... even though it said it was "clear" and I paniced.  I do so much with white that needs to STAY white.
Does the clear dry CLEAR?

I lucked out and found some Sculpy Glaze in glossy finish online.
Ordered eight of 'em.
ha ha ha!
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