Resin Faux Opal by Karen A. Scofield

Trial Runs: Transparent Resin Faux Opal Goddess Pendant Using Magic-Glos UV Resin

Better results with a newfound inclusion.

Instagram screen capture of Goddess Pendant resn faux opal shown in different lighting. Karen A. Scofield.

Instagram screen capture of Goddess Pendant resn faux opal shown in different lighting. Karen A. Scofield.

 Why Trial Runs Using Magic-Glos Resin?

Lisa Pavelka’s Magic-Glos UV Resin allows me to work fast (layers cure in 15 minutes), build a focal bead in layers, and experiment. I’m using this resin to try out some new products, techniques, combinations, and sequences as I learn my preferences in resin faux opal making.

Sure, it’s more expensive per ounce, but ruining a whole batch or three of a dozen or more beads at a time is even more disheartening. If I didn’t allow for a leaning curve like this first, I probably would have given up on resin. It can take months or years to really master the medium. (Things seem ridiculously easy in the mind’s eye if our imagination isn’t informed by experience and tried and trusted knowledge base, I’ve found.)

So, here are some of my best results so far, note the slight amber tone at this depth with this resin, and I’m about to Faux Opals in Ice Resin and ArtResin. (See How to Ice Resin, How to ArtResin.) At this thickness, I expect almost no amber tone with Ice Resin and no detectable amber tone with ArtResin.

Magic-Glos Resin Tips

1. Don’t seal paper or cardstock inclusions with Mod Podge or PVC (white craft) glues if you’re using them with Magic-Glos — reactions between water-activated mediums, inks, and Magic-Glos can occur over time.

2. Bubbles can be prevented almost all the time. Read resouces given here. Bubbles can be removed by letting cured item sit one hour, drilling a hole into the bubble, cleaning up drilling debris, adding just enough Magic-Glos, and curing again.

Things Magic-Glos Doesn’t Work Well With

  • PVC glues – your white craft, nearly all decoupage mediums/glues, and school glues are PVC glues — https://thebluebottletree.com/what-is-the-difference-between-mod-podge-and-acrylic-medium
  • Air–dry glues — air-dry glues get trapped under things, don’t cure 100%, then release air bubbles into your curing resin. Use two-part epoxy glue instead!
  • Ice Resin, whether or not each resin is cured or wet (insured) — chemical reaction between the two resins causes cloudiness
  • Water-based sealants – any sealants that are not waterproof after drying (water resistant is not waterproof)
  • Alcohol inks
  • Unsealed inkjet prints
  • Anything that may run or bleed if wet
  • Sharpie markers

If in doubt, test first, often weeks ahead to make doubly sure.

Baking Magic-Glos

Don’t. Don’t bake Magic-Glos. Avoid temperatures over 100 degrees F. See MSDS.

Warning: Baking Magic-Glos with polymer clay will cause the resin to amber (brown). See MSDS sheet (link given above) for further info.

Magic-Glos Layers

Doming, Pulling Away, and Self-Leveling Properties and What They Mean to the User — The same properties that allow Magic-Glos to dome causes the resin to pull away from edges/periphery in first layer or two, hence a good dome is built up in layers, each of which are cured before the next is added. The last layers are minimal amounts and it may help to spread the resin nearly to the edge (with a toothpick or small ballpoint stylus) and then let Magic-Glos self-leveling finish the job, finally fully covering evenly and doming. Let it sit 10 minutes to 1/2 hour out of UV light to let it finish self-leveling and to let air bubbles make themselves evident. The self-leveling properties mean that you might think you only added enough, the self-doming is a bit of a delayed reaction, and then suddenly you have Magic-Glos running over the sides. If still uncured, it can be cleaned up with cotton swabs and wet wipes but prevention is better than damage control. Prevention involves adding thinner, multiple layers that are each cured before the next is added and curing your item while on a pedestal — a bit of polymer clay or poster-tx on a craft mirror a bit larger than your piece but small enough to fit in the UV lamp oven.

If the overfill cured, it can be pried off with your hands and/or chipped off with a craft knife.

Minimum Number Of Layers — usually 2 layers, less is more, meaning it’s better to add thin/incomplete layers than to overfill. Thinner layers allows the air bubble popping method of passing a butane mini torch or windproof lighter over the surface of the Magic-Glos for one and only one second.

The Fine Art Air-Dry and Polymer Clay Market Can Be Confusing for the Beginner to Intermediate Artist

What this page is and isn’t about — It’s about fine art air-dry and polymer clays. It’s not about ceramic, cold porcelain, resin clay, epoxy clays, or any kiln-cured products.

This page was written after reading https://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=155083#thoughts-box, which was about Premier clay, an artist grade air-dry clay, and the beginner’s needs or understandable confusion.

