Using polycrylic coating on origami | How About Orange

September 21, 2012

Using polycrylic coating on origami

I've been wondering what kind of protective coating to use on origami, paper jewelry, or other paper projects—something that would make the finished model sturdier, more water-resistant, and maybe a little bit shiny.

I've tried applying a couple coats of Krylon Satin Finish spray, but it didn't seem to have much effect. (Good if you just want to preserve the finish and texture of your paper and protect it a bit from dust, though.) I've also tried clear nail polish, but it didn't create the coating I was looking for.

This was my latest experiment: Minwax Polycrylic, purchased at Home Depot. I got the semi-gloss after standing in the aisle paralyzed, trying to decide whether I wanted a glossy or satin finish. So I aimed for the middle.

I tested the stuff on these origami sakura blossoms I folded from 2" squares of plain computer paper. Get a tutorial for the flowers here! After glueing the petals together, I also glued the loose flaps down to make them extra secure.

Then I painted them with lots of coats of polycrylic, letting the layers dry for an hour or two between coats. I think I applied six. The first coat will cause the folds to relax a little, so be attentive and make sure you reshape the flower a bit if needed before the coating dries. It was helpful to stick them on skewers to dry.

The polycrylic built up a nice, shiny coating and dried crystal clear with no brush strokes at all. The flowers are slightly flexible, but really tough, as if they were laminated with clear plastic or packing tape. Mission accomplished!


I hot-glued magnets to the back and stuck them on my file cabinet.

For other coating and glaze ideas, see the helpful tips from readers in the comments on this post!

40 comments:

kimberly said...

This is a game changer. Thank you so much for sharing!!

Grandma G said...

Nice! That opens up a lot of possibilities, I bet!

Mum

Sarah said...

how do you deal with the brush between layers?

Jessica Jones said...

Wash it out with soap and water, which takes about 15 seconds. The polycrylic is water-based, not oil-based, so clean-up is easy.

liz said...

sweet! i'll have to add that to the list of things i want to buy at home depot.

Maria said...

I'm wondering how colored paper or paper with prints will react to this coating... Will it change the color?

Jessica Jones said...

I put some on a test piece of patterned wrapping paper, and it didn't change the color, though the sheet did wrinkle very slightly from the moisture.

Anonymous said...

My friend makes origami jewellery - tiny flowers, turtles, stars, birds, whatever, threaded with beads into necklaces and earrings. She does just use clear nail varnish to coat the models. Seems to work okay on such a small scale.

Jessica Jones said...

Good to know! The clear polish I tried was really cheap, and I only put on one coat, so there might be better ways of doing it.

TLN said...

Nifty idea! I love it!

Anathalia said...

Nice! I have an origami Christmas ornament that a friend made for me and I'm always worried about it because it is so fragile! I will definitely try this!

liza jane said...

Very, very cool!

Leyla Torres said...

Looks like a great material. I'll have to try some on the garlands I featured on my recent post http://www.origamispirit.com/?p=9126

PaperShaperSF said...

I have tried lots of different glazes and my favorites are; Accent Water Based Crystal Clear Glaze and Liquitex Medium & Varnish, in matte satin or gloss. Accent gives a high gloss, levels well and you can get away with just one coat. Liquitex can be diluted easily with water or you can add tints and/or iridescent medium. Both dry flexible.

I have not had good experience with; Anita's, Beacon, Right On, Right Step, or Save a Puzzle. Of course your mileage may vary.

Depending upon the paper and the glaze, it can make it wrinkle, unfold, look (and stay) transparent, or make the ink bleed. My suggestion would be to try a sample before using it on really nice paper or a model that has taken you a long time to fold!

Another approach is to paint the paper with the Liquitex varnish first as a primer, let it dry first, paint the other side, let that dry, and then fold it. Once it is folded, you can paint it again with something that has more body and it is less likely to unfold. You can put more glaze on it after it has been primed/folded and it may/may not glue the layers together. I have used a close-pin to hold the model together as it dries.

