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Topic: air dry clay + Mod Podge?  (Read 11891 times)
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a freakin' sheep
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« on: February 21, 2010 09:22:21 PM »

not a polymer clay question, but I didn't know where else to put it...

I know air dry clay will dissolve in water, so I want to seal a couple pieces I made after I paint them. I have a giant bottle of Mod Podge, which is what I'd normally seal anything else with, but I just realized Mod Podge is waterbased. so will it mess up the clay? for that matter, the paint I have is waterbase too. am I headed for disaster?  Huh

I want for nothing these things.
Diane B.
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2010 10:07:13 AM »

First, just because something is water-based doesn't mean it can be dissolved with water after it dries and has lost all its water.  What's left behind after the water has dried off may dissolve with water or it may not depending on what else was in the finish (or paint).

ModPodge is basically just a permanent "white glue" that's been thinned down so that it will be as clear as possible (since it then dries quickly when doing many layers, and thin coats are clearer than thick coats).  And all permanent white glues are water-resistant after drying (including the various ModPodges and other brands of "decoupage medium").
But, white glues aren't the best clear finishes in terms of hardness after drying (and even curing a week) so they will be more susceptible to later scratching, and to cloudiness from humidity (although some brands are better than others).

Permanent white glues and decoupage mediums, clear polyurethanes, clear acrylic fingernail polishes, (colored) acrylic paints, etc., are all plastics (after the water is gone), but they do differ (and even brands of each one differ from each other) in exactly how water-resistant that "water-resistant" means. 

For situations where there will be little water exposure or quick water exposure only, most anything permanent will be fine.  But with long exposure to water or even just to a lot of humidity, they will all eventually begin to absorb some of the water and soften, or actually begin to loosen from whatever they were put onto --for the better/tougher ones, that could take a really long time of continuous exposure though.

So.... most people do go ahead and seal their air-dry clays with permanent white glues of some kind (thinned down if they aren't already decoupage mediums) because they're cheap and available, and that will be fine in most situations (or maybe that's all they're aware they can use). 
But for a tougher, harder clear (glossy if you choose) finish that will be much more resistant to later scratching and humidity/water, you can use a clear polyurethane for example as your last coat (or it can also be used just like the ModPodge for every layer).

In the polymer clay world, the preferred brand of clear water-based polyurethane is Varathane (by Rustoleum these days) because the gloss version also has an "inter-penetrating" factor (and also UV resistance). 
Any of clear polyurethanes should work for the other reasons though, and if there will be a lot of continuous water/humidity exposure, you might want to go for a "marine" type.

And btw, air-dry clays can also have non-water-based clear finishes and paints put on them (those that clean up with paint thinner, mineral spirits, acetone, etc.)... it's just polymer clay that can't have petroleum-based finishes/paints put directly on it --but of course polymer clay is already a plastic so doesn't need any sealing.


Diane B.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2010 10:23:15 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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