For jewelry making, Premo!, Fimo Classic, Kato, and Cernit are some of your better choices of oven-cured polymer clays –they’re durable enough and do not have to be sealed unless certain surface treatments (mica powders like Pearl Ex) were used. See: https://thebluebottletree.com/seal-polymer-clay/

Out of the air-dry clays presently sold by Dick Blick, the strongest and most artist grade ones used for sculpting, according to many art doll artists, are Activa La Doll Premier, Activa La Doll Satin Smooth, and Creative PaperClay. Creative PaperClay is frequently listed as academic not because it’s strictly academic and you can’t create incredible fine art sculptures out of it, you can, but because students can use it but most, including public school art teachers, don’t know how to get fine art results out of it. In this video, you can see me, starting at 2 min. in, flipping through a book by The late Robert McKinley who made exquisite are dolls with Creative PaperClay. Susie Benes has an excellent basic into page on Creative PaperClay here. She goes into how-to here. Adele Po has some good information and pictures here. You can find some pretty cool Creative PaperClay sculpting videos in this youtube playlist. And of course Pinterest will yield an array of examples.

Durability… (Remember, this page is not covering resin clay from Japan, etc.) Jewelry may take much more wear and tear, so fine art air-dry clays that can be damaged by exposure to water – so Creative PaperClay or Premier Clay usually aren’t used for charms, pendants, and beads. Not unless they’re encased, including inside the bead hole, in resin. For jewelry, oven cured polymer clay is a better choice.

Seal it or not? As a rule, air-dry clays generally have to be sealed once dry and finished but oven-cured polymer clays don’t. (Two-part epoxy clays like Apoxie Sculpt don’t have to be sealed but although they’re often called air-dry, they actually cure by chemical reaction and may even be able to cure under water. They’re not true air-dry clays.)

Cracks in Premier clay.… Cracks don’t mean your air-dry clay is weak. Premier is one of the strongest air-dry clays. Nearly all air-dry clays have some shrinkage and Premier is no exception, although it shrinks less than some air-dry clays. Having a good armature, if armature is necessary, and using minimal amounts of water while sculpting with Premier can decrease the likelihood or severity of cracks. Sometimes cracks happen but they’re easily be repaired with Premier, even if your item dried. See the below video. Cracks may occur if you added too much water while sculpting, used a cardboard armature, used thin clay over a rigid armature (Ostrich legs built on a wire armature, for example), let your item dry too quickly, or didn’t support sculpture parts subject to gravity. Don’t dry your Premier clay items under a fan. Do remember to keep unused clay in an air-tight bag and/or container.

For figurative works, Premix, an air-dry clay made by the same company as Premier, is said to be easier to sculpt and blend than Premier. Doll artist Hannie Sarris loved Premix clay. Others love Premier clay. Both take some different sculpting techniques than what one would be used to with polymer clay and one uses minimal (!) amounts of water are used while sculpting Premier. People working with these air-dry clays might lightly dab their fingers across a wet sponge to keep clay moist enough while sculpting. They may use a mister type of water bottle. Do not use Sculpey Clay Softener or any type of oil to soften, smooth, and blend these air-dry clays — they are hybrid clays and have their own characteristics, sculpting techniques, storage and compatibility considerations. They’re not like the majority of polymer clays that are oven-cured (e.g., Fimo Classic, Fimo Soft, Cernit, Fimo Doll, Premo!). They’re not like most air-dry clays on the market. They are used by a number of very famous art doll artists and others.

So yes, there are indeed air-dry polymer clays — Activa Lumina Translucent Polymer Clay, Staedtler Fimo Air Basic Modeling Clay, and Activa LaDoll Premier clay are examples of air-dry polymer clays. Activa, the company that makes laDoll Premier clay, describes Premier clay as a type of polymer clay on their site. Lumina has long been known to the polymer clay community. Fimo Air Basic is weaker than either of those.

Polymer clays have their own issues — Dirt, lint, hair, compatibility issues, and baking considerations (always monitor your oven with two oven thermometers, not counting the oven’s own temperature reading). If you look at it that way, a few easily repaired cracks in Premier clay items isn’ts a bad deal.

Sculpey Diluent, AKA liquid Sculpey Clay Softener, works with oven-cured polymer clays, specifically, and not with air-dry polymer clays. Here’s the Sculpey Clay Softener Material Safety Data Sheet: https://www.sculpey.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Clay-Softener-SDS-10282015.pdf

Note: Makin’s, Hearty, Das, “cold porcelain” clays, Creative Paperclay, Celluclay, and epoxy putties are not polymer clays no matter who describes them as such.

For a whole lot of information on all things polymer and air-dry clay, see:

…Or go to clay manufacturers’ sites and hit their FAQs and MSDS pages. I wish there were sculpting, storage, compatibility, MSDS and other information (to seal or not to seal) with each clay package that one takes home, but that’s sadly not the case.

