Acetone For Removing Fingerprints From Polymer Clay

Removing Fingerprints From Polymer Clay Using AcetoneVideo #390: Of course it’s best to avoid getting finger prints on your polymer clay in the first place.

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • Lately we’ve been talking quite a bit about the topic of how to avoid leaving fingerprints on your polymer clay.
  • There may be times when you find flaws such as fingerprints and shiny spots after your beads or pieces have been baked. You can remove them easily, by using 100% Acetone.
  • Acetone can be found in some paint stores and automotive finishing departments. It can also be found in some nail polish removers though it may not be strong enough to use for this purpose.
  • Use Acetone on a Q-Tip to rub and erase any flaws on your baked polymer clay. It works by ‘melting’ the plastic and smoothing out the surface.
  • Acetone is highly flammable, toxic, has strong fumes and evaporates very quickly.
  • Use only in well ventilated areas and keep away from open flames or any heat sources.
  • Also it is extremely important to keep away from children and pets. Use with CAUTION and at your own risk.
  • It is always good to avoid getting flaws such as fingerprints on your beads and polymer clay projects in the first place, but acetone does work very well at removing them when the need arises… like in those difficult to sand nooks and crevices.

Question of the Day:

Have you ever used Acetone before? And do you think you will useĀ  it to remove flaws on your polymer clay?

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
  1. Tantesherry, 20 June, 2013

    Now that was pretty cool Cindy!!
    no more shinny back side – yay:)

  2. Jocelyn C, 20 June, 2013

    Wonderful tip about using acetone to remove the shine from the back of a piece!

    If you wish to use an acetone/alcohol dispenser, here is a link for very reasonable metal top pumps which seal after touching, or plastic lock tops models for travel.

  3. Dixie Ann, 20 June, 2013

    Well here I am back again from a very nasty allergic reaction to Vanilla extract. I have used acetone before but not for polymer clay. My DH always kept a can of it in the machine shop so it was always available. Cindy this is an excellent tip. I plan to get a small bottle of it now and keep it on hand even though I try so hard to lose the fingerprints. Thanks so much for the heads up.

  4. Cecilia K, 20 June, 2013

    What a great idea. Like you I try to remove any fingerprints and other markings before they go into the oven but this could be an option like you said for hard-to-sand-pieces.

  5. Cheyrl B, 21 June, 2013

    Thanks Cindy, like everyone I try to avoid fingerprints but no matter how careful I am or how much rubbing and smoothing i do one will sneak by on occasion, I think part of my problem is I get impatient to see the finished result and don’t let the clay piece rest before I do the final smoothing if I did the clay would not be so soft and thus easy to print. ( I had a cut on my index finger last week that showed up on everything it was on my ” smoothing ” finger).
    could the acetone be left in the a garage or in my case in a rubbermaid tool bench on the deck and small amounts kept in a small glass jar in the studio? Or should it always be removed from the house when not in use?
    One other problem I have that vexes me no end is fingernail divets. I have no nailsto speak of but am always cleaning and smoothing out nail marks short of hacking them off to the quick I don’t know what to do about them, maybe I can find a vet to de-claw me.The things we are willing to do for our art,lol

  6. Lyn Tremblay, 21 June, 2013

    Good lesson! Especially good because you mentioned it as a solution to the shiny back problem as well. Will definitely use it! Thanks!

  7. Michelle Adams, 21 June, 2013

    Oooooo, works on shiny spots, YEA! Thanks for the tip. Love the inlay necklace.

  8. Dotty C, 21 June, 2013

    Just a quick note: I found pure acetone (16 Fl. Oz) at Bartel Drug Store here in Bellevue, Wa. Can’t remember how much I paid but I found it in the fingernail “stuff” section. Maybe all drug stores carry it just a thought. Thanks, Cindy for all your help!!


  9. Jem J, 21 June, 2013

    I use acetone to do my nails and have wondered if there was a way to take the shine off my pieces. Bonues removes finger prints too.

  10. Lesley Symons, 21 June, 2013

    I watched the video this morning, raced into town this afternoon and bought some acetone ….. yayyyy, FINALLY the answer to the nasty shiny spots on the back of my flat pieces …… I’m seriously grateful for this tip, thank you so much!!!!

  11. Deni L, 22 June, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    I just read your blog about the acetone for fingerprints and such.
    I thought I’d let you know that you can use baby wipe and it’ll do the same thing, as well as taking clay off your hands, it smells nice and keeps your hands soft at the same time. I don’t know if all brands are the same, the ones I use are Huggies. They have a bit of isipropil alcohol in them and it melts the clay as well.
    catch ya

  12. Tantesherry, 22 June, 2013

    Hi Deni- quick question- do the baby wipes work on cured clay?

  13. Cindy Lietz, 22 June, 2013

    Hi Deni baby wipes work great for raw clay, but not for baked clay. The piece I demonstrated in the video was a baked piece. Thanks for adding your tip about the Huggies. That’s good to know!

