Polymer clay is a versatile and popular medium used by artists and crafters to create a wide range of intricate and detailed projects. Whether you’re making jewelry, sculptures, or decorative items, the question of whether to seal polymer clay often arises. Sealing polymer clay can offer several benefits, but there are also important considerations to keep in mind.
Benefits of Sealing Polymer Clay
Sealing polymer clay can provide various advantages that enhance the appearance, durability, and longevity of your creations:
- Enhanced Finish: Sealing can give your polymer clay projects a glossy or matte finish, depending on the type of sealant used. This can enhance the visual appeal of your pieces and provide a professional look.
- Protection: Sealing can protect your polymer clay creations from dirt, dust, moisture, and minor scratches, helping to maintain their appearance over time.
- Color Intensity: Some sealants can intensify the colors of your polymer clay, making them appear more vibrant and eye-catching.
- Surface Smoothness: Sealing can help smoothen the surface of your polymer clay projects, reducing the appearance of imperfections and fingerprints.
- Longevity: Properly sealed polymer clay can have increased resistance to wear and tear, making it more durable and extending the life of your creations.
Considerations When Sealing Polymer Clay
While sealing polymer clay can offer several benefits, there are important factors to consider:
- Type of Sealant: There are various types of sealants available, including water-based sealers, varnishes, and glazes. It’s essential to choose a sealant that is compatible with polymer clay and suitable for your specific project.
- Application: Proper application is crucial for achieving a smooth and even finish. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the chosen sealant to avoid streaks, bubbles, or brush marks.
- Drying Time: Allow sufficient drying time for the sealant to cure completely. Rushing the drying process could lead to an uneven finish or damage to the polymer clay surface.
- Compatibility: Test the sealant on a small, inconspicuous area of your polymer clay project before applying it to the entire piece. Some sealants may react with certain types of polymer clay or affect the appearance of the colors.
- Over-Sealing: Applying too many layers of sealant can result in a thick and unnatural-looking finish. Use moderation to achieve the desired level of protection without compromising the appearance of your work.
When to Seal Polymer Clay
The ideal time to seal polymer clay depends on the type of project and the desired finish:
- Before Baking: Some artists choose to apply a thin layer of sealant before baking their polymer clay creations. This can help prevent fingerprints and other imperfections from forming during the baking process.
- After Baking: Many artists prefer to seal their polymer clay projects after baking to protect the surface and achieve the desired finish. This approach allows you to assess the final appearance of your project before sealing.
Sealing polymer clay is a personal choice that depends on your project’s specific requirements and the results you wish to achieve. While sealing can offer benefits such as enhanced appearance and protection, it’s important to choose the right sealant, follow proper application techniques, and consider the potential effects on your polymer clay. By making informed decisions and experimenting with different sealing methods, you can create polymer clay projects that are not only visually appealing but also durable and long-lasting.