Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Crafting With Polymer Clay: What Seal Should You Use?

I'm a bit of a "crafter" for a multitude of reasons. It's a peaceful distraction from any anxiety or stress I may be going through at the time. Molding small, intricate items has always been a passion of mine - hence my Food Rings - but I've learned quite a few things during my course of clay crafting. 

One being that while not all polymer clay creations NEED to be sealed - as they are strong once baked correctly and don't need to be "protected" further - if you paint your creations (like I do), you may soon realize that your creations aren't shiny or glossy. Also, you will want the paint to be "fool proof", especially if you are planning on wearing your creations. Well after some tough bumps in the road and a few "tests" - plus a little research - I FINALLY found the perfect sealer to not only boost your clay products, but to help them withstand [almost] anything you'd put them through.

Before we begin, let's talk about two fails I've endured and why they DON'T work. 

First let's talk Mod Podge. If you aren't aware, Mod Podge is an infamous crafting tool that mostly helps you with "gluing" items. The main reason it isn't a great finishing product, is because over time even the Clear Acrylic Sealer Super Hi-Shine (the exact one I tried) turns tacky. This means that all your hard work will not only run the risk of rubbing off on clothes and all dust particles can begin sticking to every surface. 

Trust me, it's not fun.

As for my alternative trail, it was  recommended by a hobby enthusiast worker at the local craft store. Regardless how odd it seemed, I tried. To no avail, but I tried it. 

It's called "Clear Wood Finish" in Gloss. 

If you haven't guessed it both products are sprays, which isn't a good choice in the first place. Reason being is that they can apply uneven coverage or leave bubbles. 

As for the clear wood finish, it was supposedly a "great alternative" and was supposed to help reduce the chance of scratching, along with helping to keep them from getting scratched up. Unfortunately that didn't exactly work. Not only did it create a small film of discoloration, but it definitely didn't keep my precious art work safe from daily activities.

Feeling defeated, I finally found a sealer that I'm absolutely in love with. It's called Polyurethane and Varathane is the brand you want! You can find this at Home Depot, Lowe's, or even online (like Amazon). I recommend checking prices first though, because Home Depot was much cheaper than Amazon, which was mildly shocking. 

This bad boy not only keeps your creations scratch proof, but it also helps to gloss them while hardening each piece into place. Perfect for items that may endure everyday wear and tear. Best part is that you won't SEE the wear and tear!

The way I apply this, is VERY THINLY applying multiple coats with either a paint brush (clean it thoroughly after each use to keep the bristles soft) or with a makeup sponge (cheap ones). Allow each coat to dry 10 to 15 minutes before applying another. 

Mind you as soon as you open the can, you'll notice that the gloss is "murky", but no worries, it dries completely clear. 

After about 2 to 3 coats, I let the sealed creation dry overnight (even 24 hours for best results). Once it's all done, I'm now able to wear my crafts without any worry of scuffing them or having dust collect (with normal wear and tear). 

Trust me when I tell you that you will be IMPRESSED with how well every one of your polymer creations will shine and hold up. Just one trick I've learned the hard way, but now you don't have to! 

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