Polymer Clay Finishes – Which One Is Best?

Varathane Finish for Polymer Clay

Choosing the right polymer clay finish for your beads can be puzzling:

The other day I received a question from a subscriber (Sandra Taylor) about polymer clay finishes. There’s a lot of confusing information out there regarding finishes for polymer clay beads, and Sandra is not the first to bring up this topic with me. So I figured today would be a good day to talk about it.

Here is Sandra’s question:

There’s one thing that puzzles me. I made some beads and got some of that Sculpey glaze and what I’m learning that the stuff does peel or turn yellow after a while. Eek!

From reading, I gather that I have to use something called Varathane or Future floor polish — not easy to find. I guess one can’t use just any kind of varnish because it will react with the clay. Do you have any suggestions?

To first address your issue with the Sculpey glaze peeling up. This is a common problem and was most likely caused by excess oils from your hands getting on your beads causing the glaze to not stick properly. You can solve this problem by sanding (highly recommended) and/or cleaning the bead first with rubbing alcohol before coating with the glaze.

For beads that have already peeled, you can bake them for 10 min or so and see if that works. Personally I don’t like the Sculpey glaze because it is too globby and leaves a plasticy look to the beads. Plus, I think it is too expensive for what you get.

As far as other finishes that were not originally designed for use with polymer clay… you do need to be careful. Many of them are not compatible with the clay. Some even can fool you into thinking they work by appearing to dry up nicely, but then becoming sticky 6 months later. Really bad news if you have sold those beads or gifted them. People just aren’t impressed with sticky jewelry!

Sandra… You are right about Varathane and Future Floor Finish being good products to use. They have both been tested over time on polymer clay and in my opinion are much nicer to work with, not to mention way cheaper than the products out there made for polymer clay.

Make sure you get Varathane Diamond Polyurethane Interior (Water Based). Stay away from the oil based Diamond Floor Finish. The varathane is thick and needs to be put on with a fine brush. It is UV protected and won’t yellow. It dries to quite a hard finish and comes in gloss, semi-gloss and matte. You can find this in the paint section of most home improvement stores. Or get it here on Amazon: Rust-Oleum Varathane Interior Elite Diamond Finish

For the Future Floor finish you can go to my previous post on Finishing Beads with Future Floor Polish to see what the bottle looks like and get a little tip on using it. Future is very thin and easy to use. I found it in one of the grocery stores local to me (Safeway) without much difficulty. Or you can get it at Amazon here: Future Floor Finish

But to tell you the truth, I am finding the more I work with polymer clay, the less I like to put finishes on my beads. I have found that if I bake the beads for an extended period, they sand and polish up to such a nice shine, that a finish is often unnecessary. Highly buffed beads with no polymer clay finish on them are actually more water resistant, and you don’t have to worry about globbing that can occur when finishes are poorly applied.

So Sandra and everyone else having problems with your polymer clay finishing techniques, I hope this helped. If you need further assistance, feel free to post your questions below in the comments section.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor


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Comments

  1. Ronda sent this question to me via email. I like to respond to these things here on my blog so that others can benefit and join in on the conversation too.

    ——————————————————————————————————
    "I LOVE your website, Cindy. I have been working with polymer clay only for about a year. I was reading your post about the various finishes one can use. Have you ever used DecoArt Triple Thick gloss glaze? I have used it on a few pieces and the effect is really amazing.. especially on faux dichroic glass. I have no idea if it will become sticky in time, however. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks! Ronda"
    ——————————————————————————————————

    Ronda, I’m glad you are enjoying the web site. Thanks so much for letting me know. I have not worked with Triple Glaze personally, so I can not be sure how it will behave over time. But I have read about others using it with success.

    If you find that it does change at all, i.e.. clouding, yellowing, scratching, cracking, or getting sticky, please do let us know! I’ll put this on my list of things to experiment with when I get some. If anyone else reading has used the Triple Glaze produce, Ronda and I would love to hear from you :)

    Cindy’s last blog post..Polymer Clay Cane Designs Inspired by Dainty Spring Flowers

    • Hi Cindy,

      just want to ask.. not sure if my question was answered with all the post. Anyway,

      I’m trying to make my own head sculpt of action figures using polymer clay ( sculpey, super sculpey etc. ). Do i need to :

      1) After baking, sand it first?

      2) apply acrylic paint

      3) seal it with varnish?

      or is there a primer i can use before painting. My experience with acrylic paint
      is a bit disappointing because they peel off .

      your advise is greatly appreciated. Thanks

      Joel

      • Hi Joel, yes you have the steps right. Bake, sand, paint, seal. If you are having trouble with acrylic paint sticking, try cleaning the baked and sanded clay with rubbing alcohol, before painting. This will remove any oils or grime on the surface and improve adhesion. Make sure you use a quality paint. A cheap one will peel on any surface you paint it on.

        • Joel,

          It is my understanding that acrylic paint can take up to a week to cure. Perhaps if it is not touched during that time, it will stay stuck so-to-speak.

  2. Hi Ratch… Great question!

    Don’t use nail polish or nail lacquer on polymer clay. The acetone and other chemicals react badly with the clay over time. At first it may seem OK, but 6 months down the road the beads get all sticky… Not good!!

    Stick with the Varathane or Future Floor Finish, you’ll be way better off!

  3. Hello!
    I like to use metal leaf or various powders, gold or silver, to my beads, and I belive is not possible to polish those. What can I do?
    I want my beads to have a “professional look”!
    Love, Oana.

  4. Hi Oana, with these types of beads where you would wreck them by sanding, make sure the the surface is really smooth before putting on the leaf or powders. Or another way is to make the surface highly textured, that way no fingerprints or uneven surfaces will show!

  5. Hello!
    Thank you for the fast answer, but now I had more questions I would like to ask you.
    First, I would like to know if I may use liquid fimo to finish my gold leaf beads. Would a thin coat of liquid make the bead smooth and shiny? How thin should be? Is possible to aply it by using a brush( i hope this is the term)? The gold leaf should still be visible? How long should I bake them? I hope you understand what I wanted to say!
    Thank you!
    Love, Oana

  6. You can experiment with the different liquid polymer clays to see which works best for you. Some like TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey) may make your piece quite cloudy though if it is too thick. Be careful when using a brush that you don’t have brush strokes in the finish. Otherwise you may find them a lot of work to sand out.

    The perfect solution for what you want to do would be to pour on resin. But it takes some practice as well.

    I will have some videos in the future on the different liquid polymer clays as well as using resin.

    Hope that was a little help Oana.

  7. Hello, again!
    I used liquid fimo in a very thin coat on my beads and baked them, and the result was fantastic! Now I don’t need to worry that my pendants and beads made by using the metal leaf will be ruined. And there are shiny too!
    Thank you!
    Oana

  8. That is Wonderful Oana!!! I am so thrilled to hear it worked for you! Thank you so much for coming here to tell us your results. It will be helpful for everyone who reads it!

  9. Thanks very much for the link to this varnish page. I just read it, and see that you say to stay away from the oil-based Diamond Floor Finish, and I am curious as to why.

    I have an ulterior motive in asking you about varnishes. I am looking for a varnish to use on pysanky that is UV protected, and non-yellowing, and not water based, as that destroys the aniline dyes.

    Would you happen to know if any of these fit the bill? Thanks so much for your help.

  10. The reason Monelle I don’t recommend oil based varnish for polymer clay it that the oils in the varnish bond with the oils of the polymer clay (at least I think that is what happens) and the varnish never sets. It will sometimes appear to set, but after a bit it becomes sticky again and never hardens right.

    If your pysanky (Ukrainian decorated eggs) is not made of polymer clay than an oil based varnish may work. But if it is, you could run into problems using it.

    I hope that helps.

  11. I have used the Sculpey glaze on Sculpey beads with no problem. But when I used it on Fimo beads it cracked and peeled.! Also on the side of the Sculpey glaze bottle it says you can thin it with water.
    Now I work with Kato clay and I’m going to try Future and Liquid Kato on some test pieces this weekend. That is if I can find it…
    Love your site and all the new things I learn from you!!
    Lisa

  12. Thanks Lisa for the info on the Sculpey Glaze not sticking to the Fimo! That is good to know. Let us know how it goes with the Future Finish. I think you’ll really like the consistency of it and the lovely shine it gives.

  13. Have you tried liquid polyclay clear medium by Van Aken? I use to use Liquid Sculpey but I always ran into the problem of it looking like rubber. I tried the liquid polyclay and I found it can be sanded a lot better and does not look like rubber. I also use a heat gun on it after baking to get rid of the cloudy look. Do you think I may have not baked it long enough or for too long (sculpey)?

  14. I haven’t tried the liquid polyclay yet but I have tried the TLS (Translucent Liquid Sculpey). No I don’t think you did anything wrong with the Sculpey. It is just a rubbery kind of thing. Nice to hear the polyclay is easier to sand. Need to try that some time. (So many products to try aren’t there? :-))

  15. I’ve been working with polymer clays for about 15 years. I made little frog pot sitters about 9 years ago, and used Future Floor Wax, and they still look as good now as when I first made them. None of my old books suggested buffing the clay – I didn’t buff them first before dipping them in the wax.

    • @Betty Keating: Can you tell me how to make polymer clay frogs? FROG = Fully Relying On God! I make and sell jewelry at my church and give all the money to the church. My bean bag frogs have been very popular and I would like to make frogs out of clay. Can you help me?

  16. Hi Cindy,
    Thanks for all your help on polymer clay issues. Now for my problem.
    On a recent trip to PA, I put all of my un-strung beads into a bin and took them in the travel trailer from CO to PA. It was very humid in PA and when I removed the beads, they stuck together. I used Verathane on most of them. Maybe I did not bake long enough (30 min) in the toaster oven or the Verathane is subject to getting sticky in very high humidity. I layered them in waxed paper for the trip back to CO and they are very nice now, no sticking. Have you or anyone else had this problelm in high humidity parts of the world?
    Thanks, Bette

  17. I have never heard of this problem Bette. Sounds really weird! Maybe you’re right about the Varathane not being cured enough.

