Karen’s High Chroma, Luminosity-Loving Paint Color Palette

Note: Page may be subject to updates.

My Directional Force — Indirct Painting With Glaze layers


Sfumato indirect painting technique
, here I come! I expect to do inital layers of a painting in acrylic and some glazing layers in water soluble oil paints (Winsor & Newton Artisan), for starters. That’s why my previous entry was about water soluble oils.

I also want to try to do the indirect method from start to finish with artist grade acrylic paints. And some wild and crazy experimental Alla Prima.

karensfourthsunblackandwhitetonal

Black and white of Karen A. Scofield’s anthropomorphized sun. Tonal.

 

I’ve only completed 5 paintings thus far, you see a B&W of my fourth, above. These are my notes in preparation of pushing harder and farther, way out of my comfort zone, if I have a comfort zone. I don’t know where my zone is. Yet. But I’ve dug for years now, into paint pigments, direct vs. indirect, sfumato techniques, and many artist materials … in preparation. And I liked it. I am a digger and I tend to over-prepare anyway; it’s very much deeply in my nature.

Note on Paint Brands Used Until They Are Gone

Overall, I am using mainly artist grade paint with the occasional use of some hues or somewhat informed alternative color mixes, wet and layered. Acrylic mediums will help with the sfumato technique. The brands I have include:

  • Golden Acrylics (artist colors heavy body, Open, or Fluid)
  • Liquitex ( heavy body, soft body, spray paint, acrylic ink)
  • Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics.  I have a lot of da Vinci fluid acrylics because they were cheaper, but they  are in some cases made of combined pigments instead of using pure pigment … so this should be interesting. It’ll mess up value ( how light or dark things are in grayscale) a bit and may make me cringe sometimes especially with the yellows.

I will just have to be aware of that, for instance, Cadmium Yellow Light Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics, specifically, might have a lighter value because it includes titanium dioxide. I’ll just have to deal with that because I have mostly, by volume, 16 ounce bottles of Da Vinci Fluid acrylics, as far as the fluid acrylics I have are concerned. (I have the paints I do because I got them after my mom died. I miss her so much!)

A Happy Medium: Making Golden Acrylics Have More Open Time and Act Kind of Like Oils

This happy medium is one suggestion that appeals to me. Not sure if it’ll work as well with regular heavy body colors or fluid acrylics, but it’s worth a try in the upper layer(s) of an indirect method acrylic painting. Do studies first. Read the bottles and manufacturer’s information online. The Golden Paint  Company has an absolute wealth of product and technical information on their website. And as always, remember you can always add more of something but once it’s mixed in then it’s in there.

  • Open Flow Release — a bit
  • Open Open Thinner — a bit
  • Open Gloss Gel — mostly

Paint Palettes: Color Theory, Sfumato, My Own Extended One

In the future, I probably will gravitate towards more Golden Open artist color acrylics?

6 Color Golden Acrylic Artist colors (not including the whites), the palette would include: 

  1. Phthalo Blue (Green Shade) 
  2. Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) 
  3. Anthraquinone Blue (PB 60)
  4. Hansa Yellow Medium 
  5. Quinacridone Magenta 
  6. Napthol Red Light 

The 6 main colors in bold can yield an amazing array of colors. See https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_mixguide and https://www.goldenpaints.com/technicalinfo_faq_xv_colorwheel

Studying color theory with Golden Open paints in these colors in a rapid Alla Prima style, I’d put down the basic colors and then create tints of about 5 shades, laid out in rows, using Titanium White and/or Mixing White, and begin to paint. Or so the theory goes.

Additions to the 6 Color Paint Palette (above)

In practice, I’d probably end up slipping in a little:

7. Quinacridone Red
8. Yellow Ochre
9. Mixing White
10. Titanium White

My Main Sfumato Color Palette

This palette would be assisted by the above 6-color mixing palette. The color choices between the two palettes are are my amalgam of pigments traditional and modern — influenced by what Leonardo da Vinci reported using and by my own research on making/using modern equivalents. (Colors are some form of Golden Acrylics artist grade paint unless otherwise noted.)

