Testing Metallic Paints on Polymer Clay

One of the things we love to do when working with polymer clay is to add a little bit of shimmer or sparkle, either as an accent or to replicate metal, such as for a bezel or setting. There are so many metallic and shimmering pearlescent paints on the market, so which ones are good? Which ones aren’t? I was curious, so I gathered up 11 different jars and bottles and got busy testing metallic paints on polymer clay.

Review and tests of metallic acrylic paints on polymer clay.

 

All of the paints I tested are acrylic paints, which means that they have an acrylic medium or carrier, and then a metallic or mica particle suspended in them. Some of them also have pigments or dyes as well. Note, none of the paints tested seem to contain actual metal particles, rather they seem to all use mica to create the metallic effect. (Paints did not tarnish and oxidize when treated with VerDay Patina Spray , which is similar to Swellegant.) I didn’t test the metallic pastes (Inka Gold, Gilders Paste, Rub n Buff) or the mica powders (Pearl Ex and Perfect Pearls) because they function very differently and I’ll review them separately.

Lots of beads on bead pins. They'll be used to test metallic paints on polymer clay.
I tested each metallic paint on both Kato and Premo, and painted half the beads before curing and half after curing. That meant 44 bead. That’s a lotta beads, so I used bead roller sets from Poly-Tools.

Materials and Methods

The paints tested are as follows. This is also how they’re labelled in the pictures.

  1. Maya Gold by Viva Decor in Night Blue
  2. Maya Gold by Viva Decor in Aubergine
  3. MetaMica by Stewart-Gill in Potpourri
  4. Pearlise by Stewart-Gill in Black Pearl
  5. Silks by LuminArte in Pretty Peridot
  6. FW Pearlescent Ink by Daler-Rowney in Pearlescent Pink
  7. Golden Fluid Acrylics in Iridescent Gold (Fine)
  8. Lumiere by Jacquard in Metallic Gold
  9. Folk Art Metallic in Pure Gold
  10. Dazzling Metallics by DecoArt in Glorious Gold
  11. Precious Metal Colors by Viva Decor in Gold

I tested each of the 11 metallic or pearlescent paints in a variety of ways to explore their covering power, their chemical compatibility with polymer clay, their durability, and their general appearance. I also checked their ability to crackle on a stretched clay sheet, the number of coats required to cover patterned clay, and compared their coverage and flow on paper. Here’s more details on the tests:

Metallic Paint on Polymer Clay Beads

All paints were tested as follows:

  1. Two coats of paint on white unbaked Kato Polyclay, baked at 300°F (148°C) for 1 hour.
  2. Two coats of paint on white baked Kato Polyclay (baked at 300°F (148°C) for 1 hour), then heat set at 275°F (135°C) for 20 minutes. (Beads were wiped with alcohol before painting.)
  3. Two coats of paint on white unbaked Premo, baked at 275°F (135°C) for 45 minutes (these were smaller beads, so I baked less time.)
  4. Two coats of paint on white baked Premo (baked at 275°F (135°C) for 45 minutes), then heat set at 250°F (121°C). (Beads were wiped with alcohol before painting.)

These beads were evaluated for appearance of paint after two coats, tackiness after curing, any color changes with baking, how well the paint adhered to the bead (scratch resistance and durability), and finally if any of these characteristics varied by the brand of clay used or whether the paint was applied to uncured or cured polymer clay.

Compare and test various metallic acrylic paints on polymer clay. More at The Blue Bottle Tree.
Two coats of each metallic paint on a white bead made of Kato polyclay.

Coverage of Metallic Paint on a Patterned Polymer Sheet

Paints were applied to a sheet of baked Premo made from black and white retro cane slices. One, two, and three coats were applied separately to evaluate the relative coverage. After heat setting the sheet (and paints) at 250°F (121°C) for 20 minutes, I also tested these by scratching with my fingernail to test durability.

Testing how many coats of metallic paint are required to cover patterned polymer clay. More at The Blue Bottle Tree.
Testing coverage power of metallic paints. Top row is one coat, second row is two coats, and bottom row is three coats of metallic paint on patterned polymer clay.

