How to seal air dry clay

Air-dry clay has quickly become one of the most popular clay types in the world. Good quality air-dry clay is a product which has most of the qualities of traditional clay types. But it can also dry on its own in a very short time – even without fire. In fact, their air drying capacity, which takes much lesser time than that of a traditional clay type, is better and more durable.

Now that we know the secret to the high popularity of air dry clay, it is also necessary to know how to manage it. One of the best additional steps that you can take to ensure the durability and strength of your dry clay item is to seal it after the creation process is complete. it can be done by coloring on it or with simple methods shared below.

sealing air dry clay

How can we seal air-dry clay?

Well, well, we are here to answer.

What does sealing air-dry clay do?

As we have already talked about, air dry clay is a highly versatile and useful material with so many properties at its disposal. These properties include high tensile strength, water resistance, the ability to dry very quickly, and so much more.

Air-dry clay is not only good for beginners and children who should not be using fire on an everyday basis. Many creators from a variety of industries, like jewellery making and sculpting, have started using air-dry clay as a raw material for their products.

It is mostly the latter group that chooses to seal their air-dry clay, making it more suitable for commercial purposes.

Why is this so? What does a sealant do?

A sealant is a fine chemical which is applied like paint over a completed project to seal it. When applied, it inhibits the contact of the actual surface of the object with the outer environment. It means the object’s surface no longer reacts with dust, water, air and other harsh factors.

If you want to preserve your painted or unpainted air-dry clay project long-term, you may use inexpensive sealing methods at home. Painting on your project, however, you might be required to buy commercial sealants from the market as professionals.

How to seal air-dry clay for the long term?

Using a commercial sealant

Mod Podge, for example, is a fun commercial varnish which comes in various finishes such as matte, Satin and gloss. Mod Podge is one of the most popular commercial varnishes for air-dry clay, and they are also pretty affordable for beginners.

A commercial varnish for sealing air-dry clay products is a great idea. Why? Because it has a much greater chance of withstanding the most extreme situations. The different kind of finishing that these can provide to your air dry clay item is a bonus.

Using spray sealant

If you want to know the most effective as well as the easiest method of sealing your air dry clay, this is it. Spray silent is so fun to use; it takes a mere few seconds to complete the sealing process. As long as we are using a good quality spray silent which comes in a properly manufactured bottle, we can rest assured that a simple spraying session will be enough to cover each inch of the surface of our object.

Since applying vanishes multiple times is very easy with spray sealant we can even try that for added coverage.

Using transparent nail polish

Transparent nail polish is inexpensive for people who want to varnish their projects but are not undertaking commercial work. It is because nail polish will work well on only small projects such as earrings or bracelet beads.

More importantly, this method is not as effective as the other methods and will only give a decent enough result in a very safe and dry home environment. That being said, amateur air-dry clay enthusiasts regularly use nail polish top coats or transparent nail polish to vanish their work.

Using glue and glue mixtures

Another homemade hack for varnishing your acrylic painted or unpainted air dry clay item is using glue or glue mixtures. A good quality glue can be used as a primer and a sealant. A process that many professional creators working on small projects have used in the past.

The glue should be of great quality, and commercial Fevicol also works in its place. One has to ensure that the mixture is proper so that the glue does not start coming out in shreds and is transparent enough to give a glossy finish without blurring the actual item. to get more glue reference you can read about it in this post.

Using acrylic paint

Again if you are a dry clay project that is not intended to undergo life under extreme circumstances, simply using something like acrylic paint as a vanish alongside it being a mode of painting can be chosen.

Acrylic paint itself has some great properties of being waterproof, resistant and durable. Therefore, this paint can always be chosen as an automatic sealing option for air dry clay projects. Acrylic paint itself, however, is susceptible to environmental damage and therefore, direct exposure to sunlight or rain will not make this method last for very long.

Topping acrylic paint with acrylic paint sealant

As we just mentioned, extreme environmental conditions can damage acrylic paint itself. Even in calm environments, acrylic paint or air dry clay is regularly exposed to outside factors like light and water; they will start dulling and fading.

Many artists and creators use acrylic paint as an additional measure to stop this from happening. This way, the paint is protected from the outer environment, and the air dry clay now has two layers of protection. There are special sealants available for items intended for outdoor use.

working with air dry clay for sealing post coloring

Advantages of sealing air-dry clay

It avoids corrosion of the surface.

Using varnish on your air dry clay product means that the outermost surface of your sculpture will not come in contact with external environmental factors. It means the surface of your project will not get corroded easily.

Protection of any item from corrosion is one of the most basic requirements a commercial artist must provide. It is exactly where the concept of varnishing comes in so well.

Make it easier to clean the object.

Wishing you have applied varnish to your air dry clay item, you can rest assured that your clay item is now quite easy to clean. A layer of varnish responds very well to cleaning agents. It becomes almost as good as new after running it through some soap and water.

It is because varnish is designed not to hold or accumulate dust or dirt. That being the case removing dust from the surface of a well-varnished product is quite easy.

Increase the strength of the air dry clay

Overall, your air dry clay’s strength has increased since it has been rewarded with a few other qualities. It is now resistant to scratches and will not break as easily or chip as easily as it would have without varnish application.

Sealing makes your hair-dry clay stronger on the surface and protects the surface. It also protects the internal structure of your sculpture.

Increase its water-resistant properties

Air-dry clay is most commonly varnished to increase its water-resistant properties. Even though air dry clay is pretty water resistant and, when compared to other traditional clay types, quite a lot, it is also true that air dry clay on its own is never completely waterproof.

However, adding any sealant can easily change that and make your air-dry clay object resistant to moisture. It also protects the paint from flowing away.

Protect the fresh and unique look

The fresh and unique look of your completed air dry clay sculpture will most likely depend on the end layer of plaster paint which you have applied on the top surface. As we have discussed before, commercial warranties can provide different kinds of finishing to your paint.

It is important to mention that along with providing different finishing. It also can increase the vibrance of the paint and make it resistant so that the fresh and unique look of a new air-dry clay object is maintained through the years.


As we can see, sealing air dry clay is a piece of cake. Some of these processes are also surprisingly cheap. Air-dry clay and the paint used by nature prefer light varnishing as opposed to anything heavy. Keeping this in mind, going for strong varnishes of a very good formulation can be the best choice for your big or small air dry clay project.

sealed air dry clay plant pot


What is the easiest method to seal air-dry clay?

The easiest method to seal air-dry clay is to use commercial spray sealant. These are uniform and facilitate quick application.

Should every air dry clay item be sealed?

Every year dry clay sculpture done from a professional point of view should be sealed with a commercial varnish. However, small projects you intend to display inside a clean residential environment do not necessarily need sealant.

Can air-dry clay earrings be sealed with nail paint?

Nail polish act as a good silent for small air dry clay projects. Therefore, many simple creators used nail polish as a sealant for glossy earrings of daily wear.

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