How to Seal Paper Mache Before Painting


Paperache is made from water, flour, and sometimes wallpaper paste. The ingredients are mixed into a pulp that can be molded into shapes for drying. The mixing proportions vary slightly depending on the project being worked on. Generally, a standard recipe includes 1 cup of flour to 2 cups of water with some wallpaper paste added (a quarter cup) if the artist wants to give his sculpture more depth and durability.

How to Seal Paper Mache Before Painting

To make paper mache, you need to mix flour and water to make a paste. Then, you can add this paste to any object you want to cover in paper mache. It’s important to let the paste sit for 30 minutes before using it, so that the flour has a chance to absorb all the moisture. This will make the paper mache dry harder after it dries.

Summary: If you are painting a piece of paper mache, it is important to seal the surface before painting. This will prevent the paper mache from cracking or peeling while the paint is drying. There are a variety of ways to seal paper mache, but one popular method is to use a coat of paint.

A Detailed Stepwise Guide on How to Seal Paper Mache Before Painting:

Step 1.

In order to make the PVA solution, you need to mix the PVA glue and water in a ratio of 1:2. This means that for every one part of PVA glue, you need to add two parts of water. Once you have added the water, stir the mixture together until it is combined. The PVA solution should have a consistency that is similar to milk. If it is too thin or thick, you can add more PVA glue or water until it is the right consistency.

Step 2.

To seal your paper mache before painting, use a paintbrush and apply all over your paper mache project evenly with the help of this diluted mixture. Ensure that you have coated all sides evenly by re-dipping your brush very often into the mixture as required for later coats. Let it dry completely before proceeding to the next step.

Use a Paintbrush

Step 3.

Once this is completely dry, apply a second layer of the diluted solution very carefully all over your project, ensure that it gets into all nooks and crannies as well as all other surfaces.. let it dry again before proceeding to the next step. The final step is to spray your project with a clear sealer, this is to protect the decoupage from dirt and moisture. This can be done outside if possible as it can smell rather strong.

Step 4.

After you put on two coats of paint, wait for it to dry. Then, put on a third coat by first painting a thick layer on one side. Then, turn it around to cover any missed areas. Let it dry again before you start painting with acrylic paints or house paint/ enamel.

Step 5.

(Optional) You can add some fine sand powder mixed in PVA, which will give your paper mache an old antique look! Use 4 of PVA to 1 part of the sand mixture and coat it overnight for best results.

Step 6.

If you are looking to harden your paper mache project before painting, then use the following method: Make a solution of 1 tablespoon flour with enough water to make a thick paste that can be applied to all parts evenly (use this on wet paper mache only!) Then, let it dry completely until hardened. You can also try using half an eggshell or fruit peel in place of flour.

Step 7.

If you want to ensure that the paper mache projects are secure and won’t come off, try painting them with diluted white glue (PVA), which is water-soluble! It works really well to give it a stronghold, so your project does not fall apart! The white glue can also be used as a top coat or protective layer! It’s best to avoid using paint on your paper mache project because it may cause the paper to disintegrate. However, if you want to add color, use water-based markers or paints.

Step 8.

Remember to put on several coats of this solution or white glue if you are looking for a sturdy finish.. let each coat dry before applying the next coat so the complete project will have an even coating that will protect it from wear & tear as well as provide ample support against all sorts of weather!

Precautions While Sealing Paper Mache Before Painting: 

Sealing the paper mache is a significant step before you start painting your creation. You can use a clear coat spray or brush it with an art dealer.

Sealing the paper mache

You must test your artwork in one corner before painting because some sealers may act as varnish and will ruin the finish, so be careful. It’s better to try sealing on scrap paper before applying it to the finished product, especially if you use expensive tissue papers to cover up your work.

For best results, apply 2-3 coats of sealer but do not allow it to dry completely between each application. Just allow enough time for it to get tacky, then apply the next coating again and let them dry well in between each application. This will prevent blisters in the coat. The drying time varies depending on the sealer, so test it before you continue to paint.

And if you want a really durable finish, use a top-quality aerosol spray can of clear lacquer or marine varnish from any good art store. It may be pricey, but the results are well worth it. If you wish to use it, follow the instructions given in the product and apply 2-3 coats, letting each dry in between completely for best results. You can purchase these sprays from local craft shops or online art suppliers.

Can You Varnish Paper Mache?

When the surface of the paper mache is painted, it may be necessary to add a sealer before varnishing. If you have used water-based paints or other water-soluble materials on your project, a sealer will definitely need to be applied to prevent damage from moisture trapped underneath your finish coats.

If you plan to use an oil-based material, such as a redwood stain, a sealant will still be necessary if there are any water-soluble parts of your project. For example, such items could include flower baskets made with wire and newspaper petals glued on white; however, acrylic lid paint should not need a sealer unless your surface can get wet.

Varnishing Paper Mache

In any case, the best type of sealer for paper mache is a spray-on gloss polyurethane. This type of sealer offers the best protection from moisture and makes it easy to clean up any mistakes or spills that occur down the line. When applying, make sure to get a light, even coat with your spray. Too much sealer may become noticeable when you try to apply your paint coats afterward.

In addition, you will want to allow time for drying before using your project since sealers tend to take longer than paints or stains do to dry completely. If in doubt, wait a day after application before putting your project to use again!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Spray Paint Wood?

It depends on the type of wood, the paint you are using, and the application technique. However, in general, spraying paint onto wood can damage the surface and void your warranty.

What varnish can I use over acrylic paint?

There are many types of varnishes that can be used over acrylic paint. However, the most popular varnishes are lacquers and sealants.

Lacquers and sealants are both types of varnish that are applied over a base coat of paint. Lacquers are water-based and usually have a glossy finish. Sealants are oil-based and have a matte finish.

Both lacquers and sealants can be used to protect acrylic paint from fading, staining, and water damage. They also provide a long-lasting finish that is resistant to wear and tear.

Do you need emulsion paint for paper mache?

No, emulsion paint is not necessary for paper mache. However, if you want a more durable finish, you can use a coat of emulsion paint after the paper mache has dried.

Use a Coat of Emulsion Paint


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to seal paper mache before painting. Ensure all the precautions while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

Check out our article How Long Does Paper Mache Last

Jennifer Branett
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