Thursday, January 18, 2024

The Future is Clear!

Happy new years everyone!  I have something exciting I recently discovered that I realized I had not shared here yet so figured now is a good time.

I see so many asking the question "what sealer works best on polymer clay?"  But does polymer clay really require "sealing"?  My answer:  "No it does not".  A lot of my creations have no "sealing agent or glaze" and even years later they still look good as new.  If I want a high shine, I prefer to sand and then buff with my Dremel tool.  I especially love how it feels when I touch it with my hands.  You can read more info on this if you click on the tab at the top of this blog "Polymer Clay Tips".  Here is a video of my past hubby/claymate buffing a piece with the Dremel tool.  I have the buffing pads I make myself listed in my online store here.  (right now on sale until the end of the month).

I also create pieces that I cannot sand or buff and DO require a sealing agent or glaze.  This is when I add coloring agents to the outside of my piece such as mica powders, inks or pan pastels as in the textured tube beads shown in the photo below -- my tutorial for this is here.  If the coloring materials are not sealed, they can eventually wear off over time.

Textured Tube Beads

To Glaze or Not to Glaze . . .

I wrote a blog post quite a few years ago on glazing your work (in 2010) and realized it needed an update.  So many products are constantly changing and have even been discontinued over the years.  It seems I just find a product I like and then it suddenly isn't available any more!  I am constantly in search of a better product -- not just something better to work with but that gives excellent results and is also safer for the environment.

One of the products I have been using for many years to seal my work (that has coloring agents which require sealing) is, believe it or not, "Future Acrylic Floor Finish".  I know many who have been working with polymer clay over the years are aware of this trade "secret".  Some, like myself, still use it today.  Many "newbies" are not aware of it, or when they see a photo or a reference to it, they are confused.  This is a product that was introduced into the market as far back as in the 1960's.  The bottle pictured above is of the original vintage bottle.  Over the years, the label had changed many times and was later purchased by Johnson & Johnson, thus eventually becoming "Pledge with Future" and then lastly, "Pledge Revive".

So now, Johnson & Johnson discontinued their latest product and sadly, is no longer available.

Or is it?????

Well, introducing . . . . drum roll . . . .   Quick Shine!

It is by a different company but very much the same as the original "Future Floor Finish".  I have been testing it out to see how it compares and so far, it is pretty darn close --- other than the smell.  I really didn't mind the smell of the original Future (had somewhat of a fruity odor) but this one is not as strong and slightly different, yet not objectionable -- at least not to me.

I should mention I also like to use the other glazes made for polymer clay such as the Cernit brand -- which comes in a matte finish besides glossy.  I find they are far better to use than a typical varathane.  But when working with mica powders, I still prefer to use the acrylic floor finish (now Quick Shine) for the following reasons:  

# 1 - Safer for the environment and our health!  Just compare the labels.  Quick Shine has the "Safer Choice" seal and all you have to do is look at those danger warning signs on the Varathane.

# 2 - Quick Shine has just as hard a finish as the varathane, and maybe even tougher.  After all, it is made to be used on floors which can take quite a beating.

# 3 - Cleans up easy off your hands, etc. with soap and water.

# 4 - Cost!  Quick Shine is by far way cheaper than the varathane plus the bottle size is larger as well and keeps for a very long time.

So where can you get it?  I bought mine in a hardware store in the floor care section.  You can google it to find what stores sell it in your area.  I did see it on Amazon but at double the price but if you cannot find it elsewhere, then that can always be a back-up plan.

And here are a few quick tips for working with the Quick Shine (or Future if you still have some hanging around like I do):

  • Pour some Quick Shine into a small clean jar (not too much as you can top it up as needed).  This way when you are done you can tightly seal the jar to use next time.  Over time, the Quick shine can start to thicken.  If it does (reason for not too much at a time in your jar), take some paper towel to sop it up and wipe the jar out.  Discard the paper towel in the garbage and add some fresh product into your jar.
  • When applying it to your piece, use a dry, soft, clean, brush.  Apply a thin, light coat to your piece.  Allow to dry and then apply a second or third coat if necessary.  It is better to do several thin coats than one thick one to prevent streaking, etc.  It will also make the finish more durable. Wash your brush out with soap and water before it dries and hardens.
  • After your pieces have dried, they can be "heat-set" by baking again but this time at a much lower temperature (200 F or 100 C) for 15-20 minutes.  Also be sure to place the pieces in a pan that has a cover or tightly cover with tin foil to prevent any fumes from escaping (just in case).

So lastly, if you prefer, you can always use other glazes that are created just for polymer clay such as Sculpey or Cernit.  I quite like the Cernit glaze and like how it also comes in a matte finish besides glossy.  These both also recommend "heat-setting" which makes them more durable.  I haven't used them for sealing mica powders as of yet but have another special use which I will share with you in another post later sometime.

