How To Make Polymer Clay Shiny Without Glaze? [Achieve A Glossy Finish]




Key Takeaways

  • Achieving a glossy finish on polymer clay doesn’t always mean a glaze.
  • Various techniques, including mica powder, acrylic paint, sanding, and resin, can enhance the shine.
  • UV and epoxy resins offer different options for a high-gloss look in DIY projects.
  • Proper care can help maintain the shine of polymer clay over time.
  • Encourage questions and sharing to elevate your polymer clay crafting skills.

Ever wondered, how to make polymer clay shiny without glaze? A polished finish gives polymer clay creations a professional appearance. It enhances the colors and details of the piece. I am making it look more vibrant and eye-catching.

A glossy finish aids in simulating the shine and glitter of the original items. Increase the realism of polymer clay sculptures and figures that resemble genuine objects. Polymer clay enthusiasts often wonder about achieving this shine without glaze. Additionally, they frequently ask questions like ‘Are polymer clay goods durable without glaze?’ and ‘Do I need a kiln for polymer clay?’ This article delves into expert techniques to make your creations shine brilliantly.

How To Make Polymer Clay Shiny Without Glaze

To make polymer clay shiny without Glaze. You can use sandpaper to smooth the surface and then buff it with a soft cloth. Or, you can apply a thin layer of liquid polymer clay and bake it for a glossy finish.

To enhance depth and shine to sanding and polishing for a customised touch. Learn how these alternatives can give your work a distinctive flair so they stand out.

Why Do Some Polymer Clay Artists Avoid Glaze?

Some polymer clay artists choose to skip Glaze for several reasons. They may prefer the natural finishes achievable through careful crafting and baking. Ice can be tricky to apply, leading to mistakes. Some artists appreciate the tactile quality of unglazed clay.

Why Do Some Polymer Clay Artists Avoid Glaze

Additionally, glaze materials can be an added expense, and polymer clay cost-effective alternatives. It all boils down to individual style, goals, and the desired look for their creations.

How To Make Polymer Clay Shiny Without Glaze?

Suppose you’re looking to achieve a glossy finish on your polymer clay. For creations without using Glaze, follow these steps:

  • Polymer clay pieces 
  • Mica powder 
  • Acrylic paint (optional) 
  • Oven or clay-dedicated-toaster oven) baking tools. 
  • Soft paintbrush or makeup brush 
  • Soft cloth
make polymer clay shiny without glaze

Step 1: Prepare Your Polymer Clay. Be sure your polymer clay elements have been cooked and cooled before trying to burnish them. That way, they will not stretch out of shape while curing.

Step 2: Mica Powder: Magic Mica powder is a Secret ingredient that has a gloss effect. Get a colour suitable for your work. Dip the paintbrush into the mica powder and sprinkle on top of your baked clay creation.

Step 3: Rub. Using a soft paintbrush or makeup brush, spread how much mica powder you need onto the surface of the clay. This will produce a sparkling effect that makes the clay items appear brighter.

Step 4: Optional: Acrylic Paint For adding more colours or shading to the piece of artwork, you should try acrylic painting. Use it because you don’t need much of it. Mix the paint and mica powder to create an exciting effect.

Step 5: Buff and Shine Once you have applied the mica powder and any desired acrylic paint. Wipe off the surface of the clay with a soft cloth, buffing it, which helps in distributing the powder and adding to the glow.

Step 6: Final Bake Return your clay sculpture to the kiln, and follow the instruction manual for firing. Baking this last time seals in the acrylic paint (used to make the glitter) as well as the mica powder, making sure your sparkle stays in place.

Step 7: Admire the Shine. Wait for your sculpture to cool and feel smug about looking at its shiny finish — all from one application. Now it’s time for your creation from polymer clay to charm everyone with its beauty.

By following these steps and using mica powder, you can make your polymer clay projects shine brilliantly. At the same time, you are avoiding the need for Glaze.

