Last month Melinda Orr, the creator of Artisan Whimsy invited me to test VerDay Paint & Patina for the 5×5 Test feature in the October 2013 issue of Bead Chat Magazine. I have wanted to get my hands on patina paints for a long time so I wasted no time in jumping right in. I couldn’t wait to see what effects I could get with the VerDay paints on polymer clay.
VerDay, by Ten Seconds Studio, is a set of four metallic acrylic paints and a patina spray. The metallic paints come in four colors: brass, iron, copper, bronze. The idea is that you paint your object with the acrylic paint and let it dry completely. Apply a second coat of paint in the same or a different color, but apply it in an irregular pattern. Sponging was suggested. Then while the second coat of paint is still wet, spray your object with the patina solution. Then wait for 48 hours for the color to develop. After that, you can seal your piece, if desired.
I found that you can use VerDay on paper, metal, plastic, and even fabric. As the acrylic paint itself contains real metal particles, the patina that develops is an actual patina that comes from oxidized metal particles. It is not a patina-colored paint. This paint really does get verdigris from the copper and rust from the iron.
Using VerDay on Polymer Clay
To test how polymer clay worked with VerDay patina paints, I rolled out a thick sheet of Premo Rhino Gray. I used some cutters to make square and round tiles. Then I used stamps to make impressions in the clay and made holes for hanging. Then I baked them.
Using the brass and bronze VerDay paint colors, I painted the polymer clay tiles. The paint covers fairly well but since the particles of metal are fairly large the paint was a bit sheer. Two or three coats would be best if you want a complete coverage. You will get brush strokes and “stripes” as you paint, so alternate the direction of the strokes for each coat.
Once the base coat was dry, after about an hour, I used a small brush to paint another color of paint into the depressions of the stamped design. I used bronze and copper.
Then I immediately sprayed the tiles with the VerDay patina solution. I learned that it’s best to use a lot of the solution because you want it to settle into the depressions. Also, the patina will only develop when it is wet, so if you use a lot of solution it stays wet longer, developing a deeper and more complex patina. You’re supposed to wear gloves while using the spray. I didn’t bother (I’m risky like that) and it didn’t hurt my skin. But don’t be me. Wear gloves.
The color will start to develop after a few minutes and by ten minutes you can begin to see the paint change. Here’s a slideshow of the development of the color and patina over time, from the beginning to 48 hours.
Initial Impressions of VerDay
This stuff is sure pretty. It makes the most wonderful colors. It’s very unpredictable, so you don’t know exactly how it will develop. Even when I have side by side pieces, they each turn out just a bit different. This can be a lot of fun or drive you nuts, depending on your personality.
You need to either have texture on your piece, a feature that’s easy with polymer clay, or use a stamp, paintbrush, or sponge to apply your second color. The arrangement of the wet paint is how you get surface variations that create the wonderful color complexity of the VerDay Paints & Patina.
The dry base coat of paint does actually become affected by the Patina Spray, but to a lesser degree. So you can’t depend on the patina developing only where the second color of paint is.
You can combine several colors together to create a hodgepodge, using all four colors at once if you’d like.
The paint doesn’t stick to polymer clay very well unless you lightly sand it or wipe it with alcohol first. And the patina seems to rub off of the paint. If you’re not careful you can remove much of the great patina color by rubbing. It leaves an icky grungy feeling on your fingers after you touch it. It absolutely needs to be used with a durable sealer.
Sealing VerDay on Polymer Clay
The people at Ten Seconds Studio suggested using a spray varnish to seal the VerDay. Since you can’t use most spray sealers with polymer clay, I tried to use Varathane. It sealed the base coat just fine but the patina covered areas just crackled.
I tried using Liquitex Matte Varnish and that must have been chemically incompatible because it immediately solidified on the surface and then cracked and peeled off after drying.
Because the crackles from the Varathane coated pieces actually looked cool, I tried covering them with epoxy resin to see if I could stabilize the crackles and also seal the piece. That did work, but it changed the color dramatically. It does give an interesting look, but because it changes so much I can’t recommend resin as a sealer.
What finally worked was to use Preserve Your Memories II (aka PYM II), which is a polymer clay safe spray sealer. It’s fantastic stuff and worked very well to seal the pieces. I used five or six coats to get a good solid coating on the polymer pieces. There was no cracking or peeling. But PYM II is somewhat glossy and I really did not like the look of a glossy finish on these rustic, patina covered pieces.
Final Thoughts on VerDay Paint & Patina
I really do love the way the VerDay looks on polymer clay. It’s finally possible to create an authentic looking aged metal effect with polymer. With the ways that we can shape polymer clay, to be able to make a metallic looking finish opens the way to a whole new range of ancient-looking effects. I’m intrigued with the possibilities and I want to spend some time really working with this material. Using texture is interesting, but also selective application of the paint color and also the patina with a paintbrush would give even more great looks.
The rugged, antique metal appearance of VerDay covered polymer is a perfect accent for the current trends in jewelry making of ethnic, tribal, bohemian, and assemblage styles. The VerDay covered polymer tiles were the perfect match for my Faux Roman Glass.
The paints and the patina worked beautifully, were easy to use, and I easily got a great result. The only instructions provided in the kit were some very simple ones printed on a sticker on the front of the pouch. There was no instruction sheet or photos provided. I had to look online for more information about how to use the VerDay kit. Since my goal was to experiment that didn’t really bother me. There also wasn’t any information about using this with polymer clay…I guess that’s why I was testing it!
As always with polymer clay, you can’t be 100% sure that something doesn’t react with it until it’s been sitting around for six months or more. So I have to officially state that it looks good and appears to be compatible with polymer clay but I’ll have to check my pieces in six months to be sure. I didn’t see any immediate signs of a bad reaction.
My only real problem with this kit was with finding a sealer. The usual polymer clay favorite (Varathane) didn’t work. Nor did my second go-to sealer (Liquitex Varnish). PYM II did work to seal the VerDay patina, but it’s not a thick, durable coating and I wonder how well it would hold up when used on jewelry. I think something like earrings, which get little wear rubbing against things, it will be fine. But I’d hate to use PYM II as a sealer for a ring, necklace, or bracelet. Obviously, when not used as jewelry, this is not a problem. So making picture frames, figurines, or decorative items, would be fantastic.
If the folks at Ten Second Studios could find a water-based sealer to recommend or provide, that would take away a huge area of concern for me. VerDay is great stuff but you’ve got to be able to seal it!
Thanks to Melinda Orr, and Ten Seconds Studios for the opportunity to have a go at testing the VerDay. The results and impressions of the Artisan Whimsy 5×5 Test Team can be seen in the October 2013 issue of Bead Chat Magazine. You can also see the results by the other test team members: Staci Louise Smith, Diana Ptaszynski, Jenny Davies-Reazor, and Heather Powers.