Crackle Effect on Stretched Clay Sheets

Thick sheets (#1 on my Atlas) of unbaked white Premo were painted with two coats and left to dry overnight. These sheets where then run through my pasta machine on a #4 to evaluate crackle effect.

Testing crackle ability of metallic paints on polymer clay.
Sheets of raw white Premo polymer clay were painted with two coats of metallic paint. After drying overnight, they were run through a pasta machine to evaluate crackling. The 6th and 11th paints did crackle, all others did not.

Coverage of Metallic Paint on Printed Paper

Each color of paint was applied to a printed sheet of paper, in a single stroke, to evaluate how well the paint flowed on paper and how well it covered the print. This gives an indication of how translucent the paint is.

Testing coverage of various metallic acrylic paints on paper over print.
Evaluating coverage of one stroke of metallic paint on printed paper.

Silk Screen Printing

Conversation with Sue of Creative Journey Studios indicated that several of these paints work nicely for silk screen printing. Since I have Sculpey’s Silk Screen Kit on hand, I took a few extra minutes to test how several of these paints performed. I tested Maya Gold (Night Blue), MetaMica, Pearlise, and Precious Metal Color by screen printing onto #3 sheets of white unbaked Premo. After the paint dried, I baked them at 275°F (135°C) for 30 minutes.

Metallic paints silk screen printed on polymer clay.
Metallic paint silk screen printed onto white Premo polymer clay.

