My Faux Resin Opal Shown Against Light Then Dark Backgrounds

 

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My Resin Opal I filmed in April of 2017, shown against both light and (wait for it!) dark backgrounds. (I've discovered the iMovie app!) I used Magic-Gloss resin, a Lisa Pavelka product, and five very different glitters and powder products to create a light show within my handmade resin gem. So, both my choice and placement of product is what made the light play back and forth between the various resin inclusions. I did not simply dump it in the inclusions, mix, and poor. They were strategically placed, mapped out. You may not find another artisan-made faux opal made of resin with fire like this on the internet? Not bragging, I've just not seen it. Yet. Not all the inclusions were designed for or are commonly used in resin. I make my own pendant gem molds based on my own polymer clay sculpts, as was the case for this Goddess pendant. Sadly, it perished along with all of my belongings in a house fire on Sept. 4, 2017, but I look forward to creating more like this. Here's to hoping I remember just how I made it. #resingem #resingemstone #goddesspendant #fauxopal #opal #gemstones #gemstone #goddess #diy #symbolsofequality #femininedivine #womensrights #ourbodiesourrights #metoo #fauxopal #resinopalfire #resinopal #resingems #opalfire #crystalopal #fauxcrystalopal #faux #Magic-Glos #lisapavelkasmagicglos #uvresin #uvresinjewelry #playoflight #lightshow #karenascofield #wisconsinartist #resinjewelry

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I used Magic-Gloss resin, a Lisa Pavelka product, and five very different glitter and powder products to create a light show within my handmade resin gem. Choice of and strategic placement of inclusions made the light play back and forth. 

Not all the inclusions were designed for or are commonly used in resin.

I make my own pendant gem molds based on my own polymer clay sculpts. Sadly, it perished along with all of my belongings in a house fire on Sept. 4, 2017, but I look forward to creating more like this. Here’s to hoping I remember just how I made it.

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Unfired Ceramic Amphora Bead, by Karen A. Scofield

It’s my first one, it’s hollow and the cap,  which will be permanently chained to the vessel pendant, is removal. It will be glazed;  my daughter thinks a light driftwood or ivory color but I’m thinking something blue. Decorative slip decorations were added and slip was painted over them in multiple layers to avoid separation while retaining the dimensional  image. Once it’s completely fired and glazed, the tip of cap which fits inside the vessel will get a coating of silicone to make it stay put when closed but still allow the vessel to be open and closed. …If the silicone works out.

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amphora with Removable Cap, by Karen A. Scofield, 2016

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Unfired Earthenware Ceramic Amohora, My First, by Karen A. Scofield.. 2016. Will fire to white bisque, will be glazed. First Attempt. 2016.m

 

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Ceramic Clay Dare: I Sculpt a Goddess Pendant on Camera

I sculpted with polymer clay before and, in ceramic clay, I sculpted the backside of a bead without a mold. Now I have dared myself to sculpt an entire bead without the use of any of my molds ( I molded my own beads)in earthenware clay, a medium still very new to me. So I did this on camera.

I’ll get better at filming. And sculpting. But for now, at least I know I can do this and I feel a lot better about doing 20, 50, or more figurative pendants like this, in different sizes and styles of course.

The Finished Pendant (Standing)

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

Earthenware clay figurative pendants, by Karen A. Scofield

July 21, 2017 Note: I’ve ordered ceramic clay sculpting tools!

Earthenware Greenware Handmade Ceramic Goddess Pendant, by Karen A. Scofield

The Evolution of Karen’s Beads

Shorter Video

Longer Video

Good news! I have found out I can fire and glaze my beads locally. Probably do this in batches of a dozen each. Here is one that has finished drying and is ready for bisque firing.

image

Spray Sealants and Resin for Artist Clays

This page is frequently updated at times.

Audience

If you’re strictly focused on sealing polymer clay jewelry with sealants, you may go to Blue Bottle Tree’s pages on the topic but my page here contains information and examples that she doesn’t and it may interest polymer clay artists who may choose to explore a little, expand their scope, or pick up a few prime tips from chosen resources. 