My mom gave me a "Teflon" plastic sheet from a fabric store that works well as a non-stick surface. Wish that I could find more! Another trick is to use masking or painters tape and tape the paper to a glass tabletop before you paint it to keep it from wrinkling or rolling, then peel it up after it's dry. This works better with water based paints. Again, test it before you ruin your table or your paper.

Jessica Jones said...

Leyla, I haven't seen that version of wreath before. Neat!

PaperShaper, thank you, thank you for your tips and suggestions—fantastic!

Haley said...

I wonder if spray shellac would work well, probably easier to apply than painting. Good idea!

catie bea said...

What a super fun idea! Now I want to string loads of shiny cranes all over our apartment. I'm sure the husband wouldn't mind, right?? Oh, what he has to put up with...

Thanks for the idea!

Catie

tifleur said...

I search the way to solidify the origami paper, and i never find the good results. I try to find this product in France! Thanks for the help and see you

Emilie said...

pretty cool !

margaret said...

oh that's awesome! I was just making construction paper hairclips and had the same dilemma -- what would make them more sturdy -- and now, thanks to you, i know :D

Sarah Watson said...

Oh man! You're the best! great idea, I'm picking some of this stuff up. Wonderful blog as well. So organized and pretty! It's like you're a designer or something!

The Rogers Life said...

Love those flowers!!

On my paper jewelry I brush on a product called Triple Thick. It dries clear as well. I never have to use more than one coat.

Jessica Jones said...

Is it this stuff? Sounds great! Thanks for the tip!

The Rogers Life said...

Yep...that's the stuff. :)

Ezen said...

My uncle used to make me these darling origami animals when I was a kid. This will make them last forever... sort of! Must let him know :)

Rachel said...

Lovely! Thanks!

Rachel @ www.ecarport.com.au/

Elizabeth Parsons said...

have you heard of "Triple Thick"? It's a product that I buy at Michaels and Hobby Lobby that does the same thing- it comes in small, med and large bottles, cleand with water and is awesome- does just what you are looking for- shiny and hard. I make paper charms and use Triple Thick for the final coat- usually 2 coats.

Jessica Jones said...

That settles it: I need to try it. Another commenter mentioned it, too. Fewer coats sounds great! Thanks!

Colette Armstrong said...

Thank you!!! I've been using a glaze for my origami for years that's ok, but not great. I'm totally going to try this one because I don't like the brush strokes I get with the other kind. So helpful!

Colette Armstrong said...

Thank you!!! I've been using a glaze for my origami for years that's ok, but not great. I'm totally going to try this one because I don't like the brush strokes I get with the other kind. So helpful!

tab said...

They make the minwax in a spray paint can style also it is hard to find, but might be easier than painting and allow for thinner more even coats which will help to keep the shape

StepThruCrazy said...

Minwax Polycrylic is what I use for my origami jewelry. It works great, and really makes the paper sturdy (on a small scale, at least!)

StepThruCrazy said...

Oh, and if I'm worried about colors on the paper bleeding, I brush on a coat of Mod Podge first.

Ashley Calder said...

Thank you so much for this great tip! Totally filing this away under "must do".

Clem said...

Thank you very much !
Does anyone know where I can find Polycrylic coating in France ?

Anonymous said...

Did you use origami paper for this project or just printer paper?

Thanks-Katie

Jessica Jones said...

Just regular printer paper.

Bibouland and mam's story said...

I love that!

Anonymous said...

A cheap way to do this is 50% white glue and 50% water. Put in a contain and mix. It's a really cheap way of stiffening/coating. Also, there is a good product called Paverpol (find online or at sculpture supply) that's amazing on any natural fiber. Turns it rock hard and doesn't change surface too much.

Jessica Jones said...

Great tips! Thanks!

ShareThis