Karen A. Scofield On “What Makes Me Tick”

Levo App

My Results From the Levo app regarding thinking talents.

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As you can see, it picks up on my autism-related deficiencies/differences/advantages. My relational quadrant is empty (not in real life), but then the underlying social constructs de rigueur these days overwhelmingly favor charming extroverts, the more gregarious a la neurotypical fashion they are the better. I see it offers are some pointers about things “relational” but ultimately for someone like me, this test may not pick up on social and communication alternatives. Here’s a TED talk that challenges Introverts with a capital “I” being placed at the top of whatever  constructs we can devise without more penetrating examination.

Rethinking Introverts

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/3794733

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/top-10-advantages-of-introvert.htmlimage

  • I tend to do my best thinking alone. That is core the body of any Venn diagram about myself).
  • I don’t do well with snap decisions, often go through a vigorous fact checking process, may research a topic north south east and west, and need time to think through pros and cons.
  • I prefer advanced notice about events or needed decisions.
  • I need a good amount of alone time to do my best thinking, stay true to myself, and stay on track.
  • As much as possible, I need to let people know I will get back to them on the topic or decision rather than keep them hanging.

What do I need to work on: I need to devise purposely nurture relationships with “big thinkers.” Spending time with them will nourish and inspire my thinking processes.

Since my relational skills are peculiar or lacking, I do best with other like people, meaning they are rather direct communicators who are or do well with those on the autism range.

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One Conclusion

It seems I should partner with someone who excels in people, feeling skills and bringing things to action. That sounds like a neurotypical rather than someone who is on the autism range too. Neurotypicals usually shun people like me with a vengeance. What to do? I don’t want a relationship of unequals, so rather than some sort of setup that involves being mentored, I probably would do best in a co-mentoring relationship in which each recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of themselves and each other, without the ego trips or superiority complexes and other such baggage. Ideally. If I can’t get that, I can at least use a certified accountant and other specialists to help me get an art career off the ground.

Keeping the above in mind, the below from my about me page may make more sense!

I design and make figurative bead or art dolls, whip together spirit dolls, art journal, do fine art paintings, create mixed media mosaics, and get into some fabric arts!

My blog pages reflect my intense, playful nature that leads me to intermittently research art mediums/techniques N, S, E, W, and outside the box for years on end so that I can readily dip my hands into multiple art mediums and play, sometimes exactingly and sometimes experimentally. To the core, it’s my nature to take things art further and I have no qualms about expanding and correcting my pages as new products or information comes along. Making art stirs up a deep-seated sense of awe, a child’s sense of wonder, a well-seasoned intellectual curiosity, and the sense that creation is a spiritual experience. Ideas for art constantly fly into my head and I keep notes. Days are never long enough.

A little background... Some of my polymer clay beads appear in the book Polymer Artists Showcase, by tejae floyde. My 1st two art dolls were in Kenosha Wisconsin’s Lemon Street Art Gallery, where I was a member from 2005 to 2007. Lovely place. (I had no idea I could sculpt until I was in my mid to late 40s. It turns out that my dominant dominant intelligence is spatial, helpful in more 3D arts.)

Eclectic Focus

Sculpting figurative beads of polymer or earthenware ceramic clay, resin, making my own prototypes and molds, art dolls, spirit dolls, mixed media mosaics, art journaling, water-based painting, and bouts of fabric arts (cotton, Kraft-tex, paper cloth AKA fabric paper).

Communication Style

I’m socially awkward (autistic) and do best with kind but exquisitely forward people who don’t infer or beat around the bush so if you talk with me, just say what you mean/feel yet remain respectful. (Hint: I love pluralism, eclecticism, constructive criticism and civil rights. I’m incredibly tolerant up to the point of intolerance, brainwashing, purposefully burdensome learned helplessness/ignorance, and other stupid toxic people tricks.)

Watermedia Warning: I’m an unabashed Cretacolor, Liquitex, Golden, and Da vinci fluid acrylics fan.

FAVORITES

Favorite Clays:

Ceramic — Earthenware, Raku
Polymer Clay — Cernit, Fimo Doll/Professional, Kato, Pardo, Premo, Sculpey UltraLight for under structures/armature
Air Dry Clay — La doll Premier, Creative PaperClay, Professional Cold Porcelain
Apoxie Sculpt

Favorite Artist Paints:

Winsor & Newton Watercolors
Golden Acrylics — Fluid Acrylics, Heavy Body
Da Vinci Fluid Acrylics
Liquitex — Soft Body, Heavy Body, Spray can), Basics

Favorite Acrylic Craft Paints (Art Journaling):

Delta Ceramcoat
Jo Sonja
SoHo

Favorite Watermedia Pencils and Water-Soluble Oil Pastels, in Order of Preference:

Cretacolor (artist grade) — AquaMonoliths, AquaStics, AquaBricks
Albrecht Dürer Watercolor Pencils
Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Artists’ Crayons (not as lightfast as Cretacolor, across the board)
Inktense Pencils (the more lightfast shades)

Note: In any fine art, I only use water-soluble oil products on top of acrylics or watercolors, for final finishing touches, if I use them at all.