The audience for this page includes:

  • Polymer clay artists, so I’ll briefly cover sealing a variety of artist grade polymer clays
  •  Art Doll artists who may use very different hybrid or regular polymer clays from the majority of polymer clay artists

As for polymer doll clays, I think it prudent to mention that not all doll artists think it’s a good idea to use a spray sealant on their dolls and some, like Patricia Rose Studio, absolutely advise against it.  She uses a lot of polymer doll clay that isn’t the hybrid type – a 1/3 cernit white to 2/3s ProSculpt polymer clay mix, for example. Then she paints them with oil-based Genesis Heat Set Paints, using Genesis heat set thinner and glaze. She mentions them 2xs on her tip page – under the “Firing Your Doll” and “Genesis Paints” sections. The Genesis heat set line includes Genesis Heat Set Permanent Matte Varnish (negates glossiness of Genesis heat set paints and mediums).

That brings me to the following, you know, since I mentioned doll sculpting clay.

Doll Sculpting Clay/Resin Mediums and Scope

Skip this section if not interested in art doll sculpting mediums.

Opinions on sealants vary because sculpting mediums do. Here’s a bullet list kind of quick scan of artist grade sculpting mediums art doll artists and other sculpting artists may use.

  • Epoxy clays like Apoxie Sculpt – their official Apoxie Sculpt FAQ mentions painting and sealant
  • Polymer art doll clays like Cernit Doll Clay (available at the Clay Factory for the US ), Prosculpt (available on the Art Dolls webpages), or Fimo Professional Doll (available here or here for the US, here for the UK, and here for Australia)
  • Particularly strong, specialist air-dry polymer hybrid clays like Premier (not all air-dry clays were created equal and a lot of pages on air-dry clay are not especially cognizant of that, they don’t truly know the best ones for doll making – their comparisons are lacking enough critical criteria, knowledge, talent, or resulting experience)
  • Air-dry paper clays Creative PaperClay, classified either as a scholastic or artist grade clay depending on the talent and skill set being used (more on that later)
  • Ceramic Paper Clay (is kiln fired)
  • Porcelain
  • Artist grade cold porcelain (not all cold porcelain is created equal either)
  • 3D Printing mediums (often primed and airbrush painted with Golden Fluid Acrylics or paints and such used by the model building crowd)

Not all of the above list will be covered in relation to sealants on this page. That would be a book.

A Few Claying Tips Frequently Not Mentioned But That Really Matter

Skip this section if solely concerned about sealing  polymer clay with sealant or resin.

Yeah, this isn’t about sealants or resin on clays but I feel compelled to add a little section on sculpting. Polymer clay and air-dry clays use different sculpting techniques. (Some of the following pages may mention sealing pieces or may link to ones that do.)

Now I feel I should mention some additional preemptive tips that a lot of people leave out but that will really matter when working with polymer clay.

  • Clothes — Avoid wearing fuzzy, fiber shedding garments like sweaters or bathrobes while claying.
  • Environment — Polymer clay seems to suck fibers, hair, and dust right out of the air so don’t set up your polymer clay station right next to your dryer and cats favorite resting spot. I did that when I first started. Also, you may want to keep your doll wigging station far away from your cleaning station for the same reasons. I did that too.
  • Cleaning — Dust then vacuum, in that order, about half an hour before you clay.  Whatever bits that that were scared up into the air by cleaning will have a chance to settle.
  • Storage & Wipe-down — To further combat fibers, hairs and dust getting in your clay, keep your plymer clay packages within Ziploc baggies that are stored within sealed boxes polymer clay packages within Ziploc baggies that are stored within sealed boxes or drawers , cabinets, or drawers. Quickly wipe down the parts of the sealed boxes or drawers , cabinets, or drawers that you touch before getting your clay out. Wet wipes are great for that and I add a little rubbing alcohol to mine in the studio.
  • Tools, Etc. Storage —When not in use, store your clean tools in a sealed container or somehow cover them up. In fact that’s a good idea for anything that will be used on your raw, polymer clay
  • Hand Washing — Wash you hands thoroughly before claying.
  • Dedicated Scrap Polymer Clay —Dust and wipe off your clay area, and once dry then wipe it down with a scrap piece of polymer clay dedicated to this purpose.

