Thursday, March 12, 2015

To seal or not to seal

For as long as I have been using air dry paints (since 2008, 5 1/2 years), 
I have never seen the need to "seal" the paints.  

It has been the belief of many artists and paint manufacturers that one MUST seal air dry paints.

So far, I have proven that not to be the case.  

Now, will all other air dry paints before Baby FX, my preferred way to use them was over a layer of Genesis Matte Varnish (baked on of course) and if I had any shine after that (rarely ever), I would use either Folk Art Glass and Tile Medium or Folk Art Outdoor sealer.  NOT to seal but to remove shine.

On the two dolls that I painted with the Baby FX paints, I didn't use any Matte Varnish or other type of coating to prep the vinyl.

Those paints were gloriously beautiful with an outstanding finish that is silky to the touch!

Neither doll was shiny or sheeny.  They each had a slight satin "glow" that looked like translucent real skin.

Chatting with Melissa early on in the process, I told her that I had better results with the paints by using the Slow Dry in the paints.  (She had told me that many artists like the paints thinned with just water {no slow dry} to get the mixture to the texture of Genesis paints mixed with odorless thinner, very watery and thin.)

When I said that, Melissa suggested that I then needed to use the 2 part sealer and matte when I was finished painting.

As I sat there looking at my finished paint work, it pained me to consider applying anything to the top layer.

Instead of contacting Melissa, I decided to go ahead and try the 2 part sealer on my Caucasian Berenguer.  

I regret it!  Although the finish is still very nice, the complete translucency is gone on the head.  I decided not to coat the limbs.  And I won't be coating the ethnic baby at all.

I do not like a sheeny opaque looking doll.  I felt that the sealer brought this look onto my doll.  I used a combination of the thick Last Coat with the Shine Reducer to get it back close to the original glow.  It is close but not as near as glorious as the limbs.

I then contacted Melissa via Facebook chat and told her my story.
And I asked her if there is any chemical reason that I MUST "seal" these paints.

She said "no".  There isn't a chemical reason, it is more a safety precaution for the artist.  Her motto is "if you sell dolls, seal dolls".  

Well, I have sold dolls and NOT sealed dolls for more than 5 years without a problem.

So I explained to her more of my experiences and what the general community BELIEVES about sealing dolls and expressed that I do not want to seal them anymore.  

She said that she agrees that the paints are very durable on their own and she believes the paints will be just fine without sealing. 

I figure that I have nothing to lose in this "test".  My collectors/customers know that I stand behind my work 100% and if I have to strip and repaint either of these Berenguer babies, they are just 1/4 limbs so the work will not be as intense as a full limbed doll.  I'll be rooting and processing mohair then possibly working on silicone again so there is time for these dolls to find a home and undergo some changing, cuddle time and play time.

In my preliminary testing of the paints and sealer, I have been able to get a little color off of the practice limb and off the head of the ethnic baby, but not off the Caucasian baby.

Now, don't panic!  

The Caucasian baby had the weekend to cure while the practice limb and the ethnic baby were painted just the day prior to testing.  I tell my students and people who write me to NOT try to get air dry paints off the next day as you probably can.  ALL air dry paints need TIME to CURE.  They may be DRY but they are not CURED.

The practice limb was painted according to the Baby FX paint insert instructions and the dolls were painted by my own personal techniques, using a 1/5/15 ratio of paint, slow dry and water.  The limb is a Doll Dreams limb so it's pretty sheeny and I made a hot mess of the limb using a different technique.  Nope, I am not ready to change techniques!  LOL

I will test the pieces again on Sunday.  I am just going to let them be while I band up and wash mohair for processing.  I am certain I won't be able to get any paint off but I'll give it a good test.

So to seal or not to seal.  
It is totally up to the artist.
I am confident enough to prematurely state that the paints will hold up, I am certain of that. 


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