Favorite Opaque Markers and Pens for Art Journaling:

Uni Posca Paint Pens (remain water-soluble — judiciously seal with 3 layers spray sealant)
Sakura Gelly Roll Pens (no sealant
100% Satisfaction Guaranteed
Sakura Pigma Micron Pens (permanent, can watercolor and paint over them!)

Favorite Sketching Pencils and Powders:

Cretacolor — Artist sketching pastel pencils, carre hard pastels, sketching leads and holders, sketching powders.
Pitt Pastel pencils
Prismscolor sketching pencils
Unison Soft Pastel Red Earth 10

Favorite Papers:

Canson, Strathmore 400 or 500 series, Canva-Paper, Stonehenge, Fabriano Soft Watercolor Paper, Yupo

Favorite Art Board:

Ampersand (especially their Aquabord)
Fredix Archival Watercolor panels

Favorite Illustration Boards:

Stathmore
Crescent

Favorite Canvas:

Fredrix — Watercolor Canvas and their canvas for acrylics

Favorite Canvas Pads:

Fredrix — Regular and Watercolor
Canva-Paper
Strathmore Acrylic

Favorite Mixed Media Pads:

Canson XL Mix Media (for art journaling)
Stathmore 400 or 500

Favorite Gesso:

Liquitex (not Basics!)
Golden
Winsor & Newton
Martin F. Weber Prima (art journaling and DIY art boards, has a lovely matte eggshell smooth texture)

Favorite Fixatives:

Krylon — Matte Finish, Workable Fixatif, or UV Resistant Clear Matte
Lascaux UV Protect 2 or 3
Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
Plaid Patricia Nimrocks Clear Acrylic Sealer Matte (for crafts only)

Favorite Colored Pencils:

I can’t afford those! Nevermind. Sigh.

I did unwittingly get Prismacolor pencils from after their factories moved to Mexico and too many leads fall out of the pencils or break. Grrr.

I’m not so much in love with colored pencils, presently.

Favorite Fabrics:

Quilting cottons
Kraft-tex

Favorite Thread:

Carpet thread
Strong quality cotton threads
Silky threads

Favorite Languages:

English, Estonian, French, German, Swedish, Dutch, Norwegian, Punjabi, Spanish, and Italian.

Favorite Cuisines in Order of General Preference:

Punjabi, Chinese, Mexican, Greek, Estonian, French, American.

Note that all my work is copyrighted and you may not use it without explicit written permission.

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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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.

 

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.

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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

Kraft-tex, Testing different mediums on

Review of Kraft-tex with Pictures, Tips, and Notes

What This Page Is and Isn’t

This page is not designed to cover all tips, techniques, needles sizes and such and cannot take the place of Kraft-tex books, videos, workshops, or project downloads. I show and discuss using an array of common art products on Kraft-tex, link to an ever-growing Pinterest board loaded with examples, include basic tips, and illuminate some basic starter information. That’s it.

Kraft-tex is a durable cloth-paper hybrid product and how you prepare it before using it can make a huge difference, something evident on my Kraft-tex Pinterest board.

What Does it Feel Like?

Right off the roll or bolt, it’s heavier than 140 lb. watercolor paper or cardstock but it doesn’t feel exactly like really heavyweight paper either. It’s a hybrid product initially created as a synthetic leather substitute, doesn’t need interfacing and basically you have two choices — make it supple like fabric/leather or keep it stiffer like really thick art paper.

The difference begins in preparation. Washing it makes it feel more like supple leather…more on that process in a moment. If you want to keep it paper-like, stiff, and flat, it can be ironed even on the highest setting. Some examples of projects that use flat unwashed Kraft-tex are folders, book covers, or envelopes. Also, using Kraft-tex with various templates meant for cardboard gift boxes, etc., is not an unknown. There are many free templates for this on the Internet.