Results and Discussion

  1. Maya Gold by Viva Decor in Night Blue – Provided in a jar, this thick bodied paint is gorgeous, it’s like a blue tinted paint with distinct silver sparkles. The paper liner inside the lid had disintegrated, though, and had to be carefully picked off the paint in the jar. The paint covered beautifully in two coats on all surfaces tested. The paint body itself is glossy and the mica particles are fairly large and give good sparkle. But paint applied to raw clay bubbled during curing and changed color to a royal blue. Paint applied to baked clay, even when baked at 275°F (135°C) for 45 minutes, did not bubble. This paint must not be compatible with polymer clay because it remained tacky and gummy on polymer clay. Also, where it peeled off, it left the underlying clay stained red. (Odd, it’s blue paint.) There was no difference between Kato and Premo. It stuck better when applied to raw clay, but peeled easily when scratched. Not only did this clay not crackle, but it peeled off the sheet of clay in a rubbery mess when run through the pasta machine.
  2. Maya Gold by Viva Decor in Aubergine – This color of Maya Gold produced identical results as the blue color with the exception of the color shift when used on raw clay. It also has slightly smaller mica particles, giving a bit less shimmer.
  3. MetaMica by Stewart-Gill in Potpourri – Also in a jar, with a consistency a bit like mayonnaise, this paint had a very slight shimmer. It covered fairly well, two coats had a bit of streaking, three would have been better. Labelled as a gloss, I found this to be a satin paint and it didn’t really have a great metallic shimmer. I loved the rich color, though, and it painted on with a rich, smooth, buttery flow. When painted onto raw clay, the color faded considerably during baking. Baking did not change the color of paint applied to cured beads. But sadly, this paint easily peeled off all beads tested. The paint stained the underlying clay red. This paint dried well on the clay, was only slightly rubbery feeling, but did not create a true crackle effect. Though it did stay attached to the raw clay sheet.
  4. Pearlise by Stewart-Gill in Black Pearl – An almost flat black paint with a very fine mica shimmer, this paint reminded me of chalkboard paint. It covers completely and very well with one coat. It dried completely, was not tacky on beads, and I couldn’t scratch the paint off my beads. It did not create large crackles, but it did break into a fine network of crosswise lines. This paint had a lot of carbon black in it, and I suspect it sort of masked the pearlescent quality they intend for it to have. Perhaps the other colors of this range have better shimmer. This is a nice paint.
  5. Silks by LuminArte in Pretty Peridot – Labelled as a semi-gloss acrylic glaze, this honey-textured paint comes in a little tiny jar or pot. Definitely a light green glaze with a fine mica shimmer, this paint does not give much coverage at all. It would take many, many coats of this for complete coverage. It is a semi-gloss paint body and gives a fairly tacky or rubbery feel when used on polymer clay. Most people would say it’s sticky, though it didn’t actually stick to anything. It was more like a window cling in feel. On Kato beads, this paint peeled off easily. But it was impossible to remove from Premo beads with my fingernail. It did not crackle and instead peeled off the raw clay sheet.
  6. Pearlescent Ink by Daler-Rowney in Pearlescent Pink – I only included this because I thought it would offer a good contrast to the other paints. This is sold as an ink for use with fine brush and dip pens. But it really surprised me. It is a liquid, the consistency of milk, and does not give much coverage at all. But it is heavily infused with a medium sized mica particle and creates tremendous pearlescent sheen. It dries nicely to the touch, even on raw clay, and is impossible to be scraped from both Kato and Premo beads. And yes, this does create a very nice crackle effect on raw polymer clay, but you need to use several coats to get a good even coating.
  7. Golden Fluid Acrylics in Iridescent Gold (Fine) – Textured a bit like liquid polymer clay, this fluid acrylic is the only one on the list to be a fine artist’s material rather than a craft material. It has a satin paint body and has a lot of fine textured mica with a good, reflective shimmer. I don’t see it as being iridescent. Two coats left the beads streaky and it would take many coats for complete coverage. There was a slight tacky feel to the beads, but not exactly sticky. Painted on raw beads, this paint was impossible to be scraped off after baking. But painted on baked beads, you could scrape it off with effort. So for this paint, I would recommend painting it on raw clay before curing for maximum durability. This paint did not crackle and easily peeled off the raw sheet. For an artist’s paint, I was surprised that this paint wasn’t more pigment dense, to be honest.
  8. Lumiere by Jacquard in Metallic Gold – Lumiere comes in small squeeze bottles similar in size to alcohol inks. A traditional favorite of polymer clay artists, I was surprised to find this paint performing so badly. It is not very pigment dense, has very little coverage, and acts more like a glaze than a paint. The paint body itself is glossy and remains quite rubbery or tacky even after being heat set. It peeled easily off Kato beads. But on Premo the story was different. If painted on raw Premo before curing, the paint was nearly impossible to scratch off the beads. But if painted on cured Premo, you could scratch it off with some effort. This paint did not dry enough for crackling. It peeled from the clay in a gummy mess onto my pasta machine, much like the Maya Gold paints did. Even though this isn’t a very densely pigmented paint, it does have quite a reflective shimmer.
  9. Folk Art Metallic in Pure Gold – A $2.17 craft paint that’s the consistency of honey gives moderate, but streaky coverage with two coats. It will need at least 4 or more coats for full coverage, but it has more pigment density than the Golden paint. The paint body is more like a satin, not a semi-gloss. It required some effort to scratch this paint from polymer clay beads, and when painted onto raw Premo, it stuck tight after curing. This paint feels smooth and silky when dried, not sticky at all, but it does not work for crackling. It stretches as the clay stretches and peels off in spots. This paint has good metallic shine.
  10. Dazzling Metallics by DecoArt in Glorious Gold – This $1.87 bottle is nearly identical to the Folk Art Metallic, but it does actually stick a bit better to the beads and is harder to scratch off.
  11. Precious Metal Colors by Viva Decor in Gold – I’m not sure this is an acrylic paint, but it is water based. It has a very slight chemical solvent smell, so this might have a very different paint body than the others tested. But this performed wonderfully! This is a very different paint. It has a very large mica particle, almost glitter sized, and it gives a brilliant metallic shine that is much more metallic than any of the other paints. This is the only paint I’ve seen that actually rivals gold leaf. Because the particles are so large, it’s a bit like painting with glitter paint and it’s hard to get complete coverage in 2 coats. Three would be better. It dries beautifully to a very nice hard, smooth surface. No tackiness at all. And it was impossible to scratch this paint off both Kato and Premo beads. And this gives one of the most impressive crackle effects I’ve ever seen on stretched polymer clay. It truly looks like gold leaf. Painted on with a dry brush, this paint would give lovely metallic highlights.