  14. Cindy Lietz, 22 June, 2013

    Thanks everyone for your kind comments! Glad this trick was helpful for you. By the number of people who are happy about removing shiny spots, it sounds like I need to do a video on preventing them. Stay tuned for that in the future!

  15. Hope Martin, 23 June, 2013

    Never used it before but… I think I’m going to have to run out and get some!!! To have on hand. Just in case. ;)

  16. Sandra J, 26 June, 2013

    Hi Cindy, i have a request, with regards to laying stripe cane on another sheet of clay. After i’ve laid the cane slices on the second sheet of clay and rolled to secure and get out any air bubbles, i then run it thru the pasta machine to get it the same thickness. when doing this i found the bottom sheet tends to tear along the seams of the layered pieces making the whole piece unusable in the way i want. It is very annoying after spending time preparing it. Any ideas on what i could be doing wrong? do u have a “foolproof” way of stopping this? comments and suggestions would be most welcome.
    Thanks in advance

  17. Tantesherry, 27 June, 2013

    hey Sandra
    the only thing I can think to ask you-
    is your bottom sheet well conditioned
    and not too thick?
    how frustrating for you – hope you can find another use for the pieces:)

  18. Sandra J, 27 June, 2013

    actually, if i think about it a bit more, the times the above practice worked was when the bottom sheet was well conditioned and thin. I’m not a very patient person when it comes to wanting things done fast, so i might be hurrying a bit much. Thanks for the reminder Sherry.
    I’ll give it another go and see what happens.

  19. Sandra J, 28 June, 2013

    well i gave it another shot, and what a disaster!! I made a lovely faux bone cane from Cindy’s tutorial a while ago, wrapped it in gladwrap so i could use it when i found something i wanted to use it for. Anyway today i decided to cut slices and layer them onto another thin, well conditioned piece of white to use as a veneer for a bracelet. i run it thru the pasta machine on no 2 then down thru until no 4, and yep it ripped where the pieces met each other on the bottom layer. I was not a happy camper! i think i may have to make the cane and use it straight away if i want to use it as a veneer. Any other thoughts on this?

  20. Cheyrl B, 29 June, 2013

    I have found that if I run my bottom piece through at a 1 ( this is for bracelets and 1 is my largest setting on the sculpey clay conditioner) then roll my slices out at a three side to side then at a 4 up and down then apply them to the bottom piece and roll out at a 1 again nothing tears. for vaneers I roll everything out at a three and rarely have the tearing problem .I need long, wide sheets to go around jars and can’t have them tear especially if it is a burlwood or other pattern. Although if I pull while holding the top as it rolls through it will tear, I have to just let it rest on my hand and slide through, sometimes if the clay is really soft I need to put some cornstartch on my hands. I have also just let it rest on my marble work surface for a while before running it through the pasta machine, that plus the cornstartch keeps me from pulling, Good luck I know how frustrating this can be.

  21. Cheyrl B, 29 June, 2013

    Hang in there Sandra! You inspired me to go ahead and try something that I wanted to do as well, I have several empty peanut butter jars but have not put clay on them because lids are plastic,today i covered a lid with clay and buried it in cornstartch and baked it, it worked! Even a disaster would have let me know what not to do, the wasted time is unfortunate but the lesson learned is invaluable. I did use scrap clay just in case it didn’t work out.
    Also do you overlap slightly when you lay the striped pieces down,I started doing that because mine come apart as well if I don’t, there are still some slightly raised seams and I need to wet a finger and smoothe them out.

  22. Sandra J, 29 June, 2013

    Thanks Cheryl i will try your way and see if that works. And no i forgot to overlay the edges of the pieces on the bottom sheet. I think that was part of the problem. I will keep trying and let you know how i get on. Appreicate the feedback heaps.

  23. Cindy Lietz, 29 June, 2013

    Hi Sandra and Cheyrl, Great conversation here! I have been meaning to pop in but have been so busy, so I am pleased that you are working together on this. It should like your top cane slices are not as soft as your backing piece is and it is causing you problems. You always need to ‘wake up’ your canes and slabs before you slice them… especially if you’re adding them to another layer and trying to roll them thinner. Make sure that the cane/slab is warmed up and that you try to soften it by squeezing the sides and twisting it lightly back and forth. If the cane is quite stiff you may need to reduce it a bit before slicing it. Keep working on it. You’ll eventually get it and will learn a lot in the process about how the clay behaves. Don’t get frustrated. Good luck!

  24. Sandra J, 29 June, 2013

    thanks Cindy. Yes the slab was asleep :) so i needed to wake it up a bit. With these “tools” in mind i will give it another go. am not feeling the best at the mo so it will have to wait a couple of days.

