In this article I'll address the most common questions around how to
seal polymer clay with resin, some of the problems people have, and how
to fix them.
Resin is great for sealing polymer clay. It’s the least likely of all the sealants to react with your surface effects. It can be a bit tricky to use, but once you get over the quirks of your particular polymer clay resin it is really worth the effort. With a bit of patience you can achieve the most wonderful professional finishes.
Click here for a bullet point summary...
If you've never used resin with your polymer clay before, and you're not sure which one to use, I discuss which ones are best and why in my article: Which Polymer Clay Resin Should I Use? You can also take a look at my Ice Resin Video Tutorial where I go through the process of using resin step by step.
When I first started learning how to seal polymer clay with resin, I came across a problem I call 'stuck fast'. I would
lay my polymer clay beads out on a tile or newspaper to prevent messes. I would come back after
the curing process and low and behold some of the resin had slipped over the edges
of my beads and had now cured on the tile or newspaper. Of course, this meant that my beads were well and truly stuck. It caused endless problems. But there’s a really easy way of preventing
it. I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of this sooner.
Simply place your polymer clay bead on a surface with raised bumps of some kind (preferably silicon). The resin will drip off the bead and pool in the grooves between the bumps, curing in its own puddle away from your project. Once cured simply pick your bead up off of the curing surface. You can turn your bead upside down and scrape off any residue.If you use a silicon curing mat, the cured resin peals off of it really easily. I got mine for a few dollars on eBay.
happened to me once when I left my resin outside in the sun for too long. I was in a hurry to finish my project and I didn't feel like waiting, like I normally do, for my resin to cure overnight. I was so annoyed! But - I learned a valuable lesson about how to seal polymer clay with resin...
If resin gets too hot, it starts to burn and turns yellow - and ugly. This problem only happens on really hot days so just keep a watch on your resin if you’re letting it cure outside in direct sunlight and the temperature is a bit high.
This is another
problem I encountered at the start of my resin and polymer clay journey.
When I applied my resin it pooled into the holes I had made with my beading awl and clogged them up. I was
constantly having to go with a pin and wiggle it into the hole to keep it open. Between that and the stuck fast problem, I was pulling my hair out! But once again, I found that there is a really simple solution that I wish I had realized much earlier.
I made two important discoveries:
So to avoid the resin clogging up your holes, bite the bullet and start drilling your beads after sealing your polymer clay with resin. It’s super easy and gives a great result. I've put together a quick drilling polymer clay tutorial to show you how easy it really is. I
wish I’d known about the hand drill when I first started.
There are ways to keep bigger holes open if they are an integral part of the design, but it's a finicky, messy process!
Another problem that you may encounter when you first learn how to seal polymer clay with resin is air bubbles. They can get into the resin while you're mixing it and they ruin the perfect, glass finish you are looking for. Well don’t worry. There are a few ways to get rid of them, but prevention is better than cure. So...
Remember, slowly does it with
resin. We get so busy with all of our projects, and sometimes we are in such a hurry. This is one place when you really just have to take a deep breath and take your time.
Okay so you’ve mixed your resin slowly and you’ve avoided most of the air bubbles, but you still have a few small nuisances floating about. So what to do about it?
Just pour the resin onto your beads as normal. By the time you've finished pouring the whole batch, the resin will have sat for a little while and the bubbles will have risen to the surface. Now you just have to pop them.
Grab a straw and gently blow across the surface of your bead. See the bubbles starting to pop? Wait for a minute and then blow again. Repeat this process for about ten minutes. This should get rid of all the bubbles.
The Ice Resin Video Tutorial goes through this process in detail if you are stuck.
TIP: I always recommend sealing your polymer clay with resin in batches (around ten beads or more at a time). The more resin you are mixing, the easier it is to get the measurements correct. Mixing up a tiny amount of resin for only one or two beads is very difficult to do accurately, and if you mix a larger amount and you only have a couple of beads, you will end up wasting quite a bit. Resin is quite pricey, so batching your beads makes sense.
This was one thing I
found out the hard way when I was learning how to seal polymer clay with resin. The beautiful, glassy effect of the resin will almost completely hide the texture you have applied to your clay unless you accent it in some way. If you
plan to pour resin onto texture make sure you’ve highlighted the texture with some form of
mica powder or other mixed media.
The upside to this is that resin hides fingerprints and imperfections in your joins, but that's cheating!
There are quite a few different resins available and it can be confusing trying to figure out which one will be best to use. Since they are a bit more pricey than most polymer clay supplies, it's best to stick to the well tested ones. Check out my article: Which Polymer Clay Resin Should I Use? for a run down of the ones I have found to be the safest and easiest to use.
So in summary, here is what you need to know about how to seal polymer clay with resin:
Learning how to seal polymer clay with resin takes a bit of time and patience. I went through quite a bit of trial and error in the beginning. But in the end I found that the results are worth the hassle. No other polymer clay sealer can replicate the professional finish of resin. If you are having trouble, please check out my step by step Ice Resin Tutorial. It's full of tips and tricks to make working with resin hassle free.
Having said that, each polymer clay sealer has its place, so be sure to check out the rest of the articles in this series listed below.
Do you have any other questions or problems with your polymer clay resin? Let me know in the comments below and I'll be happy to add them in.
In the mean time, please like and share with your friends. Let's learn together.
Please leave your comments below: