Crackled Gold Leaf, Alcohol Ink and Liquid Polymer Clay Techniques

Crackled Metal Leaf Polymer Clay by Silverleaf

Spotlight: “The owners of my local bead shop took one look and offered to sell them for me!” ~Silverleaf

It is very exciting to see someone take what they have learned, put their own spin on it, and turn it into something that people want to buy… like today’s Spotlight guest did. Her name is Anna… aka Silverleaf.

Related links for this Spotlight feature include: (1) Ink Effects on Crackled Gold Leaf; (2) Translucent Polymer Clay; (3) Future Floor Polish; (4) Making Disc Beads.

Here is What Silverleaf Wrote…


I thought I’d show you my version of your ink on crackled leaf pendants. I loved the look of your pendants but I had problems with getting the translucent clay thin enough – my pendants ended up very milky and pale rather than bright. They looked nice, but not what I wanted, so I thought I’d substitute liquid clay instead.

I added leaf and ink to the black clay and crackled it, then cut out pendants and baked. Once they were cool I trimmed any rough edges with a craft knife and applied a thin layer of Fimo Deko gel with a paintbrush then rebaked. To add more depth to the pendants I used another layer of the gel, baked, then finished with Klear (Future Floor Polish).

I also made some little disc beads in the same way which I’m using to make bracelets and earrings.

I’m very happy with how they turned out – you can’t see in the picture but they really shine and look a bit like dichroic glass. The owners of my local bead shop took one look at them and offered to sell them for me in the shop! Another success thanks to Cindy!

~Silverleaf (Chesterfield in Derbyshire, England)

Anna I am so proud of you for giving the technique your own voice! Your beads turned out beautiful and it looks like the liquid clay really worked well. Continued success to you!

So everyone, let Anna know what you think of her work. And take this opportunity to ask her lots of questions. I’m sure she would be happy to answer them.

** If you have been inspired by my teachings and would like to be featured in an upcoming Spotlight Article, then please do write up something creative and email it to me along with a selection of your project pics. Make sure to send me high resolution photos that I’ll be able to zoom in on to show the details of your work. If you don’t already have my email address, simply leave a comment below and I will get it to you right away.

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

  1. Elizabeth, 04 September, 2009

    Oh my,

    I can see why your bead shop snapped these up! I am sure they will draw customers from near and far. They are absolutely beautiful! Congratulations!

  2. Ken H., 04 September, 2009

    Way to go Anna, they are gorgeous, and an interesting workaround for the translucent clay problem.

  3. Laurel, 04 September, 2009

    These are so awesome!! Good job Anna. It is really great how you experimented and came up with something new AND beautiful.

  4. aims, 04 September, 2009

    Wow! Those are stunning Anna! Now I want to go and try that! btw – added your blog to mine so that I can visit anytime!

    Cindy – I’ve got a question. Would it be possible to put the pictures in your blog so we can click on them on see them up close or bigger? I for one (with my glasses) would appreciate it. I always seem to be squinting at what you are showing. Anyone else doing the same?

  5. Caroline, 04 September, 2009

    They look great!
    Does the deco gel end up hard or can it be marked with, for example, a fingernail? I only tried using it once and it seemed a bit rubbery!

  6. Bonnie B, 04 September, 2009

    The crackled gold leaf pendants are stunning! I SO appreciate the inspiration I find here. I hear my mom’s voice from childhood prodding me on…”Practice makes perfect!”

    Thanks, Cindy, for spotlighting artisans that point us in new directions.

  7. Jocelyn, 04 September, 2009

    What I like most, is that they are big, so you can really get into the crackle patterning,light reflection, and color changes. Just love them in that grouping! Like a flower bouquet, almost.

    Says “abundance” to me, and cannot imagine being lucky enough to be able to see, touch and play with them all. A bunch of seed beads make me feel the same way, lol.

    Always have trouble imagining or guessing how big something is by looking a photos of it. Wish there was some standardized tool you could add to a pic (like a small transparent ruler, or something you could add by clicking on it) that would automatically give you size (accurate measurement) or reference size for works of art.

    I cut and paste online inch, centimeter, and millimeter paper guides above and under my screen on the computer, but, it still doesn’t help that much.

  8. Melinda, 04 September, 2009

    These pendants are very pretty. I love them… I haven’t gotten around to trying the crackled foil but those are making my fingers itch!!

