Air-dry clay is a lot of fun for everyone. It’s accessible, easy to use, and brimming with possibilities. Anything you can imagine, you can make with air dry clay. The only issue, though, is finding a way to keep your creations and make them last. When touched with water, you’ll find your air dry clay creation won’t last for very long. The answer to this problem is sealants, but which ones are best for you?
Got no time to read? Here are our best picks and why we picked them.
|Product Name||Why We Chose It|
|Blick Studio Acrylic Paint Set||Non-yellowing and smooth.|
|Golden Fluid Acrylic||Low-viscosity and durability.|
|Elmer’s White Glue||Stronger formula.|
|ArtResin Epoxy Resin||Non-toxic self-leveling top coat.|
Best Sealant For Air Dry Clay
So we’ve listed the three best methods of sealing your air dry clay project, but what are the best products to seal your clay on the market? We’ve listed the most effective and most used by experienced crafters below.
Blick’s acrylic paint set comes in a shocking array of 24-60 different colors. The pigment within the paint is incredibly strong and vibrant. The texture of the paint is also a great selling point for many artists who claim that it’s ‘like butter’. The paint is also non-yellowing, which is why it would make a great sealant for air-dry clay.
If you want to seal your clay with acrylic paint then you’ll need multiple layers of paint in order to make your project more durable. However, if you only want to paint/prime your clay, you’ll only need one layer of this luxurious paint. Due to the mixing process, Blick paints tend to be brighter, more consistent, and longer-lasting than normal acrylic paints.
Golden fluid acrylics have a thick, creamy consistency similar to heavy whipping cream. This paint is incredibly durable and permanent. It also has strong adhesion, so even if you accidentally seal your clay before painting, there’s a strong chance this paint will still stick to it anyway.
Despite the thick consistency of Golden Fluid’s paints, it has a very low viscosity, so it won’t be sticky or gloopy when you apply it.
If you’re looking for a fast and cheap solution, white glue is a very simple answer. You’ll want to apply more than one coat of white glue, and you’ll want to allow it to dry in between coats, making Elmer’s white glue a great choice. Elmer’s glue is fast drying, and it also has a new formulation that’s much stronger than before.
It has 30% more glue solids, making it a great option for a clear clay sealant. Despite this new formulation, Elmer’s glue won’t stain your clothes and is still very easy to wash off of paintbrushes, clothing, and other surfaces.
ArtResin is known for its high gloss finish. If you want to create a project with a professional shine, that’s long-lasting and completely waterproof, this product is for you.
ArtResin is one of the few resin products that are certified as being non-toxic, with very little odor, and completely non-flammable. This product is both safe and efficient.
It comes with both a top coat and a hardener, when you mix the two together at a 1:1 ratio, you’ll have a beautiful project in just 72 hours. The great part is that the topcoat is self-leveling, so you won’t have to worry too much about the application process and strange bumps.
What To Consider When Buying An Air Dry Clay Sealant?
There are multiple different kinds of sealants used especially for air-dry clay. It can be overwhelming, especially if you just want to finish a clay project quickly, so we’ve laid out the several most popular and effective ways to seal your clay below. It’s Important to note that air dry clay isn’t food safe and, no matter what sealant you use, will never be, so if you’re hoping to make mugs, plates etc… Pottery clay is what you should be using instead!
White Crafts Glue
Glazing air dry clay with glue is a great option for many crafters. It’s affordable, accessible and all you really need is the glue, your project, a paintbrush, and a space to dry your project.
However, it isn’t necessarily the best choice for all makers. If you’re making something like a plant pot which would need to be 100% waterproof and will be put on display in front of an area where the sun will easily catch it, then we don’t recommend that you use glue. It doesn’t fully protect your clay from water, in fact, it only makes it water-resistant, not waterproof. Also, after some time, you’ll find that the glue will start to yellow in front of the sun and slightly change the color of your project.
An option like glue would work for things like a jewelry dish or an in-house decor item. These are things that would be low maintenance, wouldn’t need to be in the sun, and would very rarely, if ever, come into contact with water.
It can be used as a light glaze to prep your clay before using a more permanent sealer. This method is recommended by a lot of air dry clay professionals. Prepping the clay in this way will make it stronger and more resistant to water.
Painting over your clay piece with acrylic paint is another option for sealing your clay. Similar to glue, it won’t make your project 100% waterproof and it won’t completely extend the life expectancy of your project either. The paint can be yellow and might begin to fade later on if it isn’t further glazed or is used often.
However, because of the plastic properties within the acrylic paint, it will help your project to become water-resistant. It will also add a lick of shine, and make your project look a little more professional. If you’re thinking about adding color to your project, it’s best to do it before you consider adding a glaze too, as you can’t paint over most glazes.
Much like the white craft glue, your acrylic paint base can act as a primer if you want to increase the longevity of your project with a stronger glaze later.
Liquid Epoxy Resin
Epoxy Resin is the most popular, and one of the best options, for sealing your air-dry clay. It’s one of, if not the only, way to ensure that your clay project remains 100% waterproof. It will also encourage the clay piece to stick around for as long as possible, and prevent it from yellowing too.
Resin is a little harder to work with than acrylic paint or glue. Some might require gloves, a mask, and for you to apply it in a wide-open space with lots of air. Others might not require quite as much but may need to be applied and mixed properly in order to receive the best outcome. This method of sealing your clay isn’t recommended for beginners, and it’s most definitely not recommended for young children, as you’ll be mixing with harmful chemicals.
Before using any kind of resin, ensure that you fully, and carefully, read the instructions. Also, ensure that you also only apply one layer of the resin to your clay, as only one layer is needed. Unlike glue or paint, more than one layer might make your project lumpy, or ruin it entirely.
How Do You Permanently Harden Air Dry Clay?
Allow your air dry clay to dry completely then apply a hardening sealant. If you want your clay to be hard and long-lasting, we recommend resin. Most other sealants will merely make your clay water-resistant, or prevent your clay from cracking later on.
The resin will provide plastic armor around your clay that will last for a long time. It will make your clay harder, and waterproof and protect it from yellowing and accidental falls.
How To Keep Air Dry Clay From Cracking While Drying?
This is a problem that a lot of beginner clay crafters will run into. If you want to prevent this, then you’ll need to ensure that your clay is moist and well lubricated while you’re working with it.
Water might be the enemy after you’ve completed your clay project, but in the making process, it’s your best friend. Before you leave your clay to dry, we recommend that you dampen your fingers and use them to slick the surface of your clay.
Ensure that the area you leave your clay to dry isn’t directly in the sunlight, isn’t too cold, and isn’t too hot either. When you’re ready to seal your clay, there shouldn’t be any cracks.
Can You Put Clear Nail Varnish On Clay?
It isn’t one of the most recommended methods, mainly because that’s not its dedicated use, but it is possible. If you’re in a pinch and short on time, a clear nail varnish will work just as well as glue or an acrylic glossy varnish.
Nail varnish won’t make your clay waterproof, only water-resistant, and it might still be yellow over time, but it’s still a sealant! Similar to white glue, it will make your clay shiny, and maintain its structure for longer than if you hadn’t sealed it at all.