Monday, March 8, 2010
To sand or not to sand - that is the question!!
It’s been a while since I covered pens with polymer clay sheet designs but I thought they would be a nice addition to the shop for spring. Over the several months since I had last covered pens, I’ve taken several classes where we actually had to sand the project. Now anybody who knows me very well knows that I’ve always hated to sand. But I’ll have to admit that I’ve seen the light!
Yes, I am the one who always says get it as smooth as possible before you bake. And I still stand by that statement. I still work very hard to get the clay as smooth as possible before I apply it to the pen. Once the clay is on the pen, I roll it rather aggressively with an acrylic block to smooth anything out that is not already smooth. Now all of this leaves it pretty darned smooth if I do say so myself.
In the past I’ve been pretty happy with these results. But after taking several classes where sanding was a “requirement” in order to finish the project or technique, I’m looking at things with a sharper eye. So this weekend I put it to the test. I had covered and cured 24 pens and were ready to put the finishing touches on them. In running my fingers over them, I did notice – even after all that work to get these smooth – that there were a few irregularities. So I decided to sand. I was so pleased with the results that I sat down last night in my recliner and sanded all 24 pens. The difference was remarkable!
I took all of the pens through 4 grits. The first is a fiberglass screen that is designed to sand sheetrock. It is pretty aggressive so I use it just to even out any dips and valleys on the pens. Then I go through 350, 400 and 600 grits, rinsing well and changing the sanding water frequently. It was a lot of work but relaxing in a strange sort of way. I can honestly say these are some of the nicest pens that I’ve ever done. The pictures in the slideshow are the pens that I have posted on my Artfire site and will soon have posted on my Etsy site. I still have to cover the stands for most of the pens.