UTEE Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel on Polymer Clay

Ultra Thick Embossing EnamelVideo #425: A shiny resin-like coating that works on polymer clay under the right conditions.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Testing Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (aka UTEE) by Ranger Industries on polymer clay.
  • UTEE is a crystalline embossing powder that is very thick and clear when melted and has a resin or enamel like appearance. It is used by scrap bookers and mixed media artists in a variety of techniques.
  • I tested it on a baked piece of Premo Polymer Clay to see if it was compatible, which it is. There are no adverse reactions over several months. I did find however that it is a softer surface than resin and can be scratched and dented relatively easily. It also cracked when I bent the piece back, so it would not be ideal for flexible surfaces, though it stuck well and did not flake off, even after cracking.
  • I also tested the powder on a raw slice of my Shaded Rose Cane of Premo polymer clay, and baked the whole thing in the oven for 1 hour at 265F. It did well, with only a few bubbles showing up. The bubbles were easily popped with a pin, and they completely disappeared, when the UTEE was hot.
  • It took several coats of the UTEE to achieve a domed effect, and the color darkened a bit. But over all, I would consider this test as a success. UTEE is a suitable product to cover a solid, non-flexible bezel, since the chance of wearing and scratching the surface would be minimal. However, I would not recommend the UTEE for use on high wear items like bracelets or key chains.


Question of the Day:

Have you used UTEE on Polymer Clay before? What was your experience with it?

I look forward to hearing from you.

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.

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Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor
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Comments

  1. Thanks for the test but I tried it years ago and the biggest problem is if you or someone else touches the surface it will get dull or dirty and the only way I could find to bring the shine back was to melt it again. Myself I do not care for it with polymer clay. Sanding and buffing makes a much better shine and to keep it just buff it with a cloth or on your jeans for a few seconds and wa la your shine is back.”

  2. Interesting test lab experiment. i have not see UTEE in the store. When I first saw this test lab video I thought you were going to be testing a different product. I have used a clear fishing lure powder on raw clay. The powder is made to waterproof hand made lures. I will try and find out the name and maybe you can do a test lab video.

      • I think it’s Powder Coat or Powder paint. Same thing lots of parts are coated with like BBQ grills and bikes. They use it for DIY fishing lures.

        It’s a light powder, on metal you heat the metal, dip it in the powder and this causes some to stick, you then heat it again and with will smooth out. Alternatively you could use it like you did.

        It’s made for sticking to metal so not sure how well it will stick to polymer clay.

        • Hi Terry, Nice to hear from you, its been a while! How are you?Thanks for passing this info along. Still selling lot of UV Resin? I still want to see what can be done with the UV sensitive powder you sent. Didn’t mix with the polymer quite like I wanted it to, but nothing a little more playtime couldn’t figure out. Anything new and cool in your shop?

  3. Instead of putting the UTEE on the item as a powder in doing it in layers,you can melt the UTEE in a cup or something and pour it onto your project like resin which is probably best for doming etc.

  4. Thanks for this lesson Cindy.
    I have been experimenting with this embossing enamel lately and looking at the label on your jar, I think it’s the same that I use (Melt Art). For me it is too soft after baking. You can easily leave indents with your fingernail and it gets scratch marks very soon if you live and wear your piece frequently. I like epoxy resin or magic gloss better because it’s more durable.

  5. I have used Utee several times and found it did not work well on baked polymer. I had better luck making glazed flower pendants by cutting out the bottom of plastic bottles and dipping them in the Utee pot. Now that I have seen your video Cindy I am going to try it on raw polymer. Thanks for the great tip.

  6. Cindy, I always look forward to your videos, both on Mondays and Fridays, whether the project or technique is something I want to do or not. They are all so well done and professional… and interesting!

  7. Have not used it, but heard the “UTEE” before and had no idea what it was. So thank so much for the tutorial. I have purchased another product called Amazing Glaze by Judi Kins that I am assuming is similar. Much smaller jar, 2 fl. oz., but have not tried it yet. Any experience anyone else has had with this product would be grateful appreciated. I intended to use it covering paper/pictures in bezels, but have been preoccupied with making canes. I never thought to try it on polymer clay.

