Be Careful Which Varnish You Use With Polymer Clay

Polymer Clay Tutor Christmas TreeVideo #326: Plus a Christmas (Singing) Surprise from the Lietz Family… Bloopers Included.

Well… here’s a Studio Tips video that should bring you a few holiday giggles! As you will soon see, the Lietz Clan is filled with silly people!

Side Note: It looks like in all the hubbub of getting ready for this video, we missed getting any polymer clay ornaments on the tree! They are actually still upstairs in my studio. MIA in this video are the Christmas Spider Ornaments, Snowman Ornaments, Mistletoe Ornaments, and some Vintage Santa Hand Tinted Transfer Ornaments… but at least I was wearing some Poinsettia Earrings!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Why just saying, “If you want your pieces shiny, then just use varnish,” is bad advice and not enough information for you to have success with your polymer clay projects.
  • How all varnishes are not the same. And choosing the wrong one could mean disaster!
  • Why an oil based varnish is not the right choice for using on baked polymer clay pieces.
  • The right kinds of varnishes to use on polymer clay.
  • How to test your varnish (or any other finishes for that matter) to see if they are indeed compatible with polymer clay. Not all finishes are.
  • Learn about the bad things that can happen to your polymer clay beads and other polymer projects over time, if you use the wrong varnish.
  • Plus a little Christmas silliness from the Lietz family, that may just give you a giggle or two. Or at least give you some insight into just who these crazy people are!
  • And… some Outakes… cuz who doesn’t love a few bloopers?

By the way, if you have a polymer clay question or challenge you’d like me to address in an upcoming video vlog, do post it in the comments below. I’d love to help you find quicker and easier ways to bring up the professionalism in your polymer clay art.

Oh and don’t forget to give these videos a Thumbs Up click at YouTube if you are enjoying them. The more Likes a video gets, the higher it rises in the searches. And that means even more people will be able to join in on this polymer clay journey of a lifetime.

Also, by subscribing to our YouTube Channel directly, you will receive notifications as soon as new videos are uploaded. To subscribe, click here… Polymer Clay Safe Varnish. The Subscribe Button is right near the top of that YouTube page.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

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Comments

  1. Those are some BIG antlers!!! Cindy, you look over caffeinated in one of the outtakes. Thought you eyes were going to pop out of your head.

  2. You guys are so sweet!! LOVED seeing the whole family sing!! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks for the varnish tip. The added bonus of your family Christmas song was so fun!! Your family all seem to enjoy each other so much. That is great. I loved it!

  4. That was such a cute video! Thanks Leitz family for sharing your holiday spirit and glad tidings. What great kids, Loved the bloopers. Merry Christmas, a wonderful New Year and God bless.

  5. Yeah in those outtakes, I didn’t realize the camera was on and was just practicing at making sure my eyes were open enough and that we all had enough energy. Over did that I guess!! LOL Willow seemed to know when it was on and was better at looking normal than Fisher and I were, though she was mad at herself for waving at the camera with her iPod in her hand. I am always surprised how silly Doug is! Cracked us all up to see Bunny no Reindeer Doug, bouncing through the shot. What a goofy bunch!

    Merry Christmas you guys! Hope you have a fun one!

  6. LOL! Good little tute! BUT -it is your family that made it GREAT. Funny and cute -love the out-takes.

    Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to the Lietz family – and all the facebook and clayers out there.

    Really looking forward to a (clean slate) New Year. Here comes 2013!

  7. Loved the video – the part with the Lietz family. We do crazy stuff like that all the time. makes for some happy memories. Thanks for all the tips and the great teaching videos and photography. Keep it coming Cindy! Got a lot of complements on my poinsettia earrings and the two people who bought them wore them to school too for the Christmas concert. I always love it when I see people wearing the jewelry they bought from me.

    I hope you guys have a very merry Christmas and a joyous, peaceful New Year. God Bless!

    Merry Christmas and happy NewYear to ll of you guys in our wonderful ‘Claying Family’

    Hugs

    Cherie

  8. That was great! Love seeing kids acting silly with their parents. You know they are loved when the parents not only put up with it but are right in the silliness with them.

  9. Merry Christmas to the Lietz family! Cindy, you should wear your hair pulled back all the time–it really makes your beautiful eyes stand out. Thanks for the new information on varnish.

