Steel wool is one of my favorite easy tricks.

If you have varnish that’s too shiny, rubbing it gently with a small wad of super fine, grade #0000 steel wool will change that gloss to matte in a jiffy.  This super fine grade feels like stiff cotton balls. If I change my mind, I’ve been able to restore varnish back to its former gloss with a buffing wheel.

Be careful to use steel wool away from your clay work area.  It sheds little metal fibers like crazy.

The earring on the left (below) is before steel wool.  The earring on the right is after steel wool. These are finished with DecoArts One Step Crackle.  I like how the satin finish makes the earring on the right look a bit older.


I especially like that the steel wool treatment makes transfers easier to see.  I protected the transfer on the focal bead below with Triple Thick and it was too shiny.  The subtle faux marble clay was being lost and the glare made it hard to read the text.  Steel wool fixed that.


An added benefit–if there are brushstrokes in your varnish, steel wool will make them practically disappear.  Not because the brushstrokes have been sanded flat, but because the shiny highlights are gone.  Love it.