Polymer Clay Major issues with Liquitex Gloss Medium varnish ..Please help!

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Original Post

I have been using Liquitex Gloss Medium varnish since last year when I started making clay pendants. I have used two types of clay. Regular air dry and then the super light type. I have had issues either way so I don;t think it's the clay. The problem is that when I varnish my pieces, they seem fine for a couple days and then they go sticky. A couple I can blame on using mod podge before and then varnish after, but the others are straight varnish. The weird thing is when I varnish the front of the pendant there is normally no issue with it being sticky. Its when I add one coat to the back. I dont know if I am coating them too much, not enough. All I know is my clay pieces are OOAK. I cannot duplicate these images so my art is being destroyed. I fear I have three of four pieces I may have to throw out because even with another coat of varnish, it is still sticky. The strange thing is it doesnt affect all of them, just maybe 5 ot 6 out of 15. Is there another product I should try? Is there something I can put over the Liquitex to fix the the present problems and save my pieces?

Thank you

Posted at 11:19am Jun 5, 2012 EDT


If it's sticky, it means the varnish isn't the right type for the clay. Usually you have to use water-based varnishes with polymer clay, but I have come across ones that are sticky despite being water-based. I currently use Fimo gloss varnish and I've never had anything turn sticky with it.
Also, if it is possible, you may try to remove the sticky varnish with alcohol (in case there are no other paints over the clay, otherwise it will just make a mess :/). Hope that helped!

Posted at 3:18pm Jun 5, 2012 EDT

I had issues with Liquitex Gloss Medium varnish being sticky too especially when I had a layer of acrylic paint on top of the clay. I use the sculpey glazes and I have no problems with it being sticky, but it can get very slightly yellow if you put it on super thick and even though it says you can put it on before baking it gave me issues. Also if I'm using acrylic paint I make sure to give it a few days to dry and I heat set it in the oven at a lower temp a day before giving it a couple coats of glaze (there's probably a better way but this works for me!) so I'd say save the Liquitex medium for mixing in acrylic paint and not as a top coat, hope that helps!

Posted at 4:35pm Jun 5, 2012 EDT

I use quality acrylic paint,liquitex and for the type of sculptures I sculpt I don't want them shiney.IMO It justs takes away from my piece.If you use a quality acrylic paint there is no need.I understand with jewelry and other types of art,you need a sealer to shine.

I have used sealers in the past and they are sticky and or turn yellow or crack, I feel for you (myprettydeadthings) because I have lost several pieces when I first started sculpting OOAKS from the sticky. Acrylics are waterbased and their is a matte finish spray,but if the weather has alot of humidity it will even set up sticky. I do know whatever the sealer you use needs to be water based or it will break the clay down over time.

Posted at 5:52pm Jun 5, 2012 EDT

TheDameOfTheDead from MyPrettyDeadThings says
Edited on Jun 6, 2012

thnx for letting me know about breakage. I wasn't aware it did that. I will look out for water based in the future

Perhaps i will try a spray or what others recommended before

Thanks for the info

Posted at 11:22am Jun 6, 2012 EDT

If it isn't water based, don't use it! I've been using waterbased Varathane for about five years with no issues... be careful with sprays too. A lot of the sprays have something in the propellant that makes the clay break down over time. Not days, but years.

Posted at 12:06am Jun 7, 2012 EDT

I agree with Rhoda . I have had problems with a water based sealer before . I called the company to find out if they change there formula . They didn't but they told me when there sealer became old you can have issues with it . So yours might just be to old to use as well .

Posted at 5:47am Jun 7, 2012 EDT

I had bought it less than 2 weeks ago

The other one which gave me issues every now and then was older

Posted at 9:53am Jun 8, 2012 EDT

I use Sculpey UltraLight for my dolls, paint them with soft body acrylic paint, and coat them with a clear acrylic gloss medium.

Now I realize that they are staying tacky!!!!

I tried baking them, using a hair dryer, putting them in rice... all with hopes of getting the moisture out so the sealer will set. I have also very lightly sanded them, which seems to help the most, by getting rid of some of the tacky coating.

The paint underneath does appear to be hard.

I have two bottles of the gel medium, both old. So I tested them by painting thin layers on a flat surface. They both dried just fine.

So now I'm thinking that this issue may be eliminated in the future if before I paint the clay I apply a thin layer of gesso.

Today I applied a very thin, watered down coat of clear gesso to the lightly sanded surfaces, and am now waiting to see if that helps. If it does I'll have to retouch the paint and then try re sealing. I may try the Varathane, as it seems to get really good reviews.

Fingers crossed. This is stressful!!!

Posted at 1:45pm Jan 21, 2014 EST

I had an issue like this when trying to use UV resin over acrylic painted surfaces...the two materials just weren't compatible, and guessing it's a similar issue, like trying to get oil and water to cooperate.

Varathane does work great - after having used other glazes and not liking them, I've had no problem with multiple coats of Varathane, even over resin (as long as it's fully cured). You can get small amounts from Polymer Clay Express without needing to spend a lot on a huge can at a hardware store: www.polymerclayexpress.com/products/embellishments/Glazes

Good luck! :)

Posted at 3:02am Jan 30, 2014 EST

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