If you didn’t know these tips, I just saved you a lot of trouble. You’re welcome. Here are some more beginner polymer clay tips from Blue Bottle Tree and here is her page specific to dust in relation to polymer clay.

And Now, The General Topic of Sealants on Artist Grade Polymer Clays

This section is for a variety of polymer clay artists, including polymer clay jewelry artists.

First, know your polymer clays, choose the right one for your needs, then consider that polymer clay itself doesn’t have to be sealed but some surface effects do, like mica or other dry powders (but Perfect Pearls mica powder may not have to be sealed, not all mica powders are equal). If you do decide to seal your polymer clay, it’s important to keep a few things in mind.

  1. Please refer to Blue Bottle Tree’s pages about sealants on general use polymer clays — all her pages with the sealant tag. She updates periodically, yay! She even covers how the same sealant may act differently on different clays and goes over a variety of criteria in relation to that. For full results on all sealers, check her google docs spreadsheet here.
    1. Pardo Polymer Clay Note: Pardo polymer clays, which come in Art, Jewelry, Transparent, and Mica sold on Poly Clay Play are not covered by Blue Bottle Tree’s above google docs spreadsheet. I had trouble applying both resin and a sealant like Water-based Indoor Varathane on Pardo clay but then Pardo is a bit of a different polymer clay in that it contains beeswax in its composition.
  2. Generally, manufacturers of art products don’t always announce reformulations and may not anticipate how they will affect various artist materials like, polymer clay.  Reformulations of one or more products may mean they may not play  well together anymore.
  3. Polymer clays have undergone industry-wide reformulations, sometimes numerous ones and they too are not necessarily known to consumers.
    1. A Bit of 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 all these changes may account for sometimes contradictory reported results.  http://www.garieinternational.com.sg/clay/shop/fimo_new_formula.htm
  4. Resin or sealant, if used, should be applied to baked/cured/dry prepped clay. Resins are damaged at polymer clay baking temperatures, could interfere with air-dry clay drying properly, and bare polymer clay should be baked and prepped (briefly wiped with rubbing alcohol) before resin is applied. Sealants may also interfere with clay drying properly or may bubble or fill the air with noxious fumes if heated in an oven. Etc. All sorts of issues.
  5. With sealants, spray or otherwise, it’s possible to get very different results using the same sealants and clays because people may be using different ages, and therefore formulations, of the same clay, sealant, or both.
    1. Example: For a while, before our 2017 house fire, I was using a can of Patricia Nimrock’s Clear Acrylic Sealer that was about 10 years old. Additionally, I was sometimes working with 10+ years old polymer clay. Spray sealants and polymer clays in general had undergone reformulations since those production dates. Therefore, for a while, I was successfully using that spray on my polymer clay beads while others using more recently purchased spray and polymer clays weren’t.  They got different results.
    2. Not all resource pages tested more recently purchased polymer clays at the time they were written.  The date of your resource page may matter for the above reasons. Not all artists testing products have the same time, resources, and situations on hand.
      1. Had my house not burned down, I probably would be still be using my older clay. I stored my clay carefully – double to triple sealed, protected from light exposure, and in a home with central air that didn’t experience internal temperatures outside a certain clay-friendly range. The older polymer clay formulations stayed workable for years longer if kept with exquisite care.
      2. Blue Bottle tree has the resources and time to more extensively test an array of newer clay and sealants (resin, liquid polymer clays, spray and bottled sealants).
      3. Additionally, what audience(s) is a web page addressing?  That can make a huge difference because, for example, hybrid polymer doll clays might be very different from general use polymer clays when treated with sealants.
  6. You don’t always know how long clay has sat on store shelves or their storage – product turnover can vary from store to store
  7. Many spray sealants tend to have a strong odor unsuitable for wearing close to your body. Some of my test beads smelled of the spray sealant even years later. I’ve noticed that some people can’t smell it much or at all while it may really bother the next person, to the point of headache with some people.
  8. As for the shimmery mica powder effects on polymer clay, most matte finishes bring it’s look down a few notches or even by a lot. I found the above Lascaux spray, a museum quality finish, did so the least. But is it good to wear against skin? I have yet to test coating Lascaux spray with jewelry resin, but that’s coming up.