  10. You folks are great in front of the camera, I love what you all share. Thank you!

    Never considered a water based varnish like Liquidtex from the acrylic paint area. Great, because sometimes the unit price of this stuff is excellent when on sale, Dick Blick’s comes to mind.

    Has anyone yet applied this varnish, then baked it again? How does it work? Be neat to apply a coat, dry, add glitter (Meyers.com people, lol), apply another coat, then bake. Yum.

    Thanks for the links to all the Christmas tutes, too. Very appreciated. Just want to add if you use the appropriate seasonal colors, various ornament shapes are fabulous as well using the chopped heart tute (make a cross or other equal side holiday shape) and the Jupiter beads.

    As a matter of fact, brought in a couple of yew boughs, arranged in a tree like shape with copper wire, and hung it on the wall. Over the last several days I’ve been hanging all my polymer clay creations (suitable for viewing, I experiment a lot) and glass ornaments on it and have received many complements.

  11. Hilarious is what you all are. What fun! It made my day after having to spend $590 on my car. I just went for an oil change but was fortunate that they found the tires that had dry rot to the point of being dangerous, split windshield wiper blades, and other things. Oh yes, my Christmas present to me, they washed the outside, vacuumed the inside and cleaned the windshield. Now it looks and rides like a new car.

    After another year of chemo and 20 radiation treatments, finished on the 19th we are ready to really celebrate Christmas and hopeful that 2013 will bring us good news that the tumors that have really shrunk have gone into remission for a long, long time.

    In whatever way you are celebrating during this festive holiday season may you be inspired and rejunivated to embrace the New Year 2013.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY NEW YEAR

      • Thank you Jocelyn, it’s prayers from all the people like you that we have come this far I’m sure. Thank you and may 2013 abound with blessings for you and yours.

    • Joyce I am so glad to hear Wayne got through all his treatments and things are looking up for you. I will pray that his health improves and hopefully you will both be able to enjoy 2013 to the fullest. God bless you and give Wayne my very best. He is such a brave soul.

      • Thank you, Dixie Ann, prayers are so powerful and have sustained us to date. Wayne has never given up though he has had to give up so much. 2013 has the possibility of being a beacon, lighting the road to recovery and we are hopeful.

    • Merry Christmas to you and Wayne, Joyce! So glad to hear he is doing better. What a lovely thing. It has been such a challenge for you both and you have been so strong and positive along the way. You are such a good person. I hope this New Year brings you continued health and happiness. It is a pleasure having you here in our sweet little polymer clay family!

      • Thank you, Cindy, and a Merry Christmas to you, Doug, Willow and Fischer, followed by a wonderful 2013 of joy and inspiration to all of you. You certainly inspire all of us and unknowingly help us through the rough spots not always being a glitch in a clay project. Blessings and hugs.

    • Joyce – what good new about Wayne! Hopefully this will be the end of treatments.! Your journey has been shared with people who care. We are still praying for complete remission.

      Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year.

      • Pat, thank you so much. Our clay family continues to be so special and it is wonderful to be able to share in what is heppening to everyone. May 2013 fill all our needs. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

  12. Helpful and hilarious all in one video. Merry Christmas to the Lietz family and to the entire PCT family. This is an amazing community and I’m so glad to have joined it.

  13. :) Looks like you guys were having way to much fun! Love your antlers, Cindy. The outtakes were awesome, there better when you don’t know your being taped.

    Thanks for the tip on the varnish!

    Merry Christmas to you and your wonderful family!

  14. Cindy, one thing I have a huuuge problem with is varnishing clay covered in alcohol inks. Because of the water in the water-based varnishes, the ink runs. (ARGH! (sob!)) The only solution I’ve found is Translucent Liquid Sculpey, but that is, as the name suggests, TRANSLUCENT and not TRANSPARENT. And it’s not as shiny as a polyurethane coating. What, pray tell, is an excellent solution for protecting alcohol ink so it doesn’t rub off and stain the wearer? Have you found a good solution? (Even when I give in and use polyurethane on alcohol inks, like when I’ve used them on silver leaf, they change the colors of the inks anyway. Argh!)

    Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

    • Welcome Binky! You are right, that is a big problem. I do not know the answer but until Cindy and the experts get here, I wonder if an application of a spray sealant, after baking might work. Let dry, then apply the water based varnish.

      The one Cindy recommends and speaks off in blogs here (use the search facility to tap archives) is called PYM2, a spray for preserving your memories. Here’s the site: precision-blue.com.

