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I normally use Krylon Matte Finish to seal my minis, but I've been noticing on the two that I made a base out of sculpey it stays sticky to the touch. To add to the aggravation, dog hair and fingerprints get stuck to it. :grr: The miniature itself and basing materials don't feel sticky, just where I have paint over baked sculpey. My CAVs (being all metal, sand and ballast) don't have this issue.

 

Anyone have any ideas what is going on here? Only thing I can figure is temperature as the room I keep my minis in peaks at around 80~85 degrees depending on which side of the house the sun is on, but I would think that would make the whole piece feel tacky. It's really starting to tick me off as these are my two favorite (and best painted) minis.

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That's probably it. One of the warning labels reads:

Contains ketones, hydrocarbon propellants, tolulene, and aliphatic hydrocarbons...(don't do this, don't do that)

Don't remember much about chemistry, but IIRC tolulene is petroleum based.

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Don't worry about the tolulene, xylene or ketones - it is the propellant that is to blame.

 

It might seem like a bit of extra work - but it goes fast in order to avoid the problem (the ones which are already tacky are a different issue...). Once you have your sculpey done and cured properly, take a plastic safe paint like Krylon Fusion or regular acrylic with an airbrush. You need to paint all sides top bottom and everything in order to seal it up completely. The paint doesn't need to be thick - just 100% coverage. Follow that with a normal primer coat and paint like you would have before.

 

What ends up happening is the propellant in normal spray paint gets in through the bottom or through a bare spot of primer (remember primer does not seal - it acts more like a wick). The propellant works its magic and causes sculpey to get tacky. Using a base coat below the primer seals things up and keeps the sculpey nice and solid.

 

As to the other issue - you might be able to recure the sculpey. I have had mixed luck with it, but it does work about 60% of the time. Be careful though. Some materials may have low flash points and can lead to other more serious issues (like fire). Anywho, I have a hot box built to speed resin curing and my first run in with this I thought, why not give it a try and see what I can save. The simple way is a heat lamp roughly 6 inches from the sculpey for around four hours. It will normally drive the chemicals out of the sculpey and recure it solid.

 

Possible problems: Small bits of dust outgassing when they are heated and creating paint bubbles. Not quite dry basing materials drying too fast and cracking. Fire (used acetate based micro filters once...bad idea).

 

Anywho, you can of course use a matte sealer which is not from a rattle can too.

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Don't worry about the tolulene, xylene or ketones - it is the propellant that is to blame.

 

I would expect the toluene, xylene or ketones are much more likely to cause a problem than the propellant.

 

Typical hydrocarbon propellants - butane, isobutane and propane - will be completely vaporized when they spray out of the nozzle. The less volatile components which actually keep the paint or finish dissolved will be the ones to soak into the primer layer. Even if sprayed as liquid butane onto a fairly porous surface, it will evaporate completely in a matter of a few seconds. (I work with liquid butane, isobutane and propane fairly frequently)

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You can only use water-based sealants with sculpey, the PVC in sculpey reacts with solvents in bad ways and either the sealant won't dry or it will dry and then in a couple weeks/months turn into this sticky gooey mess. When I make sculpey bases and I'm putting a mini on them, I paint the base however I want to with acrylics first, then seal in the waterbase sealer, wait till that dries and then dullcote the who thing and life is good. If you skip the waterbase sealer you're asking for problems in the above equation. I learned this the hard way myself.

 

The same reaction happens with any brand of polymer clay, not just sculpey. I've found that Minwax water based polyurethane works well, and many polymer clay artists use Flecto Varathane because it is waterbased and has some chemical in it that actually bonds to the sculpey without becoming a gooey mess. I don't use Flecto simply because I cannot seem to locate it at all in any hardware store where I live.

 

Painting one of these water-based sealers over the gooey mess you already have won't help it either. You will need to start over. Sorry Sarge for the bad news.

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Well, I guess I'll have to chalk this one up to a lesson in reading the dang labels on stuff. The bases are still hard, just sticky on the surface. Will probably get some new bases for them.

 

My normal sealing routine is a coat of thinned Future and then the Krylon matte. Didn't that on these because they aren't going to be for a game so figured they didn't need that hard layer that future provides. Would using the Future have saved these pieces?

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My normal sealing routine is a coat of thinned Future and then the Krylon matte. Didn't that on these because they aren't going to be for a game so figured they didn't need that hard layer that future provides. Would using the Future have saved these pieces?

 

I don't know if using the Future first would have worked simply because I've never used Future. I went looking for it once locally and none of the grocery stores had it in with their cleaning chemicals. I wasn't about to head up into the city for a bottle of stuff I really didn't need. I can get the minwax water-based polyurethane at work and at Home Depot. It comes in Gloss, Satin and Matte finishes. I usually get the gloss since I'm using dullcote afterwards. Also I use the gloss on my non-miniature related pieces. In your case you might be able to save a step buying the matte.

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My guess is that the Future would have sealed over the polymer clay and then future layers would have been fine. Since you would have had the barrier between the clay and the other varnish I can't see where there could be an interaction.

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Just wanted to share a tip that seems to be working. I had several small homemade game tokens that I sealed with an Army Painter spray matte varnish. Within just a few minutes, they became glossy, gooey and sticky to the touch.

I was pretty sure they were ruined, but I tried a few things from this group to save them. I first tried backing them in the oven for several hours to "re-curing" them, but that didn't seem to make much difference.

 

In a last ditch effort, I tried spraying them with a Vallejo "Acrylic Resin" matte sealer through an airbrush. I don't want to jinx it, but so far, that is looking to have solved the problem completely! Hopefully someone who visits this forum looking for the same solution I did will find this helpful.

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On 6/24/2006 at 8:52 PM, Enchantra said:

You can only use water-based sealants with sculpey, the PVC in sculpey reacts with solvents in bad ways and either the sealant won't dry or it will dry and then in a couple weeks/months turn into this sticky gooey mess. When I make sculpey bases and I'm putting a mini on them, I paint the base however I want to with acrylics first, then seal in the waterbase sealer, wait till that dries and then dullcote the who thing and life is good. If you skip the waterbase sealer you're asking for problems in the above equation. I learned this the hard way myself.

 

The same reaction happens with any brand of polymer clay, not just sculpey. ...

It's the same problem with Reaper Bones and any other brand model made of PVC, though polymer clay has the added issue of a volatile plasticizer that's supposed to evaporate during baking but seldom does completely. While there may be some exceptional sprays that work fine, and that water-based sealer can act as an isolation coat to prevent the sticky reaction, the general guideline to avoid a sticky bad time is just never use anything out of a spray can on PVC models.

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