Fingerprints Can Make Sanding Polymer Clay a Real Chore

Fingerprints on Polymer Clay

Vid #026: Cornstarch Helps Keep Fingerprints Off Your Polymer Clay Which Means Less Sanding For You:

Sanding polymer clay is probably the least enjoyable part of making beads and beaded jewelry. But it is also the step that gives your beads that professional look.

One of the best things you can do to minimize time spent on this laborious task, is to keep fingerprints from getting on the unbaked beads in the first place. Always keeping your fingers and palms coated with cornstarch helps a lot.

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The full version of the “Fingerprints” preview video shown above, is included in my Polymer Clay Bead Making Fundamentals Course[SEE Video #24 of 39]. Fingerprints are the bane of every poly clayer. In this video I demonstrate several methods to avoid getting them on your beads in the first place.

  1. Cindy Lietz, 11 March, 2008

    If some finger prints still manage to sneak their way onto your beads, you can always sand them out later. But the more you get rid of fingerprints before you bake your beads, the better!

  2. Katina, 24 August, 2008

    Maybe fingerprints can be your “calling card” like Capidomonte, it’s their way of showing you an item is handmade!!

  3. Cindy Lietz, 19 September, 2008

    What a cool way of looking at things Katina! I think if you were going to do that you would have to do very skilled work. So people would assume you ‘meant to do that’ instead of just being sloppy. :-)

  4. Dori Thompson, 06 December, 2008

    I would just like to say that I am truly enjoying your web site. Many of your statements mirror my own. I am glad I found you and look forward to reading all of your info. LOL. Thank you so much!

  5. Cindy Lietz, 06 December, 2008

    Thank you so much Dori for your sweet comment! I very much appreciate it and am very glad to be of help for you. Let me know if you have any questions.

  6. Linda Burch, 27 April, 2009

    Where can I find the wet/dry grit sandpaper # 300 – 800 for the fine sanding finish or can I use something else?

    Thank you, Linda

  7. Cindy Lietz, 29 April, 2009

    Thanks for your question Linda! Look in the automotive section of any home fix it store. Even Walmart has it.

  8. peggie, 22 October, 2009

    wow wow………i read somewhere on here that we can use latex type gloves to keep the fingerprints off of the clay and it saved me from ditching polymer clay forever. i was so frustrated i was about to become a postal worker with a machine gun………..and right before i snapped……wallah! i read that and also something about water on the fingers to rub the fingerprints out. now i see this cornstarch idea…..i will try that, as those gloves do get old and i feel like a hospital nurse.
    this site is so fab………….i bow down to the polymer goddess!

  9. Cindy Lietz, 23 October, 2009

    Oh Peggie… you are funny AND sweet :-) Thanks for adding your comment.

    BTW, another method of removing fingerprints on unbaked beads is to use rubbing alcohol. Follow the link by my name for more info.

  10. Karen P, 28 June, 2011

    I use cornstarch but when I bake my clay pieces and then wash them (I make embellished cutlery) they go dull and musty (looks like they have a layer of white mould on them), until I re-bake them. Also if I use baby oil the black smears into the white when I am smoothing. I make them for sale so I feel i cannot pass this to a customer, what am I doing wrong?

  11. Cindy Lietz, 28 June, 2011

    @Karen P: It sounds like you aren’t sanding and buffing your pieces. Whether you use cornstarch or baby oil to smooth your pieces before baking, you will still need to sand and buff them well, in order to get a beautiful finish. Those two pre-steps just help to minimize the amount of sanding you need to do. They don’t eliminate it.

    For a smooth finish on your handles, I recommend you purchase one or more of my sanding tutorials. I have put a link by my name that will take you to the Micro-Mesh tutorial, but there are many more here as well. To find them, type ‘sanding’ into the search box at the top of the page.

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