Once you have sculped your polymer clay project you will have to decide whether you need or want to seal your piece. In some cases, it might be necessary to seal your polymer clay but in a lot of cases, you might actually make things worse by sealing your project. After reading this article you will have a good understanding when to seal your work and what kind of Sealer is best for your specific project.
So let´s get started with the first part of this article, which is when to seal your Clay.
Do I Have to Seal Polymer Clay?
The short answer is no, you don´t have to seal polymer clay. Polymer clay is after it is baked and completely cured, water-resistant and it has a natural finish right away. You only want to Seal your Polymer clay if you have painted it or if you want a special kind of finish.
So normally you can simply use your polymer clay project right after it is cured. If it is a sculpture, then you can hang it on the wall or let it sit on your table, or make some jewelry with it, no problem.
Naturally, hardened Polymer Clay will resist water and dust, dirt or sunlight won´t hurt it either.
Polymer clay will also not change it´s color even if it is being hit by direct sunlight. It will, however, lose its color and become white when it is exposed to direct sunlight for a very long period of time (a year or longer).
So generally, you only want to seal your Polymer Clay if you either want a special finish (like a shiny surface or glitter on the surface, for example) or if you painted your polymer clay after baking.
You differently should seal your painted clay to protect the color and not necessarily the clay itself.
What Do You Use to Seal Polymer Clay?
The short answer is, it depends. You can use a Wax, Acrylic Sealer, Varnish or Liquid Epoxy. If you want a smooth finish, then use sandpaper and wax to seal your Polymer Clay and if you painted your clay, then you should seal it with an Acrylic Sealer or Varnish.
If you are using Polymer Clay to make jewelry then a simple finish with either wax or an Acrylic Sealer will be more than enough. And you only need to seal your jewelry if you plan on giving it a different finish.
If you want your Polymer Clay Jewelry to have a shiny finish, then you can sand it with a very fine grid sanding paper and a few drops of water until it is as smooth as you want it to be.
Next up buff your Polymer clay with some very soft cloth. Simply rub your clay with the cloth and you see, that the surface will start to shine slightly.
Once you are done with buffing simply seal the Clay with some wax.
The wax, that I always suggest is Enkaustikos Wax. It is non-toxic and easy to use.
The Link, I provided above is an affiliate link, so if you want to support this blog, then you can use the link above to buy the wax (it will not cost you anything more and I will get a small commission). Thank you for your support.
If you want a mat finish, then simply apply the wax after you sanded your piece and skip the buffing step.
If you want to paint your polymer clay and seal the paint, then I would highly recommend to use acrylic paint and Seal it with an Acrylic Sealer.
You can get an acrylic sealer spray and simply spray your sculpture with a thin layer of the sealer to protect your project from any scratches, sunlight or water.
You can also use Varnish or liquid epoxy but acrylic sealer is the easiest and in my opinion best way to seal your colors.
Any acrylic sealer will do the trick but I personally use the Sealer from Mod Podge. This is an Affiliate Link.
Shake well before you use the sealer and try to mist your piece with the Sealer. So apply it from a certain distance to avoid it running down your project and creating an uneven finish.
Can You Seal Polymer Clay with Mod Podge?
The short answer is yes. You can seal Polymer Clay with Mod Podge but Polymer Clay on its own is already robust enough once it is cured, that you don´t have to seal it at all. So sealing it with Mod Podge only makes sense if you want, for example, a glitter finish, that Mod Podge Sparkle can provide.
So Mod Podge is a white crafts glue and, like other white glues, it is not especially water-resistant. It can also yellow when it is exposed to direct sunlight for a long period of time.
So sealing Polymer Clay with Mod Podge really only makes sense, when you want your clay project to have a special kind of finish. There are a lot of different Mod Podge variations and each will give you a slightly different finish. You can use Mod Podge Sparkle to give your clay a glitter finish, for example.
Or you can simply use Mat Mod Podge to give your Project a nice mat finish.
But generally, you don´t have to apply Mod Podge or any white crafts glue for that matter, so protect your Polymer Clay. Polymer Clay is already water-resistant and it is quite robust as well.
How do You Seal Polymer Clay with Resin?
The short answer is yes you can but it is defiantly not easy. Liquid Resin is a two-component mixture, that has to mixed well and then poured over the sculpture. After it is dry it has a slightly shiny finish and will protect your project from water, sun, scratches, and dirt.
Resin is quite a nasty stuff to work with, it is toxic when it is not dry yet, so you have to work with protection and in a well-ventialted area.
Liquid resin, just like any kind of resin, comes in two parts. One Resin and one hardener. You have to mix these two well before you can apply the resin.
This is where another problem arises. When you mix these two components air will be trapped in the mixture resulting in nasty bubbles, that can be seen after the resin has dried. This can ruin your project, if you are not careful.
There are two ways, that I know of, to avoid bubbles in Resin.
One is a decompression chamber, that will pull every little bit of air out of the mixture. This is probably the best way to get rid of any air, that might be trapped inside your epoxy resin, but it is also quite expensive to get a decompression chamber.
I would only recommend getting one of these if you are using a lot of resin because you are mass producing resin parts or you have to seal a lot of polymer clay all the time. Otherwise, they are not worth it.
The other method of getting your resin bubble free is by pouring the mixed resin in a very thin “waterfall” the entrapped air will be able to get out. This method is not nearly as good as using a decompression chamber but it will at least get rid of the really big bubbles inside the mixture.
The next thing is letting it dry. If you use Epoxy resin to seal your project then make sure, to let it dry on a surface, that epoxy doesn´t stick to. So Silicon, for example.
Once epoxy is hard it will be very difficult to get it off a surface without damaging it once it is completely cured, so make sure to either have your project sitting on a spike of sorts, where the liquid epoxy can drip down from the sides so that your project won´t stick to anything.
Or let it dry on a silicone surface. Nothing sticks to silicon except silicon!