 The Official Kraft-tex Introduction: “Wait until you get your hands on this rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes just like fabric. kraft•tex is supple, yet strong enough to use for projects that get tough wear. Use it to bring an exciting new texture to your craft-sewing projects, mixed-media arts, and bookmaking. Durable fiber-based texture softens and crinkles with handling and washing.” Source: http://www.ctpub.com/kraft-tex

Tips

Why tips? Because it’s a hybrid product, it’s a bit mysterious at first but Kraft-tex can offer frugality, artistic freedom, and the ability to make custom projects for your digital dohickies, kitchen stuff, car kits, sewing room necessities, or different sets of tools. Basic Kraft-tex tips can encourage crafters/artists and fire up some unimpeded excitement with up front initial information, as opposed to eking what they need to know out of numerous web pages, videos, and books. Without somebasic tips and does-this-work-with-that information, which is what this page is largely about, the learning curve can be too drawn out and frustrating some. (Kraft-tex projects, workshops, or patterns available for purchase out there will still have their place/value, I’m sure.)

Tip: Watch Out for Lint, Be Careful of What You’re Wearing — Often, artists don’t realize that their clothes shed fibers until they’re working in the studio. For example, wearing my fluffy navy blue bathrobe while working on white Kraft-tex left it covered with dark fibers.

Tip: All needles and Kraft-tex are permanent. all needle holes are permanent on Kraft-tex. This will affect what size needles you choose, how you backstitch, how you double stitch, and stitch length. Choose a longer sitch length than usual. You may use hand sewing needles, embroidery needles, or an 80/12 sharp sewing machine needle. You will not pin your pattern pieces together before sewing, for obvious reasons, you may have to clip them in places instead. One can also play with decorative perforation.

Tip: Needle sizes and scissor sharpening? Use a hand, sewing machine, or embroidery needle that’s strong enough but no larger.  Also, Kraft-tex dulls scissors and sewing machine needles more rapidly so sharpen your scissors frequently enough and replace sewing machine needles if they get too dull. If you really get into Kraft-tex, you may want to use dedicated sewing machine needles (meaning you don’t use those needles for other stuff).

Tip: Do decorative stitching before you sew  your project.

Tip: One can dye it an array of colors using Rit dye.

Tip: One can emboss Kraft-tex. Example: https://youtu.be/eUDQeFs117I

Tip: Cut our pattern pieces before pre-washing, if you’re pre-washing your Kraft-tex.

Tip: To fold, lightly score and then fold with the bone folder. This will make sure it folds along the intended line nice and neat instead of creasing and creating an imprecise messy fold. You can see the process here.

  • To score, lightly draw the “blade” edge of a bone folder down along the intended line, then fold by running the flat side of your bone folder along the intended folding line.
  • If you don’t have a bone folder, the rounded handle of a clean butter knife may be substituted.
  • If you don’t have a bone folder, draw the blunt blade of the butter knife down the line where you want to fold, then carefully fold over with the blunt butter knife handle.

Tip: Test products you’re using on a scrap piece as you go.

Tip: It can be sewn using your sewing machine, with a heavy-duty sewing machine needle, just keep in mind that all holes from pins and needles are permanent.  Therefore, backstitch slightly to the side to secure stitching — don’t go back-and-forth over the same stitching line as  you normally would when backstitching or you’ll create a hole. For the same reason, if you want to double stitch, avoid double stitching over the exact same line but stitch slightly to the side of the first stitching line instead.

Your Basic Preparation Options

To Keep it Like Paper — Don’t Wash It — If you want to keep it stiff and flat like paper or cardstock, then don’t wash it before using Kraft-tex. It wipes clean pretty well as it’s water resistant. Unwashed, it could be used as a fine art surface (avoid creasing it then) or to make wallets, book covers, boxes, bag straps, etc.

Testing it as a fine art surface, It was placed either on a huge clip board or on my magnetic board. (I have a huge magnetic board and plastic/enamel-coatef super magnets so that I can work on Kraft-tex at my standing easel). So far, no tape that I’ve used  to secure it to the  clipboard has ripped or otherwise damaged the Kraft-tex. Whether different tapes can leave an undesirable tackiness or residue is possibly an issue with some techniques and/or art products? If in doubt, test first.

Handmade Blank Canvas Board Art Journal, by Karen. A. Scofield. Bound with a beaded coptic stitch.

Handmade Blank Canvas Board Art Journal, by Karen. A. Scofield. Bound with a beaded coptic stitch. I covered the back MDF board cover with Kraft-tex and decorated that too.

To Use it Both like Kind of Like Paper and Very Much Like a Fabric — Wash It — If you want to use it like a paper-cloth or a replacement for leather, then wash it before sewing it. If you wash it after creating your item, its resulting texture may not be as even. If  you want to create a very soft fine leather-like texture, specifically, then use my method, below.  This video discusses a different wash-and-crumple method than the following steps, and you can see it produced a faux leather texture that’s not as soft. A lot of people simply wash and dry their Kraft-tex on hot three times.