Alternative Techniques To Make Polymer Clay Shine

If you’re seeking alternatives to achieve a shiny finish on your polymer clay creations without using traditional Glaze, consider the following techniques:

Alternative Techniques to Make Polymer Clay Shine

Sanding and Buffing:

You are using fine sandpaper (in steps) and the baked polymer clay piece until smooth. Begin with the rougher grades and move down through the finer ones. Once you have finished sanding, use a gentle cloth or polishing pad to polish the surface.

This approach allows you to give your clay a sleek, glossy look. Many artists find this method incredibly effective, and they often ask, ‘Is polymer clay good for sanding to achieve a shiny finish?’ Additionally, if you’re wondering about the durability of your creations, you might be interested in whether polymer clay is waterproof.

Liquid Polymer Clay:

One can use liquid clays (translucent or transparent), apply it over the baked item, and bake it once more. It makes a lacquered and stain-proof matte finish. Apply the same thin layer of Glaze with a paintbrush across the entirety of your piece before baking.

Acrylic Varnish:

If you want a gloss finish on the item made from polymer clay, use acrylic varnish/sealer, which is a transparent and water-based solution, naturally.

Whether you want to use polymer clay for mugs or are curious about how to soften polymer clay in the microwave, put on with a brush in thin and steady layers, leaving the surface in order for one to dry before stacking up. It is an effective method to apply on clay work and provides a glassy finish and long-lasting shine, naturally.

Epoxy Resin:

Epoxy resins are a two-component, self-levelling material that produces a high gloss coat. Follow the instructions of the manufacturer and mix the resin, then pour the resin onto your polymer clay piece. Please make sure the surface is flat and allow it to dry. Use caution when using epoxy, as it will have trapped air bubbles; you’ll need either a heat gun or a gentle exhale of air to get rid of them.

Burnishing with a Spoon:

Rub on the back side of the clay with the metal spoon after you bake it. A polished effect can be achieved with this burnishing process.

Polymer Clay Pastels:

Try using polymer clay pastels or chalk pastels to colour and shimmer your works of art. Once you’re done baking, brush your piece with some pastel dusting and blend well.

Each of these alternative techniques offers a unique way to make polymer clay shine. We are providing you with options to achieve the desired finish for your polymer clay projects.  (Source)

Resin: The Underrated Shine Enhancer

One of the secrets you can use is resin, which is excellent for adding shine to any project. The wax will give all of your polymer clay jewellery, epoxy resin, and acrylic paint projects an extra glow! And it’s incredible for offering your items a polished sheen.

Clarity and Durability: 

With resin, you get clear clarity for displaying materials such as mica powders in polymer clay projects. It provides longevity, too, to make sure that your designs are not damaged with passing the days.

Eliminating Blemishes

Like air bubbles, this resin flows into any small gaps and provides your piece with a smooth, glossy appearance.

Easy Application: 

Apply liquid resin on top of baked clay or as a glaze for polymer clay. Easy to apply with significant shimmer effects.

Versatile Finish: 

For different results, you can obtain a glassier, shiny look, a matte finish, satin finish, and glossy finish as needed for the application.

UV Resin Versus Epoxy Resin: Which Is Better?

Suppose you’re looking for ways to give a high-gloss look to your DIY projects. You can choose from UV resin or epoxy resin. Both have their share of advantages & disadvantages.


  • Quick Cure: With the UV resin set of 3D printing materials, hardening occurs almost immediately once under UV exposure and is ideal for quick turnarounds.
  • Precision: You get control of the drying process to ensure an accurate final result.
  • Low Fumes: Outside air is cleaner (and less polluted), as the device emits fewer emissions. This allows it to be used indoors (with appropriate ventilation).


  • UV Light Needed: Needs a UV light for curing.
  • Limited Work Time: As you have less time to work, you must be productive.


  • Durability: Its firmness makes it great for sustained shimmer.
  • Versatility: It doesn’t require UV light and works on different surfaces.
  • No UV Light: Offers more flexibility in work times and cures naturally without the use of UV light.