    It’s kind of a hard one. Maybe someone else has had this problem and can let us know what went wrong.

    Will keep my eyes out for an answer.

  18. Thanks lutien! I love your polymer clay frog and lizard btw. Have the look of some ancient folk art. Very awesome! Thanks for the comment, it is great to have you here!

  19. I have been working with polymer clay for a month and found out the hard way that sculpey glaze was not the way to go. Thanks to this now I know what to use!

    I did want to ask about resin and embossing powder. What is the difference and which one is easier or better to use? I am looking to create some nice chucky rings and pendants.

  20. That’s a great question Amy!

    Resin is a two part liquid that you mix and pour into molds or over your pieces to get a thick glass-like layer.

    Embossing powder is a granular powder most often used in rubber stamping that gives a dimensional effect when melted onto a surface. It comes in many colors but the one I think you are referring to is an extra thick clear version that some people coat their projects with, instead of resin.

    Embossing powder is easier to use but is much less durable. Each has their time and place where they are best used.

    I used green embossing powder mixed into clay for my Anjou Pear Beads. To find out about those, click the link by my name.

  21. HI. I love this site!

    My question – I make pendants out of polymer clay (Premo Sculpey) and coat them in mica powder. After I bake them, I use the Sculpey glaze which I’m trying to get rid of. Can I use any kind of spray sealer on these pieces? I’m looking for a fast way to seal my clay. Brushing on coats takes forever since I make such a large quantity at a time. Any advice on a spray sealant or do I need to stick with the brush on type?

    Thanks!

  22. Thank you Carrie! A great spray sealer that works very well for protecting Mica is called Preserve Your Memories II. Click the link by my name for a post I wrote about that product.

  23. hey cindy!

    (otherwise known as the mother theresa of polymer clay…..lol!) in all of my research online, i have cocluded that the varathane and the floor polish are the most dependable finishes. it appears that the future floor
    polish now has a different name……….available on amazon…but can you tell me is it as effective as the old one? has anyone had any problems with it?

    i found a floor finish here called “Holloway House quick shine floor finish”, and it is referred to as being developed from advanced polymer technology. do you have any idea if this would be trustworthy, or do i need to wait for the other future to arrive in the mail?

    wow………how great to find your website!! i have been stumbling around in the dark …….. excited yet frustrated. now i will just be excited with all this info and help on your very high quality site! THANK YOU!!

  24. hey cindy!

    how about that thick resin coating that they pour on tabletops, etc………..is it compatible with polymer? how about if i use gold or silver leaf in with my clay……..would i seal it with the proper sealer for gold leaf provided by the company, then use the envirotex? (i think that is what it is called.)

    does the metal leaf require a special sealer before using the varathane and/or the floor polish?

    so many questions, so little time…….lol………..

  25. Peggie you are a delight! So nice to see you are excited and passionate about working with polymer clay.

    As far as finishes go, I have a couple of new favorites: one is the Studio by Sculpey Glazes in Glossy or Matte and the spray sealer called Preserve your Memories II. I like these finishes much more than the floor finishes though they are definitely more expensive.

    You can use resins on polymer clay, but I am still in the testing phase and don’t have any advice for you.

    Since polymer clay is new to you, I highly recommend you take my Beginners Bead Making Course. (Linked by my name.)

    It will teach you everything you need to know about working with polymer clay and help you avoid the common mistakes all beginner’s make. The videos have been well received and I think you’ll love them!

  26. hey cindy!

    okay, now i have some of the studio by sculpey (talk about pricey!) and i have finished a piece with it, one coat. it still feels a bit plasticy to me………..would baking it make it harder? i can indent it with my fingernail, and i was hoping for a harder finish. i know you have all this experience, so i want to learn from your input, and i trust it.

    it seems i did actually bake this finish awhile, but not long. i put it directly over gold leaf and it did darken it, i think. i was also using alcohol inks, so who knows, the inks might have contributed to this effect. i will have to start over and make really good notes.

    do you think one coat is sufficient for use on jewelry, unless i just happen to have a wild hair and want more coats?

  27. hey cindy!

    well back to the future shine floor finish…………..i checked it out on amazon and read one of the customer reviews and it said that when it arrived, it was the pledge with future shine instead, not the picture shown on amazon. i found some of this pledge future stuff tonight at home depot, and then i remembered reading that people have had trouble with it. has there been any improvement with this, or should i avoid the floor finishes if the old brand is not available?

  28. also the rustoleum diamond varathane link on this page that takes us to amazon……when the page opens on amazon, it does not say diamond in the title anymore, just water based interior. is this one okay for the polymer?

  29. First of all Peggy, are you sanding and buffing your beads before coating them? It will leave the finish more glassy looking than plasticy if you do. Plus baking the Studio glaze makes it bond better with the clay and have more of a look of being absorbed into the surface rather than sitting on top.

    Another thing is that you don’t actually have to put a finish on the beads at all unless you’re trying to seal in something like a gold leaf or mica power that you’re worried about getting rubbed off with wear.

    With the number of coats, that’s up to you. That really depends on how even the first coat is and how much shine you want. There are artists that use one coat and artists that use many coats.

    The link by my name will take you to an article talking about Studio by Sculpey Glaze and in the comments there is a letter from Polyform the makers of Sculpey on how to use the glaze. This should be helpful.

    As far as the Pledge with Future, the company has said that the product is identical. There was some talk about it here at the blog awhile ago. If you do a search on Pledge you’ll find several articles where people are discussing this in the comments sections.

    With the Diamond finish it should be OK if it doesn’t say Diamond anymore, as long as it is water based. The oil based varnish will leave your beads in a sticky mess.

    If you have anymore questions, you may find they are already answered on this blog. Just type the word of whatever your topic is (finishes, future, baking, sanding, etc) into the search box at the top of the page and press search. A whole list of articles will come up that should help.

  30. thank you so much, cindy, for this information. i did not realize you had such a large site going on here, and there is information all over the place. i will certainly look at the previous threads from here on out! it is so great of you to offer such help to us underlings. a true comfort!

  31. You are welcome Peggie. The link by my name will take you to an article that provides some tips on how to navigate the site. And always be sure to read the comments underneath the articles at this site. Often times there is more information in the follow up conversations than there is in the original articles.

  32. thank you cindy for the suggestion to paint the studio by sculpey glaze on the raw clay and bake it………it did make a difference…..the finish is much harder and more durable. i am about to finish my first necklace………it’s going to be exciting!

  33. I used varathane to gloss my polymer clay project as recommended, but it is now peeling off. Should i bake it again. I am just concerned to rebake it when there’s polyurethane on it and bake in my regular oven (concern about the fumes and chemicals since we use the oven for baking our food as well — how safe is this if i were to do it?) I have a fashion show coming up and want to use these for accessories. What are my alternatives? Please help. Thank you

  34. You’re welcome Peggie!

    @Dean: Thanks for letting us know about KMart.

    @i: For the Varathane to be peeling, it is either the wrong kind of Varathane (the water based is the only one you can use, not the oil based) or the clay surface had something oily on it (such as fingerprints) and the Varathane did not stick properly. I would remove the Varathane with either rubbing alcohol or acetone. Then if you have the right Varathane (check out the ‘polymer clay finishes’ article above to be sure), and it has been properly mixed, then coat your clay again.

    If you are nervous about using the Varathane again, you can use Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze. It is an excellent product. It can be baked on your clay as well and since it was designed for baking, you know it is safe to do so.

    Hope that helps. Would love to see photos of your jewelry in the fashion show. That would be awesome to see!

  35. Cindy and all. I still haven’t gotten an answer to why my clay becomes so hard rubbery after baking. I really don’t see a lot of answers on your site and I’ve worded it several different ways in the search bar. Why does this happen. I have tried mixing everything in my clay supplies and it comes out rubbery every time and flexible like. I can’t do anything with it, so please tell me what to do. And, maybe you could tell me how to word it where I can get some feedback about this.
    Thank you so much for your time.
    Here’s hoping.
    Dean Andrews

  36. Hi Dean. I’m not sure if you know this but the clay is supposed to get hard when it is baked. If your pieces are quite thin, they will still be quite flexible (rubbery) even after baking. If they are thick, such as a round bead for example, they will actually be quite hard.

    You said that you can’t do a thing with it when it is baked. You aren’t baking it before making beads with it are you? Because you need to form the beads first, then bake them.

    I hope that helps. Try typing in words such as ‘baking or baked’ instead and you will find more articles on the topic.

  37. Hi everyone,
    I have always wondered how people got a picture on their comments. Now I finally get it! Just got my Gravatar. It’s a picture from my retirement party. (They made me wear the hat and boa!).

    Anyway, I bought some PMY II and have used it once. I must say you need a well ventilated place to spray. I did it in front of an exhaust fan in the studio (“extra bedroom”) window. and it took out all the smell and stuff that’s bad for you to breathe. The final finish is not as shiny as verathane or sculpey glaze, but it sure is easy. A few squirts and you’re done.

  38. thank you for your reply. I actually did get the right varathane– i’ve check sooo many times to make sure i did get the right one. But, what realized i did not do is the sanding and the buffing (of course got this info. from your site). SOOOO — i’m in search for the dry/wet sand paper. Will do that and do the conventional way of buffing (flannel fabric?) and see how that goes. Thank you soo much for the response. I learn a lot from your site.

    • To save you time and frustration, as I did, look for the wet/dry sandpaper at an automotive store like Advance Auto or Auto Zone.

      • They carry it at Lowe’s and Home Depot, but not in grits higher than 600 unless you buy tiny sheets. They used to carry higher but then a year or so ago they stopped. This was frustrating because they had a better price on it.

        Automotive stores carry it, but it is pricey… 2 dollars a sheet.

