I'd like to answer a question I get asked quite a bit about how I get my beads so shiny and what sort of coating I use to put on them. The answer is really quite simple...Kato Liquid Clay (KLC) and a heat gun...but I would like to answer in more detail for those who are interested.
I started coating beads with KLC a very long time ago. It started off as an experiment to see how it would affect the look of metallic clay and I have to tell you...it worked beautifully. It seemed to add an extra depth to the bead which was just what I was looking for. I experimented lots, I burnt lots of beads and I also had lots of successes. Over the years I think I've worked out the right way for ME to do it. Everyone is different and everyone has a different way of doing things so these are MY thoughts only.
For me, an embossing gun is simply not hot enough to cure KLC to a high shine (which is what I love by the way). It can be done, although I much prefer to use my industrial heat gun for the curing process. It took me a little while to master but nowdays I almost never burn beads and I can coat one bead with multiple layers of liquid time in an incredibly short period of time. I could never do this with an embossing gun.
Simply coat your bead with a very thin layer of KLC. I say thin because it's easier to control. The liquid clay will turn quite runny after a bit of heating and if you've over-coated your bead then you run the risk of getting drips and runs everywhere that are impossible to control. I would rather have 5 coats of perfectly smooth liquid clay than one lumpy, bumpy coating. Hold your heat gun about 10cm away from your bead and heat while rotating. When it turns milky, simply pop your heat gun onto a high setting and zap over quickly to turn that liquid clay to a high shine.
I've read quite a few articles, blog posts and comments about how you should never use an industrial heat gun to cure liquid clay but I'm telling you now it's what I do and it works beautifully.
|this is my trusty faithful heat gun that I've been using for 8 years.|
|this is my new heat gun that now has a temperature control...both are incredible to use and both have dual speed.|
|ultra shiny coatings of liquid clay that looks lumpy and bumpy but in fact in super smooth to touch.|
|another bead with an incredibly smooth surface although it doesn't look like it.|
|my favourites...Image Transfer Beads using Lisa Pavelka Images again with a high gloss coating of multiple layers of KLC.|
|multiple coats of KLC on black clay creates a glossy, glass like finish.|
|and one of my new favourites...Kato Liquid Clay coatings over copper mylar - yum! Again, this bead is super smooth on the surface.|