Today I thought that I can share with you some of the insights about (polymer clay) jewellery. This little article is not only useful for those who joined my workshop, but also for those who bought polymer clay jewellery elsewhere or who is simply interested in the material.
Singapore’s climate and jewellery in general
We live in a very humid country which makes it very hard for our beautiful jewelleries to stay shiny for a long time. Especially for metal jewels such as brass, you have probably experienced that they tarnish very quick. Even gold-plated jewellery are very prone to tarnish, as the layer of gold on the metal is very thin. If you really like metal jewellery and would like to stick to it, try to find gold-filled ones as the gold layer is thick and your jewels will last shiny and beautiful very long.
The bracelet that I have below is for example more than 1 year old. I use gold-filled tube and little gem stone beads from Japan to make it. The gold-filed tube was a bit pricy, but given the condition, I don't regret it at all. The design is as new as from day 1.
As for polymer clay (and also resins) jewellery, the appearance won’t change much with time. With that being said, it also depends also on how you take care of it and - of course - climate condition. In Singapore for example, as it is very humid, your jewelleries might attracts more dust than it would do for example in continental climate like Central Europe. But this is something that is not solely related to polymer but all objects around us. But the good thing is: you can clean polymer (and also resins) jewelleries with soap. More on this later...but first of all:
What is polymer clay and do you have to protect it?
Polymer clay is a synthetic art medium composed of polymers, resins, colouring agents and fillers. You can almost say that it is very close to PVC.
It is very versatile and once heated to the right temperature, become really waterproof and does not need to be sealed against moisture.
This is important to know as many claimed that one has to varnish polymer to protect it. But often, it’s being said so for commercial reasons. In fact, most sealers are not fully waterproof and can even be damaged by prolonged contact with water.
Your polymer jewellery - if not varnished - can be:
- Soaked into water for a long time
- Washed with soap with a gentle brush (like tooth brush)
Your jewellery - if varnished - can only be:
- Cleaned gently with a wet piece of cloth
- Not being soaked into water for a long time
When you clean your beads, it is important to check whether they have been varnished or not. If you bought the piece and don't know for sure, then you can check if there is a glossy layer (sometimes a bit, sometimes a lot) on your designs. If so, then the piece has been glazed.
It is also important to take out the beads etc. from the string/cord before you put it into water and soap. Your beads might be waterproof, but not necessarily your strings, especially if you don't know their origins.
For those who joined my workshops know that we mostly use Japanese waxed cotton of very good quality and there is a protection layer so if you go into rain for example, , it is fully waterproof. However, it is not advised to soak them in water for a long time. As a precaution, always remove you beads from the string before cleaning.
Why do I sometimes varnish my polymer jewelleries?
In fact, I personally don’t like the effect of the varnishes very much, so I only choose to glaze my pieces when I really have to. For example, when I paint my jewels with golden paint or acrylic paint. As those painting colours are not really water resistant, I protect them with the glaze/varnish. Also, varnishes have an adherent effect so it works also somehow as an additional glue for the paints.
Hope this article gives you more insights about jewellery and especially polymer clay jewellery. I hope also to see you in one of my workshops soon as I would be of course sharing with you more insights about jewellery making.
For those who joined, I hope this article helps you to remember some of the things we discussed during the workshops.
Keep up with your creativity!