  1. Cut — Cut out enough for your project or cut out the pattern pieces in advance, in the first place.
  2. Container — Find a basin or cooking container that will hold your material. Remember, it’ll be kind of stiff when it first goes in to soak.
  3. Boiling Water Soak — Boil enough water, put it in your container, keeping all safety precautions in mind, and soak your Kraft-tex in that water for 5 minutes.
  4. Crumble It Up — Wearing protective, thick rubber gloves and using tongs, remove your Kraft-tex and crumble it into a ball, trying to crumble it as evenly as possible into a ball. Let it sit several minutes.
  5. Flatten — Lay it flat.
  6. Repeat — Now do steps 3 through 5 two more times — you will soak it in boiling water 5 minutes, crumple it in a ball, and lay it flat — you will do all that three times total.
  7. Dryer — As a final step, you can put it in the dryer on any setting, yes, including the hottest. In fact, some prefer the hotest dryer setting as the last step in turning Kraft-tex into a supple, sewable paper-cloth state.

Art Products One Can Use on White Kraft-tex, and Some to Use on Black Kraft-tex

I’m testing an array of art products on white Kraft-tex. Paints, markers, and pens have to be truly opaque for you to see them on black Kraft-tex … unless you’re talking about irridescent Shiva Paintstiks or interference acrylic paints and powders because those can show well on black art papers and black Kraft-tex.

Opacity and Absorption Considerations

Test even products that say they’re opaque — they may be varying degrees of opacity from brand to brand, colors may vary in opacity by nature, and some marker “juice’ may soak into substrates and dissapear some or alot while others will do fine. So test the color range or the colors you’re going to use. Also, keep in mind that washability is a consideration for some uses but not others. Some products are not washable but that may or not be a consideration for your project for various reasons. For example, if I spray a sealant on what I did and then coat it with a quality acrylic medium, it may not be a problem for the type and amount of wear my finished project might see in its lifetime. If my item is going up on a wall and isn’t going to be around outside or laid on tabletops were people might spill their drinks or other fluids, it may not be a problem that what I drew or painted on is not washable or might ruin if exposed to moisture. It all depends. Know your products and think it through before you create your items or works of art.

