Friday, November 18, 2016

My Experiences and Tips on Working with Panpastels on Polymer Clay

A unique feature with polymer clay is how it can take on so many forms and textures.  Various types of color such as mica powders can then be applied to bring out the pattern and I love the metallic and rich deep jewel-tone shades they give.

The other day we were making up some of our posie flower snaps and wanted to make them in brighter colors.  We pulled out the Panpastels and decided to experiment and we immediately loved the results!

I was wondering what else we could create and tested them out even more so made some scarf rings.

I really like the vivid and rich shades that the panpastels produce and I call them my happy colors!  After working with them for a bit I realized that they are a little different to work with compared to the mica powders and thought I would share some of the tips I learned with you.

I first purchased several sets of the Panpastels from Shades of Clay (see disclaimer below) which came in this clear palette along with several sponge type applicators.

My latest set came in a stack that all unscrew.  The bottom container held several more applicators.  I quite like storing them this way as they take up less space.

The first thing I discovered about the Panpastels is how they create rich colors on white or light colored clay.  They do not show up much, however on black clay which is the opposite to the mica powders.

I tried using my finger and found that it worked okay but the applicators work even better as they prevent loose powders from falling onto your piece where you do not want them.

Some applicators for the Panpastels
I found some eye shadow applicators at the dollar store and found they work as well and the foam ends felt like the same type of material.  They work really well when applying the pastels to smaller areas.

Eye Shadow Applicators
I first learned of Panpastels from Helen Breil who shares a video on how to work with them and use the applicator.  I didn't have the same success at first and couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong so I did a little more research.  I have posted several other videos on my pinterest board if you would like to check them out.

One mistake I had made was loading too much pastel color on my foam applicator creating excess powder and resulting in it falling on my clay in areas I did not want.  I later learned that you load your applicator by lightly rubbing on the color by swiping back and forth only once or twice!

Clean applicator by wiping a few times on clean paper towel
Believe it or not, the applicator can be easily cleaned between colors by simply wiping it on a clean piece of paper towel.  Even if the applicator may appear to have a lot of color on it, you can load it in another color and it will not cross contaminate!  I could hardly believe it until I actually tested it out myself.  Just do not rub too hard or it will actually wear the foam part out.  You only need to swipe lightly a couple of times and you are good to go!

One other thing I really like about the Panpastels is unlike mica powders, the colors can mix and blend on the clay.  They work in the same way as if you were working with actual paint but in a creamy powder like form.

Here I am using an eye shadow applicator to apply some white Panpastels to a textured snowflake snap.  I used the Sculpey Soufle clay for these and even with the clay being so soft, the applicators are gentle enough to not mess up the texture.  

Adding white Panpastel color to textured Sculpey Soufle clay
Another tip when working with any type of powder, is if you are adding any (hot fix) crystals, be sure to add them first.  Any powder between the clay and crystal could interfere and prevent the glue from adhering to the clay.

Adding crystals to the clay before applying any powders

Check out my blog posts here and here for more tips on adding crystals to your clay designs.

My main concern with working with Panpastels was sealing them properly.  The first few pieces I made, I sprayed several times with the PYM11 (Preserve Your Memories 11).  I wasn't sure if that would be enough to seal them and it didn't matter to me if they were matte or glossy so I tried adding several types of glazes over top but found they all beaded up.  I decided to test the PYM11 out a little more and had noticed that the color was wearing off which obviously was not good.

Helen Breil recommends a glaze for the Panpastels -- Golden Polymer Varnish with UVLS.  I am happy to say that Shades of Clay now has it in stock as well.  It does work really well and is very easy to apply.  It is quite thick and they recommend thinning with water.  I do this by pouring a small amount into a little bowl and then spritz it a bit with my water spray bottle.  I add just enough water so it spreads easily but isn't too runny.

The Golden Polymer Varnish is also available in Gloss which can give almost a ceramic-like appearance.

I prefer the matte finish on certain items such as flowers and the snowflake designs.

Snowflake snaps and bracelet

Snowflake snaps in a necklace and earrings

I hope these tips will help you in working with the Panpastels and you have positive results.  If you have any questions or more tips to share, please feel free to comment.

Disclaimer:  (We are not benefiting from the mention or links to Shades of Clay.  We are only a regular and happy customer.)

No comments: