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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Never Sand Again: Seriously! Secret Tools Series Pt 3

  I'm an 'Old School' clayer. I began claying in 1995, before the internet & a gazillion wonderful talented artists were at the ready to give sound advice for every polymer clay dilemma known. I do remember the 1st polymer clay book I purchased talked about the woes of fingerprints that can ruin our artwork. I had never seen a fingerprint in my clay, but I actively searched for them after that. Hmmm... no fingerprints... ever.

  Recently, I came across yet another article discussing the woes of fingerprints here on the internet. I had to really stop & think, why do so many clay artists find this a problem & it just never has been an issue for me. I never wear latex gloves & although I do strive to make my work clean, I'm not overly fussy to the point of anal with my projects. Plus, I have Never in all these years sanded a piece - EVER! Then, the lightbulb went off, I answered that age old clayers question & knew I should share the answer.

  Being 'old school' without any counsel... I recognized clayer issues & jumped for solutions. My interest was in covering larger pieces, but it was sooo hard spreading the clay uniformly over that 1st piece. (Giggles - I hadn't even heard of a pasta or clay machine.) I had popped in at a thrift store & found a gadget. I had absolutely no idea in the universe what it's purpose for existing was, but the minute I touched it I knew it was the solution to smoothing my clay. There was a plastic back that fit in the palm of my hand & it had this fabulous pad of 'something' - slightly softer than firm rubber but much firmer than a composite styrofoam. I picked up 4 of these 'whatevers' for a buck 2 decades ago & still have 2 left - WooHoo!    

  And what incredible 'doomahickies' they are! I press my gadget into my palm & use a kind of rolling action, pressing the base of my palm against my piece & roll upwards to my fingertips. And, because it's a larger gadget, it covers a Lot of surface quickly. Well, I had to do some real gadget surfing to even figure out what these little beauties are. A drumroll please as I introduce you to my beloved 'thingamadoohickie'...

I think this is them - WooHoo! Not much to look at I guess, you Really need to be able to touch that black pad that creates the finish on your artwork - Wow! Solid, smooth, perfect finish... Always! And so easy! No exaggeration, I have Never Ever sanded a piece, ever! I grabbed several gadgets to show you, but this looks exactly like what I have. They are called EZ Moves II & are made to move furniture on a carpeted surface. And, at $15.50 + FREE Shipping / set of 4 they are still a great buy. Keep in mind, I'm an 'Amazon.com' kinda gal... you may get an even better price at a store like Wal-Mart. Here's a few more to take a peak at OR you can google furniture moving pads. The 2 things to look for in your gadget are #1 - that hard plastic back plate that allows for firm uniform pressure application & #2 - the thickest 'cushy pad' possible.
The company never gives the 'pad thickness' but one of the posters comments says nearly an inch
Thickness is iffy, but a good bargain

These 5" squares have no plastic backing But you can see they are thick & well made
For smaller sized pieces these might be great siliconed to a piece of acrylic  or wood

Since this ol gal has Never sanded, you may be wondering about the finish on my pieces. Pieces are always perfectly smooth, never a mark or blemish. I have 3 final finishes I use. The 1st is 'natural', which looks much like any piece fine sanded & then completed with a matte or non high gloss finish. The 2nd (which I do most often) is to brush on a single coat of water based Varathane for a high polished glass-like finish. I do use 2-3 coats for pieces I'm putting outside. Not to protect them from the elements - polymer does fine outside without any seal, but I like to be able to clean off dirt & dust easily. The 3rd & final finish is to 'polish' the piece with my Dremel & wonderful buffing pads, from Amazon.com of course. It's pretty quick & easy  & my pieces really do look like genuine blown glass with a beautiful 'deep' glow. Here's a few of the Buffing pads I use if you are looking for ideas.


 


Left - 1.25" top, 2" base Cone Buffer       $7.72 + FREE Shipping
Middle -4" Extra Large Mushroom Buffer       $10.99 + FREE Shipping
Right - 3" Medium Mushroom Buffer       $6.99 + FREE Shipping


It just occurred to me, you may be thinking I'm starting to sound like an Amazon.com commercial... I sure hope that isn't the case! The way I view it... polymer clay can be an expensive hobby. I'm Always on the look-out for ways to cut expenses & work while bringing out the very best in our creations. Are furniture moving pads an expense you need? Well, you'll Never have to buy sand paper again... that savings will add up, right? Giggles, & hearing many of the artsts explaining the 'Joy of wet-sanding'... I get the impression they would pay someone to do that chore if they could  :-)

Off to show you how to save boodles on your clay expenses. (no amazon.com visits)
As always... Happy Claying