In the polymer clay world, some sealants may chemically interact with and change the surface of a polymer clay, making it permanently tacky or even downright gooey. A sealant that works on one or more polymer clays may not work well with others.

Therefore…

  • Check reliable resources on the topic.
  • It’s a good idea to test, test, test your particular combination of products.
  • Check for chemical reactions at one month, 6 months, and even a year after application.
  • Some spray sealants create droplets and alter the mica powder appearance for the worse. It’s yet another reason to do test pieces. Know your products. Know how to use and clean spray cans.
  • Some people keep physical and written records – binders or boards of test pieces with notes (products, methods, date, date checked, results).

Got to Mention Resin and Polymer Clay

Increasingly I’m looking into coating or even embedding polymer clay beads and pendants in resin.

Resin Resources

Blue Bottle Tree also disccesses using resin on polymer clay here but her audience is more the polymer clay bead crowd than an art doll maker audience, so her website focuses on general use polymer clays and not ones like Premier, a hybrid air-dry polymer doll making clay. She has a google spreadsheet that compares an array of sealants on polymer clay but excludes resins. As I read this page, she does not have such a spreadsheet comparing resins on polymer clay.

https://thebluebottletree.com/tag/sealer/

Jessama Tutorials briefly covers the different types of resin one can use on polymer clay here and how to use them here.

Here is a video that compares how much commonly used resins yellow or amber when exposed to light and heat.  It was conducted by an independent lab.  You can see a screenshot of the comparison chart here.

Now for resource pages on specific resins:

  • Art Resin (a brand name) comes out on top as least yellowing, and while it says it’s not a casting resin and is ideally laid down in 1/8 inch layers, I have seen numerous artists successfully use Art Resin for casting jewelry resin pieces.
    • And Ooh La La, here is an extensive Art Resin question and answer page.
    • Art resin also has an FAQ page 1 and  FAQ 2 that covers sealing and embedding and more. (Art Resin’s heat tolerance goes as high as 120F or 50C, in case you were wondering about baking an Art Resin and polymer clay piece because other resins will amber if baked.)
  • Here is a great wealth of information, in a 22 minute video, on how to use Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos UV Resin, by Lisa Pavelka.
  • Here’s video on using Tiny Pandora DeepShine UV brush on resin on polymer clay. It doesn’t curl thinner polymer clay pieces as many UV resins do.
  • But what about nail polish? You have to be specific. Nail polish in general no, but wait, “You can use UV-cure nail gel on polymer clay, in fact. Clear UV-cure topcoats are a great way to get a clear coating on polymer clay.” Born Pretty UV resin gel, a nail top coat, is mentioned.

Below are a few resources on how to make resined jewelry surfaces more matte. I love matte.

At least one brand of jewelry resin is more matte if you wipe the cured surface with 91% rubbing alcohol, I sadly forget which one at the moment.

A Few Polymer Clay Friendly Sealants, Some of them Spray Sealants, for Sealing Art Dolls

I add this very brief coverage here since many  resource pages don’t focus on art doll clays and sealants used, if any.  Paints are mentioned in this section because you can’t use a water-based sealant over oil-based stuff.

Note: I previously covered different art doll clays and clay type-specific sculpting tips in my above “A Few Claying Tips Frequently Not Mentioned But That Really Matter” section.

  • Polymer clay art doll artists may seal their dolls with oil-based Genesis Heat Set Permanent Varnishes if using Genesis heat set paints which are also oil-based. This I have not used yet.
  • Premier accepts multiple sealants.
    • Lascaux — Artist grade  sealants that won’t yellow, comes in museum quality sprays and liquids. Check out the link. I got mine on Dick Blick and Jerry’s Artarama.
    • Air-dry clay art doll artists may use either water-based Indoor Varathane or other brand spray can sealants if using a hybrid air-dry clay like Premier or a paper clay like Creative PaperClay and they’ve painted their doll with water-based paints and mediums.
      • Some examples of acrylic paint choices include:
        •  Delta Creative Ceramcoat
        • Americana Multi-Surface Acrylic Paint (let dry a few weeks or bake according to manufacturer’s directions)
        • Golden Professional Heavy Body or Fluid Acrylics. Golden fluid acrylics can also be airbrushed on. 
        • Some miniature and model paints like Vallejo
  • Water-based Indoor Varathane comes in matte, satin, and gloss in pint sized containers.
    • It works great on polymer clay art dolls, just clean your doll before painting with water-based products on baked polymer clay surfaces. You do that because baked polymer clay initially has a bit of oily residue.
    • It’s also used on thoroughly dry air-dry paper or resin claysVarathane can be airbrushed or brushed onto your doll. I got my water-based Indoor Varathane at my local Menards (home improvement store).
  • Premier clay is often a favorite hybrid polymer-fiber-stone clay for doll makers and it has it’s pros and cons. Premier clay is formulated like LaDoll clay, but contains an additional polymer binder that makes it tougher and stronger. It’s so strong, it’s often used to make ball-jointed art dolls.

Spray Sealants Sold in Spray Cans

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

  • PYM II — shiny and no out of production. Drats! Whyyy?
  • Lascaux Fixative Matte UV Protect II Spray Sealant — Tested (2016 to 2017) on a variety of general use polymer clays — remained matte and still not tacky on different polymer clays old and new (listed below) even 12 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). Then also wet sand the resin to make that layer more matte if that’s what you want.
  • Mr. Super Clear Spray UV Cut Flat —  For hybrid  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)

Again, 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. They seem to have specific preferences/tolerances for finishes on their work that not everyone shares. C’est la vie (that’s life).

Keep in mind this particular subgroup is using clays like Padico La Doll Premier Clay, 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 say it contains tiny fibrous material. It’s a little of all three.

If you look at the ingredients on Premier clay’s MSDS, it’s ingredients are listed as “Inorganic fine, hollow particles Inorganic powder, Fiber, Aqueous paste, Surfactant Antiseptic agent, Water.” The polymer portion(s) are somewhere in there, as are the stone and other portions of this air-dry hybrid polymer clay.

Other Candidates for Spray Sealants on Polymer Clay?

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.

****************

Some of the information on polymer clay sealants was originally on my tutorial on how to make polymer clay mica powder covered goddess beads

Pinterest Board: Art Dolls and Spirit Dolls.

It includes definitions and some of the finer figurative art doll examples, photos of the artists, some videos, and the occasional tutorial. Enjoy.

Related Pinterest Boards

I finally separated finished art dolls from all the rest that might go into making them. It’s not all the usual, so you may want to check these boards out.

Polymer Doll Clay Storage by Karen A. Scofield

Cernit Doll-Making Clay — Conditioning and More

Naysayers, Difficult First Experiences and Crumbly Clay

Unless it’s very fresh, Cernit Doll clays can be hard and crumbly out of the package … but it’s one of the best polymer doll clays on the market. That confuses a lot of people because most clays are partially cured when they’re crumbly like that (partial curing can start to occur at 90 degrees F). Cernit clay, however, can be crumbly just because that’s its nature if it’s not manufactured quite recently. Don’t immediately assume this polymer clay is impossible to work with just because it’s crumbly.

See “Can You Condition Hard, Crumbly Polymer Clay or Should You Get New Clay?” It lists three methods of conditioning hard, crumbly polymer clay. Adding Fimo MixQuick isn’t so much a problem with doll clay, specifically, because many doll clay artists already do that to add flexibility so little fingers and toes don’t break off so easily during shipping.

Weighing Quality vs. Conditioning Work

Is Cernit Doll-Making clay more difficult to condition? Sometimes. The quality of the clay, it’s strength, the skin-like transparency level and color can be worth it and many hyperrealistic art doll artists choose Cernit Doll clays. With Cernit Doll clay, you can have more control over the softness and firmness of the clay once it’s conditioned precisely because it’s more temperature sensitive. That can be a tremendous plus.