  9. Arlene Harrison, 04 September, 2009

    I tried this technique using (1) my favorite brand Premo translucent, then (2) Kato translucent and finally (3) Sculpey III translucent. None of them went as transparent as I wanted. I do have some of the Fimo gel liquid clay so I’ll give that a try. I LOVE the look of the alcohol inks on the crackled gold leaf background but then the transluscent clouded the beautiful colors. Maybe this is the solution. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Jocelyn, 04 September, 2009

    Arlene, you may also want to try the clear gloss embossing powder as a top coat to this finish. Not sure how it would age, or what brands “tarnish” or yellow. Sure is pretty when you put a deep enough coat on it, and you can add more gold flakes or whatever into it as well, in layers.

  11. Catalina, 04 September, 2009

    Just beautiful! Great job! I, too, tried liquid clay and embossing powder to add dimension and I liked the effects. I was going to try casting resin to really get the dichroic look. Has anyone tried casting resin? I bought some and it just sits there looking at me. I, also, wondered about the Triple Thick stuff. (I forgot the whole name.) I wondered if that was compatible with polymer clay. Anyone know?

  12. Jocelyn, 04 September, 2009

    Yes. Love the resin. If you can get it to pool properly, and dry fast and well, it’s so awesome. We did some impression casting, the kids used their thumbprints into the clay canes, then filled it in with resin. I loved it, preserved their fingerprints forever, and though somewhat aged from sun exposure, and now bubbling and cracking a bit from the same, they are aged beautifully and treasured paperweights, sort of…. Also can act as a magnifier to the design if you can get the blob right, either concave or convex. Like plaster of paris, worth the clean up, LOL!

  13. Cindy Lietz, 04 September, 2009

    Great commenting guys! Sorry, but I’m at the point where I can’t address each one individually any more…. but I sure do appreciate all of you!

    @aims: In regards to having larger pictures to click through to… I addressed that topic in another post. Click the ‘Making Polymer Clay Jewelry’ link by my name above, for an explanation. The link takes you into the comments where your question is answered.

    @Jocelyn and Catalina: Resin is a great choice for something like this. I plan to start working with it soon so that I can start doing tutorials on it. Everyone seems to want to learn how to use it. Clear embossing powder is one option though it is not near as durable as liquid clay or resin and scratches easily. Don’t know about the Triple Thick. Haven’t tried it myself.

  14. Feree M, 12 June, 2016

    I love triple thick, very clear on and stay clear! Does not change color to grayish or
    Yellow. Can apply few layers and is strong protective cover for polymer clay.
    Only thing thicker than that is resin!

  15. Cindy Lietz, 13 June, 2016

    That is great to hear about your success with Triple Thick Faree. Thanks for letting us know!

  16. Brenda Anthony, 04 September, 2009

    I like the idea of the rulers beside the pc pieces, too. When our friends send in their pictures, Cindy might remind them to have the ruler in the picture.

  17. Carrie, 04 September, 2009

    I’ve tried the Triple Thick, it won’t dent when you poke it with a findernail. But to me it looks plasticy. I have been using the Studio Glaze and I love it!

  18. Mary Beth, 04 September, 2009

    Catalina – I have tried casting resin (Easy-Cast), Kato’s liquid polyclay, embossing powder (UTEE – Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel), floor polish (Future), TLS, Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos and a few sprays. I have used these finishes for filling rings and covering pendants-not beads. My results/opinions:

    Easy-cast: (+) amazingly beautiful, crystal-clear finish which can emulate dichroic glass; (+) tough, resilient finish; (+) great for inclusions; (-) bubbles are almost inevitable and ruin pieces: you can sit while the resin hardens with a heat gun or torch and pop as they come, but you can harden the top too quickly and trap other bubbles below; (-) it has a strong, horrible smell; (-) takes days to dry, depending on thickness; (-) should be covered while drying to eliminate dust/pet hair/other contaminants; (-) will run over edges very easily, make a huge mess and ruin the piece.

    Kato Liquid Polyclay: (+) can be crystal clear if cured properly: in very thin layers and with a heat gun follow-up; (+) takes less time than resin to harden; (+) easy clean-up; (+) made for inclusions and has compatible “dyes” offered by Kato; (-) must be done in very thin layers or severe plaquing can occur; (-) can burn with heat gun-it turns completely black; (-) very rubbery finish which cannot be sanded/buffed; (-) not scratch-resistant whatsoever

    UTEE: (+) beautiful, crystal-clear finish; (+) scratch-resistant; (+) quick & easy to work with; (+) great for inclusions; (-) will crackle up if piece is twisted/bent–can be reheated to completely fix cracks.

