I just received the April issue of PolymerCAFÉ, which contains my first magazine article, "Glowing Beads." It's a tutorial for using alcohol inks with glow-in-the-dark clay to create jewelry that looks beautiful in the daytime but still glows at night. (If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think!)
One of the products I used in the article — and have found myself using more often lately — is Studio by Sculpey's Satin Glaze. Polyform sent me a bottle to try, and I have to say I was initially skeptical. I had bought some Sculpey glaze years ago and remembered it being thick and gunky and practically unusable. I wasn't expecting other glazes from them to be significantly different.
I was impressed, though. The new glaze has a very thin consistency — barely thicker than the Future Floor Finish I often use to glaze my polymer clay pieces. And I like that the Satin finish (they also have a Glossy version) has a very subtle, muted look, not shiny like most glazes. It's perfect if you like a matte finish but need to "set" a surface treatment (like alcohol inks or an ink-jet transfer).
One of the main advantages of this product is that it's made to be oven-safe at polymer clay temperatures. While I have put Future-glazed products in the oven, it's the kind of thing where I'm not sure whether I should (and I get really nervous telling other people to). Studio by Sculpey's glaze can even be applied before baking, which could be handy if you have portions of a piece that you want glazed and portions you don't. Instead of having to be extra-careful with your paintbrush, you can paint the pieces you want glazed before assembly.
Another problem with using Future for polymer clay is that Future is intended to be removed. So certain products (like alcohol) strip off Future glaze. The Studio glaze, on the other hand, is permanent after baking.
While you don't have to bake the glaze, I've heard a couple of people mention that baking the glaze changes its finish for the better. One of my guild's members mentioned it seemed to eliminate the brush strokes, and Cindy Lietz says it seems to soak into the clay.
While there's a lot to like about this glaze, I'm not crazy about the mess it makes. I always applied Future with my fingers. It seemed like that was the best way to apply just the right amount without getting bubbles, pools, or brush strokes. (Or maybe I just like to get my hands dirty!) I tried this once with the Studio glaze, and ended up with a real mess. It really sticks to your hands, and it's probably harder to wash off than your average dried-on acrylic paint. Even when I use a brush or Q-tip, I have to be careful to wash any drips I get on my hands quickly if I don't want tale-tale signs that I've been crafting.
I tend to like a matte look, so I'm primarily reviewing the Satin glaze here. But I did buy the Glossy glaze to give it a try. It's comparable to Future in glossiness. It seems slightly thicker than the Studio Satin glaze version, though still nothing close to Sculpey's old gloppy glaze. I had a little trouble applying it without being bothered by brush strokes. But that may be more a problem with my technique than the product. Like I said, I always applied Future glaze with my fingers for that very reason. So for folks who like a shiny finish (and are good with a paint brush!), the Glossy glaze may be worth a try.
As for me, I definitely like the Satin product better than Future. While it's more expensive than Future (a 2 oz. bottle of Studio glaze costs $4.99 on Amazon vs. $8.49 for 27 oz. of Future), the thin consistency means a small bottle will last a long time. Considering it's bakeable and more permanent than Future, I think it's worth the price. And the Satin finish makes it fairly unique as far as finishes go — great for projects that need a protective coat without a glossy look.
- Product Name: Studio by Sculpey's Satin Glaze
- Price: $4.99 plus shipping
- Thin consistency is an improvement over the old Sclupey glaze formula.
- Oven-safe at polymer clay temperatures.
- More permanent than Future floor finish.
- Difficult to wash off hands.
- Not as good a deal as Future.
- Who It's Good For:
- Anyone who uses faux or surface techniques that benefit from a non-glossy finish.
- Folks who often find themselves wanting to bake again after they've already glazed.
Reviewed Materials Source / Disclaimer: This product was given to me by the manufacturer for review purposes. No further compensation was received. I always strive to be honest and unbiased in my reviews, but your results with the product may vary.