Conditioning Older Cernit Doll-Making Clay

Food Processor to the Rescue! — I’ve had great success with taking the old Cernit Doll clay and mixing it with Puppen Fimo (now Fimo Professional Doll Art Clay) and/or a 1/3 to a 1/2 package of Fimo Mix Quick (which one can get from JerrysArtarama.com).  Place these in a larger food processor that can handle harder work and whir it around on high until it’s very finely pilled. If the Cernit is really hard and crumbly, I  put my Cernit Doll clay into a food processor until it becomes a fine crumbly mess. Then I add the Fimo Mix Quick and maybe some Puppen Fimo too.

Some of it will stick to the food processor walls but a rubber/silicone spatula can help you get it out.

Jar or Bag It and Let it Sit — Remove the contents into a wide mouth glass container or zip lock bag. I prefer the glass jars. Let it sit for a few days to let the plasticizerrs on the MixQuick do their work and soften crumbly clay.

Fastidiously Clean Your Food Processor As Soon As Possible — Clean with rubbing alcohol and wipes and dry before next use.

Labeling and Attaching a Baked Chip — Once the clay is in my glass jar, I take an index card write what’s in the glass jar, how old the clay is, and baking instructions. I pause to bake a well blended chip. I have found I can easily punch a hole in a 1/4″ thick chip with a hole puncher meant for paper. I tie it to a string and attach the chip with the string to the glass jar that contains the far clay or clay mix. If I have any notes about tendency toward moons or to darken while baking, I add that to the index card and tape it to the glass container.

Cover your Jar — If you think it might sit a while, you can cover your jar with a pillow case or homemade cover to keep out the light.

Use It — When I’m ready to work with it, I put on disposable latex gloves (not thicker household rubber gloves), pinch together a bit of clay, and start conditioning it with my hands. I work on a clean polymer clay mat and will often rub my work station and hands with scrap polymer clay kept for this purpose — it picks up what your hand washing and wipes may have left behind.

If that doesn’t work, refer to “Can You Condition Hard, Crumbly Polymer Clay or Should You Get New Clay?” again.

Polymer Clay Storage

Polymer Clay Storage

Some Cernit Doll Polymer Clay Information

Origin: Belgium. Made by The Clay and Paint Factory S.A. Yes, they have a Facebook page.

Availability: May be more easily available in Europe and other places than in the US.

Cernit MSDS: http://cdn.dickblick.com/msds/DBH_33904XXXX.pdf

Artist Grade: Yes. Cernit is more translucent and stronger than ProSculpt, another artist grade polymer clay, once conditioned and cured properly. (Reportedly, one can add Premo translucent to Prosculpt to get something close to Cernit but then it begins to work like Cernit — hard at first and then too soft – without becoming as quite as strong as Cernit.)

Strength and Durability: One of the strongest clays in its properly conditioned and cured state.

Shipping: Cernit is more susceptible to transportation and storage temperatures/conditions when in the raw. Cured, it’s one of the strongest clays but finished works still should be well protected/padded during shipping.

Shelf Life: It should be stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Some people have used 20-year-old Cernit with no problems. Obviously, it may last this long only if transported/kept in a cool, dark, dry place. Reformulations may affect shelf life? The brand is more sensitive to transportation and storage temperatures than other clays.

Multiple Stations: It saves time and sometimes a great deal of frustration to have different stations at which to paint, sew/costume, play with settings, and photograph. For example, once I got wool roving all over my work station, loose bits and all, fibers flying into the air (no, I didn’t shake it about), I had to clean my work station and studio several times and still found those little wool fibers here and there. They’re a pain to get out of polymer clay. So I have a folding table in the living room to use as a wigging and costuming station. I wish I had the space for various permanent work stations but I don’t, so folding table it is!

Cernit Doll Clay Colors: Has range of doll clay colors and can be mixed with each other or other brands to tint. Cernit Doll Biscuit color deepens after baking and Cernit Doll Almond is not quite as yellow.