    Varathane: (+) clear, hard finish; (-) will bubble if over-heated; (+) can be applied in layers; (-) brush strokes apparent without special brush or major finesse.

    TLS: (+) great for inclusions; (-) will NOT DRY CLEAR.

    Magic-Glos (UV Resin): (+) cures crystal clear; (+) hard, resilient finish; (+) made to have gorgeous domed finish; (+) cures in MINUTES with UV light; (+) cures even with heavy clouds; (+) UV lights can be used to cure indoors for about $40; (-) expensive- 1 fl. oz retails for $9; (-) bubbles occur but can be avoided/mitigated with butane lighter or pin. –MY FAVORITE–

    I hope this is helpful! All the best,
    ~Mary Beth

  19. Feree M, 12 June, 2016

    Thank for great information. I have been using many different glaze and finishing on my polymer clay pieces. Recently I but new uv resin because I was out of Magic- gloss.
    This is called “UV cure epoxy” and for me is very difficult to use and damaged many
    pieces and I like to know if there is a way to make it work with polymer clay.
    I have a Lisa Povelka uv cure. Con you help me? Have you ever used it?
    Any help be greatly appreciated.

  20. Cindy Lietz, 13 June, 2016

    Hi Faree, the only brand of UV Epoxy Resin that I have used is called Ultradome from EpoxyJewelry It is wonderful to work with on polymer clay.

  21. Catalina, 05 September, 2009

    Wow! Excellent! That is what I was looking for thank you! You could be Cindy’s substitute! I thought Magic Gloss would be neat to try. I’m glad you took time to give your input. Most appreciated!!

  22. Cindy Lietz, 05 September, 2009

    Mary Beth you ROCK! You couldn’t have given a better answer than this!!! Thank you so much for all the pros and cons for each product. I have yet to try some of them and your information is invaluable. Thanks again!

  23. Silverleaf, 06 September, 2009

    Thank you so much for all your nice comments guys! and thank you Cindy for featuring me. :)

    @aims – I can’t help you with the other pictures, but the link on my name on this post takes you to my Flickr jewellery page where you can see bigger pictures of my work.

    @caroline – the liquid clay does end up kind of rubbery, but it’s much stronger than it feels. Although you probably could mark it with a fingernail you’d have to press very hard. I haven’t had any problems, and I usually have quite long nails that always seem to leave marks in raw clay! Time to cut them I guess. ;)

    I love that all this has lead into a discussion of how we can work to modify techniques. What’s perfect for one person might not work at all for someone else, so the more information we have the better.

    I’d definitely encourage you all to experiment a bit. Try different methods, see which one you like best. Even if they all go horribly wrong you’ll still have learned something!

  24. Marsha, 12 September, 2009

    I love these beads and all your work! Thank you!

  25. Mary Beth, 12 September, 2009

    I’m glad you found my overviews helpful. I realized that I left one out that people may be interested in: DG3. DG3 (Diamond Glaze 3) takes forever to dry, but doesn’t smell as bad as EasyCast. I tried building up small layers on a pendant and after several days I had a cloudy pendant. I am truly disappointed in DG3 – comments seemed positive. There may be a way to avoid the cloudiness (i.e. less humidity or something), but at this point I am not wasting another piece to find out. If anyone else has experience with DG3 and has some tips, I would love to know what went wrong! Thanks again for the positive comments! Cindy, you definitely rock too!
    -Mary Beth

  26. Donna W, 25 December, 2011

    Have you used Ice Resin? If so how would you rate it.

  27. Cindy Lietz, 05 January, 2012

    I haven’t used Ice Resin yet Donna but I hear it is an excellent product. Hope that helps a little.

  28. Polyanya, 20 September, 2009

    These are fab Silverleaf – I’m just catching up with the posts so theres a bit of a delay I’m afraid. I love the colours. I’m wondering about the gel thing that you put on for a second baking, was it to make the pendant stronger or something?

  29. Silverleaf, 22 September, 2009

    @Polyanya – thank you! The gel was simply a substitute for the translucent clay Cindy used.

    It gives the pendants a nice depth as well as protecting the metal leaf and making the whole thing smooth and glossy.

