Shiny Polymer Clay Without Varnish

Buffed piece DSCN6356 Zoom in on this photo to see the difference in the right and left sides of the heart. See the light bouncing off the right side? I sanded the entire piece, then buffed just the right side with a nifty Dremel pad made especially for polymer clay. One or two minutes of buffing, after sanding well, is the key to getting a natural high gloss finish on polymer clay.

My Dremel model is the Minimite 4.8 volt (about $25 at Home Depot). I anchor it in a Buffing w Dremel DSCN6348Central Forge 4″ drill press vise (about $20 at Harbor Freight.) It allows me to have both hands free to hold the bead I’m polishing. The cast iron vise is heavy enough that I didn’t have to screw it onto a table or board–it stays put as I polish. And it’s light enough that I can easily pick it up and store it when I’m finished. One word of caution: always wear eye protection when you use any type of buffing wheel. A flying bead can do serious damage.
BuffingpadsCarolyn and Dave Good, the folks at 2 Good Claymates, make the buffing pads to fit the Dremel tool. The hand-made pads are sold in their Etsy and Artfire shops. Buy a three-pack (about $15) or six-pack (about $25), with $1 or $2 respectively going to Samunnat Nepal, a non-profit that serves women who are victims of domestic abuse or trafficking. Some of the women make beautiful polymer clay beads which are sold worldwide. Watch this spot for more on Samunnat later.

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