How to seal papers or findings for including in resin

sealing paper in a metal bezel with glueHow to seal papers for including in resin

Originally published March 2012.  Updated May 2020.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is how to seal papers before including them in resin.  Here’s a few of my tips:

Does the item you are working with need to be sealed?

The easiest way to know the answer to this is by asking yourself if getting the item wet will change the appearance.  If the answer is yes, the you need to seal it.

How do you seal them?

sealing papers

Use a paintbrush and a clear drying glue to apply at least two coats to your papers.  Be sure to also apply glue to the edges of your papers.  Allow the glue to dry thoroughly before including them in resin.  This may be a couple of hours, but in my studio (because of the Florida humidity), it can take 24 hours or more.  If they are not dry, and you put them in resin, they can still wick in moisture stains.

Here’s my process of sealing papers with glue:

If you don’t like using glue, you can also use packing tape.  Apply a good quality, clear tape over the front and back of your papers so they overlap.  Trip the edges of tape as necessary, but be sure to leave a tape margin.  Otherwise, the paper edge will be exposed and will allow moisture to wick in.

You can see what I’m talking about here:

My Pro tips

If I am printing the art myself, I use a “very bright white” paper (brightness of 96 U.S. or above).  The colors will come through much brighter than they will on a standard copy paper.  I also get much better clip art printing results with a color laser jet printer compared to an ink jet printer.  The colors are crisper and they don’t smear when applying glue.  If you don’t have access to a color laser jet printer, many copy/print stores will print these pages for you on a laser jet printer for a small charge.

When it comes to vintage papers, test a small practice piece in resin first before using in a project.  I don’t know if it’s the acid in old papers or some kind of other chemical change, but even with sealing with glue, I sometimes have vintage papers cause bubbles in resin.

What other tips for how to seal papers do you have?

 

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2018 Resin Obsession, LLC

Like this post? You may be interested in  Resin craft safety - Staying safe making resin crafts

110 thoughts on “How to seal papers or findings for including in resin

  1. I purchased very high quality paper. And I take it to Staples and or office depot with my USB and just ask them to print out the pics and or images that i want printed out on there laser printers..for about .25 to .50 cents a sheet. I then coat them with mod podge once on each side. Instead of 4 to 5 times. Also the picture is so much more crisp with a laser printer. It’s worth the extra time that save coating with mod podge so many times.

    1. I print my own artwork and cover tiles I’m having trouble with finding a tape that doesn’t take the print off any suggestions

  2. That’s a great idea Margaret. Color laser jet printers are expensive and making copies somewhere else can help save on costs.

  3. Hi Katherine,

    My mother’s birthday is coming up, and I wanted to make her a gift this year. For various reasons, cherry blossoms hold a certain amount of sentimental value for her. As such, I was hoping to preserve some fresh cherry blossoms in resin for her- is this just totally unrealistic? If it is, I understand, but any help at all would be hugely appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

  4. Shauna, I don’t have any experience with cherry blossoms specifically, but I have worked with other flowers. The key is getting them dry. I usually press mine between book pages for a couple of weeks. You must also coat them with a sealant before putting in the resin (ultra seal or the resin gloss spray will work well). Perhaps a florist or horticulture type person can make some suggestions on how to dry down cherry blossoms. I’ll also post this discussion in the forum under ‘how can i…’. Maybe someone else has suggestions as well.

    1. I’m lucky enough to have access to a freeze dryer at work which is pretty good at drying petals. Another tip from a chemistry lab could be to seal the blossoms in an airtight box with a dessicant such as silica gel. The seal will need to be good so you can add some vaseline around it or similar. This will mean you don’t have to flatten them as with pressing. You could also try a dehydrator at about 40 deg C.

        1. Some fabulous tips here. I’d thought about mod podge but hadn’t tried it. I’m going to try PVA (or school glue/Elmer’s I think it’s called elsewhere?) To see if that also works. Has anyone tried clear nail polish or spray varnish?

  5. Hi, I have been unhappy with the sealers I have used as they leave brush marks on the photos, even Mod Podge.
    Help!

  6. Kate,

    Are you still seeing brush marks when you pour resin on top? I always see brush marks when I’m sealing my items, but because the glue dries clear, the clear resin fills in nicely and the brush marks go away.

  7. The matte spray modge podge works great.. Also, you can envelope smaller items in clear packing tape, just be sure and seal the edges well and leave a tiny margin.. and try not to get fingerprints on the tape 🙂

  8. I captured a Northern Black Widow spider & wish to preserve it in resin. What is the best way to go about doing this? I’ve heard others say that the spider needs to first be sprayed with a sealer & then it will be fine. Others say it has to be dried out… But if it dries out it will completely lose its shape, which I don’t want. Please help!

    1. I make origami figures from candy wrappers that are usually wax paper, and colored. I’m wanting to put them into small glass jars with resin inside to make miniature landscapes for them. What do I need to do, if anything, to prep the figures?

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  10. hello!
    I am casting resin for the first time…right now! haha and like always have not tried it on something that doesnt matter first…so we will see how THAT goes. I am casting a ‘whirly-gig’ or samara….it is dry and brown and i want it that way….do I still need to seal it with mode podge? or becasue I dont care about the color is it ok the way it is? I am casting it into a little shallow wooden frame…

    thanks!

  11. Kim,

    I’m not sure what you’re referring to when you say samara, but I can tell you if it is porous at all to seal it. If you’re unsure, basically it comes down to whether or not the consistency and/or color would change if this item got wet. if so, then the answer is to seal.

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