Hello my little experimenters! In the last few weeks I’ve discussed breaking down wood burning myths with watercolors, gave you some tips and tricks to try or consider and most importantly, had you pushing yourself outside your comfort zone and into the creative zone! This week I want to take a moment to go over the final step of any water colored wood burning, which in some cases might be one of the most important steps there is - properly sealing your wood burnings and color in.
Now before you start asking me why that’s so important or why you should listen to me, especially if you’re just now joining us - let’s get a little refresher on who I am! My name is Ashley and I am the sole owner/creator for Firecrafted Serenity. I have been woodburning for a few years now and experimenting since day one, always curious to see what else I could do with it. In my years of burning, I picked up many different tricks along the way and always hated the gap in creative sharing. Being able to pass that knowledge on and help other creatives find new inspiration is exactly why I do this!
Now that we’ve established who I am and why I am here, let’s turn back to your colorful creations. In order to protect the integrity of not only your wood burning but also your colorized portions of the piece, you need to seal it! This step is not something that should be skipped or put off as a little bit of water can start to break down the color or singed parts. Even humidity in the air can cause your watercolor to “leak” into other parts of the piece or fade due to more moisture being added. To prevent these occurrences let’s discuss the most common sealant types and what type I personally recommend for these glittery watercolors!
As many artists know, there are a lot of options out there for sealants. Knowing what kind of finish you want it to have and knowing what kind of watercolor you’re using are the key factors in picking what type of sealant. There are many options available out there so first looking at the type of finish you want will help lead you to the right one. Personally, I like a glossy to matte finish depending on the piece. If I’m using a highly glittery watercolor or shimmer, I’ll opt for a clear sealant so that it doesn’t change the way my color looks. Being able to play around with different watercolors and sealant finishes will ultimately lead you to knowing what you prefer.
A big thing to note is if there is texture to your watercolor I.e if there is glitter, especially chunky glitter or if there is special effect like glow in the dark to it. If there is, you’re going to want to opt for a sealant that comes in a spray variety. This is because if you opt for a water based sealant that you have to brush in, you run the risk of it ruining your color or it bleeding into parts you do not want. It could also wash out the effect depending on how transparent the watercolor is as well. Opting for something like Rust-oleum painters touch clear gloss spray sealant is a perfect multi-use sealant for all general pieces of art, pictured below.
The second biggest thing to note is how much coverage or sealant you need for your piece. On pieces where I want them to be completely waterproof or food grade safe (like cutting boards), I opt for a full coverage sealant that I can paint on, and get a really even thick coat. This ensures my piece to be more protected than a spray would, however convenient the spray might be! If you’re working with chunky or transparent watercolors, selecting an oil based sealant might be better and then sealing that with a spray on top to make sure it’s set! Doing your research and deciding for yourself what is best for your work is ultimately the best advice I can give any creator.
Polyurethane is another great general overall sealant that is food grade safe and comes in many different varieties. I opt for the kind pictured above, as I find it to be easy to find in most stores and gives me a lot of control. You do have to paint it on, in thin coats which some artists might find tedious but with pieces like cutting boards, it is important to get a full coverage sealant that is food grade safe. This may not be the best for you but I implore you to start with one of these and work from there to see what you prefer. Once you get experimenting, you might come to realize you prefer an entirely different type of sealant than talked about here. Perhaps you might even find using different types of sealants on the same piece is best for you. There is no limit here! Get creating my friends!