Clear Coat Treatments for Clay

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Clear coat treatments for clay protect the painted finish and offer a shine to the overall projects.


You can add a sheen to the project by either brushing on a clear coat material or spraying the clear coat evenly around the clay item. You should always clean the clay project thoroughly before applying a clear coat finish, or every dust particle and stray hair on the project will be permanently attached and visible.

Clear Coating Tips

  • Adding a clear finish to clay is not difficult but does require patience and a well-ventilated area. If possible, you should only use spray clear coat outdoors, as it tends to be a bit messy. If your clay project will be used outdoors, you should use a weather-resistant paint even though a clear coat is applied. Both craft and hardware stores routinely carry both brush and spray clear coat.

Glazed and Pourous Clay

  • Glazed clay projects require less coats of the clear finish than porous clay projects. If you choose to apply two or three coats of a clear finish to achieve a heightened shine or for paint protection, let each layer dry thoroughly for at least 12 hours before adding more clear coat. Clear coat typically comes in gloss, high-gloss and matte finish styles.

Ultra Violet Clear Coat

  • Ultra Violet (UV)-resistant spray gloss coating is a re-analyzed lacquer designed to prevent sunlight from fading the paint underneath. You can purchase UV-resistant clear coat in a polyester powder. The clear coat can be cast in a kiln up to 410 degrees without altering the colors underneath or causing a yellowing of the clear finish.

Spray Clear Coat

  • Spray clear coat can be used on hardened modeling clay or clay pottery projects. When used on modeling clay, you should allow the project to harden for at least 48 hours before applying a clear finish. Although the project may appear hard on the outside, it may still retain moisture on the inside. Follow the directions on the spray bottle to prevent over-exposure while spraying. You should always work in a well-ventilated room, have at least one window open, and wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Spray the clear coat lightly. It is better to apply multiple coats than apply too much at once and have a sticky, lumpy mess on your clay project.

Brush Applied Clear Coat

  • Brush-on clear coat, or shellac, can be used on modeling clay projects as well as kiln-fired indoor and outdoor use items. While you do not want to breath in too much of the clear finish, it is less likely to get into your nasal passages than the spray version. The clear coat requires a specific type of paint brush, tips for applying multiple coats and approximate drying times.

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