      It does say it repels water, so it might be dicey with the water based varnish.

      It also comes labeled as Clearseal in scrapbooking.

      If you use to search to google all the info discussed here, sure you’d find some applicable info to your situation.

      All best.

      • Of couse, the other solution is to cover the ink with a very thin layer of translucent clay, bake, sand, then varnish. Cindy uses this in her Art Sheet tute, and again, if you search above, think you’ll fine tons of suggestions.

        • Jocelyn:

          You mean sand most of the translucent clay off? (“Sand.” Ugh. There’s that word that sounds too much like “work.” I need a rock tumbler!) Doesn’t it dull what’s underneath, though?

          WRT the PYM stuff, the one thing that page doesn’t say is whether it’s glossy. Have you any experience with it? Do you know whether it is? And is it safe to wear against the skin? It sounds terrific — for certain projects, but it doesn’t mention anything that sounds like jewelry, which is what I make with my clay. I’ll need to look into it more. Thanks for the pointer!

          Binky

          • I haven’t used PYM2 a huge amount, but I have played with it enough to think of it as a sealant rather than a varnish.

            It doesn’t make much difference to the glossiness of the polymer clay you use it on, although its behaviour differs across the various brands: in some cases it will actually make the piece LESS glossy than it was before it was applied.

            I’ve tested it on both sanded-and-buffed and unsanded samples of Premo, Kato and Fimo. With Premo, the “look” was glossy (see next paragraph, however!) even on the unsanded sample. With Kato, the effect was sort-of glossy but with a fine texture to it. And with Fimo, the finish was satin even on the sanded-and-buffed sample that started out really shiny before applying PYM2!

            The glossy effect isn’t the same as you get with proper sanding and buffing, however: it’s shiny but not really smooth (i.e. surface imperfections other than the tiniest can stand out even more), and it doesn’t have the visual depth or the lovely feel that sanding and buffing imparts. Other glazes or varnishes are probably shinier than PYM2 even on Premo, which was the shiniest combination, although I can’t speak from experience as I prefer to sand and buff.

            What shape are the items you’re trying to varnish?

            Since you mention Translucent Liquid Sculpey (which I haven’t used), can I suggest either Fimo Deco Gel or Kato Clear Medium? Fimo Deco Gel is the clearest of the liquid polymer clay products under normal baking conditions. Kato Clear Medium will go totally clear (looks like resin) if you hit it with a heat gun after baking. These work beautifully for flat products — I’ve applied multiple layers to totally smooth out a bumpy surface, heat gunning after each, and the end result looks like I covered the item in resin; this was before I actually *had* any resin, of course! :D — but not so well for things like round beads!

            And with Jocelyn’s idea of using a thin layer of translucent clay — which is what I do when a surface treatment requires protection — if you go for the most translucent brand (Pardo Professional Art Clay’s Translucent) you won’t have to sand it as much to make it effectively disappear. (Pardo is relatively obscure and difficult to get. Premo Frost, now called White Translucent I believe, is next clearest.)

          • I just remembered a scenario where I have used alcohol inks and PYM2 on jewellery.

            I was playing with some of Ronna Sarvas Weltman’s techniques in the middle of the night and wanted to make some roughly-wrapped antiqued wire beads to finish the piece, but I didn’t have any suitable sterling wire. And no shops were open, of course! So I used ordinary silver-coloured coated copper wire, made my roughly wrapped beads, dunked them in a slightly-diluted alcohol ink mix (for the colour I wanted), let that dry, and then used a bit of isopropyl alcohol on a paper towel to “rub off” the ink from the outer surfaces a bit, to give the highlighted antiqued effect I wanted. Then I gave the finished items a few coats of PYM2 to seal the ink. It hasn’t rubbed off, on me or elsewhere, but I don’t wear the piece all that often so it hasn’t had a proper stress test. I also didn’t try to put anything on top of the PYM2. But the PYM2 didn’t make the alcohol ink run, at least.

            If I have time I’ll try: clay, partly covered with metal foil, alcohol ink on some of the clay and some of the foil, PYM2, and whatever varnishes I have lurking in my studio (I probably have 3 or 4, depending on whether you count Future as one or not). But don’t hold your breath because it’s definitely the silly season here!

          • Ooooh… I can’t wait! :D

            After mentally translating “fall”, I can think of two things it might be. One could easily have a whole tutorial project or three built around it, while the other could be a useful part of one.