About that Bubbling

Maya Gold paint on Kato polyclay. Top beads were painted before curing.Some polymer clay artists report that acrylic paint sticks better when it’s applied to raw clay and then baked. But when I mention this in groups and forums the fear is always that the heat will bubble and ruin the paint. And when the first painted beads came out of the oven at 300°F (148°C) and I saw the bubbling, I thought the temperature must have been too high for the paint. But the bubbling actually seemed to correlate to being on unbaked clay, not to the temperature it was baked. In fact, when I looked under the bubbles on the Kato beads, I could see cracks in the clay where the gasses escaped. Premo baked at 275°F (135°C) only bubbled on the beads that were painted raw, not on the ones merely baked at that heat.

Silk Screening

Oh gosh that was fun. I will have to write about silk screening another time. All four paints printed beautifully. The Maya Gold and the Meta Mica showed signs of some staining around the edges of the paint, and sure enough, when I scraped off the paint, I could see the stained clay underneath. The Maya Gold was sticky and smeared easily (though it did not peel outright). The MetaMica peeled off easily. (These results reinforced the previous results with durability on clay.) With hard scraping, the Pearlise smeared a bit, but tenaciously stayed stuck. And the Precious Metal Color seems to be made for this…gorgeous, gorgeous color. Excellent performance, and I could not scrape it off.

Bonus Result

When I saw how tacky several of these beads were, I coated them with Varathane to see if it would fix the problem of some paints having a sticky surface. And it did. Every one of these brands then had a great finish that was no longer tacky or sticky. But it did not allow the poorly adhering paints to adhere any better. An interesting point, though. Painting Varathane on each of these cured beads, I found that none of the color came off on the brush. Except with Silks. That turned my paintbrush green! I’ve seen this happen with my other colors, too.

Conclusion

Wow, how to summarize all that? Well, let’s see. Let me just break it down into some bullet points.

  • Maya Gold is incompatible with polymer clay. It’s gorgeous on paper, though.
  • Pearlise, Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Ink, and Viva Decor Precious Metal Colors are exceedingly durable on polymer clay and have no hint of tackiness or stickiness.
  • Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Ink and Viva Decor Precious Metal Colors are the only ones that will give a crackle effect when painted onto a raw clay sheet and then stretched.
  • No brand of acrylic paint bubbled or discolored when painted onto baked polymer clay and heat set at 275°F (135°C).
  • Painting acrylic paint onto raw clay and then baking gives better durability and adhesion except with Maya Gold, Silks, and Golden Fluid Acrylics. Those bubbled.
  • Inexpensive DecoArt and Folk Art metallic paints are excellent for use on polymer clay.
  • Some paints still peel from polymer clay even after heat setting.
  • I want to try more colors of Pearlise. It looks very promising. It has a great finish, good coverage, excellent adhesion.
  • Maya Gold and Precious Metal Colors had the largest mica particles. MetaMica, Pearlise, and Lumiere had the smallest.
  • None of these paints used actual metal. They all appeared to be mica based.
  • Precious Metal Colors gives the most convincing metal effect.
  • Silks don’t seem to be very good for use with polymer clay. They have a dye in them that bleeds with Varathane and they are quite sticky and tacky.
  • Lumiere is so popular with clayers (and performed so badly here) that I wonder if I have a bad batch? Does anyone else have similar results with theirs?
  • Sometimes paints get sticky many months or years later. I can’t test for this today, of course, but I’ll keep the beads around and report back if anything changes.

Recommendations

I was honestly surprised and quite pleased with the performance of the Precious Metal Colors. If you want a bright metallic effect on polymer clay, you’re just not going to get a better result than this. It’s…pardon the pun…brilliant. It paints nicely, it crackles nicely, it silk screen prints nicely, and it comes in many bright, shiny colors. Win!