  1. Primrose Yellow (preferred, expensive, pigment PY35, Golden Acrylics, value 9, chroma 16, tint strength 96.49) or Hansa Yellow Light (what I have now, will use first, value 8.25, chroma 13.8, tint strength 96.31, tint strength is low in practice, pigment is PY3 AKA historical “Flanders Yellow” that Leonardo da Vinci mentioned); both lean toward blue on the color wheel
  2. Cadmium Yellow Medium (Golden Artist Color PY35, value 8, chroma 16.1, tint strength 92.5); or Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue (Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic, semi-opaque, ASTM lightfastness is 1 excellent, uses a combination of PY 73, PY 65, and PW6, not sure of chroma and tinting strength yet); both toward red on the color wheel
  3. Quinacridone Red (preferred, a cleaner red, semi-transparent, PB 209, value 3.25, chroma 12, tint strength 76.49), Quinacridone Magenta (value 2.5, chroma 10, tint strength 73.51) , and/or Quinacridone Crimson (value 2, chroma 6, tint strength 72.39)
  4. C.P. Cadmium Red — Because sometimes you need an opaque that plays well with complementary colors. (Pr 108, value 4.25, chroma 16, tinting strength 73.92, opacity/transparency 2, leans toward orange on the color wheel. May become a permanent addition to my indirect paint palette
  5. Phthalo Blue (PB 15 Phthalocyanine Blue. Intense deep blue in mass tone reddish to greenish bright blue in shades. Semi-transparent. Extremely powerful tint strength, usually extended to some degree. Staining.)
  6. French Ultramarine (Da Vinci Fluid Acrylic PB 29, value 2, semi-transparent, chroma 4.5, tint strength 79.94) or Ultramarine (Golden, also PB29)
  7. Burnt Umber 
  8. Yellow Ochre (mixed bias, co
  9. Carbon Black (has a blue bias)
  10. Titanium White (slight blue bias)

Note: The reds in #3 may be switched out or combined in certain works?

The Sfumato Technique

In case you’re curious, the technique started even before canvas or panel was touched and continued on to the last glaze layer. It went something like this:

  • Do numerous studies from real life; don’t copy other artists
  • Perfect a drawing the size of the final work — on paper
  • Stretch the canvas or prepare the wooden paint panel
  • Apply rabit glue and gesso in the traditional manner; and somehow he got this surface to feel glossy, almost like ceramic
  • Apply underdrawing in outline using charcoal
  • Veil it, not obscure it, with a mix of Flanders Yellow and White — this will be the basis for light areas and the yellow tones of warm sunlight or skin tone
  • “Draw” painting with tone using silk brushes placing shadows while paint still wet or use hard (dry, like hard pastel pencils)
  • Do retouches in thicker laquer (they used to boil turpentine that perhaps had some resin in it until it was thick, is that what he meant?) that remains matte
  • To darken shadows, use laquer plus ink and maybe add some azurite in a transparent mix
  • Highlights in mediums and tints
  • Light veil of cinnabar for portrait
  • Change your mind — be experimental
  • I’m really glossing things over in this description. Colors were layered and the effects of light and shade were glazed. For a blue robe, he might first lay down red and then blue over that. Was that a correction or use of complements, and he did mention using complement colors.
  • He attended to reflective colors a lot, colors from objects close by might appear on the skin and light clothing, and he did suggest models wear light clothing or even a white.
  • Final highlights in judicious smidgens were in white?  I know highlights were made like this by many painters, I sm not sure that Leonardo did this though.

For translating this into acrylics, I might use that Golden Open “happy medium” mixture instead of the thick lacquer da Vinci used.

Temperature Underpaintings (Mostly Golden Open Acrylics)

  1. Black
  2. Titanium White  Also used for final highlights in upper layer, used judiciously
  3. Mixing White (Zinc) — Also for use in some final effects in upper layer. May or may not mix it with other paints, as opposed to optical blends and effects
  4. Burnt Umber/Burnt Umber Light — To be used alone and/or with the Ultramarine Blue
  5. Red Oxide — Because I have to try out aux quatre crayon type of temperature “underdrawing” … in paint! I will try it in dry pastel pencils too.  These works may remain at that stage as finished paintings, rather than all being just the under painting of an sfumato work. I may be intuitively good at colors without trying, up to a point, but I am just now teaching myself to paint in my later 50s, regarding value (that grayscale light to dark). I have a lot of catching up to do. I accomplished value rather well in my (my fourth finished painting) anthropomorphic painting of the sun, but I recognize that I have so much farther to go!

My Golden Acrylics Extended Palette
(for Wet Color Mixing or Additional Sfumato Indirect Painting Effects)

Colors in bold text would be more of a priority in this palette.