    I don’t actually know whether it strengthens the pendants, it certainly makes them more flexible.

  30. Polyanya, 22 September, 2009

    Oh right! I get you now, of course to protect the crackle as well.

  31. Cindy Lietz, 02 October, 2009

    @Marybeth: I’ve never tried DG3 with polymer clay, so I can’t help you there. I wonder if it would clear up a bit if you baked it for awhile? Might be worth giving it a try.

  32. Tina Holden, 05 October, 2009

    DG3 looks ok, but it’s not water proof, but find it kind of leaves a ‘dimple’ in center of piece as it dries. I guess it has some shrinkage.
    Personally, Magic Glos is my fave, but was sent some 1 part resin by a company to try, also a UV cure. Haven’t tried it yet. just redid my studio…remind me, lol

  33. Cindy Lietz, 16 October, 2009

    @Tina: A one part resin sounds promising and less stressful as far as it setting faster than you want or mixing up too much or too little. How does it compare in cost? They all seem quite high.

  34. peggie, 31 October, 2009

    hey cindy!

    i received the preserve your memories spray, and i am disappointed in the way it darkened my gold leaf. i am sure i can use it for my transfers, though. can you tell me the absolute best finish for gold leaf ( i love to crackle gold and silver leaf) with the least amount of darkening? i have a show this thursday and was planning on using this crackling technique quite a bit.

    i have some pledge future on hand, how does it perform over time? can it be applied to uncured clay and then baked? i believe you said not to use the mona lisa finish, as it does not perform well with the clay.

    i want my gold and silver to remain as shiney and bright as possible. i have tried using the translucent clay and it just doesn’t do it for me.

    thanks, cindy!


  35. Cindy Lietz, 02 November, 2009

    You can use the Pledge with Future on your gold leaf peggie and you should get good result. It preforms well over time. Yeah the translucent clay has to be incredibly thin for it to look good over the gold leaf. My video tutorial will show you how to do that if you’re interested. Click the link by my name for more info.

  36. kalatoo, 08 March, 2010

    ADDED NOTE: @Kalatoo – thanks for sharing all of your valuable feedback below, about the resin products you have been testing. I’ve added a duplicate copy of your comment to the Polymer Clay Finishes post where you originally commented about this topic. This makes it easier for everyone over at that original post to also follow along with your thoughts and insights. ~Cindy


    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…


    ADDED NOTE: @Kalatoo – thanks for sharing all of your valuable feedback above, about the resin products you have been testing. I’ve added a duplicate copy of your comment to the Polymer Clay Finishes post where you originally commented about this topic. This makes it easier for everyone over at that original post to also follow along with your thoughts and insights. ~Cindy

  37. Cathy Dugan, 03 April, 2010

    I am wondering if this liquid polymer clay is the product that some people are using to make jewelry from preserved flowers. I have noticed that several sites are now offering tis product. Can anyone tell me where I can find out more about this?

  38. Phaedrakat, 05 April, 2010

    @Cathy Dugan: Hi Cathy, preserving flowers from memorable occasions is a popular thing to do using regular translucent polymer clay. Using liquid clay isn’t the norm for that technique, although it’s certainly possible. There’s a wealth of information about these beads here at the blog. Are you interested in making them yourself? Or having someone make something for you? I recently had someone ask about getting this jewelry made for her. You can see my response in the comments section at this Polymer Clay Color Recipes article.

    Immediately beneath my comment are offers from artists who were willing to create the jewelry for her. I feel confident they still make this type of jewelry.

    Now, if you want to LEARN to make these beads, using translucent polymer clay and dried flowers, Cindy has a tutorial video called Dried Flower Inclusions (for Keepsake Jewelry.)

    You can check out the preview video at that link. If you haven’t worked with it before, polymer clay is fun and easy to learn, especially if you use Cindy’s Polymer Clay Basics Course. Not to mention all of the resources here at the blog. Anyway, there are several examples of Flower Petal jewelry all over the blog. To find them, use the search box at the top left of any page and type in a few words, like “flower beads” “memorial jewelry” “preserved flowers,” etc. Here’s one of the articles that came up when I did a search. This post shows Flower Petal Beads Jewelry made by Marsha Nelson. The article has links to even more articles with information and pictures of other jewelry.

