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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Nail Polish + Polymer - Thinking Outside the Box



Thinking Outside the Box

Naivety is Bliss... oh, so true! Brief history of your writer & an Accidental Miracle. I used Polymer the 1st time back in the mid 90's. I was making Kaleidoscopes (really real ones) & bought my 1st clay to make some ornate unique bodies for them. I would bake the clay & then dip it into water that had been treated with Powdered Borax (the laundry additive) & had Enamel Paint floating on top. It worked Perfect & there was no chemical reaction. I had the idea that a nail polish with a translucent color may look even more like blown glass. Viola', success yet again. Now, I get occasional Nail Polish tuts (originally for fingernail art) & do some creative dipping.I haven't tried enamel paint again since those early days because I like the authentic glass look I get with nail polish.

Now, we KNOW that there is a chemical reaction in polymer & petroleum based products, so why is this working??? All I can suppose is that is has to be 1 of 2 things. Either the Borax that I add to the water somehow neutralizes the chemical reaction of the polymers OR it is the polish I've been using. The polish is always either a low priced 'fast-dry' from Wal-Mart or the drugstore OR cheapy $1- bottles of regular polish from the various Dollar Stores. 

When I do HEAVY Dipping session - I use 1 cup borax to about 1/3 gallon bucket of warm water. When I have a smaller project, I will put 1/2 cup in a good sized bowl.

I don't usually seal a finished piece (it's not needed), but the few times I have I wait at least 3 days & then do a water based Varathane finish.

IF you are going to give this a try... use baked trial pieces to be sure the products you have will work. Also, I it is ESSENTIAL to add the Borax to your warm water & stir until dissolved. OR, use really hot water, dissolve the Borax & then let the water cool. It's the official product at the heart of mixed media dipping procedures & may well be the key. I use 20 Mule Team Borax from the laundry isle, but it seems any brand should work. Trial run is important since Im not sure why this works.

I'll be posting some Cool dipping designs to play with later for my own reference.
Happy claying... & dipping to all!

Update Note: I have since found several other reputable artists that are also using nail polishes on polymer with success. I will post their tuts also... but the same procautions above apply, ok? It is interesting that they don't use any additive at all, jus dip their baked clay or paint directly on the surface.