  8. It puts a very thin coat on the clay. The product is called Pro-Tec paint powder, it is made to put a water proof seal on fishing lures. You can find it at Bass Pro Shop or Cabella’s. It comes in about 12 colors, the only place I could find clear was on e-bay.

  9. I have a container of UTEE that is quite lonely. I don’t do rubber stamping, but I bought a container at Michaels several years ago, because I wanted to try it with polymer clay.

    I tried it on a small piece, and I’m lucky that it was only a small piece. I’m using a convection oven (and an old one at that), that does not have a control to turn off the fan. You can imagine what happened! Perhaps I should have given the item (it was a flat pendant with a raised frame) a thin coating of TLS. After all, stampers use inks with embossing powders to keep the powder from “blowing away.”

    Oh, well!

  10. I’ve used various colours of UTEE in polymer clay as inclusions, but I’ve never tried it as a coating. Since I have both 2-part and UV-curing resin I’ll probably stick to those (and Kato Clear Medium) when I want clear coatings, but it was definitely interesting to see the results of Cindy’s testing.

  11. I love Ranger products. Now that that is established, I do not recommend UTEE for polymer clay. I have used it on a handful of jewelry….and a larger flat 8″ square clay quilt piece (no wear and tear issues) and it yellowed, dulled, could be scratched easily and cracked so much that my entire clay cracked with it. my piece is now in pieces itself. While It is great for paper projects etc. I do not use it on polymer clay.

  12. I made some disc with Premo polymer and baked them. They were tooooo dull and dark and I didn’t like them. Later put several layers of UTEE on them with heat gun and love them. That was Spring of 2012 and they are holding up good in a neck less .

  13. I use UTEE on some of my pieces. I use embosing liquid on my piece of baked clay then sprinkly the UTEE on it and use my heat gun, it works well enough. I will now try using it in the oven. I may even try using it as an inclusion and see how that looks.

  14. Hi Everyone, I hate to take a step backwards, but the more I dig into past articles and other books and information, the more confused I get.

    As of TODAY – what is the best way to finish a piece of polymer clay if you want a shine for example? What is the best product to use if you are trying to protect the mica powders? What about if you use image transfers or inks? Basically, can somebody give me a summary of what I’m supposed to use when please???

    I have ordered the renaissance wax, but I can’t figure out how much of the surface “stuff” it will protect if we get wild and crazy with powders, paint and image transfers.

    Sorry to be a newbie, but I have also heard the horror stories, and I want to get it right.

    Thanks so much
    Beth

  15. Hi Beth W,

    Welcome to the forum! There’s no need to be sorry – everyone is very nice here. I was a “newbie” not that long ago and felt bad for asking questions but in this environment it’s really encouraged. I always figure – if I have that question someone else probably does too. :-)

    There are a few options you have. Ren Wax is a good choice, though it doesn’t work well on baked pieces that have mica powders on them (that’s my experience any, if someone else has had success can you speak up?). I use mica powders/surface colors of some sort on most of my pieces. What I do currently is spray a coat of PYM II on it (Preserve Your Memories II, orderable online) first to “set” the colors (mica powders or transfers). This stuff is awesome. It dries in just a few minutes and really secures the powders/paste. If I want a shiny glaze, I will “paint” light coats of varathane coating, maybe 2-3 coats.

    Good luck and keep posting questions! Let us know how your projects turn out! Oh, and Cyndy will probably respond at some point as well, with other tips so keep checking back if you haven’t subscribed to this post.

    Karen

  16. Hi Karen,
    Thanks SO much. Everything I read is conflicting. I’m getting ready to order some PYM II, but the varathane is a challenge. Apparently it is a mystery in the Southeast USA because everyone looks at me like I’m nuts (oh, I am, sigh). I have a tutorial that says use “varathane diamond wood finish gloss” in both the spray and the liquid. I can’t even find that to order online by that name. I’m wondering if the name has changed – seems like Rust-oleum has come into the picture. I just don’t want to get the wrong thing – especially since I have to order it – and end up ruining pieces.

    All the hardware stores want to sell me poly – even water based, but I don’t think we are talking about the same thing. Is there a US source for what all of you use? Am I making this harder than it is?