  39. I too have noticed that sometimes my polymer pieces are sticking while using Varathane and I do beleive it has something to do with the humidity.

    I am trying to see if after my piece is finished, rebaking it and see if that might set the finish a bit more to avoid this problem. Will update after this has been thoroughly tested. :)

  40. @Bette: So nice to see your face now that you have your gravatar image uploaded! I love the semi matte finish of the PYM II and how easy it is to apply! As far as fumes go, I just open the window and use a fan to blow the smell out. It doesn’t last very long. If you want you could always just spray out doors. Since it dries so quick you don’t have to go back inside to wait before doing a second coat.

    @i: You are so welcome! Let me know how it goes.

    @Sara: Re-baking should fix your problem. Let me know how it turns out!

  41. Also, another tidbit I did learn today is that depending on your climate, when using varathane with your pieces, you can experience “blushing”. It’s sections in your piece that can have a cloudy look. It doesn’t happen to often with me, but just as a warning, start with 3-4 thin coats and as a final finish, you can just apply it slightly thicker to create a glass like finish.

    To avoid blushing, do not use in humid cool temps. The humidity traps water in the varathane and the cool temps prevent it from drying in the appropriate time, but I have only noticed this when it was a thick coat upon a thick coat. (My work area is by windows, which before I was across the room away from windows. So even that slight change in areas can affect your work pieces.)

  42. Thank you Sara for the ‘tidbit’! I have never had any problems with ‘blushing’ but I don’t use Varathane that often. I prefer to sand and buff more than anything on my smooth items. That way there is no finish to mess up! When I do use a finish, I tend to go with PYMII or Studio by Sculpey Glaze.

    This info is good to know though, since it can be very chilly and damp at this time of year and it is a pain to run into those kinds of problems. If it does you can just pop it back into the oven to really set it.

  43. Hello Cindy,

    I’ve been playing with Sculpy for a couple of years now, but since I’ve decided to start selling charms I’ve been reading up on how to make them more durable. After reading several articles on your site and elsewhere, I drove all over town looking for Varathane. I finally found a small can and just brought it home. (They had gallon sized cans elsewhere, but that’s way too much for my projects!)

    I got the water-based stuff, but it’s a different variety. The only kind they had at this store was Varathane Diamond Spar Urethane Outdoor, and I haven’t found any mention of it on your site. Do you think it will work? Or do you think I would be better off returning it and getting the Studio by Sculpy Glaze?

    Also, since my charms are mostly not shapes that would be easy to sand, will simply cleaning them with rubbing alcohol do the trick?

    Thanks in advance! I’m learning all sorts of new things about polymer clay from your wonderful website!

  44. Hi Miranda, Sorry for taking so long to answer but I was trying to do some research for you to know for sure. I still can’t find an definitive answer as to whether or not the Outdoor version is compatible or not. The water based interior formula has been proven but I couldn’t find info on the outdoor.

    Studio by Sculpey glaze has been designed for polymer clay, so you wouldn’t have any worries, using it.

    As for your sanding question, rubbing alcohol, will clean your beads but it will not remove any marks such as finger prints after it has been baked. (Unbaked it works though.)

    Acetone will work to remove fingerprints from baked clay. It kind of melts the surface and smooths them out.

    Hope that helps!

  45. Oo, very cool! I’m afraid I got impatient and ended up using the Varathane after a couple of days. It looks great so far! Hopefully it’ll stay clear and not sticky. I’ll let everyone know if I see any changes.

    I’m curious to try the Studio by Sculpey, but this can of Varathane will probably last me a good couple of years now. We’ll see how it goes!

    I’m definitely going to try using acetone to remove fingerprints, though! That’s awesome!

    Thanks very much for getting back to me, Cindy. :)

    ~Miranda

  46. Hi, I am new to polymer clay jewellery and find that once I have baked my pieces, they do not harden. I baked the pendants for about an hour at 130C. I am from South Africa and I use the Filani Polymer clay.
    I do roll the clay out to about 2 – 3mm. Am I working with my clay too thin?
    Can you use ordinary resin to coat the pendants and beads.

    Love your site…..
    Blessings
    Debra

  47. @Miranda: That’s great! Let us know how it works for you.

    @Debra: Although I haven’t tried the Filani clay yet myself, I did talk with the manufacturers and they said that, just like all polymer clays, the clay will remain flexible after baking, when it is that thin. If you were to bake a thick piece or round bead, you would probably find the clay to be quite hard.

    If I were you, I would test the clay at different thickness’ and see what works best for your purposes.

    As far as being able to coat with resin, I can’t see why not. But you may want to test that as well.

  48. Great Cindy, thanks for the reply.
    I am off to find resin to try coating my pendants, I will let you know how I
    go with that.

    Blessings and enjoy your day further…….

  49. Hi

    I’m so glad I found this thread and your site. Wonderfully helpful.

    Would be very grateful for your advice on the following…..

    I’ve tried cooking Studio gloss and the new Fimo gloss on beads. Gives a fair finish and is rock hard and doesn’t peel.

    BUT, I’m getting bubbles.

    Please could you tell me if this can be avoided and, if so, how?

    I cooked the beads with the gloss on at 130 degrees F, and am wondering if that’s too high?

    Many thanks

    Vicki

    • @Moco: Hi Moco — Are you waiting for the gloss to dry before putting it in the oven? The temp. should be okay. Are you getting bubbles only when baking, or all the time?

      • @Phaedrakat: Hello Phaedrakat. Thank you for your response. I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember….which sounds ridiculous. I think probably not, so I will maybe try again. I did a sample yesterday and this time it cracked instead of bubbling!

        I have a feeling I varnished the samples and then put them in the oven fairly soon afterwards. So, while they weren’t ‘wet’, they probably weren’t exactly ‘dry’ either!

        I’ll try and come back to report on the outcome!

        • @Moco: Here’s a link to the Studio by Sculpey glaze article.

          It will explain (at least I think) that you have to let the finish dry before putting it in the oven to harden it further.

          Let us know if you need any other questions answered. Good Luck!

          • @Phaedrakat: Thanks for the reference to the Studio article as well. I’m really glad to have found all the information on here and very grateful for the help in answering my questions.

            I think I’m getting somewhere now!

  50. Have you ever used resin on polymer clay… Or the juniper solution and 3D mixture…. Also Lisa P??? famous polymer person has come out with a 2 oz mixture that dries fast for 50.00.. Does that work?? I have tried a surfboard formula that dries in minutes in the sunlite and boy that mixture does not work it rolls off like jelly. But I am find in tthe doming jewelry resin is working good.. I like the 3d look and the shine and it really preserves the polymer from scratches…

    • @kalatoo: The 3D, UltraDome, and Lisa Pavelka’s Miracle Glos are actually techniques rather than finishes. I’ve used Lisa’s with foil for the faux dichroic look.

      For finishes, I highly recommend PYM II. It has been discussed here before and Cindy and I are both on their site as ones who recommend their product. I did a fair amount of testing for them.

      • @carolyn: Hi Carolyn — I didn’t see your comment here! I must have been busy typing my response while you were posting yours. I usually try to refresh the page if it’s taken me a while to type it out, but I must not have done that yesterday. I just read yours now & thought, “wait a minute???” but I realize what happened. That’s happened with Cindy before, too. I was busy typing a novel, and post it only to find Cindy already answered the question. Ooops!

        • @Phaedrakat: Actually, Phaedrakat, mine had to be moderated by Doug since I had included a live link to my website. I now have PYM II available for all the USA clayers here at Cindy’s site. Just click on my name to the left and you’ll see the PYM II info in the verbiage at the bottom of my home page … along with the link to my blog where I have posted an endorsement page. I just think this PYM II is such a wonderful finish and so easy to use that I decided to handle it through my website. Anyway, you didn’t really miss my post. It just hadn’t been posted yet.

    • @kalatoo: Hi, there are lots of articles where people have discussed resin here at the blog. One that has lots of comments and info about Lisa Pavelka’s Magic Glos is this one, where Cindy discusses trying a one-part resin called Ultradome Brand.

      It’s supposedly a lot cheaper than the Magic Glos. Be sure to read the article and the comments below — it should answer some of your questions. Cindy has been testing resins, so she’ll probably be interested in knowing the kinds that you’ve tried that didn’t work out. I’m hoping she’ll be coming out with a video soon, as I’m really wanting to use resin in my jewelry. There are other articles where people talk about the things they’ve tried, and what works vs. what doesn’t. Try using the search box at the top left of the page; you can find an article on any topic, or at least a comment where it’s been brought up. Just type in a word or two like “resin, gloss, UV light,” etc.

      I was wondering what you meant by “juniper solution.” Is that some kind of topcoat? Good luck, and I hope I was able to help you a little with your questions!

