Sunday, March 30, 2014

Buffing Tips Using a Dremel -I-

To create a high shine on our polymer clay pieces, we use our Dremel rotary tool for buffing.  We have been making our own buffing pads to fit onto the Dremel for quite a few years now and also have them for sale in our Etsy shop as well as Artfire Studio.  The polyester type fibre we use creates a really high shine and is gentle on the clay.  This is important as some buffing pads or other fibres can actually chew up your clay by the heat created from the friction due to the high speed of the Dremel.


Instructions on how to attach the buffing pads are included in the package but we felt we would give a few tips on buffing your clay using the Dremel or similar type rotary tool.

* Before attempting to buff, your piece needs to be sanded very smooth.  If you do not sand your piece thoroughly it will not come to a high shine no matter how much you buff.  You will find tips on sanding your work on our "Polymer Tips" page at the top of this blog.

* Use a stand or vice to hold your Dremel in place so you have both hands free for buffing.  You will notice that the Dremel is tilted downward a bit and not level.  We find this gives greater control for buffing items such as round beads.

* While buffing, your pieces tend to fling at times so we drape a towel or cloth behind to absorb the flying object.


*  If you have long hair, be sure to tie it back and try not to wear any loose clothing that might get caught in the Dremel.

* The buffing also creates a lot of fine dust which you do not want to breathe so be sure to wear a protective dust mask.

* Use some sort of support for your small items so you have a better grasp while buffing.  For beads, for instance, we put them on a bead skewer or metal rod.


We can then hold onto the wire with both hands and then rotate the bead and move it back and forth on the buffing wheel.


Other items like these pen blanks, we put on a larger rod or knitting needle for support.


It is much easier this way to hold onto the knitting needle with both hands and then you can easily rotate the piece while buffing.


* To buff your piece, hold it firmly in both hands and lightly touch the moving buffing wheel.  You do not need to press it in far as this will not create a faster or better shine but will only wear the buffing pad out quicker.

* One more tip to add more shine to your work, is to use more metallic and pearl in your clay mixes.  Adding some transluscent clay also increases the shine, especially if working with black.

Our buffing pads are very popular and we now offer a bulk double pack of 6 pieces for a better price.  We also want to be more involved with the Samunnat Project so we are making a donation to them from every buffing pad pack that we sell.  We are   donating one dollar ($1) from every single and two dollars ($2) from every double pack that is sold.


This is a great program that aides women in Nepal who have survived domestic violence and develops ways to generate an income for them and their families.  This work involves creating beads and jewelry from polymer clay.  Their work is for sale through an Etsy shop as well as Kazuri West.  They are in the process of constructing their own building and could use more help. You can read more about it on their website here and by following Wendy's blog here.

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