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Barbie Pink in Polymer Clay

I don't go out to the movies anymore since I lost my "Claymate" and hubby Dave.  I prefer now to wait until I can watch the latest films from the comfort and convenience of my own home.  Not that I don't miss going out.  I do very much and our favorite way of celebrating our Anniversary was dinner and a movie.  I have seen so many trailers for the latest Barbie movie and I have to say, it looks like a whole lot of fun.  I hope to see it sometime soon, but, in the meantime, I notice a lot of people have been into the color Pink -- specifically pinks that "Barbie" would wear.

So I decided to research the color and see what the Pantone Color Institute had to offer.  I also checked to see if there were other color matches for the Pantone 219 C and my Pantone Connect app came up with 3 close matches -- all of which I have shared my color recipes previously, on this blog.

To make things easier for you, I will provide you the links to these colors here (click on the color name below) so you can mix up some fun "Barbie" pinks in time for the Christmas season!  So here goes:

The best match is:


First Alternative:

Fuchsia Fedora

Second Alternative:

Pink Yarrow

The color Beetroot Purple was one of the spring colors for this year.  A close match to this shade was Pink Yarrow.  If you click on the name you will see the post I wrote on it.

So any of these three magenta pinks can work really well if you would like to create some vivid "Barbie Pinks".  I hope you have some fun with it!

Friday, November 3, 2023

Snowflakes . . . in a Snap!

Get ready for the holidays with some fun snowflakes.  My seasonal "Snowflakes . . . in a Snap!" tutorial is once again available for sale.  This is a follow-up lesson to my "Snap Decisions" tutorial (part 1) which you would need to understand it.

Right now, with the purchase of both parts 1 & 2 of my Snap Decisions tutorial (with or without the starter kit), you will receive the Snowflakes in a Snap tutorial at no charge (value $10).  It will be emailed out along with the Snap Decisions tutorial after purchased.  (Click on the photos below to see more about the tutorial and tutorial with starter kit.

And there is another bonus!  The Snowflakes in a Snap lesson is available in pdf format that is sent directly to the e-mail address provided when purchased but is also available with a free bonus starter pack which includes some blank snaps, a beautiful snap pendant, a rhinestone snap ring, 30 hot fix crystals and a snowflake charm for create your own mold.

To receive this bonus starter kit, just purchase this snowflake tutorial with a minimum of $50 from my Snap Supplies category (including clearance and after any other discounts are applied) at the same time.  Mention the starter kit at the check-out in the comments section and if you have a preferred crystal color rather than mixed. Shipping charges will apply for this bonus offer but we do offer free shipping with a minimum amount.  You can see our shipping charges and policy here.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Introducing the new Revised Edition and Sale

I am happy to announce I finally finished the revised edition to my Clay Color System tutorial.  My original tutorial was first published 12 years ago (2011).  It is my own concept that I had been using for several years before that.

My original Color System tutorial was first based on Kato clay.  At that time, it was the only brand that was made in the true artist colors.  Previous to that, Premo (Sculpey brand) also had the true artist colors, but made the huge mistake of discontinuing them.  This created quite an uproar within the polymer clay artist community, so Sculpey decided to put back some of the colors into circulation -- but only the three primary colors -- Red, Yellow and Blue.  When the Sculpey company did this, a lot of clay artists jumped ship and switched to Kato clay.

While I personally like working with Kato clay, many artists find it difficult to condition (it is very hard/firm) and many have issues with the smell.  For me, it had become more difficult to obtain here in Canada as the shipping charges and extra import fees are horrendous.  And in the last few years, other clay brands that are made in the true artist colors have become more widely available, like Cernit (Number One series) and Fimo Professional (Not Fimo soft). 

I have tried Fimo Professional and find it quite nice to work with, however it does have it's issues.  For instance I like to make impressions in my clay which requires a mold release.  I generally prefer to use water instead of cornstarch.  Fimo clay reacts to water and becomes sticky and gummy.  If you would like to apply any type of powders to your textured clay, after using cornstarch as a mold release, any colored powders will not stick.

Since a year ago, I started experimenting with the Cernit brand clay and discovered how much I like it.  Not only are the colors true (Number One series) and vibrant, it is soft enough to work with without being too soft or sticky.  I also have all the colors in the Metallic, Pearl and Translucent.  Other than the Number One series, I love the Metallic the most.  The colors are just so scrumptious!  I am also intrigued with the Translucent as I have seen some amazing faux glass pieces created by other artists.

So in my last blog post, I announced that the Pantone color recipes would be the last I would be sharing with you here as I will be no longer using Kato clay.  You might be wondering about what will be next.  Any future recipes will be available in my online store and I will be sharing here inspiration on using those new colors.

The new Revised Edition of my Clay Color System was revamped to work with other brand clays besides Kato.  It does not have all the extra color recipes provided in my Original Clay Color System that uses Kato clay but these recipes can be purchased separately or as an extra bonus.  Many of these recipes are used as base colors to create the Pantone color recipes provided on this blog (see the link at the top of this page).  This means you can still create the older color recipes provided here using other clay brands besides Kato, but the end results might not be the same.

So if you do not have my Clay Color System and would like to learn more about an easy way of mixing color, I have it on sale (30% off until the end of this week.  To celebrate finishing my work, I decided to put all my other tutorials on sale for 30% off as well (excluding my snap tutorial with the bonus Starter packs).  No coupon code is necessary.  The prices have already been reduced.  The sale will end on midnight next Saturday, October 28.

* Also my preprinted color recipe cards will be available soon - as soon as my materials arrive.  I will keep you up to date on this.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Summary for the Pantone Fall 2023 Fashion Color Recipes

Here is a review of the Pantone Fall 2023 Fashion Color Recipes.  Click on the photos below to see the individual recipes.  You can access the past Pantone seasonal color recipes by clicking on the tab at the top of this blog.  I have my Pantone color recipes posted on this blog that go all the way back to 2011 when I first published my Color System tutorial.  I have been mixing up Pantone colors using Kato clay much longer than that and always found it to be inspiring and a way to spring board my creativity each season. 

Now I feel it is time for a change and so sadly, this was the last time I will be sharing any future Pantone color recipes here on this blog.  You will be able to purchase any new designer colors through my online store in future and I will be sharing here instead ideas on using these new colors.

Viva Magenta - Color of the Year

Red Dahlia - Red Orange - Burnt Sienna - Rose Violet

Carnival Glass - Kohlrabi - High Visibility

Persian Jewel - Tender Peach - Doe

I hope you enjoy these new recipes.  I will be sharing shortly some finished items made in some of these colors.  To see more samples, you can see my work in my online store in the Shop by Color Category.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Pantone Fall 2023 Fashion Colors Persian Jewel, Tender Peach & Doe

I will be sharing the clay recipes for the last three Pantone Fall 2023 fashion colors, Persian Jewel, Tender Peach and Doe.  Doe is a actually one of the Classic Neutrals that I decided to include.

Persian Jewel is a gorgeous blue with a hint of violet yet slightly muted.  Pantone says it is inspired by the precious stone, lapis lazuli.  I really love this color and find it to be very calming.  I would love to have a top or outfit in this color but might just settle for some new clay jewelry instead!

Tender Peach is a soft yet peachy beige with a slight pink flesh undertone.  I think it would combine well with the Persian Jewel or even the Burnt Sienna.  I will have to experiment and see.

Doe is a soft brown with a rich gold undertone and perfect for fall.  It definitely is a great Classic Neutral and thinking animal prints.

Persian Jewel
2 parts Ultramarine #9-2 *
1 part Kato Silver
1/4 part Kato Violet
3 parts White Mix #1-2 *

Tender Peach
8 parts Kato Beige
1 part White Mix #1-2 *

4 parts Kato Gold
2 parts Kato Silver
4 parts Ecru Mix #2-8 *

* Note: These base color mixes are found in my Clay Color System Tutorial

I haven't had the time to play with these color yet as I am working on my new revised edition to my Clay Color System.  So far I am on schedule to have it published next week.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada so to all fellow Canadians, Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Pantone Fall 2023 Fashion Colors Carnival Glass, Kohlrabi, and High Visibility

The Pantone Fall 2023 fashion colors include two shades of green -- one is a mint and the other a more yellow green.

Carnival Glass is the minty shade of green and does have, as Pantone describes, an icy appearance.  While this shade of green is particularly not my favorite, it could look nice when combined with another color such as navy blue.  I will have to experiment and see what I can come up with.

Kohlrabi is a warmer green and while similar to the brighter color, Love Bird, from this year's spring collection, it is slightly muted with a gold undertone.  This is my favorite shade of green that I always tend to be drawn to and can't seem to resist.

High Visibility is a very close match to Empire Yellow, which was also one of this year's spring palette.  It is also very similar to the yellow, Meadowlark, used in the Spring 2018 Pantone collection.  There might be a slight difference between each of these yellows, but it is so slight, one can hardly notice.  It is also on Pantone's list for a "close match" so this is why I chose to use the same color recipe again for this fall.

The only items I have made with the Pantone Fall colors for this year so far are a few of my little textured buttons.  Here are some in the High Visibility (Meadowlark) and Kohlrabi.  These, along with a wide assortment of other colors are available at the Kelowna Yarn & Needlecrafts store.

So here are the recipes for these three colors using Kato clay:

Carnival Glass
2 parts Kato Green
1/2 part Cilantro # 7-3 *
10 parts White Mix # 1-2 *

10 parts Kato Yellow
1-1/2 parts Kato Green
1/2 part Kato Gold
3 parts White Mix # 1-2 *

High Visibility

* Note: These base color mixes are found in my Clay Color System Tutorial