  51. Ok here goes, I have the names of all that I have used for finishing a polymer clay piece. Thanx for the responses,,,3GCL did not like at all too bubbly… 3GCL and Glamour Glaze… They dried well but had like a wavy crator effect… Meaning I would have to put many coats on the piece.. I have used EZ cast pouring… I have found no matter what it stays a little thicker than what I like… Does not dome on jewlry as well as the other products… Now I thought I found the cats meowwww.. It is a UV curred made by solarez.. I got more than the magic glo uv curred and it cost a lot less.. This product is used on surf boards to make them shine and dries within seconds… Well it smells ungodly lke the fumes will kill you in seconds.. Needs to be WELL ventilated and when it dried it either crackled or gooed up. Now I have not tried Lisa P MAgic Glo I know it will work well because of who created it BUT I can not see spending 50.00 on 2 oz. that is reidiculus. Especially when I found the stuff from Solarez in a 10 flo oz bottle for like 22.00.. That tells me Lisa P is very pricy for what she has becasue solarez has had the market a lot longer than Lisa P.. I will continue to investigate the Solarez. I’m thinking add water will help out..
    The product I now use is Lowe’s Doming resin for jewelry.. And I will be switching to Colores Doming Resin… Which (I hope I can mention) Rio Grande has the best cost for it… 8 oz for 20.00…
    Here’s the secret when using doming resin… I take the caps of each bottle fill them and put one cap in a plastic cup I cut down.. Stir for about 50 times. NExt put the mixture into another cut down 2 oz cup and continue to stir..Switching the cups guarantees no leftovers from either parts.. U need this resin to mix thoroughly.. NExt I take a heat gun hold it high up and heat the resin. Fo a count of fifty.. This helps with making the resin mix thinner and much easier to work with and usually no bubbles will form on your piece… All you use is a little and start in the middle move to sides with a popsicle stick..
    As for the dust and such getting on your pieces. I use a scrapbookers paper storage hard container… It has a cover on it I open a corner with something to allow to breath… put down wax paper…
    Even with my process there is a little of the dripping over the edge if the piece is not flat flat… I wish there was a cheaper quick drying solution… hope this helps… If anyone has a quick not expensive solution let me know…

    • @kalatoo: Wow, you really gave us some tips! Looks like you’ve tried a lot of resins! Did you read about the Ultradome resin at the other article? It’s a little cheaper than the Magic Glos, and you don’t have to mix it. The other resin I hear lots of good things about it ICE resin. It’s created by (or affiliated with, at least) Susan Lenart Kazmer, who, if you don’t already know, is an amazing mixed-media artist. Her stuff is funky and fun and just awesome. Anyway, you can read about it at iceresin “dot” com. There are videos showing how to use it, usually at the places it’s sold. When I see resin comparisons in magazines, this one is always among the favorites.

      Anyway, I’m sure Cindy will be glad to see this list, as she is gathering info on all of these resins (and testing them, most likely.) This is the first I’ve heard of Lowe’s Doming resin, I’m interested in checking that out. Thanks for writing all your tips! I feel confident that as soon as someone comes up with a good, easy-to-use, doming resin that costs a reasonable amount, you’ll see it here! Good luck, and have fun Kalatoo!

  52. @Moco: I’m really glad that it’s working out now! Thanks for letting me know, too. Now I don’t have to worry about your project… ;-D

  53. Oh, good! I thought my eyes were going bad or something! So you sell the PYM II directly from your site? I’ll have to check it out. If it’s not too $$, I’ll get some, especially since it’s good with the wire, too.

  54. I think Varathane and Future floor finish is only available abroad and I’m living in the Philippines. Do you think you guys could help me out by specifying what type of finish those are and hopefully I could find counterparts of those here in the Philippines. :) any help would be greatly appreciated. :) I tried Sculpey gloss and not really liking it.

    • @Sarah Young: Rustoleum makes Varathane® Diamond Water-Based Polyurethane. The interior, water-based product comes in a can, and has been tested and used by polymer clayers with success for a long time. There are outdoor, oil-based, and spray products, too — but they’re not the same thing. Varathane is a wood finish, designed to resist stains/scratches. For more info, you could check the website: rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=70 (you’ll have to add the http:// and the www. to the address, otherwise, this comment won’t go through & will have to be moderated.)

  55. Sarah: Pledge® with Future® Shine by S. C. Johnson is an acrylic floor finish. It’s made to add shine to old linoleum and no-wax floors. This product is called Johnson’s Klear in the UK. (They have changed the UK product to “Pledge Klear Multi-Surface Wax.” Apparently it’s a different product, so it may not work the same as the old one. If you come across Klear, it’s good. But the other one might not be.) “Future” is a floor finish, but it’s not recommended for cork or wood. I found another article that says the right product is called “Johnson’s Wipe and Shine” in the Philippines. The article was 2 years old, though. It may have a name change by now.

    I just ran across some info that model makers/figure painters use Future (Pledge with Future Shine – US, Johnson’s Klear – UK) for certain effects when painting. It’s written by someone in Thailand, searching for this product in Asia. The web address is:
    longrangelogistics.com/2010/03/02/magic-wash-redux-johnsons-klear-renamed/ He hasn’t found it in his area yet, but I thought you could watch his site or write to him, in case he finds it before you’re able to track down the product. Or until someone here finds some info for you!

    Here’s one of Cindy’s blog articles on Future Floor Finish (Now called Pledge with Future Shine in the US.)

    I found another article that may be helpful to you. This is also for people who make models, or “figure painters.” But, since they use this floor finish in their craft, it might help you. Just remember that they use it for different reasons. They do not have to worry about compatibility with polymer clay, and clarity isn’t always an issue. You, of course, need for it to be clear! Here’s the article:
    swannysmodels.com/TheCompleteFuture.html
    Again, add the http: and www. to the address.

    You mentioned that you did not like the Sculpey gloss. There’s a new product called Studio by Sculpey glaze which is much nicer than the old one. This post, Studio by Sculpey Glaze – a Beautiful Finish for Polymer Clay Beads, tells more about it. I wish you luck finding one of these products, or something similar that works beautifully, to use for your beads. Happy claying & finishing!

  56. @Phaedrakat: thanks a lot. :) I’ll be searching for it. :) btw, I’ve come across with some “acrylic epoxy”, would that be alright too? :)

    • @Sarah Young: I’m not sure exactly which product you mean… I did a search, but there are “acrylic epoxy” glues, resins, paints, etc. Resins work well as a finish for polymer clay — they make a beautiful, hard finish. Acrylic, water-base paints are usually fine for polymer clay, as well. And the glues are used to attach pieces together, or to findings. But as a finish?

      If you tell me the exact name of the product, I might recognize it from a tutorial I’ve read or something. (Or perhaps someone else will recognize it.) Otherwise, you may have to test it. The problem with finishes & polymer clay, though, is that sometimes it takes months before the finish “eats” into the clay, ruining the piece. If it’s completely water-based, though, the chances of it being compatible with PC are pretty good. How it will act as a finish on the clay (is it tough, durable, clear, etc.) is another story. Perhaps someone else might know more about this… In the meantime, let us know the exact product you’re talking about…

  57. NEW PHOTOS ADDED… that relate to the theme of this page… Varathane Polymer Clay Finishes. Click on the link by my name for the full “Spotlight Story” featuring Marsha-G.

    Polymer Clay Mirror Project by Marsha Gustafson

    BTW: Thanks to everyone above, who took the time to comment in this thread. Your feedback, support and engaging conversations are always such a wonderful part of my day. Although I don’t get a chance to address everyone individually, please know that I do read everything. ~Cindy

    • @lindsay: Spray on PYM II. This way you won’t be taking any chances of smearing your paint. Do a very light misting the first time. When that is totally dry (I’d even wait 24 hours just to be absolutely sure) the do a regular spray coat. This should work really well on painted projects.

      • @carolyn: also let me add, i used a spray sealant that i SWEAR i researched would be fine with the painted polymer online, and the spray never dried! it was forever sticky D: it was a horrible mess and extremely frustrating.

        & the sculpey glaze i used in the past would peel as well, but not always! it’s odd, and i think it was just a bad bottle from the manufacturing plant, even though ive heard of other people having the problem too, its hard to determine

        • @lindsay: Hi Lindsay, you might have had some oil residue on your pieces, which caused the sprays or glazes to peel off. Read the article above. Cindy has some recommendations on how to get rid of the oils (sanding, wiping with alcohol.) Also, if you try something that doesn’t dry/becomes sticky, sometimes you can salvage it by putting it in the oven. If that doesn’t work, you can try removing the finish with alcohol, or even acetone. There are other ideas in the articles and comments having to do with finishes. Try the links to some of them in the article above (like “Finishing Beads w/Future Floor Finish”) or check out this article on the newer, better Studio by Sculpey Glaze.

          The newer Studio by Sculpey glaze is thinner than the old Sculpey gloss, so it goes on much easier, nice & smooth, without getting “globby” (as Cindy puts it.) You can bake it, even on raw clay, to get a wonderful, nice finish that “sinks” into the clay. It’s a much better product than the old one, but you should still start with a clean bead — remove any fingerprints or oils before applying your finish.

          I’ve tried both Sculpey finishes, the older Gloss, and the new Glaze (comes in Satin or Gloss,) and the newer one is unbelievably better. I never even tried to use up the older product. It wasn’t even worth the trouble. The new one is awesome, though. Good luck, Lindsay. I hope you find something that you like!

          The PYM II that Carolyn mentioned is the only spray that I know of that is compatible with polymer clay. (It’s branded as CI Superseal in scrapbooking stores, but it’s the same product.) Carolyn carries this in her online store (click her name to be taken to it.) From her store, you can click over to her blog, Dove Designs, to see examples of her polymer clay jewelry. She sands & buffs most of her pieces, but the hard-to-sand items are finished beautifully with PYM II. You should be able to tell which is which by reading the posts. Best of luck! ~Kat

    • @lindsay: You can also pop your pieces in the oven at a low temp to set the paint for about 10 min. Then use any clay-compatible finish (Future, Varathane, Studio-by-Sculpey glaze, etc.)

  58. What about UV Resin? Cindy, I saw that you’ve used it on some of your beads and they are gorgeous. What kind is best? What kind of investment is it? I would love to start using it on pendants but I don’t know anything about it. USCGwife (Kathy)

  59. @Kathy G. I have been testing Ultradome for pendants and have not had much success with seepage. BUT I know Terry does sell an adhesive sheet to cover your images to protect from seepage. I have not tried his adhesive product, but did test with just packing tape. (Which creates ALOT of bubbles under it, and Contact paper isn’t good either, but when applying the resin and curing it, there was no seepage into the paper and had a nice hard finish, which I am sure if you purchased his adhesive paper, it would give you wonderful results.)

    Do not use Mod Podge or any other decoupage product, being as those are not compatible with UV Resin. (Which I posted earlier one of my test worked with Collage Pauge worked, and I actually got false results. It appeared to have cured and everything was good to go, but the minute I adhered my cufflinks and was handling the product the resin dome slide off, which will happen when using other Decoupage products.)