  • Phthalo Blue (Green Shade)
  • Phthalo Green (Blue Shade) 
  • Hansa Yellow Light
  • Hansa Yellow Medium
  • Quinacridone Magenta
  • Quinacridone Red
  • Quinacridone Crimson
  • Napthol Red Light
  • Pyrrole Red
  • Quinacridone Burnt Orange
  • Transparent Pyrrole Orange
  • Phthalo Green (Yellow Shade)
  • Phthalo Blue (Red Shade)
  • Ultramarine Blue/Anthraquinone Blue (PB 60)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Black (used judiciously now and then in small touches)
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Titanium White
  • Mixing White

Additional Colors On Occasion or just for Fun (Optional)

  1. Quinacridone Gold (Nickel Azo) — Because it’s fun for color mixing and glazing.
  2. Turner’s Yellow — Fuuuun!

Note: Since I’m autodidactic, I may pull in more readymade colors at any time when experimenting more wildly. Oh, and if you want to see where your colors lay on a color wheel, go here. I can’t resist paint colors, as much as I love limited palettes and minding my values in painting! Because I must experiment. Life is short. And I bought paint colors before painting anything or learning about limited palettes.

Art Journal. Why Magic? by Karen A. Scofield.

So I’m Doing Art Journaling Finally

A Few Sample Pages of My First Art Journal

Of course, it all starts with love, four words for love, then it covers reciprocity, examining what kind of power we have in our relationships from personal to public and political. After that, I talk about making reality according to will, because chances are, if we examine love, power, and reciprocity then we’ll want to make changes.

First, I experimented with backgrounds made with acrylic craft paints. There are some neon, glow, and fluorescent colors in there. I added some mica misters (sprays) on top on some pages but not others. Uni Posca paint pens and “Moonlight” Sakura Gelly Roll gel pens were used on all pages so far. These particular gel pens don’t have to be sealed once dried but the Posca paint pens remain water-soluble and do best with several layers of Krylon matte sealant for that reason. The spray sealant also happens to solve the issue of acrylic painted art journal pages tending to stick together.

I’m diving into some art journaling as I wait for my clay pieces to get fired. It’s taking quite some time as the art gallery’s kiln needed new parts and only recently got them. Because of that, they’re behind and still have to fire my pendants. I’m not doing anymore glazing until I know if this works out and what to expect.

Art Journal. Words for Love from Agape to Praxis. Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Art Journal. Words for Love from Agape to Praxis. Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

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Art Journal. Why Magic?

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Art Journal Spread "Words!" by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Art Journal Spread “Words!” by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

Aphrodite Over Time. Goddess. Art Journaling. Grimoire is to spell or write. K. Scofield. 2016.

Aphrodite Over Time. Goddess. Art Journaling. Grimoire is to spell or write. K. Scofield. 2016.

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Art Journal. The Great Meta Goddess

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Art Journal. Equality.

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Art Journal Pages. Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Credit for Law of Magic goes to Isaac Bonewits.

Art Journal Pages. Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Credit for Law of Magic goes to Isaac Bonewits.

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Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18"x18".

My Fifth Painting is A Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun

It’s sister is in ArtWorks Kenosha for the next open show. They both have leaves and flowers because I’m thinking green, renewable energy, we get all of our energy from the sun. It’s an awesome creative force. Let’s respect that.

This one’s for family and it’s 18″ by 18″ on canvas. Oh yeah, and I love glow-in-the-dark paints. They went over the top surface of the already finished painting as they were transparent enough. In a week, I’ll add an isolation coat and a week or two after that, I’ll add a varnish layer on top.

Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. Noir Iphone Filter. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18"x18".

Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. Noir Iphone Filter. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18″x18″.

Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18"x18".

Glow-in-the-Dark Anthropomorphized Sun Painted by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. Acrylics on Canvas, 18″x18″.

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer," 24"x24", by Karen A. Scofield. 2016

My Fourth Painting: “Shimmer,” 24″x24″

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,” 24″x24″, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016.

 

karensfourthsunblackandwhitetonal

Black and white of Karen A. Scofield’s anthropomorphized sun. Tonal.

 

Painting of an Anthropomorphized Sun Shimmer,” 24″x24″, by Karen A. Scofield. 2016. If you stare at the sun’s face, optical illusions come into play.

It’s going to be in the next open show at Artworks Kenosha (WI). It has a bit of an optical illusion to it.

I had done a study for the painting previously but the quality of work in this painting is far more professional and I painted while through a magnifying glass for a lot of this, not that doing so defines professional or fine art.

I used an isolation layer using Golden Polymer Medium before varnishing it.

Here are some stages of the work before completion.

