ORIGIAL POST SEPT 2008; UPDATED July 2017.
I’ve been playing around with my bottle cap jewelry, and the question of what to put on top has perplexed me. I like Diamond Glaze, but it’s really only good for a thin layer. I wanted something more dimensional and shiny, something more glass-like.
I played around with using melted UTEE, but at the thickness I was pouring, I was getting air bubbles and some scorching. Not the right product for the job. Of course, 2-part resin is an option. But resins and epoxies are toxic, and require gloves, goggles and ventilation. I’m teaching in a shop basement, so I’m leery.
Enter Magic-Glos by Lisa Pavelka. For those not in the know, Lisa is a talented polymer clay artist, and developed this product for use as a top layer on polymer clay. The big difference between this an other top coats is that it is a UV-curing product. Translation- 10 minutes out in the sun, and it’s cured to a tough, shiny, glass-like finish. Whoopee! And big consideration number two: it’s labeled non-toxic. No gloves, goggles or ventilation hoods necessary!
Since deciding to update this post, I made you a video. In it, you’ll get to see Magic-Glos in action:
So here’s the poop on using Magic-Glos . I tried it on two applications- in a mold and to fill in my bottle caps, so that’s my frame of reference. I found that it squeezed easily from the bottle (which, by the way, you should store out of direct sunlight) and it flowed smoothly. A few bubbles were introduced, but a quick swipe with a toothpick cleared them out. Now, I live in the northern Ohio area, so sun is “iffy” for us…. but I had a nice sunny afternoon, and the first layer cured handily in about 10 minutes. Wanting a more “domed” look, I added a second layer. I set it out, and it, too, cured in less than 10 minutes- with no cloudiness or inclusions. Really, it looked like a single pour.
You can also cure it with a UV lamp- I know that this one works!
I had made a few bottlecap pieces using UTEE, and felt like the surface wasn’t up to snuff- so I tried adding a layer of Magic-Glos on top of that. Again, it cured well and bonded with the UTEE underneath. I did notice that the Magic-Glos had a tendency to “pull” away from the sides a bit. It likes to stick to itself, and didn’t want to spread to the edges. I had to add another, thicker coat, but it saved the piece. Hooray!
Being my thrifty self, I bought a silicon “star” baking mold at the dollar store, and decided to try that. I squeezed in the Magic-Glos until it was about 1/2 full, and then added some beads to it. I set it out…. but by then the sun was past it’s apex, and the mold was so deep that it wouldn’t cure. So I had to get a mirror and shine the sunlight – stay with me here!- down into the mold. The result was that the TOP of mold cured, (really what would be the bottom once it was inverted) but what was down under the beads was not set up. Makes sense, in hindsight, that because of the beads, the sunlight couldn’t reach to cure it.Hmmmmmm…..
(Note: when I de-molded it, I placed it on an old saucer and tried add some more on the top to “fix” it… it dribbled down the sides and now it is permanently stuck to the saucer. Beware! This stuff has a strong bond!).
So next I pulled out my normal resin molds, and tried again. This time, I put a medium thick-ish layer of material in the mold, and let it cure. Then, and added some beads and more product. When it was all cured, I popped it out of the mold, and flipped it back over for a last little sunning…. and viola! That was enough to get it to cure all the way through.
My overall impression of Magic-Glos is that it’s easy enough to use, not smelly, not toxic, and therefore pretty much what I want to use in class. It’s pricey at
$9.50 a bottle (current pricing is around $7.50 USD) but I got a lot of pieces and experimenting done. It does go a long way. The other drawback is that as far as I know, it’s only available online. Lastly, if you live in a somewhat cloudy area- like me- it may be beneficial to invest in a UV light so that you and cure items inside. I bought the one that Lisa sells on her site- it looks just like the ones in nail salons!
Anyway, I kinda got on a roll and made a BUNCH of samples for my class in a few week. Here are just a few:
New samples for 2017:
So even now, almost 10 years later, I’ve come back to using Magic-Glos as my go-to topcoat. Don’t you love products that stand the test of time?
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