    Terry does have a decoupage to use, which is still in testing, but I have had wonderful results. Only once did I have it where the image slid off the paper, with the decoupage wet underneath. BUT I am sure that was my error in not letting the decoupage dry throughly.

    And lastly, I purchased a UV lamp off Ebay for less then $20. *36 Watt I have used it a few times and cure time was the same if using the sun, but this way I do not need to wait for sun and can work at anytime. :)

    • @Sara: Thanks for the info Sara, sounds like you’ve been busy! Are you using the resin with polymer clay, too, or mostly jewelry using images w/resin? It sure sounds like there’s a lot to deal with—the adhesive paper, decoupage, resin, etc. It’s cool when products get popular though, because lots of new products become available that make the job easier. Unfortunately, sounds like a lot of it’s still in the testing phase. Oh, man, I would have been so mad to see my resin dome slide off the cuff link! :(

      The other cool thing is that it seems like the prices are coming down on the UV lights. Lots of people want them, so the competition’s driving the prices down. Cool! I was going to make one, but with these newer prices it’s cheaper to buy. I’m also going to love not having to wait for the sun…

      Best of luck with your pieces, and may you find the perfect products for your resin jewelry! ~Kat

  60. Is the 36W UV lamps that most of you use the “nail drying” ones? I saw many of them on ebay for VERY reasonable prices but I wasn’t sure they were the same. Also, has anyone tried Judkins enamel resin? I have be reading alot on that product. USCGwife

    • @Kathy G: Hi again, Kathy! If you use the search box Jocelyn told you about in the Aug. 3rd thread (type “Judikins” into the box,) you’ll find a few posts where people have discussed this product.

      The same “resin” posts I mentioned (when I replied to you on the same “Blend and Switch” tute page) have information about the various lamps people have been using for their UV Resin. Many of them are, indeed, nail-drying lamps. *Be sure to look out for/avoid lamps with 2 or 3-minute timers that cannot be bypassed. You should be able to leave the lamp on for the 20 – 30 minutes needed to cure your resin…

      Good luck, and have fun! ~Kat

  61. I just start polymer clay projet,I make funky head use as pendant,some time use acrylic paint(water base) and glass bead,dyeed pearl etc. to decorate the funky head,use Sculpey satin glaze after baked as a sealer,I really don’t like the result,they’re too thick to apply,matted looking easy to get bubbles,you can peel it off after bake,my question are:
    1.Do I have to use any finish after polymer clay baked?
    2.If I have to use any sealer or finish,what kind is the best for ploymer clay made pendant,easy to apply and little bit bright looking? falling in love w/polymer clay

    • @teresa B.: Hi Teresa, welcome! Looks like you’ve fallen in love like we all have! The article above pretty much has the answer you’re looking for, [;~D] but no — you do not have to use a finish on polymer clay. You can leave it as is after baking; or even better, sand and buff it to a beautiful smooth, glossy finish. If you follow the link at the top of the page to sign up for the Polymer Clay Newsletter, you’ll get 3 free videos (including a Sanding Video!)

      The only time you really need to use a finish is if you’ve used powders, gold leaf, or something else that might rub off. Besides the Sculpey satin that you tried, there’s also Future or Varathane (the long “proper” names for these are in the article above.) Actually, Future floor finish is now called “Pledge with Future Shine”. Or there’s PYM II, which is a spray finish. They’ve all been used successfully on polymer clay and are enormously popular. [You would probably be happiest with Future, since it's much thinner than Sculpey. You can apply it with a cotton swab, then let dry. There are links to more information about it above...]

      Do read all the information in the articles and the comments, though. The answers to just about every question are here in the pages of Cindy’s wonderful blog! The search box at the top of the page can also help you find information on anything, like baking, finishing, etc. But of course, leave another comment if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
      Good luck with your project!
      ~Kat, Riverside, CA, USA — Where are you from?

  62. Hey Cindy, this article was really very helpful. Especially since I’ve been using the Sculpey Gloss Glaze to glaze my charms for awhile..but it really is pretty globby. lol I did see your other article about the Studio by Sculpey glaze..I dunno iof I wanna spend that much money on it tho. I might try out the Pledge polish if I can find it. =) I like to have my charms super shiney! ^_^

  63. Hi Wendy, where are you from? There’s info here about where to find the Pledge with Future Shine (Walmart’s a good one, if you’re in the US. Try the automotive department…not sure why, but that’s where many are finding it.) Have fun, and good luck!

  64. Hello Everyone,

    I’ve been having an issue with the Varathane for a couple of weeks now and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. I skulpt skull beads out of my polymer and like to glaze them to a shiny finish. I’ve never sanded them before and up until now it has not caused a problem. My beads are now peeling and I have no idea why! I’m hoping someone can shed some light on this problem for me. Thank you for any feedback.

  65. Are you using the same clay? Is it possible that you are doing something else that might be leaving something on your fingers when you form the skulls? It really does sound like there is something (unknown) on the beads before you coat them with the Varathane. Actually, it could even be something in your oven … you might try cleaning it really well before the next batch of beads. Hope these little ideas will help you along the way to discovery.

  66. Hi,

    I’m from the UK, I have tried to find this gloss and I just can’t find it anywhere. I mainly use Fimo, occasionally I use Sculpey, only if they have a nicer shade. The consistency of Sculpey is far from desirable.

    I found something by rustoleum, it is a polyurethane clear gloss wood polish, it is an areosol. It smelled awful, made my head hurt, it also left my lighter pieces with a yellow tinge. However the effect was nice on darker pieces where you couldn’t see the yellow tinge. Here is a link to the product amazon.co.uk/Rust-Oleum-AE0140001E8-400ml-Polyurethane-Clear/dp/B001W03PR2

    I really dont want to use this anymore, is anyone aware of what the gloss mentioned in this thread might be called in the uk? Or anything that gives a strong, gloss finish, no yellow tinge and is painted rather than sprayed? please. Any help much appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • @Fimo-fiend: Hi, just wanted to “bump” your comment up in the thread, and hopefully someone from your country will notice and offer some advice. I’m from the US, so I don’t know what kinds of products are available to you. Someone asked a similar question above (Sarah) and I tried to help by giving her more detailed info about Varathane & Future, the two main products discussed in this post. (I left 2 replies, one for each product.) I hope that will help you.

      I went to the link you provided to see the spray you mentioned, but I’m not familiar with it. Besides the fact it causes you headaches, it could also have drying problems (most aerosol finishes do not work well with polymer clay…over time they get sticky. The propellants or something react with the clay, breaking it down…) There is one spray I know works well, but I don’t think it’s available yet in the UK. It’s called PYM II or Preserve Your Memories, II.

      Well, best of luck finding a good finishing product in your country. Of course, most consider the best polymer clay finish to be none at all — just a perfectly-sanded & buffed bead…shiny, with a fantastic feel. But sometimes you do need a finish, like when you use metal leaf, powders, etc…something that might rub off. I hope you find something you love to work with…Good Luck! ~Kat

  67. Hi,I have been using Cernit Clay for many years.I make Flower Jewellery.Once baked I paint my flowers with Acrylic paint.I usually glaze them with Fimo spirit/Mineral Lacquer.I had a large supply of this Glaze,but I am running out.I have just found out it has been discontinued.The only Glaze they do now is waterbased.In the past this became sticky after a period of time.Could you please help Me,by reconmending a substitute Glaze…The water based Fimo Glaze may have inproved now?…..I also notice there are to different design- jars,with different manufactures names on(one being Eberhard Faber…the same as the old spirit Glaze).I am after a waterproof finish,that is hard wearing(my brooches are often put in the washing machine by mistake,by my customers),wont change the colour of the paint & glossy.
    Many thanks for your time & help….

    • @Kerry Westwood: I am sorry Kerry but I am not familiar with with the properties of Cernit or the Fimo Glazes so I won’t be able to give you any proper advice on that. From experience, the water based products that are made now tend to be very good but you would have to test them yourself to know which ones work best for you. If your brooches are flat, a resin may be your best bet.

      Hopefully someone here who is familiar with Cernit and Fimo Glazes will be able to offer a good replacement product for you. In the meantime I will keep my eyes and ears open for you.

  68. What an AMAZING and helpful website you have!!!! I can NOT wait until this Friday when I will become a member! :-)
    Okay ……. about the Future Floor wax…… I DID buy one at Wally World today called Pledge with Future (for vinyl floors). But I am wondering if I should have gotten the one for WOOD floors.
    I was going to buy it on Amazon and followed your link, but after reading the comments……… it seems that the people ordering are having the same problem. They say the picture of the bottle looks like the one they want but when they receive it it is Pledge with Future Shine.
    This IS different then the ones at Walmart.
    So ……. I guess I’m asking this……… have you ordered this recently??
    Is this the right Future???
    I’ll buy it …. I just don’t want to end up with something that will make my beads sticky in six months!!!!
    Blessings to you and yours
    Nicole

    • @Nicole Parker: Thank you Nicole for your lovely comments! I am pleased you are getting so much value from this site.

      I haven’t ordered any Future recently but as far as I know, the product only went through a packaging and name change, and the contents inside are the same. The only way to really know, is to ask the manufacturer. If they do give you an answer either way, it would be very helpful if you came back here and let us all know what they said. That way everyone will benefit from your help.

    • @Nicole Parker: I have some jewelry i made for myself dating back to 2009 that I used the Future Floor wax and it has always done well at least for me. I have a large container of it, so I’m glad it works fine :)

  69. Hello, i LOVE your website! it’s seriously helpful :) I’m from Brunei (that unknown Asian country) and they don’t even sell polymer clay, let alone any clay products, so, usually when i travel i buy clay in bulk, anyways, i can’t find varathane or the the future floor finish anywhere :/ it’s so frustrating. although, i did find this water-based polyurethane finish and water-based polycrylic finish, so can i use those instead?