I was also surprised at how well the FW Daler-Rowney Pearlescent Ink performed. I have had it for years and never used it on polymer clay, but now I will. It also makes me think I need to look into the other brands of acrylic inks, too.

Pearlise came out as a strong contender, too. Like I said earlier, I’d like to see this paint in other colors. If it’s anything like this Black Pearl, it will be a trusty workhorse in your polymer kit. It wasn’t much for crackle, but it does give good coverage, sticks well to clay, and has a nice smooth finish.

But the surprise was the strong performance of the very inexpensive craft paints by DecoArt and Folk Art. They were more densely pigmented than the far more expensive Golden Fluid Acrylic and Lumiere, and they had better durability on baked beads, especially on Kato. They had a much better, far less tacky feel to them as well. If you’re looking to get a range of metallic paints for your polymer clay, I would lean toward these paints vs. Lumiere paints.

Credits and Fine Print

Most of the materials I used in these tests were things I had on hand or I bought for the purpose of doing this comparison. A few items were received as a courtesy from suppliers or manufacturers. But you have my word and my promise that I will always strive to give you the most honest information that I can. Here are the generous people who provided some of the materials I used in this article. Please show them some love and tell them I sent you!

  • The beads were created on bead rolling sets and bead pins provided by Poly-Tools. I used Pro sets #4 and #7.
  • The MetaMica and Perlise were provided by Poly Clay Play.
  • The Maya Gold was provided by Viva Decor.
  • Silk screens were provided by Polyform.

Thank You!

I want to thank you all for your kind words and encouragement. It does take a lot of time, work and expense to do these tests and it means so much when I get emails and messages from you expressing your appreciation. It’s truly amazing that we’re part of this wonderful sharing community. And can you believe it’s all because of some little bricks of plastic clay? Who would have thought! And now I have a favor to ask of you. Would you mind sharing my website with your other polymer clay loving friends? It would be great if a few more people knew about my tutorials. I would be ever so grateful!

And if you missed my tutorials…you can find them here:

Polymer Clay Tutorials

86 thoughts on “Testing Metallic Paints on Polymer Clay”

  1. Lumier Paints are thin when you get them in the little squeeze bottles, but they are luscious and thick when purchased in the jars!! I think the squeeze bottles were supposed to just be samples!

    1. Really! Well that explains that. What an odd thing for the company to do. You’d think they’d label them as a glaze, then. Thanks for the info, it makes sense.

          1. my set of small bottles was also thin. My jars are great!! Bit they can dry up after a year or so!! I just love the Pearl Blue and Green- and combinations from them. And the Violet Gold!!

        1. I have a set of the small bottles and a complete set of the full jars of Lumiere. They perform very differently. I would recommend sticking to the jars of paint. I have used paint from the jars on polymer clay, air dry clay (Lumina brand) and paper beads and it performs very well with no peeling. I’ve used Lumiere on dry beads, jewelry and sculptures but now I have to experiment with my multi-brand supply of acrylic paints and acrylic inks. Thanks so much for the review Ginger. You are a national treasure.

  2. Thanks Ginger for another wonderful article. You tested so many products under so many conditions. It boggles the mind. Thank you for all your hard work, both in the experiments and the excellent write ups. I always look forward to each posting.

  3. Thank you for doing this and sharing your results. Your experimentation will make better artists out of all of us. You have also encouraged me to do some of my own experimentation. I am new to this craft and figured that I just had a huge learning curve. Now I find out that not everything has been done yet, and I have an even bigger experimentation curve!

    1. In some ways it’s just like life. I learn something every day. My grandpa always said, “The day you stop learning is the day you start dying.”

  4. This post was amazing! Thanks so much for all this information. It explained why I always got bubbles in my paint and why my acrylic paint would never crackle. Now I know which brands to use.

    1. I did find (but didn’t report it) that very soft, fresh clay (or clay that’s had plasticizer added to it) will not work very well for crackling, either. I think the plasticizer loosens the paint.

  5. Colorado Liz Hall

    Hi Ginger: Thank you for your excellent research that you share with us, it is very helpful!

