Raised Scratch Foam Designs in Polymer Clay

Raised Scratch Foam Polymer Clay Designs

Raised Scratch Foam Designs in Polymer Clay

Raised Scratch Foam Polymer Clay Design Test, with notes, by Karen A. Scofield

KarenAScofield Spriograph Clay Texture SheetsNote: This page will be updated as examples are made.

The above picture is only a simple and fast test. It’s not meant to be a prime example, just an example to get your creative juices flowing (and mine). It shows a moon shaped piece of clay with a raised scratch foam design that was colored with Pearl Ex.

I haven’t yet seen others doing it, but yes indeedy, spirographs can be used on scratch foam (Inovart Presto Foam Printing Plate was used in this case) with a ball point pen, ball stylus, or Sakura Gel Pen.

Back at it, Dec. 2016.

KarenAScofield Spriograph Clay Texture Sheets

spirograph clay texture sheet by Karen a Scofield

The Basic Idea

Create a design on scratch foam with a spirograph set and a ball point pen. Press  polymer clay into the design and lift. Add bead holes, etc. You’re looking for spirograph sets that won’t make unintended scratches on the scratch foam. Mine came with “The Spiral Draw” Book.

Taking it Further

Pointillism elements or entire designs be be added inside or around the spirograph design with a ball point pen or ball stylus. The result creates raised clay designs once clay is preseed into it.

Ball point styluses that come in varying sizes can be used for added interest and then needles or beed hole makers can be dragged across the surface, at a slant, to add on to the design too.

Scratch foam designs are probably more commonly used for printing monoprints and other techniques … and also by metal clay artists. They can be earthy/rustic looking or linear and crisp ones.

One can create a bezel complete with boarder designs, with scratch foam designs. What you indent on the foam will be raised on the clay. If you add dimensional writer designs to the scratch foam ones, the clay pressed into it will have both raised and indented designs.

If you use Sakura Gel Pens for the spirograph scratch foam deisgns, many of their inks are oqaque and therefore show up on darker clays. You can press the clay into the fresh scratch foam design and then bake. You may want to seal your design afterward.

Any manner of polymer clay extrusions, applique, relief sculpture, lace impressions/molds, designs for faux enamels, crackling, or designs made with cutters/blades can be applied over the spirograph textured clay passages. If you’re worried about pressing clay together to cause adhesion, because you don’t want to ruin more delicate designs, you may want to use liquid clay or Bake and Bond for adhesion purposes.

With single layer or multi layered scratch foam designs, you create mixed media mosaic tiles, embellishments, beads, and larger clay sheets. You can create molds of the larger clay sheets if you want.

Raised designs can be colored with paint, Sakura Gel Pen ink, inks, or Pearl Ex powders (which are a brand of mica powder). I’d apply paint to baked clay but Sakura Gel Pen, Pearl Ex, and alcohol inks can be applied to raw clay that’s then baked.

You may want to seal baked polymer clay items that have Pearl Ex mica powders or Gel Pens baked onto them. Varathane Water Based varnish is a wonderful sealant for polymer clay pieces.

Polymer Clay Faux Estonian Limestone 2nd Try, by Karen A. Scofield

Polymer Clay Faux Limestone Goddess Bead

Polymer Clay Faux Limestone Goddess Bead by Karen A. Scofield

Polymer Clay Faux Limestone Goddess Bead, by Karen A. Scofield. Picture was taken in natural light. 1st Attempt.

Polymer Clay Faux Estonian Limestone 2nd Try, by Karen A. Scofield

Polymer Clay Faux Estonian Limestone, 2nd Try, by Karen A. Scofield

I have decided to develop my own faux stone polymer clay recipes for beads and other purposes. I’m making my own recipes for two reasons — I want to use what I have (lots of decade-old clay and odds and ends) and then draw on my childhood. It was very tactile and full of color. We went rock hunting as a familiy and both my brothers became geologists. I’m more on the artistic end of things.

My mother was born in Estonia, I never got to visit the country, but this is inspired by Tufa limestone from there. It’s associated with springs, is a chemically precipitated soft and porous limestone. I have some inclusions I’ll want to add to the clay, they’re in the oven right now, so future versions may include them.

Polymer Clay Goddess Beads by Karen A. Scofield

Polymer Clay Goddess Beads by Karen A. Scofield. Baked two. The left is of Fimo Soft Marble and the right is of the artist’s own faux limestone recipe. Picture was taken in evening indoor lighting this time. 1st attempt at Tufa limestone. Needs improvement.

Anyway, while the grandson took his afternoon nap, I did a visual study of different limestones, and quickly pulled out some of my older clays, sand, beach stones from the local beach, half an old wanut shell, some crumbly old clay mixes, my molds, and embossing powders.

I have an ever-growing stash of my own bead prototypes and their molds that I occasionally pull out to play with various faux polymer clay rock/wood/semiprecious  stone recipes. Thank goodness for two-part silicone mold putty like Amazing Mold Putty! Very durable stuff. Anyway, here texture and other touches are added after molding, that’s where the pitted beach stones and old walnut half come in, and sometimes the bead has to be reshaped a bit after being textured. I seek to explore both ancient and modern renditions of goddess/mom/fertility beads like these.

Here’s to winging it and eyeballing things, to being in the flow! The inner critic seems to shut up then. 🙂

Spray Sealants for Polymer Clay

Spray sealant on polymer clay?

You can get very different results using the same sealants because people may be using different formulations of the same brand products that are different ages.

Background: In 2006-2008 and since,  numerous brands of polymer clay reformulated numerous times, first to take out phthalates (certain type of plasticizer) and then to purportedly to improve clays. Some sealants have also been reformulated, for other reasons.  It’s reasonable to expect that such changes may account for some of the different results while using some of the same products.  It’s reasonable to suspect pages may be quickly outdated because of such changes.  http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/fimo_new_formula.htm

Warning: Manufacturers don’t always announce reformulations and how they will affect artists. As always, your success is up to you. Test first. Companies producing sealants may reformulate their products too.

I have clay 12+ years old and spray sealant 10+ years old. Also, the age of products in stores may vary. 

It’s a good idea to test and check for chemical reactions months later. Some people keep binders or boards of test pieces with notes (products, methods, date, date checked, results.

To avoid having to use sealants is the ideal. Many artists refuse to use sealants on their polymer clay, either spray or bottle versions! E.g. http://www.patriciarosestudio.com/html/tips.htmlDoll artists, for example, may color their dolls with artist grade acrylics or Genesis heat-set oil paints used and loved by so many, as opposed to blushing their dolls with artist chalks (soft pastels), in order to avoid the morass of possible sealant issues.

Yet as a doll artist, I am very interested in the possibility of coloring art dolls with fine art soft pastels. Will the sealer be too glossy, how will it age, will it smell, and could it turn my polymer clay doll permanently tacky?

The bead artist in me loves mica powders on polymer clay, something which provides my top reason to use sealants. Mica powders applied to polymer clay surfaces before baking must be sealed once the clay is cured or they wear off. Some spray sealants create droplets and alter the mica powder appearance for the worse.

Polymer Clay-Friendly Spray Sealants

Note: For possible incompatibility, check your results at several days, weeks, and again at 6 months. Check for any tackiness.

When looking at other clayer’s results regarding spray sealants. on polymer clay, keep in mind the following

  1. They’re usually not coating beads treated with mica powders.
  2. In most cases, they’ve coated the bead’s surface with an acrylic paint or other surface treatment, and that coverage may prevent chemical reactions between the polymer clay and the chemicals in the spray’s propellants.
  3. They  back up a little more, spray at a slight angle rather than directly over the pieces being sprayed, and keep the spray nozzles clean to avoid creating spurts and drops.

Known Polymer Clay-Friendly Spray Sealants, In Some Cases

  • PYM II — a bit shiny
  • Lascaux Fixative Matte UV Protect II Spray Sealant — Tested — Pretty mat and still not tacky on different polymer clays old and new (listed below) even 6 months later!
    • Museum Quality “Lascaux UV Protect 2 Fixative/Sealant In Matt” Was Tested On Different Polymer and Other Clays (Mostly Polymer Clays): An Ultralight and Premo mix, Amaco Cold Porcelain, Fimo Effect colors, 10+ years old Premo, Cernit, Liquid Sculpey in gold, Studio by Sculpey, more old Premo, Original Sculpey in Terra Cotta, Pardo Jewelry Clay, more Premo from different years, fresh Yellow Gold Glitter Premo, older Premo clays again, Super Sculpey, Polyform Model Air Porcelain, fresh Premo, fresh Sculpey Soufflé, Puppen Fimo (doll clay, now called Fimo Doll Professional polymer clay), Cernit Doll Collection polymer clay. That means there are only two commercially prepared cold porcelain clays and the rest are polymer clays. Among these test pieces are the following finishes: Golden brand micaceous iron oxide acrylic paint, metallic acrylic paints (Folk Art, Viva Precious Metal Colour, DecoArt Dazzling Metallics), Pearl Ex mica powder, Perfect Pearls mica powder, Adirondack Alcohol Ink. #lascauxfixativ  #spraysealants  #polmerclay  #lascaux2  #testingspraysealantsonpolymerclay  #periodicchecks  #testing  #thorough
    • Will wear off with heavy wear. Perhaps spray first, let dry two days, then seal with a quality two-part resin (Ice Resin, Art Resin).
  • Mr. Super Clear Spray UV Cut Flat —  For hybrid clay called Premier Clay not regular polymer clay — mat (more so on some clay than others)
  • Duncan Super Matte — For hybrid clay called Premier Clay not regular polymer clay — not an absolute true mat on some surfaces (like polymer clay)

For clarity’s sake — I’ve especially heard a lot of good things from the BJD and repaint doll communities about Mr. Super Clear Spray UV Cut (Flat), specifically. Reportedly, people who have dolls worth a thousand dollars or more really trust this stuff, say it has a very fine spray (could it be used on mica powders then?) and doesn’t alter their work. Keep in mind they’re using or working on all sorts of clays and resins — Padico La Doll Premier Clay, for example. It’s a strong air-dry stone clay know in professional art doll and other sculpting circles the world over. Some call Premier clay a polymer clay, others a stone clay, and others called it a paper clay. It’s possible it’s a little of all three?

As for the shimmery mica powder effects on polymer clay, most mat finishes tend to bring it’s shimmery/metallic look down a few notches or a lot, depending on how mat the sealant is. I found the above Lascaux spray did so the least.

Protect your health and wear a mask with spray sealants, and Mr. Super Clear brand sprays are certainly no exception.Work in a well ventilated area.

Other candidate spray sealants?

I have so far seen only one mention that Blair Spray Clear, which comes in Gloss and Matte, is another quality spray sealant that supposedly can work on polymer clay. From product reviews, it’s said that this product is not as smelly as other spray sealants generally are. I have some and find that to be somewhat true. It still smells. She also isn’t telling us if she checked her work months after creation, an important note because sometimes the detrimental chemical reaction between spray sealants and polymer clay happens more slowly. I have not so far risked it on polymer clay and the person who said it works well with it isn’t telling us whether her polymer clay work was protected by a coat of paint or other surface treatment.

Australian Art Doll Artist, Amanda Day reports using Boyle Matt Spray Finishing Sealer (www.boyleindustries.com.au) on polymer clay. She’s the only one who’s reported using that particular spray on polymer clay, specifically, as far as I can tell, and I’m not sure what subsequent testing she’s done in regards to this use. From other mentions, it isn’t as mat as the other above mat sprays. As for potentially using this spray sealant over mica powders, I don’t know about that because it reportedly can darken other powders. I’m also not sure it’s available outside of Australia.

Note: Spray sealants tend to have a strong odor unsuitable for wearing close to your body. Some of my beads smell of the spray sealant even years later — some people can’t smell  it much while it may really bother the next person.

This information was originally on my tutorial on how to make polymer clay mica powder covered goddess beads. This page may be frequently updated at times.

I Just Used 7 Year Old Amazing Mold Putty Successfully

Artist-Made Dimensional Bead Molds

I had a more rounded, 3D polymer clay goddess bead that I’d made some years ago. The bead has a juicy, plump front and a flat back, which makes it perfect for molding … which is why I designed it that way. I wanted to make a mold of it so I took out my old Amazing Mold Putty, took a deep breath, and went through the steps to mold my bead. It worked! All the definition is there…all the details. I can’t tell, so far, that I used older mold putty.

According to the company, shelf life is typically 6-8 months:

The shelf lift is typically 6-8 months for the putty. Clayburn if you would like to call me, we will be happy to help you. The putty still may be good, there may be an issue with what you are putting it against, as it is a platnium cure silicone.”

So how did I store my mold putty? In a cool, dark basement. We used a dehumidifier before we got a central air unit that controls humidity. We still use the dehumidifier on wet rainy days as water seeps into the basement (it’s a very old house). We’ve kept the house 68 to 74 degrees F most of the time.

I’ll have to compare the mold I just made to one made with recently purchased Amazing Mold Putty.

There’s a good comparison of Amazing Mold Putty and EasyMold here (which also mentions that some substances like sulfur, tin, and stearate can interfere with the mold compounds setting). That interests me because both are available locally. So far, I’ve chosen to use Amazing Mold Putty because it’s more flexible and allows me to pop my polymer clay beads out of the mold with extreme ease.

Arist-Made Flatter Texture Molds

I am, however, curious about EasyMold. It’s a bit more rigid so I’d like to try it with the creation of texture plates — I’d sculpt and carve polymer clay, then use EasyMold to create a texture sheet of it.

Combination Molds?

And since new mold putty sticks to old mold putty, could I use a combination mold with Amazing Mold Putty for the more dimensional parts and EasyMold for the thinner, less dimensional portions? Hmmm…. I will have to check into that some day soon!