    • @Khaliilah: Thank you, that is very sweet! I am so glad that you love polymer clay so much, even though it isn’t the easiest material for you to get.

      I think the water based polyurethane or the polycrylic finish could work for you, but you will need to test it to know for sure. Bake small samples of the clay and spray them with the different finishes. Make sure to date the pieces and then let them sit for awhile to see what happens. If the finish stays nice and dry (not sticky) for 6 months, the product should be perfect to use.

      If you do this testing, do make sure to come back and tell us your results. It will help everyone else who may be having that problem too.

      A good alternative to using a finish, is to just do a good job of sanding and buffing the pieces. There are several articles and tutorials on this site that will help you with that. Just type in ‘sanding’ or ‘buffing’ into the search box at the top of the page.

  70. Hi Cindy! I don’t know if you remember, but I e-mailed you a little while ago thanking you for your wonderful blog and it’s wealth of useful information. I said that I would link to your blog to thank you for helping us figure out what the problem was with the glaze we were using. So we finally blogged and it’s located here sugiai.blogspot.com/2011/06/magnets.html. Thank you again for all that you do, and I’m sure that we’ll continue to use your blog as a reference! :D

    • @Sugi: Thank you Sugi for coming back here and letting us know about your success! That is so awesome! Btw I checked out your post (thanks for that as well, that is very sweet of you) and your little magnets are adorable! You have such a happy and sweet look to your work. You and your friend Ai, look like you’re having a lot of fun on your claying journey. Keep it up. It is wonderful to have you as part of our clay family!

  71. Hi Cindy,
    I have been reading all the comments made here and have come to the understanding that Rustoleum Varathane, Future, and Sculpey Glaze are the best to use for sealing polymer clay. I, unfortunately, have not been very successful in finding any of them in my area. What I did find was a polyurethane made by Zar which is an exterior, water-based finish. According to the can it provided UV protection, resists temperature extremes and harsh weather. It also has a self-leveling formula. I am guessing that I need to test it on clay to see if it is ok. (from a previous reply to someone above from Brunei). I need to explain that I have made some pieces to be used as row identifiers for a garden. This means that the pieces with be exposed to direct sun, rain, etc. so I feel I need to protect them. I, mistakenly, covered some of them with Galeria Acrylic Mediums-Gloss Varnish (made by Winsor & Newton) before realizing that it is only for interior use. My question: Can I use the polyurethane over the varnish or do I need to remove it first? I appreciate any advice you can give.

    • @Lenae K: Hi Lenae, the best thing to do is to remove the old finish by soaking in rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) and scrubbing with a toothbrush. Another option is Acetone but it is stronger and will eat at the clay. So don’t soak it in Acetone, just wipe it on with a cloth. Then try the new finish, which sounds like it should work for you.

      If you find a finish in your country that works well for you, do come back and let us know. That would be very helpful to all those here from other places in the world. Good luck!

  72. Hi, I made a doll out of the white sculpey clay. I painted it with acrylic paints and then sprayed Golden archival varnish on it. It left my doll very tacky feeling. I then sprayed it with the varathane that you recommended hoping that it would harden the archival varnish. well that didn’t work and my doll is very tacky. Is there any way to get rid of the finish and start all over with just the varathane or is it to late? thank you!

  73. Hi Cindy,

    Thanks so much for your reply.  I am in the process of removing the old finish with the alcohol. I have completed one piece. It took some elbow grease to finally get the finish off. I am assuming that once the piece doesn’t feel tacky any longer I have succeeded in getting all the old finish off. I actually had to use a craft knife to get into the nooks and crannies to get some of the finish off. Oh well, these are my first pieces and I chalk this up to my “learning” experience. I did, also, want to let you know that before reading your reply I had done so a test piece. I applied my old finish to half the piece and my new Zar to the other half. I believe I applied two coats. I also labeled the Zar side with a permanent marker. Once the two coats were thoroughly dried I did my water test. I threw the piece in a pail of water and left it there for about four hours.  When I retrieved it from the water the old finish side had turned white and bubbling up but the Zar side was “beautiful”. No signs of water damage at all. I know four hours isn’t that long of a test but it at least showed me that the Zar will work, as my pieces won’t be submerged so a bit of rain should not affect it. I hope this helps other who might have a similar problem.

    • @Lenae K: Thanks so much for taking the time to share the results of your “learning” experiments. Information like this is a big benefit to others reading this thread and researching ideas for finishing their polymer clay projects.

    • @Vicky W: Sorry Vicky Somehow I missed answering you. Many varnishes will not work on polymer clay, like you just experienced. The chemicals will eat into the plastics and become sticky over time. It won’t work to just paint over it with another finish, even if the new finish is polymer safe. The incompatible stuff underneath will just cause problems.

      You should be able to remove the old finish first though with either rubbing alcohol, acetone or paint thinner, depending on what the finish is.Like Lenea, you will probably need to scrub pretty hard with a stiff brush, to get it off. Once it is clean though, there will be no more sticky residue. And to answer your follow up question… yes, rubbing alcohol will remove acrylic paint, quite nicely.

      Then you can safely add your new polymer clay safe finish with success.

      Do come back and let us know how it goes.

      @Lenae K: I forgot to mention that you are right about the piece being done, when your piece is no longer tacky.

  74. I just had an interesting problem. I finished a flat pendant a while ago with Magic Gloss. The back and sides were finished with Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze. I glued a bail on the back, but the glue didn’t cure or something and I had to re-glue the bail again. This time I used 2 part epoxy. Before the second gluing I wiped down the pendant with alcohol so there was no oil to interfere. In a couple of places, the Magic Glos lifted off the face of the pendant (from the alcohol?). I thought I would take some Ultradome and place it on the edge so it would soak in and fill in the lifted places. I left it overnight and it worked. So, I carefully cured the pendant edges with sides up, this took several cures of 10 min each. After I removed the pendant, it was sticky on all sides. The lifted places had cured and looked good, but the sides of the pendant were sticky, the clay was easy to scratch off with my fingernail and it was a mess. I am supposing that the Ultradome had reacted with the Sculpey glossy glaze and melted together to soften the clay. The Magic Gloss is still hard on top. Has anyone else had any results like this? Does Terry have any information on this type of thing?
    Thanks, Bette

    • @Bette L: Bette the biggest thing to know about UV Resin is that it won’t cure properly if it has been contaminated in any way or the light can’t get at it. With all the different products you used on your project at different times, I am guessing that a contamination issue occurred.

      Also even if you do use a product that is compatible with the Ultradome resin, like I know the Sculpey Glaze is, it might still cause curing problems if you haven’t let it dry properly before adding the resin. Chemicals can ‘gas off’ while the finish is drying, that can cause bubbles and incompatibility issues. I wait at least a day before coating anything with resin, for this very reason.

      You might still be able to save your piece by peeling off the uncured resin and cleaning the sticky areas with rubbing alcohol until you are back to bare polymer.

      In the future, make sure your pieces are really clean by rubbing down with rubbing alcohol. Make sure any finish you use has dried for at least a day before coating with resin and then try to use only one kind of resin on a project at a time. This should help with contamination issues. I hope that helps!

  75. Thanks Cindy,
    I am going to try and rescue my pendant. I assumed that Magic Gloss and Ultradome would be compatible. My bad. I am giving it a good sanding and then will apply another coat of Magic Gloss (I still have some left). I will hope for the best. The glossy glaze I used is the old formula. Who knows why the chemical gods were not smiling on me! I’ll send a picture if it works out.

  76. Hi, I left this message under Studio By Sculpey, but thought I may need to list it here, also. I have used Studio by Sculpey and have loved it. However it has been discontinued and I just found out that it yellows. I noticed it on some jewelry I had made a year or so ago and also in some drips on a white pad I have that I put under the pieces when drying. I just have been experimenting with Varathane. Some websites say you shouldn’t dip with it as it will cause it to peel. And some say that people do dip with it. I tried a brush and don’t like the effect. Dipping gives me the effect I want. Do I have to be concerned about the Varathane peeling in the future on dipped pieces? By the way, I make my jewelry from bread clay. Thanks for any info you can give.

  77. Just wondering if you know about any yellowing properties of this Varathane? On my can, it says not to use on white or light colored paint as it may discolor. Does this mean it yellows with time? It doesn’t say in the advertising or on the can that it is non-yellowing. However, it does say that their Varathane clear floor finish is non-yellowing and their outdoor, water-based gloss called Spar Urethane is non-yellowing. Has anyone tried any of these or do you know anything about these products. Thanks for any help you can give. I am ready to give up making my jewelry if I cannot find something that is a high gloss finish that doesn’t yellow over time.

    • I am hoping that someone else will pop in here and be able to help.

      I haven’t personally noticed any yellowing over time with the few pieces I’ve used the Varathane on. As I said before, I mostly sand and buff my pieces, and then sometimes use Sculpey Gloss Glaze when I need something shiny that can’t be sanded.

      I think what you may need to do, is contact the manufacturers to get the information you need. If you do find some answers, do come back and let us know.

      • I called Rustoleum and they said any of the water-based Varathanes don’t yellow. Only the oil-based, which I know you can’t use with your clay. I still can’t figure out why the Studio by Sculpey yellows over time. It is water- based, also. Guess I need to write to them, even though they have discontinued this product. I was thinking of acrylic again. I had sprayed one necklace I have had for 20 years with acrylic spray and it hasn’t yellowed or deteriorated, it doesn’t seem, over time. But it is hard for me to spray where I am living now. I don’t have a garage or shed and it is windy outside so don’t have anywhere to spray it. Anyway, If anyone has some helpful hints, it would be appreciated.

  78. The following is an answer I received from ‘Studio by Sculpey’:

    ‘Hello, again. I checked with our Chemist regarding your question and this was the response I received;

    “Our Studio Glaze is a water-based polyurethane. Polyurethanes will yellow, although some are more noticeable than others. Generally, polyurethanes are applied on stained wood surfaces and the slight yellowing that will occur over time is not noticeable. Clear acrylic coatings are better at staying non-yellow than polyurethane. That’s why acrylics are used for things such as auto headlight lenses, windows, aquariums, etc.” ‘

    According to this, all polyurethane will yellow over time, some more than others.
    Since Varathane is a polyurethane, I am concerned that it may eventually yellow also. They recommend an acrylic for better non-yellowing features. Do you know of any acrylic gloss finishes that do not come in a spray? I have nowhere to spray and I prefer dipping and then spraying with air to get a thinner finish.

    Thanks.

    • Thank you so much Linda for coming back and letting us know about this information! Everyone here appreciates you going to the effort of sharing with us, what you found out about the polyurethane yellowing.

      As far as acrylic gloss finishes, I haven’t tried them on polymer yet (so many things to try, so little time), but Golden makes a lot of excellent acrylic products that may work well for you. Why don’t you test some and let us know how they work for you?

  79. I wrote back again to the people at Sculpey and asked if they could recommend any liquid acrylic gloss glaze. Below is her response. Since I don’t work with regular clay but with bread clay, this may not pertain to me, but it would to you so thought you would be interested in this response.

    “Unfortunately, I do not. You may want to Google this question. I do want to tell you that you cannot use any spray glaze or paints on our clays. There is something in the propellant that causes our clays to become sticky and not dry.”

    Hope this helps you folks that work with clay.

  80. Just an update. I have decided that acrylic will not work for me. I need something water-based and the polyurethane seems to work the best. So I have just altered the way I apply it. You only notice the yellowing if you have some places where the polyurethane is thicker than other places. For example, if I have a pendant that I have made an impression with a clear acrylic stamp, the impression area may fill up more with the polyurethane. So, I am putting on thinner coats and using a brush to remove any excess polyurethane in the details of the pendant. The yellowing is only noticeable on light colors, therefore I am more careful with those. On darker colors, you cannot notice the yellowing at all. Hoe this is helpful to you all.

  81. Hey, awesome site you’ve got, it’s helped me alot in my quest for information on polymer clay. I was wondering if Varathane could still be used on clay pieces if it’s the exterior kind? Ive tried looking everywhere, but it only recommends the interior finish, and doesn’t mention the exterior kind.

    Also, I was wondering if Varathane can be used over acrylic paint? I paint mine alot, and I dont want them cracking or turning sticky.
    I’m looking for a reliable, affordable glaze since Im making Christmas presents and dont want them to be ruined by Sculpey glaze, which Ive heard cracks.

    • Hi Madeline, sorry to take so long to respond to your question. I haven’t tried the exterior version of Varathane on polymer yet. It may work, as long as it is water based and not oil based. You would need to test that out yourself to be sure.

      As far as coating painted pieces with Varathane, yes you can do that. Once again, just be sure it is a water based version so that there not not any compatibility issues.

      If you do end up testing the exterior version, do come back and let us know your results. That would be helpful for everyone. Thanks!

      • Hi, again, just wanted to let you know that I talked to an engineer at RustOleum about their Varathane. We also talked about the exterior type and he said it wouldn’t be good for my jewelry, but I couldn’t remember why he said that. It seems it was softer or something when dry. Anyway, he said the indoor Varathane would be better. Hope this helps. The Product Support number on the RusteOleum website is (877) 385-8155. You can call yourself and talk to them about your particular usage.

  82. If I coat the sculpey clay figure with VARATHANE water based sealer and let dry 24 hours CAN I then “use any type spray paint as a final color coating”? Thank you much.

    • Well Ricky I would like to say it would work but I am not too sure it would. There are many compatibility issues that come up with using spray finishes, mostly due to the propellants used in them. The only way to be sure that something like this would work for you since I have not tested that myself, would be to do a long term test of the method you are suggesting.

      Do a sample and let it sit for at least 6 months. Many of us in the polymer clay industry have tried different finishes that appear to work, only to have them start having chemical reactions months down the road.

      That is not to say this would not work. You just would need to try it first. If you do test it, be sure to come back and let us know how it went. This kind of information is invaluable to the community as a whole!

  83. I accidentally allowed my can of Varathane Diamond Wood Finish to freeze. On opening it, I found it still liquid, but filled with ice crystals. Should I give up and buy a new can?

    Thanks.

    • That sucks Don. Did you try and thaw it out? Was it still able to mix or did it stay separated? This is another one of those cases where you would have to test it to be sure. You could also try contacting the manufacturer, though they would most likely suggest you buy a new can. Though you never know. Do come back and let us know what happens with this one. Now you’ve got me curious!

  84. (I posted this on the “Future Floor Polish” page, but I thought I’d put it here too just in case!)

    Hello!

    I’ve visited this page quite a bit in search of the best polymer clay glaze and so I thought I’d add what I’ve learned :)

    I’ve never been able to find Varathane here (I live in Orlando), and so I went in search of something else. I found a Minwax water based finish (this one: minwax.com/wood-products/interior-clear-protective-finishes/minwax-polycrylic-protective-finish) and decided to try that. It goes on well, and it leaves a really nice glossy shine. However, after about 2 weeks of wearing (I put it on a necklace that touches my skin), the piece loses all its shine. It appears as if the Minwax wears off. This occurs even after I bake it to set it.

    I have one piece that does not touch the skin, and so far there are no signs of losing its glossiness. So maybe Minwax is only suitable for pieces that don’t come into direct contact with skin?

    I hope this helps someone else out there! Meanwhile, I’ll continue my search for another glaze to use.

    • Thank you Nikki for coming back here and reporting your findings on the problems using the Minwax water based finish. Finishes can be tricky about being incompatible with polymer clay, so your information is extremely helpful! Thanks again for going the extra mile for us all!

  85. I appreciate all your information on the Rust Olium diamond verathane and the Future floor finish. Sorry to say I haven’t been able to find either locally. I did find Rust Olium waterbase crystal clear interior Heavy Use formula. The store told me that it is the same as Diamond only the label has been changed. do you know anything about this? I would like to know as I have several baked buttons and charms waiting to be finished and I would hate to use the wrong product.
    Thank you,
    Nancy Huntley

    • Unfortunately Nancy, the only way to know for sure whether the product is indeed the same, is to test it yourself (or read about someone else’s tests, like Nikki shared above). I haven’t used the product in the new packaging myself, so I am afraid I can’t help you there. Hopefully someone else here has and can help you.

  86. Hi there Cindy, I live in New Zealand and I have just purchased a varnish called Cabots Cabothane Clear. It is an interior water based varnish for doors and windows etc. It is a polyurethane varnish. I’m thinking it must be the same as the Varathane which we can’t get here. Is a polyurethane varnish the right kind? Thanks so much.

    • Hi Kate, it should work fine on your polymer clay pieces, but the only way to really know is to test it. Sometimes there is an additive in a product that does not react well with polymer, but takes time for it to show any adverse reactions.

      Put a coat or two on a sample piece with the date on it. Check the piece from time to time to see if it gets sticky. If after 6 months it is still fine, you know the product is OK to use.

      I know that seems like a really long time for a test, but you’d be surprised how long it takes sometimes for a piece to react. Maybe it is the humidity? Temperature? Or the chemicals in the product that reacts? But whatever it is, nothing is worse than selling a product that has a finish that gets sticky 6 months after it was made. Better safe than sorry!

      Do come back and let us know your results… it is helpful for everyone if you do!

      • Thanks so much Cindy for your feedback. I have a few peices set aside that I will use as test peices and play the waiting game. :-)

  87. Hi,

    I’ve recently started using Kato Polyclay to make jewelry and I’ve come across a problem…

    After I bake my pieces, I sand them with 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper and then 600 grit. The pieces go very smooth and lovely to the touch, but the colours go all chalky and horrible. I thought that buffing would solve this, and it does improve it a little, but not completely! I’ve tried Simple Solutions #3 on it, and this helped initially, but once it’s properly dried, you can still see all the blotchy chalky marks :( I thought about trying Liquid Polyclay and firing the pieces again, but this didn’t seem to improve a test piece at all.

    Is there any advice that you could give me?

    (Apologies if someone has already asked a similar question!)

    Sophie

    • Thank you for your question Sophie. Although I work with Premo clay and not Kato, the problems you are referring to are similar, no matter the brand. If you are still getting a ‘haze’ on your dark colored beads, it means that there is sanding dust sitting in tiny scratches on the surface.

      That means you need to either continue on with finer grades of sandpaper until the scratches are so fine, the dust can’t sit in them, or you need to use a finish of some sort that displace the dust. Another option is to wipe down the surface with a strong chemical like Acetone, but I prefer to use a higher grit sandpaper such as 1000 or 1200 for the better finish, rather than a chemical.

      My favorite product for finishing is Micro-Mesh sanding abrasives which go to a very high grit and will give you the best finish. For lots more information about sanding techniques, you can use the search box at the top of the page.

  88. Hey! This is my second time working with fimo and I wanted a metallic look so I painted it straight with a mixture of acrylic paint and metal varnish/paint. I have no idea what’s going to happen, any ideas? Any advice? If its not going to dry how do I get it off D:?

    • Hi Tara, great question! I am afraid you may have a problem with the metal varnish/paint. It really depends on the chemicals it is made with and whether or not they will be compatible with the clay. The acrylic paint should be fine though.

      For removing the paints, if the metal varnish is oil based you will need a paint thinner, whereas for the acrylic paint can be easily taken off with 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol). Another option may be to use Acetone, which may remove both.

      Hopefully this will help you. If you use the search box at the top of the page, you can find all kinds of articles and comments from myself and other members that can give you more information on the types of paints and finishes that are compatible with polymer clay. Good luck!

  89. Thanks for the fast reply!
    I was so worried but at least there’s a way to get it off -_-
    This was a great help :D there may be hope for my little clay owl <3

  90. hello I was wondering if it was safe to use acrylic paint on figures when using this finish. Will the paint crack or chip like the new sculpy formula does?

