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  • Polishing clay

    Hi all.

    Is there anyone with experience of polishing different brands of clay? I followed a tutorial on the web for swirly eggs & decided to polish it to a high gloss instead of using varnish (as I do on smaller beads). After curing, I worked through wet 'n' dry, spectrum polishing paper & finished off with a mop on the proxxon. Obtained a really high shine - this was on Fimo Copper clay.

    Decided to do some more & ordered some Premo clay. Did one with Gold & one with Blue Pearl. Both were treated in exactly the same way but I am finding it impossible to achieve the same finish

    Is this symptomatic of the different brands (or something else)? If so - which brand polishes up to the highest shine? Still have Kato & Cernit to try if necessary

    Thanks for any thoughts on this.
    Bev
    Tamar Leather Hand tooled leather gifts that last a lifetime

    Also find me on Facebook & Folksy


  • #2
    I think you are right - different brands will polish up to different shines.

    I personally prefer to sand ultra smooth and then varnish. I have found that over time the buffed shine will dull anyway and is more prone to scratching, but I have varnished beads that look perfect 10 years old, after rolling around in jewellery boxes with all sorts of jaggedy things to scratch them

    Of course, you could ask another clayer and they would say the opposite and swear that buffing really is the only way to go! Its all a matter of personal opinion really!

    Maybe you could do a test tile of each clay you are considering to use for a project and see which buffs up to the nicest effect? Then at least you will know how it buffs up before getting to work on a whole load of stuff. Those sorts of experiments can be a bit boring and time consuming, but you only need do them the once and you then have the results to draw on forever.

    I think it would be worthwhile, especially with something like finishes, because they are so subjective too. What one person might consider a really great smoothness or really "easy to sand" - another might find disappointing and labourious.
    Emma
    www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
    www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
    www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

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    • #3
      Hi Emma.

      When it comes to beads I'm (* usually) with you - sand & then varnish. But lately I've been making some larger pieces. These are easy to hold, therefore easier to polish with the proxxon! Also the egg is a bantam egg, blown & covered in clay - no holes in it to poke a stick in, (to hold it whilst being varnished ).

      I think I may have altered the speed on the proxxon & it may actually be spinning too fast. Gonna try slowing it down tomorrow & see.

      * Back to varnish. I must say I don't find it that brilliant (part of the reason for trying polishing). I've had a few instances where a little too much varnish has got on the cocktail stick & had then pulled off the bead when seperating the two. Once it starts the varnish will then peel completely off the bead (Fimo). It's like it just sits on top of the surface & doesn't really adhere to it.

      I tried the Studio by Sculpey glaze, which I found seemed to soak in a little bit more, but when used on one of my swirly lentils - used on a choker - the shine disappeared after wearing a few times & the bead looked as though it had never been varnished

      So then I tried a 1st coat of Studio glaze & a coat of Fimo on top - still way too easy to peel off the Fimo. I do try & remove the cocktail stick as early as possible but it will still pull off. I am taking as much care as possible to make sure no varnish comes into contact with the cocktail stick.

      Also - as with all water based paints/varnishes they do not flow out as well as oil based ones, which is another reason I am trying to polish the larger pieces! Trying to eliminate brush marks is a pain (& that's from a indentured painter/signwriter ). Fairly disenchanted with the whole "finishing" side of polymer clay at the moment
      Bev
      Tamar Leather Hand tooled leather gifts that last a lifetime

      Also find me on Facebook & Folksy

      Comment


      • #4
        It sounds like the varnish is maybe going on too thickly? I like the Fimo one because you can dip the beads rather than paint it on. Then if you give them a good shake to get most of the varnish off, it shouldn't drip or pool too much either.

        You could also try leaving a narrow bald strip around the hole, so the varnish won't pool around the stick.

        I occasionally will have the bead stick on the cocktail stick though - if I forget and don't remove the sticks when the beads are touch dry, I find it hard to remove the sticks. But I haven't had the varnish peel off ever.

        Dumb question probably, but when you sand the beads, are you wet sanding and washing them in clean water after? Could there be any residue from sanding maybe that is preventing the varnish from adhering?

        Emma
        Emma
        www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
        www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
        www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

        Comment


        • #5
          I want to start working with polymer clay - and I've been doing my research online (and have worked with it before) - however, I haven't heard of this proxxon stuff - what is it?

          Comment


          • #6
            Proxxon is brand-name of tools, not a claying product.

            Emma
            Emma
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
            www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
            www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

            Comment


            • #7
              d'oh! Thanks Emma.

              By the way, I watched one tutorial on youtube and the woman making polymer clay dolls actually scraped down using a craft knife on the clay figure (after being fired) and then used wet sandpaper to get rid of the final imperfections.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ejralph View Post
                It sounds like the varnish is maybe going on too thickly? I like the Fimo one because you can dip the beads rather than paint it on. Then if you give them a good shake to get most of the varnish off, it shouldn't drip or pool too much either.