    Sorry I was so long-winded here. I wasn’t sure which you were looking for, so I tried to answer both ways. Leave a comment if you have any other questions, or if you want someone to make jewelry for you. As you saw, there are several people eager to create Keepsake Jewelry for you! And if you want to make your beads, there’s all kinds of info — both written articles or full-on fantastic video tutorials! :-D

  39. Nydia L, 04 January, 2012


    I am sort of a newbie on polymer clay and i was wondering what was your experience with the Fimo transparent colored polymer clays? I been looking online for reviews and i haven’t find any. Have you done any testing or any reviews on your site that could help me figure out if it’s good for me?



  40. Cindy Lietz, 16 January, 2012

    Hi Nydia, I have only tried a few of the Fimo Translucent colored clays but they seem to be of high quality. Like most translucent clays they are not really transparent or see through. More like frosted glass than clear glass. All the Fimo products are good if you are wanting to work with them. I work mostly with Premo because I like it better for color mixing and it is an excellent all purpose clay. What are you trying to use the Fimo Trans for?

  41. Pat Physher, 07 December, 2013

    Hi Cindy,
    HELP! I’m confused. Are the products “Fimo Liquid Gel” and “Fimo Deco Gel” the same thing?
    I’ve been trying to locate a local retail supplier, but nobody carries the product(s). I’ve tried all the major Hobby, Arts & Crafts chain stores in my area, with no luck. Most of them have never encountered or even heard of the liquid Fimo Polymer Gel. I’m desperate! I’d like to finish a Christmas present for my 4 y.o. niece.
    I was going to order some on the inter-net, but half the people say the product is no longer manufactured/available and half the people say they’re selling it. No body seems to agree on what the Fimo product is called. Can you please shed some light on the situation?

  42. Cindy Lietz, 07 December, 2013

    Hi Pat, I am not sure which country you are from, but if you happen to be from the USA you can order Fimo Liquid Deco Gel (people use any combination of those words so it can be confusing) online from Polymer Clay Express.

    In Canada you can find it at Shades of Clay here (scroll down that page a bit).

    I know it isn’t a product that is everywhere (especially in retail) but if you do a good Google search you should be able to find it many other place as well. Good luck!

  43. Pat Physher, 16 December, 2013

    Hi Cindy,

    Thank you for your help with locating a source for Liquid Fimo Gel. It was the cheapest price I’ve found anywhere!

    I’m trying to put a clear finish on a fishing lure using Fimo Liquid Gel. The core of the lure is fluorescent Fimo clay and I would like to add glitter and seal it in the Liquid Deco Gel. However, every time I coat the lure and try to bake it, the gel runs off and puddles at the bottom of my container. I’m trying to keep the lure evenly coated on all sides and was wondering if there’s someway to thicken the gel and still keep it as clear as possible and as evenly coated while it’s suspended in my oven curing, without the coating running off and settling in the bottom of the oven?

    I’d like to retire soon and thus have more time to tinker with my projects. (i.e., Polymer clay, woodworking, fishing etc., etc….) I’d like to know if you have some sort of a master list or directory of all your currently available videos? I’d like to be able to look through the list and buy the one’s that I need and/or would be the most useful for my current project. I’ve noticed that even tho I’m not interested in jewelry making, some of the techniques would be very useful for making some interesting fishing lures.

    Thank you for your assistance,

  44. Cindy Lietz, 18 December, 2013

    Hi Pat your lure project sounds fabulous! I have a fondness for fishing lures actually (My Dad owns a fishing lure company called Ross Tackle so I have been around them all my life.)

    As far as trying to coat your lures in the liquid clay, you could try and just coat a section at a time and heat set with a heat gun (embossing gun from the craft store not the paint strippers, they’re too hot). Once you’ve got a ‘skin’ formed you can put it in the oven to finish curing. That way it isn’t running all over the place. You could also consider using a UV Resin instead, but you’d have to do that in sections too or you’d run into the same problem.

    Another option would be to dip the lure and heat set with a gun. That might work if you work quickly.

    I think you will need to continue to experiment, until you get a method that works for you.

    As far as other tutorials, you are right… just because they are often jewelry projects, it doesn’t mean there isn’t something that you can learn and use in countless other projects… including something like fishing lures. You just need to throw on your thinking cap and allow the ideas to spin in your own direction!

    Here are the links to the pages that contain all of our tutorials… there are many, so enjoy!

    Vol-001 to Vol-0024

    Vol-0025 to Vol-048

    Vol-049 to Current

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