    I have used Golden Heavy Body paints with great coverage. I am especially fond of the Iridescent Copper (Fine). It is a 3 in opacity/transparency, (1 being most opaque, 8 being most transparent.).

    I have also used Liquitex Artists acrylics in the tube that give great coverage. Donna Kato wrote about crackling acrylic paints on raw clay in her book “The Art of Polymer Clay Creative Surface Effects”. I can’t find my copy but she says to use acrylic paint on raw clay quickly as it does not store well. The paint has a tendency to just peel off the clay after several days.

    So I usually paint, allow it to air dry and then try to crackle it. She also uses Jazz metallic tempera paints and I’ve had really good luck with tempera giving a great crackle effect like metal leaf. I also use it that day or the next so it won’t peel off.

    In your tests on text and the words showing through several of the colors I would say it is safe to assume that those are the colors with the most transparency. (White and gold metallics are usually pretty transparent in my experience.)

    I’ve attached the link to Golden if anyone would like to research other metallics.

    http://www.goldenpaints.com/products/color/heavybody/iridchart.php

    Click on the color your interested in and it will give you the opacity/transparency rating.

    Keep up the great work that you are doing, it is very appreciated!!!

    1. Oh yes, the heavy body acrylics are a very different product. I have some on hand, I didn’t think to include them, unfortunately. They are very nice, and I do use them for many different purposes. I agree with what Donna Kato says…you see, the plasticizer in clay can cause the plastic in acrylic paint to get loosey goosey, too. So that explains why you need to use it fast. In the case of my tests, though, it didn’t even dry, really. I didn’t mention it, but I did try it with trans first and it was even worse.

  6. Well, I really can’t add anything except “ditto” to all the comments above. It is clear you have the discipline of a chemist to add to your creative side and for that we thank you! Clear and concise and saving all of us polymer people lots of trial and error 😀

  7. What a nice thorough article, Ginger. Thank you for taking the time to test and write about it. You are an amazing resource for all of us. I’m still working more in metals than polymer, but I love reading all of your posts and I have them and several of your tutorials lined up in my mind for the next time I take out my polymer clay. I know when I have a question about polymer clay to check your blog for the answer first!

  8. I have the Precious Metal Gold and it has a wonderful staying power when put on baked clay but not heat set, also. My favorite go-to for craft paint is Folk Art and DecoArt. Because I tended to go through a lot and in so many colors when I had more time for crafts, the price was a huge bonus over time. I’ve used these paints in other crafts for years and years so it’s nice to know I can use them on clay successfully too. Thank you, Ginger!

    1. Heat setting isn’t always necessary…and I didn’t really test that this time around. (Maybe I should put that on the list.) But thanks for the info about the Precious Metal Colors. It’s certainly my new fave.

  9. I love it when you conduct your experiments and share your results. Not only are the results useful to the clay community, it’s just fun to read. I use Folk Art paints, because they’re the one I looked into re: animal testing. Looks like I need to get busy contacting a few other companies, especially Viva Decor. Thanks for sharing.

      1. I really don’t know. I don’t see any reason why it would, but you would have to contact the manufacturers for more information. In this blog post by Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard, she states that Polyform, VanAken, and Staedtler all say they don’t test on animals. Tammy is very thorough in her research so I certainly would trust her information.

  10. Bravo Ginger!! You have provided, yet again, a terrific insight into these paints and techniques. Thank you so much for all the hard work you do for our polymer community. I think that silk screen kit is going on my birthday wish list! Great job!!

  11. Ginger – Thank you for your work – and so objectively presented. I will share you site with my students! – Again, Thank you. We need something besides composition gold leaf (which eventually tarnishes)! Barbara McGuire

    1. Thanks Barbara, and I do appreciate the share! Of course we don’t know if these will tarnish over time, the same as metal leaf, but I suspect not. I did spray them with the acid developer spray and none of them tarnished. The Precious Metal Colors performed so well, I was really stunned that it’s not more popular with polymer people.

