Home Polymer Clay Sticky Paint or Varnish on Polymer Clay (At all times check first!)

Sticky Paint or Varnish on Polymer Clay (At all times check first!)


One of many saddest issues that occurs to new makers is once they spend many hours making a valuable creation with polymer clay, bake it, then coat it with a paint or varnish that turns into sticky. Days or perhaps weeks later, they understand with horror that mud and pet fur are sticking to the floor and dealing with the merchandise reveals fingerprints pressed into the gloss. Sadly, many paints and varnishes work together chemically with polymer clay and the end turns into ruined. Many others work completely properly, nevertheless. The problem is discovering paints and varnishes that don’t turn into sticky on polymer clay. Due to this, it’s crucial that you just all the time check paints and varnishes that you just use on polymer clay.

By the way in which, the knowledge on this article additionally applies to paint pens and spray varnishes. Additionally, you’ll be able to be taught in regards to the difficulties in portray polymer clay right here.

Why So Sticky?

Whereas it’s generally acknowledged that these finishes “eat” the polymer clay or soften the floor, it’s truly the opposite manner round. Polymer clay is a plastic that accommodates a plasticizer. The plasticizer’s job is to melt the polymer clay and preserve it from being brittle after baking. Many paints and varnishes include a plastic that, sadly, can be softened by the plasticizer within the polymer clay. If the precise plasticizer in a model of clay occurs to melt the precise plastic within the paint or varnish, it gained’t totally dry and can turn into sticky. So sure, the polymer clay (truly the plasticizer in it) is softening the paint or varnish!

Eradicating the Sticky Paint or Varnish

However what are you able to do if the worst has occurred and your valuable creation is sticky sufficient that the cat feels a magnetic pull? Is it ruined? Fortunately, there are some potential options.

If it’s solely a tiny bit cheesy, listed here are some options:

Sadly, if it’s tremendous duper goopy sticky (corresponding to once you’ve used a sprig varnish), it’s typically simpler to simply remake the venture than to strive to reserve it. (Sorry!)

Manufacturers Matter

Each the model of polymer clay and the model of the paint or varnish issues. Some coatings shall be simply high-quality on one model of clay and terribly sticky on one other. I’ve observed that the majority manufacturers of varnish or paint do fairly properly on Sculpey III and Kato Polyclay. However for some purpose, Fimo Skilled will trigger many manufacturers of paint and polish to turn into sticky. Moreover, the extra shiny the coating or paint is, the extra seemingly it is going to be that stickiness is a matter. I’ve observed that matte paints and varnishes seldom have stickiness issues.

I’m typically requested if a particular model of paint or varnish will work with polymer clay or not. A number of years in the past, I examined 41 manufacturers of varnish. I’ve additionally examined almost 20 manufacturers of spray varnish. It’s not possible to check all of the manufacturers of coatings on all of the manufacturers of polymer clay, even when I had limitless time and price range. Moreover, most of these merchandise usually are not typically distributed worldwide and availability will fluctuate tremendously the world over. One other issue is that components of a particular product can change over time because the product is up to date. Briefly, it’s an not possible activity to offer correct information about all of them! Due to this, I strongly, strongly advocate that you just check every product your self.

Testing Paints and Varnishes on Polymer Clay

The one strategy to know if a particular product will work in your venture is to check it out. Right here is how I like to recommend to go about it:

  1. Don’t check in your valuable venture! At all times do a pattern check first, utilizing a baked scrap of the identical clay.
  2. Apply a standard coat of the paint or varnish on a scrap piece of the baked clay. Use the identical clay model as you used for the venture.
  3. You possibly can apply further coats, however let dry to the contact between coats (seek the advice of the label if obligatory).
  4. Let dry 24 hours earlier than touching it.

Evaluating Your Check Samples

  • After 24 hours, if a water-based paint or varnish has not dried, that’s a fail.
  • Examine again in per week, two weeks, then a month.
  • Press your finger into the floor of the paint or varnish. In case your finger sticks otherwise you see a fingerprint texture, that’s a fail.
  • I contemplate any stickiness at any level after 24 hours to be a fail. Select one other product or model of clay.
  • Should you’re utilizing Fimo, Cernit, or Passion Foyer clays and the product is sticky, strive utilizing Premo or Kato as a substitute. However do check!
Blue sticky paint and alcohol Ink on white polymer clay.

