I sent out a newsletter recently with a little tip on how to “colour” opal mylar with alcohol inks to use with polymer clay. Thanks to those who contacted me in response to this newsletter and suggested they would like a little more information on foils and films. It’s important to remember, I’m no expert when it comes to these products but I do have some knowledge and I have used them extensively in the studio for a number of years. Please remember, the information I include here is a quick overview and I’m relating this product to polymer clay only.
Polyester Film (foils) with Coloured Underside
The most common foil used in polymer clay would have to be Lisa Pavelka foils.
These foils are heat reactive meaning they need to have some type of heat to transfer to polymer clay – normally brisk burnishing. The colour or design is attached to the underside of the paper. The paper is placed onto the clay, colour side up (you should be able to see the colour not the underside of the paper), burnished and then paper is ripped from the clay leaving the design behind.
There are many other foil sheets on the market which fall into this category (ie colour attached to the underside of the paper). Some are heat reactive, some are not. Many of these work well using the traditional burnishing methods but some don’t. It’s simply a matter of doing some testing.
You’ll notice in the images above I’ve included Ranger Foil Sheets, iCraft Deco Foil, GoPress and Foil (heat reactive) and a variety of nail foils. Some of these foils have been successful for me and some haven’t. If you are going to use these products I would highly recommend you do a burnish test, a cure test and a scratch test. Some of these products burnish beautifully (like the nail foils) but will fade during the curing process. I’ve found the glitter and shimmer nail foils do this. Ranger foils were very hit and miss and some burnished well while others didn’t.
So the lesson here – test each one and keep samples for future reference. If you have some foils which don’t work on polymer clay using the burnishing method…don’t throw them away. There are other ways you can use this product (this will be in another blog) so if it doesn’t burnish you can try one of the other ways.
There are a large range of different brands/makes etc on the market that fall under this category. I have a number of products which all look very similar but have different names.
In the image above I’ve included Textiva Fusible Film, Fantasy Film, Irise Film, Opal Mylar, Solid Colour Mylar and Crushed Irise Film. Many of these films are years old and still in great condition.
These films differ from the foils in that there is no colour or design attached to the paper itself. These are simply very sheer sheets of paper which come in a variety of different colours. The majority are very sheer and transparent apart from the “solid colour” mylar (green/teal/blue on black paper).
I’ve been given permission by Ashley at Powertex here in Australia to use her Mylar brochure for your information. You can see the large range of colours available. Please note the pricing information on this brochure is out of date – you can contact Ashley directly through the website for updated info.
So how do you use these films with polymer clay?
There are lots of different ways you can use sheer films with polymer clay. Probably the easiest would be to simply cut into small pieces and stick to the surface of your raw clay. I find it best to give a little burnish and the paper sticks incredibly well. Your polymer clay piece is cured with the paper on the surface. It cures well but it will need to be sealed for protection and durability.
I offered a suggestion in my newsletter where I mentioned Opal Mylar could easily be coloured with alcohol inks and then used on raw polymer clay.
In the images above you’ll note there is a sheet of opal mylar which has been coloured with alcohol ink and a sheet which is left plain. I’ve photographed these on both black and white paper so you can see the difference. You could simply cut the coloured sheet and pop onto some raw clay for a completely different look.
I used an alcohol ink pen to colour the opal mylar prior to cutting it up and popping it onto this leaf shape. I love the graduation of colour here.
I hope this has given you a little bit of an insight into foils and films. As I mentioned previously, there are other ways these products can be used but I’ll save that info for another blog post in the future.
Thanks for reading guys…until next time…have a creative day.
Not so long ago i bought foils to use on my polymer work. Now i know how to use it! Thanks so much! Excellent info.🤩😍🥰
Such wonderful info Debbie, thanks for taking the time to spell it out for us. Just watched Susan’s (turtlesoup beads) tute on nail transfers (Amazon cart full to decide on designs) so your article could not have come at a better time!
So very happy to hear that Sherry. Just watch out for some of those nail foils like I mentioned. Have fun. xx
Why Would the method of applying the paper and leaving it not work with Lisa Pavelka foils? Is it because the color is actually in the underside of the paper?
Hey Mindy, so sorry I haven’t replied to you yet – I completely missed this message. You’re right the colour is on the underside of the paper so if you added alcohol ink to the “top” of the paper it would just get ripped off anyway. Thanks so much for getting in touch. xx