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Topic: Polymer Clay & Fabric Paint?  (Read 5612 times)
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Monster Kookies
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« on: September 08, 2010 09:59:40 AM »

Hello lovelies!

Usually I like to answer questions, but this time I HAVE a question and I was hoping some of you may have some experience with this topic...

I just bought some really nice dimensional fabric paint called "Scribbles 3D Paint" and it says that it is permanent and non-toxic. It also says it draws on most surfaces including fabric, wood, metal, paper, etc... could I use it on baked polymer clay? I mean, I am sure it is compatible, but would it peel off even if I had a good layer of Varathane over top?


Diane B.
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010 09:22:11 AM »

Hmmm, there are a number of variables there. 

Generally, "fabric paint" is acrylic paint that's been mixed with clear textile medium to make it more supple on fabric once dry, and in general it's a little more waterproof than regular acrylic paint. Not sure how that would affect things on clay but fabric paint may be "thinner." Regular acrylic paints also come in various thicknesses with the cheapest ones in bottles being the thinnest and the more expensive "artists'" ones in tubes being thickest (also give the best coverage when "painting on" clay).
Dimensional or "3-D" paints are acrylic paints that have had a thickener added to them so they'll keep their shape while drying I believe, but not sure what kind of filler.  I do know that one clayer suggested mixing 6 tsp. of baking soda to 3-1/2 or 4 tsp acrylic paint to create a dimensional paint that could be squeezed out of nozzles. (If it's just the 3D effect you want though you could also use thinned regular clay or thickened liquid clay to squeeze out for "piping" or like is done sometimes with mini foods, but I'm assuming you want to use the dimensional paint you already have.)

Then there's the issue of adhesion.  Some baked clay surfaces are "toothier" than others so may work best (or not) ...I'm a little surprised they said it works on metal (I'd like to know just how well it works on very smooth, non-porous surfaces like that, but polymer clay should be similar). 
One clayer used a dimensional paint once, I think, to hold some feathers upright on baked clay.  She said it worked well but she had used a glitter acrylic paint so not sure if that acted differently. She said that she could scratch it off with effort but otherwise wasn't a problem (so don't know how well it would stay on with stress/abrasion).

To increase adhesion if necessary, there might be some things you could try:
...try Sculpey clay (very toothy, especially the plain white boxed stuff), but since it's not strong perhaps just use a layer of it over stronger clay
...prepare the clay well (wipe with alcohol or soap and water to remove any oils)
...prepare the surface by sanding very lightly (and removing dust well)
.....or apply a layer of liquid clay, acrylic finish like Varathane (gloss, satin, or just matte) or Future, or even acrylic paint or gesso, to the baked surface first (then probably dry or cure before applying paint)
...make the acrylic paint more adhesive by mixing with a bit of Varathane or Future, etc.
..."re-heat" the paint after it dries on the baked clay (be sure it's totally dry first since that could matter for some paints)
...coat the finished painted item with polyurethane (or dip it), or even coat with a clear epoxy resin or glue, to give a mechanical hold as well as an adhesive hold

It would probably be good to do some test scraps first using one or more of those techniques, then just see which works best.

There may be more ideas or factors on my Paints page, under the first few sub-categories of the Acrylics category:

Report back!
Diane B.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2010 09:35:50 AM by Diane B. » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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(had to move them from YahooPhotos, so many now without captions)
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