About Nail Polish on Polymer Clay

“The Web” will warn you that nail polish will “eat” your polymer clay. Nicely, it’s one other case of “that’s not precisely true” and “it relies upon”. Right here’s some readability on this frequent query. Firstly, if it’s gel polish and makes use of a UV gentle to remedy, then it’s not regular nail polish. It’s primarily UV resin and it’s completely high-quality to apply it to polymer clay. You possibly can examine UV resin right here. But when it’s the conventional air-dry nail polish, there’s extra to the story.

Nail polish is, as you’ve most likely guessed by now, plastic. And a few plasticizers will work together with and soften the plastic in some manufacturers of nail polish. And sure, that signifies that some nail polish will work and a few gained’t. In case you have a model of nail polish that works for you, nice! Use it and revel in. However please don’t advocate nail polish to others on-line the place they gained’t get the entire story. MOST manufacturers is not going to be so profitable, leaving your venture coated in a nasty gooey mess that can’t be dissolved with alcohol. And since acetone additionally dissolves baked polymer clay, eradicating the sticky polish with nail polish remover will smash your polymer clay venture.

Due to this and the truth that there are hundreds and hundreds of manufacturers of nail polish worldwide, it’s not possible to advocate one which works. So for simplicity’s sake, I can’t advocate that you just (or anybody) use nail polish on polymer clay and I urge others to not advocate it both. The chance of ruining a venture is excessive and that’s simply not honest to do this to new makers searching for info. There are higher choices (see under). However remember that I’m not saying none will ever work. Some undoubtedly do.

Two bottle of blue nail polish on orange cat fur in the dappled sunlight.

Clay-Secure Varnish and Paint Suggestions

The one manner you’ll be able to check a paint or varnish is to open the bundle and check out it. That’s not all the time attainable to do earlier than buy! So it could be very nice to know if a product works or not. That’s why this query is requested a lot on social media. Whereas there are literally thousands of merchandise that can be utilized on this method and also you’ll by no means discover information about all of them, there ARE some that clayers have used with out bother for fairly a while. Listed below are a few of my solutions to make use of.

Picture of good varnishes to use on polymer clay. Includes Varathane, UPOL, Brite Tone, Swellegant, and DuraClear.



  • For the explanations talked about above, it’s fairly troublesome to advocate particular paint manufacturers.
  • I haven’t examined any manufacturers, however clayers do have some favorites.
  • Artist’s oil paints almost all the time work, however they take a very long time to dry.
  • Liquitex Heavy Physique Acrylics are good, as are Liquitex Fundamentals.
  • Low-cost craft retailer bottled paint seldom get sticky (however could not have good protection).
  • Many individuals advocate Golden artist’s acrylics.
Picture of different paints to try on polymer clay.

Take into account Skipping Varnish and Paint on Polymer Clay

Even if you happen to select a paint and polish that doesn’t flip sticky in your polymer clay venture, contemplate whether or not utilizing them is the very best technique in your venture. Remember that polymer clay doesn’t should be sealed and varnishes will simply intensify the feel (together with flaws) on the floor of your venture. Portray polymer clay is a ability in and of itself and you might discover that it’s troublesome to do properly. Moreover, since these merchandise are very skinny layers of plastic that will not adhere properly to polymer clay, and will abrade simply, you’ll typically discover that these merchandise make your merchandise much less in a position to face up to harm from use. You’ll undoubtedly need to skip paint and polish on high-use gadgets like keychains, toys, and out of doors decor. Whereas paint and polish are priceless instruments in your polymer clay data base, and so they do have legitimate makes use of, try to be intentional of their use, selecting them with look after the outcomes they create to your venture.

Graphic that reads "Sticky Paint or Varnish on Polymer Clay" with a picture of different paints to try on polymer clay.


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