    I was concerned about the ren. wax and the mica powders. Thanks for confirming that that won’t work. I do have some Future floor polish from several years ago for my Xmas beaded ornaments – talk about a blast from the past!!

    Thanks so much for the help – and one day I’ll venture into the resin wars too.

    Beth

    • Hi Beth, isn’t it wonderful of Karen to come in here and help you? She did a great job explaining things to you.

      Yes it can be a little confusing when you look back through the history of an art medium like polymer clay. There are always so many advancements and improvements on products or products that disappear in the marketplace, that what was best then, is always the best now.

      However, Karen is right in saying that if a product was recommended by me at one time and it is still available now, then it is safe to say that it will still work now. (That is if the formula hasn’t changed.) I try to keep most of the information on this blog as ‘Evergreen’ as possible, but from time to time, some stuff does become out dated.

      My current favorite finishes for polymer clay are:

      #1: Sanding and Buffing – for smooth surfaces
      #2: Renaissance Wax – for smooth sanded and buffed surfaces, lighted textured surfaces, sculptures, painted surfaces, metal, etc (not the best for mica powders or gilders paste finished pieces)
      #3: PYMII Spray – perfect for sculpted pieces, highly textured pieces, metals and pieces with mica powders, inks, glazes and other surfaces that the Ren Wax won’t work for. Also wonderful for waterproofing fabrics, cords, paper etc.

  17. Hi Beth W,

    You’re welcome! Cindy has in the past used Future floor finish so you would be safe ising that. The varathane comes in various brands and Diamond wood finish gloss is its old name. I use Varathane brand Polyurethane and yes, interior water based is correct. The oil based products don’t work. If you google Varathane Polyurethane you’ll get a photo of the can. On mine, Varathane is written in cursive. I have various types of varathane finishes but mostly now use the gloss finish and use it for when I want a shiny surface. Most of the pieces I would use with this are flat or near flat so I use very thin coats and paint it on. I’ve also, in the past, dipped it into it but then you have to worry about drips and that’s just no fun. I’m intrigued by the spray and might try that sometime as well.

    Once you get it sorted out it won’t seem so confusing. I’ve been there! Some days I feel like I’m still there! Oh, and I think I got my Varathane at Lowes or Menards. One of them carried it but the other one didn’t so you might want to call first. Good luck!

    • Thank you Karen for helping out Beth like you did! I really appreciate the help. It can get very busy around here and it is nice to know I can count on the wonderful members here to be helpful to others when I can’t get in here to help as fast as I would like to! :)

    • Hi Sylvia, Beth gave you a good answer below. As far as using Future Floor Finish however, I have new favorite finishes that I much prefer over the Future. (See my comment to Beth up above with my top 3). If you want to learn more about those products, just type them into the search box at the top of the page and you will find links to more info. Hope that helps!

  18. Thanks so much for the summation Cindy – and yep, I really appreciated Karen’s help. I was going crazy trying to figure out what to use when. I will save your notes to reference in the future.

    I actually think I can help Sylvia – Future is now Pledge with Future Shine premium floor finish – by SC Johnson. I had it to stiffen up beaded Xmas ornaments. Unless it has changed names again……

    Thanks a lot
    Beth

  19. That was a GREAT video with LOTS of important information for polymer clay users to know. Often we hear about a product, but not the adverse issues. I use the clear liquid resins that come in little bottles with a narrow pointed tip that dry/heal with UV (sunlight) and they stay nice and hard with none of the issues you found here, Got one at Joanne’s and another at my local bead store. marilyn

  20. UTEE is wonderful stuff. I’ve been using it for years, so long that I’ve actually started kind of liking it when I get a hot drop of two on my fingers! (That was humor!) In fact I’ve become close friends with Suze Weinberg, the person who first devised the line of UTEE before she retired and sold it to Ranger. She’s done some demos using UTEE with PC over the years that I wish I had readily available because they would be very helpful. The two medias are a natural match just so one goes about it correctly. Suze is a real nice lady, I will tell her about this site and see if she doesn’t mind me sharing her methods with you all.

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