                You could also try leaving a narrow bald strip around the hole, so the varnish won't pool around the stick.


                Emma
                I now have visions of beads zooming off in all directions as I try & shake off excess varnish.
                I don't think I put it on too thick, & as a painter, preperation is second nature, so believe I'm doing everything correctly on that front. I will take even more care in future to see if this helps.

                I am also taking extra care to keep varnish away from the stick. It is the removal of this that triggers the problem. I can see the varnish pull away from the bead - it seems to adhere to the stick more firmly than to the bead. Trying to gently rub down the ragged edge of the 'tear' around the hole will cause it to peel.

                I tried setting the speed slower on the proxxon & things improved - but the shine on the Premo clay is nowhere near as good as with the Fimo. (The original reason for posting)


                Thanks for all suggestions.
                Bev
                Tamar Leather Hand tooled leather gifts that last a lifetime

                Also find me on Facebook & Folksy

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bev478 View Post
                  I now have visions of beads zooming off in all directions as I try & shake off excess varnish.
                  I don't think I put it on too thick, & as a painter, preperation is second nature, so believe I'm doing everything correctly on that front. I will take even more care in future to see if this helps.

                  I am also taking extra care to keep varnish away from the stick. It is the removal of this that triggers the problem. I can see the varnish pull away from the bead - it seems to adhere to the stick more firmly than to the bead. Trying to gently rub down the ragged edge of the 'tear' around the hole will cause it to peel.

                  I tried setting the speed slower on the proxxon & things improved - but the shine on the Premo clay is nowhere near as good as with the Fimo. (The original reason for posting)


                  Thanks for all suggestions.
                  I'm sure you're doing everything right - just trying to eliminate some of the common problems first really. It's a funny thing in clay how sometimes, what works for one person just doesn't for another. A bit like cooking in that respect!

                  Maybe actually your bead surface is so well prepared before and so smooth that problem is from the opposite end of the spectrum and there is not enough key for the varnish to grab?

                  As you say though - moot point since you prefer the buffing method anyway!

                  I guess the Premo just isn't milled as finely as the Fimo clay - I wonder how they both compare to other brands in that respect? I have done very little buffing since all the clays changed formula. Certainly from a sanding perspective, I have been very pleased with the Cernit and how it smoothes up. Not sure how that would translate to buffing too, I just cheat if I want the buffed look and sanding up to a 2000 grit and then use Renaissance wax!

                  Emma
                  Emma
                  www.ejrbeads.co.uk - unique art beads & more
                  www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop - beads, polymer clay, glitters and inks oh my
                  www.facebook.com/EJRBeads - Like me at Facebook!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ejralph View Post
                    I'm sure you're doing everything right - just trying to eliminate some of the common problems first really. It's a funny thing in clay how sometimes, what works for one person just doesn't for another. A bit like cooking in that respect!

                    Maybe actually your bead surface is so well prepared before and so smooth that problem is from the opposite end of the spectrum and there is not enough key for the varnish to grab?

                    As you say though - moot point since you prefer the buffing method anyway!

                    I guess the Premo just isn't milled as finely as the Fimo clay - I wonder how they both compare to other brands in that respect? I have done very little buffing since all the clays changed formula. Certainly from a sanding perspective, I have been very pleased with the Cernit and how it smoothes up. Not sure how that would translate to buffing too, I just cheat if I want the buffed look and sanding up to a 2000 grit and then use Renaissance wax!

                    Emma
                    I have occasionally wondered if you can prepare too much, although I think it unlikely. I do only give a basic rub down if I'm varnishing. I know I will have to take more care to avoid getting varnish on the stick & therefore avoid lifting the varnish when removing the bead from the stick. Was wondering if pre-dipping the stick in water would help

                    I only recently started to polish because I was doing a Bantam egg covered in clay - so I thought it would be difficult to get a really good, flawless finish with varnish & it was easy to rub down & polish because of it's size. I certainly can't be bothered with trying to do this amount of prep work on anything below a 16mm (or so) size bead Mind you, my partner is investing in a tumbler soon so I will be investigating it's use (when not being utilised for chainmail)!

                    I must admit, the first egg I did (with Fimo) came up like glass - very rewarding I will treat myself to some Cernit & Kato at some point & see what sort of results are achievable.

                    After all this discussion I am actually doing some pastel coloured beads at the moment which I am finding look best with a matt finish!
                    Last edited by Bev478; 17-02-2011, 10:02 PM.
                    Bev
                    Tamar Leather Hand tooled leather gifts that last a lifetime

                    Also find me on Facebook & Folksy

                    Comment

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