  • Longer Cure Time: At least 24 hours to dry completely.
  • Strong Odour: Gives off powerful smells and gases; should be well-aired.
  • When you have access to UV light, go with the speed/precision option using UV Resin.
  • For longevity and flexibility, choose epoxy resin, but consider the lengthier curing period and possible odours.

What you should select is up to the requirements of your project and personal preference if choosing between UV and epoxy resins. They could both make excellent high-lighting elements and decide which works best for you.

Safety Measures When Working With Polymer Clay And Resins

Working with polymer clay and resins can be enjoyable, but it’s crucial to follow safety guidelines:

Ventilation: Ventilate well to prevent inhalation of vapours, especially when working with epoxy resin.

Protective Gear: Protective gear such as gloves for hands / protective glasses, respirator masks while working with resin or clay / protecting your face from dust particles while sanding.

Workspace: Work in a designated place away from the kitchen and polymer clay food safety areas to prevent any cross-contamination.

Heat Sources: Make sure you use the oven according to the manufacturers’ rules when using the range to cure polymer clay.

Cleanliness: Materials should be handled with a pair of surgical gloves on, and they must wash their hands thoroughly before consuming food/beverages.

How To Maintain The Shine On Polymer Clay Over Time?

To keep polymer clays creations looking shiny:

  • Avoid Abrasion: Keep objects separate and keep them in a soft pouch to avoid damaging the surface from scratching.
  • UV Protection: To maintain the shine, do not set it in open sunlight and keep it away from heat.
  • Cleaning: dust your goods gently using a soft brush or cloth and keep the shine on them.

Expert Tips For How To Glaze Polymer Clay Shiny Without Glaze

Here are some tips that you can follow to get better results:

Achieving Shine Without Glaze:

  • Burnishing: Work over some clay pieces with a rough instrument, or use your fingers for a fine sheen.
  • Sanding: When you’re baking, first sand the surface with very fine-grit sandpaper (800—2000 grit).
  • Buffing: Waxing after baking will bring extra lustre to your cake sculpture!
  • Varnish: Apply a layer of glossy shine varnish to seal in the final shine.

How To Make Polymer Clay Shiny?

To make polymer clay shiny:

  • After Baking: A glossy glaze or resin can go on over an excellent dry clay — if it’s unglazed, add these to your piece once the drying is finished.
  • Burnishing: Gently rub down the surface with either a stiff brush, your thumb, finger, etc.
  • Sanding: Before applying any finish to your clay piece, sand it with coarse grit sandpaper (800–2000).
  • Buffing: Then polish it off some more with a soft cloth.

How To Shine Polymer Clay?

To glaze polymer clay:

  • Choose Glaze: Select a suitable glaze, such as a gloss varnish or polymer clay glaze.
  • Application: Apply the Glaze with a brush or by dipping, following the product’s instructions.
  • Drying: Let the Glaze dry completely before handling the piece to avoid smudging.
  • Optional Second Coat: Apply a second coat for a more  durable finish and glossy matte finish.

By following these safety measures and shine-enhancing tips, you can create beautiful, shiny polymer clay creations that maintain their luster over time.

Common Mistakes To Avoid When Trying To Make Polymer Clay Shiny

Overheating: If you bake polymer clays at a temperature that is too hot, it can dull the finish of your pieces. Follow the recommended baking instructions.

Under Conditioning: If the clay is not correctly conditioned, then you will end up with an uneven surface that won’t shine evenly.

Skipping Sanding: Please sand the clay prior to finalizing to avoid blemishes, which prevent gloss. 

Rushing the Process: Patience is vital. Trying to speed up polishing, buffing, or glazing will result in suboptimal.

Using the Wrong Glaze: Not all of them will work well with polymer clay. In case you use it, be sure to use the one intended for that specific purpose.

Will polishing polymer clay keep its gleam without being glazed?

Polymer clay does not necessarily need glazing for durable shine as long as you use proper techniques and take good care of your pieces. 