  12. Awesome! I have a gold that doesn’t cover well, and this will help me avoid picking another dog. Do you have a favorite for a rich, Christmas red?

    1. Unfortunately, I have only tried these paints. As for colors, I would aim for that Perlise paint if they have a red (but I don’t think they do). And I do know that the Precious Metal Colors has a red. But, of course, that’s metallic. For a regular red, I think I’d try the cheap craft paints. I really like how they perform. But not the outdoor craft paints…I’ve found that those stay sticky.

  13. Hi, Ginger, Once again an informative review with valuable information!! I use the Deco Art and Folk Art and the other brand in that price range (Americana – or something like that). I didn’t know about heat setting the paints – thank you for this new info. I can’t wait to see your review of the silk screening. I have that kit, too, and just love it. Would like to find more screens, though.

  14. Jeri Staley-Earnst

    Thank you for all the time and effort that went into accumulating this information. It will save a lot of us, a lot of work. Appreciate your generosity of spirit. Mahalo

  15. Another brilliant useful article. I use acrylic paint quite a lot on my polymer clay. Before I thought all acrylic paints are the same (so naive of me), but now I know a lot better… not only that different brand has different result, but also that we can set the paint better by baking it. So, thank you so so so much!!! This allows me to create better quality polyclay jewelry. Huge thanks Ginger… *love*

    1. I had already noticed that most acrylics seemed to work pretty well on clay, but some most definitely did not. I wish I knew the reasons. But regardless, it’s best to try it out before investing in a whole bunch of work that doesn’t turn out nicely. Yes, that heat setting really does help, and certainly doesn’t hurt.

  16. Ginger,
    This was so awesome. Great detail. I held my breath while I read about those items I had ‘invested’ in. Good for the Viva Decor. I have just tried mine and was very happy. I hadn’t tried my Lumiere, but will be very cautious. Looks good in the bottle-maybe I should leave it there. Thank you so much for sharing. Hugs, Boni

      1. Several years ago I used Lumiere to crackle on Premo clay. Did a beautiful job. This may have been before the change in clay formula. I will have to try it again. I do remember that it took more than 24 hours to dry completely.
        Thanks for such an informative research article. I’ll have to get more Viva Decor!

        1. I will be testing the Lumiere and Maya Gold again with fresh paint. We’ll see if I can get it to crackle. And yes, Viva Decor makes beautiful things!

  17. Alright Ginger! Another helpful and informative effort! Really interesting about the Lumiere and Folk Art paints, which I had on hand, & I tried painting them onto raw clay to crackle awhile ago with similar disappointing results. Regarding Varathane-does it have to be that brand? Ace Hardware seems to carry their own brand so I wonder if it’s as good? Didn’t want to invest the $ to conduct my own test!
    I look forward to more from you about silk screening onto clay.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Well, pooh, I should have tried Polycrylic on some of them. I even have several cans of it here. I did test some sealers a while back, but there are so many more to try. You hit the nail on the head about the $, too. At $8-15 for each one, it gets a bit cost prohibitive to buy them for testing. I wish I had other clayers here who could share their cans of stuff to test. That would work.

      1. Claire maunsell

        I found a similar floor product to Varathane in Europe for my students, who cannot import Varathane brand. It seemed to work beautifully, so I will keep the beads around to report. Their satin was less shiny than the Varathane satin – lovely! Motto – GO LOCAL!

          1. I thought I listed it in the Varathane article. Ronseal has a water based polyurethane varnish that should work the same as Varathane. I’ve not tried it, but others have said that it works just fine. Make sure it’s not a two-part epoxy. Just a simple brush-on, fast drying, water based varnish with the word “polyurethane” on the label.

  18. Thank you for this post. It’s is so informative and exhaustive and super helpful (especially the crackling effect part). Must have taken you a lot of time to put together!

    1. It did, yes, but curiosity is a hard master! I do enjoy finding the answers to things and it’s really great that it’s helpful to the rest of you, too!

    2. Becky E. Bushong

      Celia is so right. I am most appreciative of all the work you did to give us all the information about metallic paints and polymer clay.

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