How to Seal Paper Mache

Paper mache is a versatile and fun crafting technique that allows you to create a variety of objects, from masks to sculptures. However, to ensure the longevity and durability of your paper mache creations, it’s important to know how to properly seal them. Sealing paper mache helps safeguard your masterpieces from moisture, dirt, and potential damage, all while enhancing their appearance. In this guide, we’ll delve into various methods you can use to effectively seal your paper mache projects.

Seal Paper Mache

Creating paper mache projects can be incredibly rewarding, but without proper sealing, your creations may be susceptible to wear and tear over time. This article will explore several effective techniques that you can use to seal your paper mache artworks, ensuring their longevity and enhancing their visual appeal.

The Importance of Sealing Paper Mache

Sealing paper mache serves as a protective barrier, shielding your creations from moisture, dust, and potential damage. It also provides a smooth surface for painting and decorating. Let’s explore some of the popular methods for sealing paper mache:

Using Paint as a Base Layer

Acrylic, enamel, or house paint can serve as a simple yet effective way to seal paper mache. By applying a base coat of paint, you create a smooth and colorful surface that enhances the overall appearance of your creation. However, paint alone may not provide sufficient protection against moisture, so it’s recommended to apply an additional layer of sealer on top of the paint.

PVA Glue: A Versatile Sealing Option

PVA glue, also known as white glue or school glue, can be diluted with water to create an effective sealer for paper mache. By mixing PVA glue and water in a 1:2 ratio and applying it with a brush, you can achieve a glossy finish that’s conducive to painting. PVA glue enhances durability and minimizes the risk of cracking or peeling. Keep in mind that while it offers some water resistance, it may not be entirely waterproof.

Mod Podge: The Decoupage Delight

Mod podge is a favored option for sealing paper mache due to its specific formulation. Similar to PVA glue but with added ingredients, mod podge can deliver a matte or glossy finish depending on the variant you choose. It also offers protection against water, dirt, and UV rays. Applying mod podge with a brush or sponge and allowing it to dry before painting ensures optimal results.

Hairspray: Quick and Easy Sealing

Hairspray presents a convenient solution for those seeking a rapid sealing process. As a spray-on sealer, hairspray dries quickly, providing a matte finish to your paper mache. It also helps prevent fading or yellowing over time. However, multiple coats may be necessary for durability, and take caution, as some hairsprays contain chemicals that could be harmful.

Varnish and Acrylic Sealing Spray: Ultimate Protection

For comprehensive protection, varnish or acrylic sealing spray are excellent choices. These products offer strong waterproofing and can enhance the colors and details of your paper mache creations. Applying varnish or acrylic sealing spray with a brush or spray bottle and allowing it to fully dry ensures a clear, glossy finish that’s resistant to damage. Note that these options might have a strong odor and should be used in well-ventilated areas away from heat sources.

Choosing the Right Method for Your Project

The choice of sealing method depends on your preferences, project type, and desired level of protection. Assess your needs and select the technique that best aligns with your project goals. By sealing your paper mache creations, you’ll not only extend their lifespan but also amplify their visual appeal.


Incorporating the right sealing technique is essential for preserving and enhancing your paper mache projects. Whether you opt for paint, PVA glue, mod podge, hairspray, or varnish, each method offers distinct advantages. Experiment with different methods to discover the one that suits your artistic vision and practical requirements. Sealing your paper mache creations not only adds a layer of protection but also ensures that your artworks remain vibrant and captivating for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I skip the sealing step when working with paper mache?

While it’s possible, sealing your paper mache projects is highly recommended. Sealing provides protection against moisture, dust, and damage, ensuring the longevity of your creations.

What’s the best method for achieving a glossy finish on paper mache?

Both mod podge and certain types of varnish can provide a glossy finish. Choose the one that aligns with your preferences and project requirements.

Can I use regular glue instead of PVA glue for sealing?

Regular glue may not offer the same level of durability and protection as PVA glue. It’s advisable to use PVA glue for optimal sealing results.

Is hairspray a permanent sealing solution?

Hairspray can provide a quick and easy sealing option, but it may not be as durable as other methods. Consider using it for projects that don’t require long-term preservation.

How often should I reapply sealing products?

The frequency of reapplication depends on factors like exposure to the elements and wear. Regularly inspect your paper mache creations and reseal as needed to maintain their integrity.

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