Sanding, buffing, etc., is used to obtain a glossy finish without the usage of a varnish. But with the use of Glaze, you get more security & durability.

How To Make Polymer Clay Shine Without A Glaze?

Yes, you can do without glazing for polymer clay finishes to last. Through techniques such as sanding, buffing, and burnishing, polymer clay can achieve a stunning sparkle. 

These techniques produce a smooth, shiny surface of the clay, which doesn’t require another glaze. However, applying a block of ice or varnish will give an additional layer of protection, increasing its durability against scratches, wear, and external elements. 

In general, you don’t need the clay to have a glaze because it will retain a shine on its own, but applying varnish/glazing would help sustain its luster over time anyway!

How To Clean And Store Polymer Clay?

Now that you know how to glaze polymer clay, follow these tips to clean and store your polymer clay. 

  • Cleaning: Polymer clay pieces should be lightly dusted with an artist’s brush or soft cloth. Wipe the clay with a damp cloth, but don’t soak it for tenacious grime.
  • Storage: Keep your polymer clay pieces in a place out of direct light AND extreme heat ideally, keep them at room temperature or slightly chilly.
  • Separation: Separate items using a sheet of parchment paper or a microfiber cloth to stop the ingredients from sticking together and spreading colour.
  • Airtight Containers: Keep clay in an airtight container away from dust and dirt.
  • Avoid Heavy Objects: Keep an eye out for not to put things on top of clay pieces because they will eventually start sinking and warping.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

Do You Glaze Polymer Clay Before Or After Baking?

After baking it’s essential to glaze polymer clay. After it sets it gives the clay a shiny and protective finish.

Can You Use Mod Podge To Glaze Polymer Clay?

You can also use Mod Podge as a glaze. A popular choice for many crafters, this adhesive dries clear and provides a shiny finish.

What Can I Put On Polymer Clay To Make It Shiny?

A good way to make polymer clay shiny is by using resin or clear glaze. These are made specifically for polymer clay and adhere well to provide shine that’ll last.

What Kind Of Glaze Do You Use For Polymer Clay?

To get the best results you should buy a glaze made for polymer clay. These are created to work with the clay and give it a glossy finish.

Are There Any Household Products That Can Be Used To Make Polymer Clay Shiny?

It’s not common practice to use household products to make polymer clay shiny. They might not give you the same result and could even damage your hard work.

How Long Does The Shine On Polymer Clay Last Without Using Glaze?

With a proper glaze or resin, the shine of polymer clay can last. Polymer clay is durable, and a well-applied glaze or wax will protect the surface and maintain its brightness over time.


Briefly on how to make polymer clay shiny without glaze you can see that one does not always need to use Glaze to get a glossy finish on the polymer clay. Mica powder and acrylic paints have been part of the mix, as well as other techniques like sanding and resin.

If there are any advantages to using epoxy resin vs. UV resin, you certainly need the appropriate type of resin, depending on the project you are aiming to make.

When working with polymer clay and resins, make sure you give yourself good ventilation and wear protective gear (just to be safe!). Please don’t hesitate to leave any questions in the comments below or share this post with fellow crafters who want to improve their polymer clay skills! Happy crafting.

About the author

Written By

William Prince

William Prince

Meet William Prince!

With over 20 years of ceramic artistry experience, William Prince is not just a skilled potter; he’s a passionate guide to your pottery journey. William holds a Fine Arts degree specialized in pottery and he was also nurtured under the guidance of renowned potters. With over two decades of experience, he seamlessly blends tradition with contemporary aesthetics.

William’s inspiration stems from nature’s imperfections, translating them into unique, organic pottery pieces. As a patient and warm-hearted teacher, he’s known for conducting pottery workshops and classes, nurturing talents with his expertise. Join William on “” and let his mastery inspire your own pottery adventure. Uncover the magic of crafting pottery with a trusted mentor who’s dedicated to both the art and the artist.

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