I own varnishes that include Studio by Sculpey Glossy Glaze, Delta Ceramcoat Glossy, Varathane, and of course Pledge With Future Floor Wax. For a natural finish, I own wet/dry sandpaper from 320 to 2000 grit. And my buffing supplies include denim, a carpet square, and pieces of fleece from old jammies.
When I want a natural high-gloss finish, my favorite method begins with sandpaper, moves on to the Micro-Mesh Polishing Kit by Revell and finally to a Dremel tool with buffing pads that are made especially for polymer clay..I should mention there’s an investment of time that becomes significant if you’re working with a bunch of beads.
At a little over $25, Micro-Mesh isn’t cheap. My set is the introductory wood kit which contains nine 3″ x 4″ sheets of sandpaper ranging from 1500 to 12000 grit.
I always wet sand–don’t want to inhale polymer clay dust–and add a drop of dish detergent to the water to keep the sandpaper from getting clogged. I start with ordinary wet/dry sandpaper. How long I sand and the grit I start with depend on how smooth the surface of my clay is. For the bracelet pictured here, I started with my coarsest paper–320 grit–because the process of shaving the clay for the mica shift effect left the surface slightly rough, It might take a couple of minutes, then I move on to 400 and 600 grit paper.
At this point the polishing begins with 1500-grit Micro-Mesh. I sand for about a minute, then move to 1800 grit, and continue all the way without skipping any grits to 12000. With the higher grits, I might spend only 15 to 20 seconds on each.
Then I finish the piece with the Dremel buffing pads.
I could achieve the same results with ordinary wet/dry sandpaper. One thing that appealed to me about Micro-Mesh was that it’s said to be very durable. I’d like it better if I could replace the one or two pieces of paper that get the most use, namely the 1500 and 1800 grit, instead of replacing the whole set.
And I have to confess that the other thing that appealed to me was, oh,boy, another product to feed my polymer clay addiction.