  91. hi dear! can you help me please! I live in France I can nor buy the product to finish clay,I mean Varathane product,I tried to buy online with ebay and amazon all of them do not ship to France.I found some similar product ,can I use that for clay?that product is vernis brillant reflet a France product,it use for wood.thank you

    • Oanh that is the kind of question that is impossible for me to answer, since I can’t try the product myself. Maybe someone else from France can help you. The one way you can tell whether a product will be compatible or not, it to make a sample and test it on it. Make sure to make note on when you started you test, and then wait for several weeks or months to see if the product stays good and dry, or if it becomes sticky over time. Do let us know how it goes. We have several students/readers from France and your tests would be helpful to them. Good luck!

  92. Hi Cindy! My name is Jackie and I have a somewhat difficult question that I was hoping you could help me with. My boyfriend has been making gauged plugs (for stretched ears) with polymer clay. He is using Sculpey III polymer clay and Sculpey Satin Glaze. When he first started making them, he made a couple for himself to test them out. After taking them out at the end of the day, we noticed that there is a temporary white ring around the plugs where they were resting in his ears.The ring goes away after a little while and there is no discoloration on the plugs. We have conluded that this is some sort of reaction between the glaze and/or clay and the oils in his ear. Because it is temporary, it does not seem like that big of a deal. Unfortunately, it seems a bit unprofessional since we are trying to make the plugs to sell them. Also, we want our products to be 100% safe and we don’t feel completely safe about what may be going into the body since the reaction is occuring. I was hoping that you may have some insight about a product that we could use that would negate this problem and be safe. I know this is a somewhat unusual question since this is not something most people make, but I’m really hoping that you may be able to point me in the right direction. We have seen other plugs for sell that were made with polymer clay and, from what I can tell, do not have this problem. I have searched the internet for information about this and can’t really seem to find anything. I would really appreciate any help or advice you could send my way. Thank you very much and I look forward to hearing from you soon!

    • Jackie,

      Have you tried any of the other finishes discussed
      in this stream of comments or on this web site? I
      used Sculpey Glossy Glaze and have not had similar
      results but I can’t think of anything I’ve done that is
      in constant contact with skin.

      I think using Future floor finish might be the
      least expensive thing to try. You can find it at
      Walmart for around $6 or so. I think they may even
      have small cans of Varathane available now, whereas
      in the past, you had to buy a pretty large can to
      even try it out.

      Good luck,

      Jan

    • Hi Jackie, sorry to take so long to get to your question. We have been on the road on our first Polymer Clay Tutor Roadtrip, so I haven’t been able to respond as quickly as usual.

      As you may have gathered from looking around this site, I am not exactly a gauge wearer, so I can’t attest to knowing the best info on the subject firsthand. However, in my internet travels, I remember coming across across someone who claimed to know a lot about the subject and who had a strong opinion that wearing polymer clay directly in your ears, especially during the stretching phase of plug wearing, is a very bad thing to do, with or without a finish.

  93. Has anyone used DecoArt Triple Thick gloss. They have it for a very reasonable price on Amazon, but I am hesitant. Have checked several places here on the blog, but only find a mention here and there.

  94. I have used it and loved it at first until I noticed later that it turned a hideous shade of yellow. I wrote to them since it said it was non-yellowing on the bottle and they said you had to use all their materials for it not to turn yellow. (This was not stated anywhere on the bottle.) Anyway, I quit using it. However I did use it on bread clay jewelry and they said maybe something in the glue or bread made it turn yellow. I don’t know about that but if you want to try it, I would do one piece and let it set a year and see how it looks then.

  95. To Cindy Lietz
    I appreciate all the help you give your fans ….. I noticed your last comment was in Sept-2012 . Have you used or heard of a site that still sells
    the original Future floor polish ? I also wanted to know why my first piece of
    sculpey original clay / over a china doll head/ still has a sticky place on it. I called the instructor of the class , and she said to add more gesso to it , to help seal it. I even stuck it outside to dry, and it still has a sticky spot . What do you recommend ?
    Thanks for your help …. S.A.

    • Hi Susan, thanks for your comment! It sounds like you are having an incompatibility issue with the finishes on your doll. Adding more gesso will just make it worse. You will need to remove the old finishes if you can, with some rubbing alcohol or acetone. Once your piece is clean and you have removed the sticky finish, then you can consider adding a new finish to the clay. If you don’t remove the old stuff, the stickiness will just work it’s way to the surface and cause you more problems down the road.

      As far as sites that still sell Future, I don’t know about that. Maybe Amazon? I wouldn’t bother trying to find it though. There are much better finishes than that now. My favorite finish now is Renaissance Wax. It will give you a beautiful smooth sheen and is wonderful for protecting your pieces from dirt, oils and UV rays.

      If you need more info, use the search box at the top of the page.

  96. Hi! I make pendants out of polymer clay and then paint them with acrylic paint. I went to the store to buy varathane as a glaze (everything else I tried got sticky in the sun) and on the bottle it says not to let it touch skin. This is a problem since I’m making necklaces! Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Hi Anna, that is interesting… I have never heard of the packaging on the Varathane saying that it shouldn’t be against the skin. That must be a new addition. If that is the case then I would avoid using it for jewelry. My new favorite finish for polymer clay is Renaissance Wax. It is way easier to use, leaves a lovely sheen, has UV protection, resists oils and diets and works wonderfully on jewelry. I have done a demo of it. Check it out. I think you will like it best as well… Renaissance Wax Demo

  97. Love your tutorials!
    How do I keep my charms clean after they have been glazed with polyurethane gloss and finished with quick shine floor finish? My white polymer charms are getting very smudged and I don’t know how to remedy the problem.
    -Rachel

    • Hi Rachel, it sounds like you may be having some compatibility issues by using more than one type of finish on your polymer clay charms. My guess is that they are actually getting sticky and that is why they are getting smudged looking. Remove both finishes with rubbing alcohol and then add a polymer clay safe finish (do a search on this blog at the top of the page) and decide on which finish you would prefer to use. There are several choices in addition to the Varathane mentioned in the above article. That should keep your pieces clean looking and not smudged or dirty. Good luck!

  98. Cindy your advice as always in invaluable. I get frustrated because I sand and polish by hand and I just cant get things to be as shiney as I want at time. I love the verathane and the future they are now my always go to varnishes. My issue is streaking. I sand and buff all my pieces but I still find that the varnish is streaky at times. DO you suggest more thing coats and opposed to a thicker coat? and also what kind of paint brush would you recommend? I always wondered if it was the synthetic brushes I was using. Again thank you for your advice

    isabelle

    • Hi Isabelle, when it comes to finishes, it is always better to do a few thin coats than one thick coat. This way the layers will properly dry underneath. As far as streaking goes, that happen because of three things. 1) Varnish not mixed properly 2) Dirty brush 3) Scrappy quality brush. The best brushes for acrylic paints and varnishes are synthetic bristles. Get a good quality varnish brush, clean it properly and you will have the brush for years. Go to the artist paint section of your craft store and you should be able to find something suitable there. Good luck!

  99. I just started using MinWax PolyUrethane, which I really like, but the cleanup is mineral spirits. (I’ve also discovered that nail polish remover will clean the brush, and I think ammonia will also.) It isn’t the oil modified one, it’s not the one for floors, it’s the fast drying one in the brown can, so I thought I was okay. I’ve tried Polycrylic and was dissatisfied. I’ve tried a lot of others too, and although I like Future’s finish, I have a great deal of difficulty with the odor (Mod Podge is banned from my house because of the odor and Future is close to being banned).

    If this PolyUrethane is also not good for polymer clay, there’s another one I’m going to try, MinWax Express Clear, which comes in a tube. I really hate the idea of this PolyUrethane not being okay… how do I tell? I was going to use Varnish – the actual product that cleans up with mineral spirits because it does a nice job, but if it eats the clay…

    Thanks,
    Martha

    • Hi Martha, I am currently testing what I believe to be the same product as yours, though in the fine print on the back it does say it is oil based, so I am not sure. Any way, it appears to be doing very well on polymer clay, but I haven’t let it sit long enough yet to be sure. I will be doing a PcT Test Lab video on it, when I am sure it has sat for long enough. Thanks for your comment!

  100. Hi Cindy,

    I just came upon your videos tonight. Even though I have been working with polymer clay for years, I think you are amazing and wish I heard of you years ago when I was first starting out.

    I have a couple questions for you.

    I advertise my jewelry products as vegan, but I use diamond varathane because it’s the top rated varnish for polymer clay; however, something tells me that varathane is NOT vegan. I can’t seem to find anything in my research denying my claim; therefore, I would like to go without using varnish on my pieces. The problem is my pieces don’t seem “finished” if I don’t use a varnish of sorts, and I worry they won’t be protected from scratches over time. Do you have any suggestions about this? Do you varnish all or most of your pieces?

    I am still new to sanding and buffing my pieces; but I find that when I start at 320 grit and work my way up to 1000, I can still see tiny scratches in the clay from the sandpaper I used. I start at 320 to try and remove any flaws or imperfections in the clay. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. When I sand I use it with water, so I’m not sure why these scratches occur.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated, Cindy.

    Angela

    • Hi Angela, glad you like this site! As far as finishes goes, I prefer to use Renaissance Wax after sanding and buffing my pieces. It is made with a petroleum product so I don’t know if it qualifies as Vegan or not. (Does polymer clay?)

      With the sanding, each grit works by scratching finer and finer lines until they are so fine that you can’t see them anymore. If your scratches are still there, then you are either starting with too coarse a grit (I usually start with 400 rather than 320 unless I want to remove a lot of clay.) or you are not sanding long enough with the next grit to remove the fatter scratches from the previous grit. (Hope that makes sense.)

      Basically, start at 400grit and sand longer at each grit. You shouldn’t see any scratches when you are done.

      To learn more about any of these topics, use the search box to find more articles/videos on what you need. Good luck!

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