Friday, March 27, 2009

a bit about finishes

I have an awful time trying to keep the various finishes for polymer clay straight. The minutiae of water-based vs oil-based vs whatever- always slips my mind once I'm actually at the hardware store, staring at the floor wax.

(note: I know there are finishes made especially for use with polyclay, but in my experience they are cloudy and goopy and not very hard. Perhaps I wasn't using them right, but I certainly am not a fan.)

Types of finishes referenced here:
-acrylic interior polyurethane ("varathane")
-acrylic floor polish ("Future")

These MUST be water-based, NOT petroleum-based. (For some reason, this is the hardest part for me to remember!) The most important thing is what the label says about how you wash up or clean up after using it. So long as it says you can wash the brushes or applicators with soap and water, you have the right product. Varathane is more durable than the Future, but Kato clays (and possibly other transparent and glow-in-the-dark clays) will only take Future.

Other helpful notes:
-pour out a small amount to work with anyway, for example, in a glass baby food jar
-Use a good quality, soft hair brush, (mine's about 1/4 wide)
-wait for an item to cool completely; coating a warm item makes the Varathane dry immediately and it streaks.
-dries in 30 minutes but depending on humidity, can take a week or so to fully cure
-set the coating (200 degrees, for 5-10 min.), esp. thicker coatings
-it's always a good idea to clean the clay with rubbing alcohol before putting a finish on it

This info was compiled mostly from the Glass Attic's Finishes-Sealers page - an absolutely wonderful resource!

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