This critical mistake can ruin your handmade crochet hooks! Beware of this polymer clay predicament and learn to fix it if it happens to you.
I am a huge fan of ergonomic crochet hooks.
Anything I can do to make crochet easier on my hands, I’ll try it. And of course, one of the best ways to do that is to use a hook with a really thick handle.
Furls Crochet makes hooks with a super-thick handle, so I got a few of those to try. I love them. They are some of my favorite hooks, but they are rather expensive. To buy a Furls Odyssey hook in every size would cost me several hundred dollars.
So instead, I decided to make my own.
I removed the rubber handles from my Clover Amour hooks, and added my own super-thick handles, made from polymer clay. This was a fun project, and only cost about $4-$5 per hook to do.
I’m not a professional polymer clay artist, but my hooks still turned out pretty nice. I covered them with extra-fine glitter, and added a coat of triple-thick gloss glaze for a beautiful, shiny finish.
I was thrilled with my new tools, until I really started using them. Even though it was completely dry, the triple-thick gloss glaze still felt sticky. If I stored them in a jar, they would stick together and peel chunks of glaze off of each other.
I had chosen that glaze, assuming that since it was “general purpose”, it would work on polymer clay. Well, I was wrong.
Evidently, not all surface coatings will work well when applied to polymer clay.
So, in the end, I had to remove the original glaze and replace it with a gloss varnish that is made for polymer clay.
Here’s how I did it:
First, I had to remove the existing glaze finish. I put each hook in a small ziploc bag with a little bit of rubbing alcohol. Then, I let it sit for a good 10 minutes, and turned the hook over to let the other side sit in the rubbing alcohol for another 10 minutes. (I also placed the bag on top of a paper plate in case it leaked.) As the glaze sits in the alcohol, it turns white and cloudy.
Then, I used a paper towel to pull the hook out of the bag. I carefully tried to wipe off as much of the glaze as I could with the paper towel. At this point, the glaze was super-sticky, kinda like melted marshmallow.
To get off the rest of the glaze, I used a cleaned, old toothbrush with a bit of oil on it. I scrubbed at the glaze with the oily toothbrush, making sure to get any globs of glaze out of the detail lines of the hook. Then, I used a toothpick or piece of wire to gently pick out any globs that I couldn’t get out with the toothbrush. I rinsed the hook handles with a bit of water to make sure all the glaze gunk was off, and laid them on a towel to dry.
Now, the old glaze was gone, but the hooks still had a bit of oil residue on them. So I washed them with a gentle dish soap and water to remove any oil from the surface. I laid them on the towel again to dry completely.
Applying the New Finish
For the new glaze, I used Fimo Gloss Varnish, which is made for polymer clay. This varnish does cost more than the original gloss glaze I used before, but it was definitely worth it! It worked so much better!
(Side Note: When I received the jar of varnish, it appeared rather liquidy. Weeks later, when I opened it, it was thick, dry, and pasty. The label said to keep it away from heat or cold, and I wondered if it had just been stored in a slightly cool place too long. I filled a bowl with warm water, and set the jar down in it (not submerged, but just so the water came almost to the lid). After the water came to room temperature, I warmed the water again and repeated the process several times. The varnish slowly returned to a liquid consistency, and was ready to use. )
The consistency is pretty thin, so I applied it with a small paintbrush. I poked the metal hook ends of my crochet hooks into a piece of packaging foam (not the kind that crumbles into little pellets, but the stiff, spongy, plasticky kind). For photos on how I did this, see step 8 of this tutorial.
I applied a thin coat of the gloss varnish to each hook, and allowed it to dry. Once it was dry, I applied a second coat for extra shine.
With their new gloss finish, my hooks look just as shiny as before, but without the stickiness. I am so happy with my finished hooks now, and I can’t wait to start using them in my projects again!
Is the varnish necessary, like to seal in the glitter, or could it be skipped?
Hi! I personally recommend the varnish, as the hook will be handled a lot. Even if you are not adding glitter, the varnish is supposed to help seal the baked clay. I hope this helps!
Does the polymer clay make the hook heavy?
Hi Joan! My hooks range from 30-36 grams each, about 1 to 1.3 ounces. The weight is similar to my favorite Furls Odyssey hooks, which weigh about 36 grams / 1.3 ounces, only they are weighted in one particular spot for momentum. I actually prefer a heavier, larger-handled hook to a lightweight metal hook. The forward-weighted Furls hooks are my favorite, but my entire set of polymer clay handles cost me about the same as one Furls Odyssey hook. 🙂 I hope this helps!