  25. Sandra J, 29 June, 2013

    okay felt a bit betta this pm, so hopped to it, and SUCCESS, YIPPEE! i made a new faux bone cane, and i also used Cheryl’s tip about running the slices thru the machine before putting it on the back sheet. i will post a pic of what i made out of it as soon as i finish it. this community is a great sounding board and a wealth of information comes out of it. so thanks for your help.

  26. Cheyrl B, 30 June, 2013

    Hey Sandra congrats!! So glad I could help especially since your determination inspierd me to try something I thought would never work and I found that it did. I should have taken my own advice from when my son was young, I used to give him old broken furniture to fix ( coffee tables, chairs or night stands ) and let him figure it out, once I heard my husband telling him that he was doing it wrong, and that won’t work, instead of saying something like ” maybe if you tried it this way ” needless to say hubby was in trouble, I told him to Never to ell him something won’t work but to let him find out on his own because he would learn as much from his mistakes as he would from his successes and seeing the ” wrong way ” and how it affected the outcome would get him to thinking about how a different approach would work. It made him analyze the problem more closely. Now he can fix just about anything from furniture to hooking up electronics because he follows the logical path and can come up with altrenatives when the logical isn’t working. Anyway thanks for the inspirational boost it was just what I needed.

  27. Cheyrl B, 30 June, 2013

    On the subject of fingerprints……While losing the 115 lbs is great it does have it’s drawbacks, now my fingerprints have fingerprints! The lines in my palme are even more pronounced. AARGH!! before it was mostly the fingernail divets even though I have no fingernails to speak of, now I have those and the prints, my clay needs to be practically frozen before I touch it. Basically I sculpt the flowers,acorns,leaves or whatever and then let them sit for a long time before coming back and smoothing and putting them in place,but the clay warms up so fast I still get prints because I need to move things around to get them just right and centered.

    BTW Cindy can you send me a link into your member facebook where I can post pics of a couple of my jars? I would love some feedback both positive and constructive on the pieces temselves and the picture compoisition, lighting and placement,
    Doug, I go out in the early morning for the good light but would still like to use flash but my canon A3400 IS won’t flash it keeps prompting me to turn off auto flash but I leave it on and it still doesn;t flash, nor when I turn it off, I am thinking I need to turn it off and go to manual so I can control it but I can’t find where to do that.I’m thinking the flash will eliminate a lot of the shadows in the pieces where they have detail and allow it to show up more clearly. I feel like a goose in a duck pond trying to be something I’m not you know, close but not the same thing ( photographically creative ) I’m creative but not in that way.

  28. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 30 June, 2013

    Hi Cheyrl,

    Here is the link to the Polymer Clay Tutor Members Photo Gallery. It would be great to see you adding photos of your work.

    In regards to using Flash for taking pictures… that can be tricky because although it will add light to the front of your image, flash photography can also create harsh shadows behind the subject. You will usually end up with better pictures by just using decent levels of diffused ambient natural light.

  29. Cheyrl B, 30 June, 2013

    Doug thanks, GOTTA learn how to make those eyeballs!!! love the cats eyes. Beautiful pics, are they all Cindy’s work if so how do I see the members pieces and send some of my own?
    I may be a bit wonky as I have been trying to open my fan page and have no idea what I am doing, plus I don’t have a profile picture yet which seems to be the place to start, I really need my daughter sitting here beside me right now talking me through this.

  30. Polymer Clay Tutor Doug Lietz, 30 June, 2013

    Cheyrl – The pics at this link are mostly all from PcT Students.

    The pics at this link show some of Cindy’s pieces.

    For you to upload pics to the members gallery, you must first have a Facebook account. Then, once you “like” the our “Polymer Clay Bead Making” fan page, an “Add Photos” button will display. Use that button to upload your pics.

    Now… the profile picture (Gravatar) is a completely separate thing. You use the Gravatar Site to set that up. Once you upload your picture at the Gravatar site, all of the blue box images beside your comments here at the blog, will magically change to your photo. It happens automatically but can sometimes take a few hours.

  31. Cheyrl B, 01 July, 2013

    Thank you everyone. Here I go again with the WOW!!!! I went on to the member site and couldn’t stop “liking ” things I would be there still if I didn’t need to go pick up the baby.All I can say is that my head is spinning with all the wonderful things I saw. I am truly humbled and inspired. my mind feels like a caged bird that is at last free to soar you have all given me so many ideas that I just don’t know where to start. I posted a couple of pictures and am honored to be able to show them amongst true artists. I only have the temerity to do this because when I look at my attempts BCD ( before Cindy & Doug ) I see how far I have come and am sincerely grateful. I know with the help of this community my efforts will improve and grow, there is no other place I would rather be so thank you all again for the help and support.

  32. Freda K, 25 July, 2013

    On the page with member’s pictures there is no “add photo” button but there is on the page with Cindy’s pictures. Am I to assume that when I add a picture to the page with Cindy’s pictures that it will automatically go to the member page?

  33. Cindy Lietz, 25 July, 2013

    Hi Freda, just give it a try and see what happens! :)

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