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Topic: oh boy I totally screwed up!  (Read 1234 times)
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« on: February 16, 2010 03:34:04 PM »

back in october, I made a ton of poly clay things.  I was using sculpey glaze to seal after baking but ran out.  for some reason, the craft stores near me never carry it!  so to seal the rest of the baked clay, I used mod podge (probably a big mistake)?

I finished sealing them all, let them dry, then sealed each in indivdial plastic baggies for sale at future craft shows.  These were all then stored in a big plastic bin in my garage.

Mind you, this was october, we've now passed a fairly mild but still cold winter...in my garage.

Flash forward to just yesterday when I dragged out the box to grab some items.  a bunch of them seem to have condensation in the baggy and the sealant is coming off.

now i'm not sure which ones were sealed with modpodge and which were sculpey glaze.  i imagine, i can just go over them again to protect them. but i want to know if this has happened to anyone else

does the sealant matter? is it just the cold temp in my garage or being in plastic baggies that caused this? and if so,  how do you store your finished clay projects (if not in plastic bags) until you need them?

Sad so bummed at the thought of having to open every little bag and re-seal

Diane B.
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GlassAttic --polymer clay "encyclopedia"

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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2010 07:09:51 PM »

First, polymer clay needs no sealing at all.  You can do it if you want to give gloss to the surface or to hold little thingies on its surface, etc., but polymer clay is not like air-dry clays and is waterproof for all intents and purposes all by itself.  In fact, lots of experienced clayers never even use liquid finishes, or not that often, or they get any sheen or shine they want on the clay in other ways (see below).

If you do choose to use a clear finish, just be aware of their characteristics... for example:

...permanent "white glues" --including thinned ones like decoupage mediums (ModPodge & others) and dimensional ones like Diamond Glaze, etc-- will have a fairly "soft" surface even once they're thoroughly dried so they can absorb later humidity (or actual water) somewhat easily... if the finish is continuously submerged in water, or just enclosed with no air circulation, the water will also get under the glue and begin to cause the finish to separate from the clay (especially if the glue never dried thoroughly in the first place --each layer too) ... it actually takes about a week for most water-based sealants to "cure" as well as just to dry for most waterproofness
...the old version of Sculpey Glaze was also susceptible to that, especially when thick (but the new version of Sculpey Glaze is a polyurethane so much better)
...clear "acrylic mediums" (for mixing into acrylic paints) and some other clear finishes will also be susceptible to later moisture in the same ways and usually more scratchable
...better finishes to use for polymer clay are clear water-based polyurethanes, clear acrylic fingernail polishes, and certain floor polishes like Future and Mop 'N Glo (Future has been renamed "Pledge With Future Shine") --those will also be less scratchable than the softer finishes as well as harder and more waterproof, though the floor polishes will be thin and not UV-resistant

You have some options now though:
...if they're fairly smooth now, you can heat them in a low temp oven for awhile (either the white glues or certainly the Sculpey Glaze--old or new version)... in fact, even when clayers use something really tough like polyurethane or Future as a finish, they sometimes "rebake" it on the clay for 5-15 minutes at 200-250 F just to further "harden" the finish
...you can also just soak them all in water for a day or so, then rub off all the (now-rubbery) finish and start again** ...sometimes soaking in ammonia, or using rubbing alcohol or acetone, is even faster for some things (see link below for details, under > Future > Removing)

**After they're bare again, you can use a better-quality finish (and let it dry thoroughly, and/or rebake)... or you can sand-and-buff to get your sheen or gloss shine... or you can apply a clear paste wax or Vaseline to get a sheen... or you can leave them the way they are.  

There's lots more details on all those finishes, and more of what I've mentioned above on the Finishes page at my site:

As for storage, first I'd let all "sealed" pieces (or any that you've completely painted over with acrylic paints) air and sit out for at least a week (if the air is cold and/or damp, even longer).
After that, you should be able to put them into little plastic bags, but especially if you don't use one of the better finishes, leave at least a little opening in the baggie.  Or just store them unwrapped but in a safe place and with at least a little air circulation (probably most common).
There are all kinds of ways that clayers store their raw clay though and their cured pieces, and there are some materials that clay should never be stored in contact with.  You can read about those things on my Storage page and I'm sure others will have their favorite methods too:


Diane B.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2010 08:48:33 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

few of my photos
(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2010 07:28:34 PM »

thank you so much!  i didn't mean to say "seal", i just wanted a nice high gloss shine to them.  but that's incredibly informative and much appreciated!  I think i will try your suggestion of rebaking them to make sure they're cured faster.  and then, as far as storage, I suppose since I'm stapling the top of the bags, I don't have to seal them completely, so air can still get in.

maybe I'll try it a few different ways then figure it out from there

thanks again!

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