The enemy of all polymer clay bead makers… the dreaded fingerprint:
Finger prints on your finished beads really look unprofessional. Although you can always sand them out after baking, the fewer prints that you get on your beads in the first place, the less sanding you will have to do later.
The following tips are just a few of the things you can do when making polymer clay beads, to avoid putting your prints on them:
1) Work with firm clay. Soft squishy clay will show finger prints the worst. Start with one of the firmer brands such as Fimo Classic, Kato Polyclay and Premo. If the clay you are using is too soft, you can firm it up by leaching out some of the plasticizers.
2) Work with cool clay. If the clay is soft and finger prints badly because it is too warm, then let it rest. After rolling or shaping a bead always let the bead sit for a bit before doing a final roll or piercing with the bead wire. You can even place the clay in the fridge for awhile to firm it up.
3) Wear gloves. Personally I don’t really like wearing latex gloves, my hands get all sweaty in them but they are excellent for extra smooth beads. You can always just use them for the final roll and for piercing if they bug you as well. Finger cots or the cut off fingers from the gloves can work as well if you prefer.
4) Use water. Spray a little water on your hands before doing a final roll and the finger prints disappear.
5) Use cornstarch. I like to rub the surfaces of my fingers and palms with cornstarch to avoid finger printing my beads.
6) Use a light touch. Grabbing your bead with a ‘death grip’ will surely leave some prints behind! Hold your beads as lightly as you possibly can and there will be a lot less finger prints to remove after baking.
7) Smooth fingerprints away with baby oil. Baby oil or mineral oil is a great diluent for polymer clay. If you rub a few drops on your beads with your finger, you can smooth out any wrinkles or fingerprints left behind. The surface will look all ‘smeary’ but that will easily sand away after baking. It’s way easier to sand off excess baby oil than it is to sand away fingerprints.
I know there are a few more tricks for keeping those nasty fingerprints off of your polymer clay beads. There’s a comments section below if you would like to share some ideas. I’d love to hear what works for you.