Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Battle of the Jewelry Sealers - Part Three - The Bead and the Bracelet

I'm sorry it takes me so long to write these days. Packing for the move is kicking my butt, and I try to pack half the day and work the other half. Hopefully, after we get where we are going, I can do this more often. At any rate, thanks so much for your patience!

If you will remember, I started out with a water-based urethane coated polymer clay bead from Fanceethat. I re-coated it with the solvent-based coating, ProtectaClear. The only reason I did this was because ProtectaClear is one of the coatings I use to finish my wire projects, and had used it on many types of beads, just not beads that had been coated with urethane.

After chatting with Everbrite, the makers of ProtectaClear, I was told to make sure the bead had time to cure...4 or 5 days, or I could put it in a 180 degree oven for about an hour and let it rest before I put it to the real test.

I was naughty and poked the bead with my fake nails prior to letting it completely cure. It did dent the finish but did not break it. Yahoo! The bead has now cured, been a week, and I've been poking and scraping to my hearts content. Be aware, I have not taken anything metal, porcelain, or any other really damaging item to the bead. That would be totally unfair to the project.

When we sell our handmade products, we should all be telling our customers how to take care of their new pieces, especially if they are of delicate designs. For myself, my items are delicate but sturdy. They are made to be worn, but I do tell customers they require a little bit of common sense. Don't take a dental tool to my weaves and don't let your toddler use it as a teething ring. It is a piece of art, and as such should be treated as such.

Back to the bead. I used my very strong nails and pushed really hard into the surface of the bead. I did get a little dent in the finish, but not the type of dent that broke the finish. To be more accurate, the finish didn't crack. The really strange thing was that the dent seemed to fill back in after several minutes, which led me to believe that the finish had "memory." I used straight on window light in the pics to give you a clear idea of the finish.

The same thing happened when I ran my nails across the finish to scratch it. It did get a few tiny ripples in it, but again, minutes later, they seemed to disappear. Weird, huh? But boy, was I excited about that! I put a question in to Everbrite to see if they could give me a "why" but haven't heard back yet. As soon as I do, I will update you.

I did coat the bracelet and it has been four days now, and my customer is excited to get her wire jewelry bracelet. And I am thrilled for her, and for the product I love to use, ProtectaClear. I did use the regular shiny finish. FYI, Everbrite also makes a Satin finish.

A side note, after talking to Lisa of Fanceethat, if you do decide to make your own polymer clay beads, do not use this solvent based sealer as your main sealer. Over time it can or will make the polymer clay beads surface sticky. Hence, the reason she uses the water-based urethane finish to seal her beads.

I promised an article on Renaissance Wax, and that's next. The washers I was going to use have mysteriously disappeared into a moving box and I want to dig them out, so I can compare different sealers to the Wax. I promise I will find them.

Till then, Stay Wired Up!!! Gail

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Battle of the Jewelry Sealers, Part Two...The Bead

Last time I explained to you how I was going to experiment with putting a solvent based sealer over a polymer clay bead that had already been sealed with a water-based polyurethane sealer. I also posted two pictures showing how the bead looked just a few hours after I put the coating, ProtectaClear, on one side of the bead.

I am here to tell you that so far so good. Here are the new pictures of the same bead. Again, there isn't much difference, except the ProtectaClear side is just a little shinier.
The original urethane coating
The ProtectaClear side two days out
 I did get an email from Everbrite, the manufacturers of ProtectaClear, stating that I should wait four days before I started "picking" at the finish on the bead. That will give the solvent coating plenty of time to cure, which made sense to me. Putting one type of coating on a different type of coating can take time before you really know how it will react. I could get anxious and tell you," Yeah, I see no difference," and at this time, that wouldn't be a lie. But it is the long-term effects I am curious about.

I will tell you this, I was naughty and tested the surface with a fingernail, and yes, I was able to put a slight dent in the ProtectaClear finish. That was, however, before Everbrite told me I probably shouldn't. Guess I'm bad...

While this experiment continues on this one little bead, I am going to be purchasing some water-based urethane to try on another copper wire piece, a beadless piece. I have read other blogs whose experiments with this materials yields varying results. Some say that over time, a water-based urethane will still let a small amount of oxygen through to the metal, especially copper, and that could cause an aging process to begin, even though it might be a minute amount or take some time to happen to the degree that might be unacceptable. We shall see.

Next time I will provide you with more details on my little bead experiment, and I will start a discussion on using Renaissance Was on your wire projects. Until then...

Stay Wire Up! Gail

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Battle of the Jewelry Sealers

Like so many jewelry makers, I ran into a brick wall when it came to sealing my copper and silver jewelry pieces. It became a larger dilemma for me when I fell in love with the polymer clay beads from Fanceethat! You need to check them out...gorgeous!

I ordered the beads and made the bracelet you see here. It sold right away, which I was thrilled at but then I found myself in a quandary. I knew Lisa had sealed her beads and I knew what sealer I wanted to use to protect the natural patina of the copper, that beautiful and bright natural copper color, but would the two mix??

ProtectaClear by Everbrite has been my new favorite sealer for my Wire Helix Series. While I love Renaissance Wax and the protection it affords, it was really hard for me to reach all the little ins and outs of the delicate weaves and coils the Helix Series bracelets and necklaces have. That's why I've been using the ProtectaClear. I could spray or brush this tough coating on, and it provided me with the protection and finish I wanted. That little bit of shine isn't bad either.

Back to the bracelet shown above. Lisa used a water-based polyurethane to seal her polymer clay beads...and trust me, that is really great! I love the look it gives the beads, and Lisa knows what she's doing. I'm the one with the problem, remember? I am storing this bracelet in an anti-tarnish bag until I'm sure I've reached a solution that is good for the bracelet and good for the customer buying this piece of jewelry.

I decided to experiment on another bead I purchased from Fanceethat, with her permission and Everbrite's knowledge. I took this bead that had been coated with the water-based polyurethane, and put a coat of ProtectaClear on it. ProtectaClear is a resin or solvent-based sealer.

What that means to the layman is this: The water-based sealers begin to harden when the water evaporates. Of course, that is simplifying it by leaps and bounds. A solvent-based sealer begins the hardening or curing process when the solvent evaporates. The curing process of both goes through a series of chemical reactions that finish the curing of the sealer. Wikipedia offers the best full explanation of the process if you are interested.

Long story short...oil and water don't mix, usually. Even the kind folks at Everbrite, the creators of ProtectaClear, said I should proceed with caution because their finish could cause the other finish to crack or peal.

Hence, my experiment. What I did was give one side of the bead a coating of ProtectaClear to see what, if any, would be the reaction. To be honest, I thought when I first applied the ProtectaClear, the polyurethane finish would crack. However, it has been over and hour, and you can see from the pictures that it hasn't...as of yet.
Polyurethane coated side
ProtectaClear coated side
 I did my best to get them close to the same side...sorry bout that, but you can see only a slight difference as of now. The picture on the left shows the untouched bead side, while the picture on the right is slightly shinier but the surface of the bead, itself, has been unaffected so far.

It takes the ProtectaClear a little while to cure, so I am going to give it a while longer before I pass final judgement. I will poke it and scrape it with my fingernail, which you really "shouldn't" do to a bead like this, but I want it to be as thorough a test as I can with my limited knowledge and no real lab to work in.

So for now, it's later gator. I will let you know how this little experiment comes out. Send me your comments if you've experienced this yourself and we'll work it out together. Until next time (real soon), Stay Wired Up!! Gail