 

DIY Blank Canvas Board Book to Use as an Art Journal

I Made 11 x 14 Inch Blank Canvas Board Book Pages

Personalized cover is next.

Basic Instructions

I glued and taped only — no cutting (except cutting tape). Two sides board pages are covered wtih canvas paper, AKA acrylic paper. The board “pages” are ready for a cover. The cover will be made out of Kraft-tex fabric paper with something to stiffen the cover (some kind of paper board probably … whatever I find I have on hand). Time to make this portion of my canvas board book? About 30 minutes of hands-on time, give or take ten minutes, I didn’t time it. Making the cover will probably take more time, as I’ll decorate it.

Materials:

  • 10 of 11 x 14″ Soho Urban Artist Painting Panels
  • 10 sheets of Canson XL Acrylic Canvas Paper (NOT the Canson Montval paper!)
  • Reinforced Duct Tape (the wide roll size)
  • Scissors
  • About 6 or so Scotch Permanent Glue Sticks, the .28 oz size
  • Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue, or something comparative that’s thick but that doesn’t dry too fast
  • Baby powder and and old, clean cosmetic brush, the large kind
  • Large, strong needle with a head wide enough for your string
  • Very strong carpet thread or bookbinding thread
  • Fabric for Cover — I’ll probably use Kraft-tex paper fabric I’ll cut to size, decorate, etc.

Method

On a stable, smooth, and flat work surface, I laid two of the Soho canvas panels side by side in portrait sytle mode — the taller sides will be verticle on my book. That means the book will stand 14 inches call and will be, when open, 22″ wide. The boards will nearly touch each other when they lay open, so I can use two sides of the open book for one finshed picture, save the first and last sides.

For taping purposes, the boards are facing canvas texture side down, with their bare “SpHo” printed backs facing you.

Before taping two boards together, I created a gap large enough so that once the pages are folded, they’ll fold flat without too much slack. This means the finished book will shift around less, making it less likely to come undone. The gap is minutely wider than the thickness of the boards, thus allowing for movement of the pages later.

I taped the pages together with the gap in place, making sure the pages and gap stayed even. I then folded the pages with the canvas paper side of the boards facing each other and the bare sides on the outside. I repeated this process until I had a stack of taped-together SoHo canvas boards. I got my canvas Soho boards from jerrysartarama.com, on sale of course.

Next, I got the glue sticks and bottle of tacky glue out. I got these at Sams Club and Walmart a while back and they need to be used up before they’re not any good anymore. That’s what happens when you buy glue sticks in bulk, I guess. Anyway, I rapidly covered one bare side of one taped set of boards with the glue stick, taking care to cover up to about a 1/4″ from the 4 edges of the board. When using the glue sticks, it helps not to press down to hard or at an angle — you don’t want them to leave clumps of glue all over your board.

Next, I rapidly squeezed out a thread of glue right by each edge and on the duck tape, not on the very edge but right by it, taking care to lay down just enough and not too much. I have previous gluing experience and that helped here.

Without wasting time, I then took one of the Canson XL Acrylic Canvas Paper sheets (which is much better than the Canson Montval or even the SoHo panel canvas panel surface) and laid it onto the glue, with the sheet’s canvas texture side up, facing toward me. I quickly made sure it was positioned correctly.

Using the outer side of a closed fist, I started rubbing the canvas paper into place on the canvas board, rubbing from one side to the other and then around each edge of each side, carefully coming right up to the very edge but without getting glue all over my fingers or hand. Rubbing from one side to the other of the canvas board helps ensure there are no air bubbles and that all areas have made solid contact with the glue below.

Using a slightly damp wet wipe or bit of paper towel, I deftly wiped away the minute bits of glue that were squeezed out during that process. I wiped, folded the wipe over the glue i picked up that way, wiped the next side, and so on. This meant my hands and the canvas paper surfaces stayed free of glue.

I covered only one bare side of each taped set of boards at a time. made sure the boards couldn’t stick together, and then routinely covered only one bare side on each set of taped boards, leaving one bare side for later. I had to go drive my daughter to work while it was drying, so that worked out fine.

I returned to my stack and then closed each set of taped boards so the sticky portion of the tape was peaking toward the outside of each folded set.

It was time for the baby powder. I dusted the strips of sticky tape that were barely showing with the baby powder.

I then poked evenly spaced holes so that the pages are ready to connect them, by way of sewing with the thread, to the cover once that’s done…

As For Sewing the Book Binding…

I had watched several book binding videos like this one. It shows a sewn binding method.

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.

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.

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