  • Watercolors and Watercolor Pencils — Trying these on the white Kraft-tex, I found out they can be used wet, in dry-brushing, and in the form of watercolor pencil. One can lift colors back off of Kraft-tex and you’ll have to mind which are your staining colors, just as you would on any watercolor surface that allows lifting (removing some color). I have not tried a wide variety of wet watercolor techniques on this surface. Dry watercolor pencils, especially the lighter colors may show up on black Kraft-tex, at least my Cretacolor AquaMonoliths sure did, but test your brand first if you really want to know.
  • Modge Podge Fabric — Works but it’s not my favorite and compared to acrylic mat mediums, it looks plasticky and can easily look gloppy if you’re not careful.
  • Ink Jet Print It — More information being sought on that at the moment.
  • Water-soluble Oil Pastels — I tried both Caran d’Ache Neocolor II and Cretacolor AquaStics (which are generally more lightfast).  Both brands work well on this surface and, like watercolor, can be lifted off. Both brands of water-soluble oil pastels have staining colors, just as artist grade watercolors do. Both can be fixed to Kraft-tex. Here’s how I did that.
    • Apply your water-soluble oil pastels. Color, wet, blend, etc., just like you can with these products on other papers.
    • Let dry.
    • Krylon Workable Fixative — See manufacturer’s directions and then spray with Krylon Workable Fixative and let dry. Don’t spray until you saturate the surface. Just give it a decent layer.
    • More Fixative — Spray two more layers of Krylon Workable Fixative, letting each application dry. Let the last layer dry completely. It wouldn’t hurt to let it dry for a couple of hours or overnight.
    • Acrylic Matte Medium — Finally, brush a light coat of acrylic mat medium over your fixed water-soluble pastels. (Liquitex Matte Medium is more matte than Golden’s, in Kraft-tex.) Let dry.
      • Why Three Layers of Krylon Workable Fixative? — If you try to get away with only one layer of Krylon Workable Fixative, expect colors to bleed (especially some of the blues and greens in both brands). They bleed less with two layers of Krylon Workable Fixative using this method. I didn’t see any bleeding with three layers of Krylon Workable Fixative using this method. Please test whatever you’re doing with water-soluble oil pastels, however.
  • TAP (Transfer Artist Paper) — Follow manufacturer’s directions. Before using, consider if you’ll be using Kraft-tex like a stiff paper or like a supple fabric and pre-treat it accordingly, or not.  E.g., the Be Peace Bag shown here.
  • Graphite Pencils — I tried the HB pencil from my Cretacolor set so far. These work well on white Kraft-tex, you can smudge and blend them, but they do not erase from Kraft-tex, not even if you use several erasers. I have not tried all the B pencils and I have not tried all brands. As always, test first. If you make heavy marks, you’re not going to be able to erase completely. If you make like marks and erase with a regular eraser and then also a kneadable erasure, you may be able to remove most of your pencil work.
  • Sketching Pencils (sanguine, dark brown, black and white) — These work well on white Kraft-tex, you can smudge and blend them, but they do not erase from Kraft-tex, not even if you use several erasers. I have not tried all the brands. As always, test first.
  • Rubber Stamps — They work well on it. Of course some ink pads are better than others, same as on other surfaces. Some are archival and water-resistant, others are very much not.
  • Neopaque (opaque fabric paint) — Works well on different colors of Kraft-tex.
  • Sakura Micron Archival Ink Pens — Work well on white Kraft-tex. I could not wet or scrub them off.
  • Sakura Gelly Roll Pens — This brand of gel pen doesn’t run or bleed if they get wet, after they dry. The Moonlight ones are opaque and can be used on white or even black Kraft-tex.
    • Rule: If your gel pens or other pens don’t say water-resistant, they probably aren’t. If they don’t say they can write on dark surfaces, they probably won’t show up well on black.
  • Crayola Crayons — These work particularly well on white Kraft-tex, you can get a solid coverage, and heating the crayons up on its surface is a possibility.
  • Conte Crayons — Work well on white Kraft-tex but don’t erase from it even if you use several different types of erasers.
  • Colored Pencils — These work very well on Kraft-tex but don’t expect them to erase.
  • Uni-Posca Paint Pens (Markers)  — These fabulously opaque water-based paint pens work very well on Kraft-tex, even black Kraft-tex but you have to work fast to blend these markers. Heat setting alone may not be enough to set them, if the item you’re making might meet up with moisture. I’ll do more testing as to how to set them on this surface and will update this page with my findings.
  • Acrylic Paints – Acrylic  paints work very well on this surface, using a variety of brushes and methods. If you’re making a wearable, use a fabric medium with your acrylic paints. Craft paints lines often have a fabric medium they sell too. Golden Acrylic Paints has GAC 900, and Liquitex also sells a fabric medium.
  • Acrylic Inks — Same. They work very well on this surface.
  • Alcohol Inks — Adirondack Alcohol Ink works very well on this surface but spreads so well that you shouldn’t expect to make clean, tight lines with it. They may show all the way through to the other side. A lot.
  • Rit DyeWorks well on Kraft-tex. Pre-cut your pieces as the dye often doesn’t penetrate all the way through, though straight Rit dye did.
  • Shiva PaintstiksWork well on Kraft-tex and heat set. The irridescent ones work well using the rubbing technique on black Kraft-tex. Regular ones work too.
  • Various Fabric Paints — All the brands of fabric paint and iron-on fabric crayons have worked exceedingly well on this white Kraft-tex surface. I’ll do tests to see how they take washing later. Rule: If your fabric paints or markers don’t say they work well both on light and dark surfaces, they’re probably not opaque enough to work on black Kraft-tex.
  • Gessoes — I’m working with modern gessoes, as opposed to rabit glue gesso. Gessoes work well on Kraft-tex though one I tested, Martin F. Weber Prima Gesso, can wash out a bit while others don’t.  Some gessoes are more mat than others, some provide almost paper like textures, and others can create peaks and textures. Some are even glossy looking. Know your gessoes, know your projects, know your likes, and use the best gesso for your needs and preferences. I did not find a need to use gesso on Kraft-tex. However, one could use colored gessoes or white gesso on different colors of Kraft-tex for various effects.
  • Elmer’s Painters (paint markers) — I tested the oil-based kind. They have varying degrees of opacity but work very well on white. On black Kraft-tex, however, they were a bit of a dissapointment because they soaked right into it and seemed to seemed to dissapear somewhat, some colors more than others. They generally don’t show up well enough to my satisfaction. I have not tested them by washing.
  • Various threads, embroidery threads, and various glues can be used on Kraft-tex. Check Glue This to That and other sites for which glues may be most appropriate for your particular project.
  • Polymer Clays? Since Kraft-tex can tolerate heat, polymer clays cure with heat, I will experiment with polymer clay and liquid polymer clay on Kraft-tex.
  • Wood Burning Tips — First check if that could create toxic fumes. It doesn’t sound like a very good or necessary technqiue on this material. I wouldn’t bother trying.

Do the Above Products Show Through to the Other Side?

After testing many products on my white Kraft-tex, I flipped it over. Only some products show through just a tiny bit, like a shadowy hint that something must be on the other side, but none of them bled through…except for two — Rit Dye and the alcohol ink. This means that I can use the other side, the yet all white side, for other work and I may or may not want to apply a layer or two of artist quality acrylic gesso to it first when I do so.

Testing Opacity of Products on Black Kraft-tex

Watercolor Pencils and Elmer's Painters on black Kraft-tex.