Conditioning: Warm briefly but sufficiently against body before conditioning. It’s misleadingly crumbly right out of the package but once conditioned may produce superior results, providing that the reason that it’s crumbly is not because it was partially cured due to improper transport or storage temperature. (Most clays are crumbly because they’re partially cured but Cernit is crumbly out of the package before conditioning because that’s the nature of the clay, unless it’s freshly made within the last month(s).) To condition, try pressing it for a while at first more than rolling and twisting. It may get “sticky” if it becomes too warm in the hands. Proper conditioning is crucial to attaining the clay’s ceramic-like, slightly translucent quality though.

Note: Stays softer longer once conditioned, as opposed to other brands of polymer clay.

Cross-Brand Mixability: Yes. Cernit can be mixed with other brands of polymer clay and Fimo MixQuick.

Sculpting: Uses some different sculpting techniques than the rest of the polymer clays. Some people make their doll in Super Sculpey or another clay, create a mold, and then make their item out of Cernit Doll Clay. Others do fine by using warm tools and/or hands when blending clay during a sculpt. Many (most?) sculpt and series bake (bake then proceed to next stage/part) when using Cernit Doll. Lighter colors may make it more difficult to see sculpting details. Check with a mirror and photos that you take of it.

Blending: It is reportedly the most difficult to smear or blend one piece onto another – a feathering and pressure method is often used. Some people report that a Cernit 50/50 with the Classic Fimo blend makes for better doll sculpting. Many add Fimo QuickMix to Cernit and use Sculpey diluent to ease blending.

Armatures: Cernit can get softer while sculpting and baking and needs more excellent and carefully constructed support (armature) than perhaps other clays might.

Water: No! Cernit possesses a filler (natural clay, possibly kaolinite) that absorbs moisture. Therefore, talc or cornstarch are the better release agents and Sculpey Diluent/Softener is better for smoothing the clay than using water.

“If your clay is burning, the temperature of your oven is too high. Address your temperature, not your bake times! Baking longer is never what causes burns if temperature and baking methods are correct.” — http://thebluebottletree.com/how-long-bake-polymer-clay/

While you can rebake your doll many times, you may want to avoid bake times longer than necessary when using the light colored doll clays. Light colored and translucent clays can yellow an darken a bit if baked too long. Experiment and know your clay.

“The instructions on the package are what is going to give adequate results for most consumers. They are not designed to give the optimal results for perfect and controlled conditions. Feel free to do your best to create the best possible baking conditions for your polymer clay so that you can get the best results possible.” — http://thebluebottletree.com/how-long-bake-polymer-clay/

Avoiding Cracks, Plaques and Oven Hot Spots

Know Your Oven – Test your oven — Moniter temperature throughout the baking process, with one to two independent oven thermometers.

Test Your Brands and its Particular Colors – Lighter colors and translucent clays are more susceptible to darkening or yellowing while baking. Test, test, test. Test bake times and temperatures in of your brands and colors. Also, lighter and translucent colors will have to be buried in baking soda and/or covered with polyester polyfil.

Cure the clay without sudden temperature changes. Place your covered and protected polymer clay piece(s) into a cool oven, turn the oven to the correct temperature, and begin timing only once the proper temperature has been reached. Once baked, turn off the oven but leave your items inside the oven until they have cooled. This is to help avoid cracks and fissures.

Some people bury their Cernit beads or dolls in baking soda to avoid thermal shock and to insulate from oven hot spots. Dolls can lay on a bed of baking soda.

Others protect against thermal shock or hot spots by covering item(s) or parts of it with polyester batting (does not burn or melt at these temperatures).