            Hmmm… I expect it’s the first because of the frequency with which related questions come up, but I guess I’ll just have to be patient! (Not my strongest point :p)

          • Sue, thank you so much for your excellent reply, so appreciated. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and wildly prosperous New Year!

            Binky, I have used the sealant on lots of polymer clay and non polymer clay objects and it is worth every penny. Three years ago now, I dried huge purple pansies flat and sprayed them top and bottom a couple of times. They are still as vibrant as the day I picked them, though I do not expose them to direct sunlight, keep them in deep shade on a bookshelf.

            The one thing I have never done is applied a varnish or gloss over the sealer, which would be vital in your situation if the sealant does not give the gloss finish look that you want.

            I’m going to try it myself over the next few days to test it and see how it works. Will come back and share results.

  15. I really enjoyed your Christmas video, Cindy. You have a precious family and you all seem really close. I, too, like your hair pulled back. But then you are pretty any way you wear it. Merry “Christ”mas. Cris

  16. Hi Cindy, I have a question: My Sunday School class is coming over in January and they want me to do a polymer clay demo. Do you have any ideas of how I can do this. They know nothing about working with polymer clay, so I just wanted to show them some basic canes, beads, etc. I will only have about an hour to do this. Do you have any suggestions. Cris

    • Just keep it simple Cris. Get them to roll the clay in their hands and get the feel of it. If you plan to actually teach them something that they are going to make, remember that it will take an hour for someone to learn something that only takes you 15 minutes to make. If it is a demo you just plan to Wow them with, then you can do something harder like a cane or something. Have fun!

    • When I taught, the one clay favorite with kids was “make your own face.” It’s easy, funny, and quick, and most kids are thrilled with the result. For Christmas have them add a long stocking cap with some jingle bells at the bottom. Slap on a magnet, and you have a wonderful gift for a parent or grandparent.

      All best.

    • Cris, go to gravatar.com. It’s where you’ll associate a picture with your email address. Then any site which makes use of Gravatar avatars will automatically show your avatar (assuming you use that same email address everywhere).

      Binky

        • Assuming you set it up with the same email account you use here, I’ll bet it’s a cache thing. Visit this same page with a different browser and see whether I’m right. If so and you *really* wanna see your smiling face, then you’ll need to clear your cache (which I’d tell you how to do but it depends on your browser, and I personally clear data by hand because I don’t wanna lose certain things because it’s handy having it in my cache. Caches were invented because they make life easy!)

          So go check this page out in another browser, see what you see.

          Good luck,

          Binky

          PS: Or … you can force a reload of the page. I just did that and I see you resting your head on your hands. Yay! In Safari on the Mac, to force a reload, I click the Reload button while holding the Option key down. YMMV.

          • Binky, I cleared the cache; but it will still not show up on Google Chrome, which is the browser that I use. I think it is a problem with Chrome. Thanks again. Cris

  17. Great video made me laugh. Cindy wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Looking forward to seeing what wonderful projects and tips you’ll be teaching us in 2013!

    Merry Christmas to all my PC Friends on this blog.

    (((HUGS))) Jeanne

  18. I have a quick question. I made a Mistletoe wine glass, baked it and then brushed on Sculpy water based glaze. I usually use Future but wanted water something that will not wash off. Would it increase the glazes durability if I put it in the oven on a low temp? Can you do that with Scuply Glaze? I will get the pictures posted soon. It looks really cool with Red wine in it? The great thing about Cindy’s Tuts are you can transfer those projects to other objects. I am making the Mistletoe ball to hang on the center of the dinning room light.

    • Sculpey Glazes bake very nicely Anna. It should do OK with a light washing after. I just wouldn’t soak it, just in case. Acrylic based produces are essentially plastic when they are dry, so in most cases are waterproof or at least water resistant. But there is always the chance that sitting in water may soften certain finishes, so I would recommend washing one at a time and not letting them soak in the sink.

  19. Love the video made me smile and giggle. You and your family are so blessed with all the love and laughter in your home.
    I pray everyone here has a safe and joyful Merry Christmas. God Bless you and yours.
    sending many Christmas Uuuuggggs.

  20. Hi Cindy!

    I wonder if I need after applying and drying Cernit varnish on already baked fimo beads again bake the beads for 15 minutes at 110 degrees. It says so in the instructions of the Cernit varnish.

    By
    Simona

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