Watercolor Pencils and Elmer’s Painters on black Kraft-tex.

Testing water-soluble oil pastels on black Kraft-tex.

Top: Testing water-soluble oil pastels on black Kraft-tex. Middle: Testing Elmer’s Painters. Bottom: Testing Mungyo Gallery Artist Soft Oil Pastels.

Colored Pencil on Black Kraft-tex.

Colored Pencil on Black Kraft-tex. Lighter colors show better.

Uni-Posca pens (AKA Posca markers) on black Kraft-tex.

Uni-Posca pens (AKA Posca markers) on black Kraft-tex. Very opaque.

Dimensional fabric paint on black Kraft-tex

Dimensional fabric paint on black Kraft-tex. Varying opacity.

Sakura Gelly Roll: Moonlight set. On black Kraft-tex.

Sakura Gelly Roll: Moonlight set. On black Kraft-tex. Very opaque, bold, and water resistant.

Irridescent Shiva Painstik on black Kraft-tex.

Irridescent Shiva Painstik on black Kraft-tex. They show up extremely well and are heat set.

Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight pens, Mungyo Artist Soft Oil Pastels, Uni-Posca paint pens , and only some fabric paints show very boldly when applied to black Kraft-tex. Some colors of watercolor pencil (Cretacolor’s AquaMonolith) and colored pencil show very well to rather decently. Test first. Generally Best Performers: Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight pens, Neopaque paints, the shimmery kind of Shiva Paintstiks Uni-Posca paint pens would be fabulous for some projects but not others (it depends what you’re project is used for, subjected to). Sakura Gelly Roll Moonlight pens don’t have to be heat set or covered with an acrylic matt medium or anything like that — they are very water resistant and dry relatively fast. Mungyo Artist Soft Oil Pastels can not be heat set or sealed using an acrylic matt medium. They never cure and remain very to somewhat smudgeable. It remains to be seen whether any spray sealant would be suitable enough to allow these oil pastels to be used on wearables or anythign that might see some wear and tear. They are between student and artist grade quality (some colors are fugative). I have to test how Uni-Posca paint pens would stand moisture and/or wear. If needed, I’ll experiment with different says to fix these so they can be used for wearables or items that may be handled frequently enough. The watersoluble oil pastels showed better if I wetted the Kraft-tex and then applied one to numerous times. They can be fixed in the manner described earlier on this page. More testing to follow…

Upcoming

  • Washability — Always test washability of various artwork on the Kraft-tex. The Kraft-tex itself is very washable.
  • Printing on Kraft-tex — I will test clear Golden Digital Grounds on white Kraft-tex. I have that already and am unsure if I want to by TAP (transfer artists paper) too.
  • Testing Opacity on Black Kraft-tex — More testing!

An Artis’s Consistency, a Consistent Body of Work

My Initial Reaction

From the financial aspect, an artist is “supposed to have” a consistent body of work. So you fit in a box. A sellable box. Labels. So you’re controllable and explainable in a flash card mentality way (this equals that). That’s anti-intellectual. It’s an insult. It turns out that it’s a cruel request that undermines not just an artist but the arts. Here’s how.

It’s like slamming square pegs into round holes. No one wants to be pegged or frozen in time. It’s not realistic. It’s not very observant either. Did the masters chain themselves to the consistency box or did they experiment and learn? They experimented. Sometimes those experimentations were failures. Even Leonardo da Vinci experimented and failed. He constantly experimented. He knew that experimentation, resulting active observations, and reaching new heights or discoveries are intrinsically entangled. He wore many hats too, as it were. And we admire the results. People are multidimensional. They’re holistic. They evolve over their lifetime or at least I hope they do.

Artists don’t soar in cages.

No one should demand that, by staying in the consistent body of work box, artist should allow parts of them, the parts that want to experiment, learn, soar, try new things, and take things in a different direction, to be alienated. Ostracized. Kept out of the light. Come here so we can sell you but ostracize huge chunks of you, as if you’re a side of beef we can carve up. Ugh. That’s an anti-magical binding spell of sorts, it really is.

Again, it undermines not just an artist but the arts.

So I’m going to dive in. I’m learning. My work is going to vary. A lot.

Related Pages (Not Mine):

Now A Tempered Response

Cedar Lee’s video (above) is the only bit I’ve seen so far that readily makes sense in the morass of issues and perspectives before me.  Set specific restraints, follow them, and this allows you to try to find simplest and easiest solution to any problem. If you have too many options, you’re scattered and tend to do the obvious, the predictable, the boring. If you focus on fewer options but take them to the limits, you blossom. You push yourself. Makes sense. It’s practical too.

Conclusion

For me at this point and time in my life, the truth is somewhere between my initial reaction and my more tempered response. But Cedar Lee gives good starting points, that’s for sure.