Information for Before You Bake Your Doll 

  • Lighter Colors of Doll Clay — Lighter and translucent colors will have to be buried in baking soda and/or covered with polyester polyfil.
  • Series Baking — Cernit can be baked in stages (“series baking”) so you can add fine details without marring the sculpted piece. Let the clay cool completely between each layer to prevent air pockets and defects in the finished piece.
  • Sufficient Oven Temperatures — Cure at sufficient temperatures and avoid water or too much hand sweat in order to avoid cracking/figures but verify your oven’s temperature with a separate thermometer (or two!) and to cover your items while baking to protect against burning or dark spots.
  • Polyfil for the Delicate Areas — Cover delicate fingers, toes and other parts with thick layer of polyfil.
  • Choice of Oven — A digital convection oven is more temperature accurate than a regular home oven and a toaster oven is your most volatile and least accurate, as far as temperature accuracy and steady temperature are concerned. The reason that toaster ovens are your worst choice is that it doesn’t circulate the heat and spikes occasionally in order to bake! A regular home oven can suffice just fine with proper testing, baking, and monitoring methods.
  • Choice of Cooking Container – You want a covered or tented pan for baking your dolls. Metal pans and wing components heat up faster and higher than glass, ceramic and many other materials. If the recommended temperature says 265-275 it will bake correctly on glass, but be darker on the edges if you use metal cookware. Surround your doll with a layer of polyfil and monitor delicate wings and fins as much as you can while they are in the oven.
    • Convection Oven Tent — Some people tent their doll, meaning they create a tent of aluminum foil over a basic tent armature and use that as a tent to put over their doll while baking in a digital convection oven.
    • The Home Oven Disposable Pan “Clamshell” – Create an enclosed baking contain by placing one disposable aluminum baking pan over another to create a covered cooking pan, then clip shut on both ends. You’ll have placed a glossy ceramic tile on the bottom of this and will have surrounded your doll with polyfil, including a layer of polyfil under it to prevent flat, shiny spots where the doll rested on the tile. Or the doll can lay on a bed of baking soda and have hands and feet wrapped in polyfil.

One Possible Doll Curing Method

  • Test Bake with Independent Thermometers — Do a test firing before baking each doll. Test your oven with one to two independent oven thermometers. Do not depend on the oven’s indicator regarding whether the proper temperature has supposedly been reached. Test your oven’s actual internal temperature for about 40 minutes to see if it a) attains the desired temperature and b) doesn’t spike high enough to burn your doll. It is possible to burn parts of the doll but underbake the rest of your doll.
  • First Bake – Place your art doll in a cold oven, set the oven temp so that it actually attains 230 degrees F. Once it attains that temperature, set your time for 18 minutes or so. This first bake can decrease chance of cracks and fissures and firms the doll up just enough to work it before the final cure. You must do the following though.
  • Cool the Oven With Doll in It — When your timer goes off, prop the oven door open a bit and let it cool completely. Do not handle your doll. Keep it in the oven with the door open a bit and let cool completely.
  • First Scrape and/or Sand — Scrape and or sand with 320 – 600 grit fine wet/dry sandpaper, keeping the sandpaper wet while working. Scrape larger lumps, sand the rest of the body. Rinse your doll clean.
  • Acetone Rub — Clean it lightly with acetone and a cosmetic cotton pad if you need to remove white scratches or lumps found in any larger areas of your doll.
  • Second Bake — Place your art doll in a cold oven, set the oven temp so that it actually attains 270 degrees F. Once it attains that temperature, then set your time according to the doll’s thickness.
  • Cool the Oven with the Doll in It — When your timer goes off, prop the oven door open a bit and let it cool completely.
  • Painting – You do not have to heat set acrylics. If you use Genesis Paints, once it’s painted, put your doll back in oven and fire for 5 minutes at 250 degrees using the above method of placing your doll in a cold oven, etc.
  • Cool the Oven With Doll in It — When your timer goes off, prop the oven door open a bit and let it cool completely.
  • Embossing Gun Option for Genesis Paints — An embossing gun cures the genesis paint faster and is a better way than putting the doll back into the oven for that paint firing. One must use a thermometer to monitor temperature, however, and constantly move the Embossing Heat Gun back and forth over the surface of the painted areas to avoid burning, etc.

A Nice Youtube Video on Mixing Cernit Doll-Making Clay with Puppen Fimo polymer clay

http://youtu.be/wtfmlPq7JcQ