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"Sealing a Paper Model" Topic

17 Posts

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Gallocelt28 Jun 2020 11:13 a.m. PST

I was wondering if anyone has experience sealing a paper model so it's somewhat waterproof or at least less likely to be damaged. I was thinking that I might use a clear flat spray, or possibly applying polycrylic or polyurethane flat clear coating using a brush. And then there's Mod Podge. What do you think? Spray first then Mod Podge? Spray first then polycrylic? Just use Mod Podge? Just use polycrylic?

I am in the process of experimenting with these coatings. When I find a satisfactory system, I will finally be able to finish my latest paper house. I will take photos and put them on the TMP forum.

I would especially like to know if anyone has had disastrous results using the products I've mentioned. Any advice would be appreciated.



Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian28 Jun 2020 11:20 a.m. PST

I've read that you can spray with a sealer. I would suggest testing on something first, before spraying your model.

rmaker28 Jun 2020 12:07 p.m. PST

Visit your local art supply store and ask them.

GildasFacit Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 12:27 p.m. PST

It depends how the image was printed.
Inkjet printed might smudge with a water based sealant but this doesn't always happen if you are careful and spray a few light coats, letting dry between.
If the image is laser printed you may only need to seal as a protection against use damage and most varnishes should work fine.

14Bore28 Jun 2020 12:29 p.m. PST

I use paper houses but never sprayed them, but can't imagine clear coating would hurt and would protect them.

Personal logo War Artisan Sponsoring Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 12:34 p.m. PST

Potential problems with sealers can be mostly avoided by carefully following the directions, avoiding using them in very humid conditions, and making sure they are properly mixed before using.

After 20+ years of paper modelling, I have settled on Krylon Low-Odor Matte, sprayed in multiple thin coats. There is much discussion of other products and techniques on the Tips and Tricks forum at Search for "sealers".


William Warner28 Jun 2020 1:22 p.m. PST

And then you need to consider the problem of warping as the coating dries.

Gallocelt28 Jun 2020 3:56 p.m. PST

Ok, so far I've used the Krylon Matte, no problem. I'm still debating about using the Mod Podge matt over the top of the Krylon. It might leave too much brush stroke though. I'd kind of like to use the Mod Podge to harden some of the foam details. The house I am modeling is mostly printed on card stock, then glued to foam core. I'm hoping the foam core will prevent the warping.



Personal logo KimRYoung Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 3:59 p.m. PST

Mod Podge makes a spray sealer that I have used on paper models mounted on foam board. Have ha no issues and they have been very durable.


Personal logo Zeelow Supporting Member of TMP28 Jun 2020 6:35 p.m. PST

Artist Fixative

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP29 Jun 2020 7:18 a.m. PST

I print my paper models onto full sheet label paper. I peel them off their backing, and I apply them to 3mm-thick cardboard backing, purchased from the framing shop at Michael's.

I cut the cardboard to size (note that the glue tabs are not used…), and I glue them to square balsa wood dowels, in the corners. The dowels allow me to make perfect corners, being square. I also glue square dowels, cut to size, in the middle of larger rectangular pieces, to avoid warping. I use Carpenter's Wood Glue (yellow PVA), to secure the pieces.

I do not clear coat anything. I use a color laser printer, so they will not run if they get wet -- but this is not much of a risk, anyway.

My 'paper' models are strong, heavy, and surprisingly durable! For rounded merlins (using cardboard tubes, for round towers), I apply the full sheet label paper to a paper towel/toilet paper tube, cut open. The tube has a curve, already formed in it. The label paper adheres to it, assuming its curve. It works superbly! It also makes the merlins fairly strong! Strong enough for game handling, and light abuse, on the table.

I quit printing on 110# card stock, years ago. My methods take longer, but they are sooo much stronger, and they have lasted for years of use! Cheers!

rmaker29 Jun 2020 8:55 a.m. PST

To avoid warping, print, spray, THEN assemble.

Gallocelt29 Jun 2020 11:00 a.m. PST

Thank you all for the tips. For now I will be mod podging just the foam parts. Once that is fully dry I will use Krylon clear matt spray. I will probably wait on the Krylon till the humidity goes down!

My general method is to design the house/ building in a vector computer program then import the file into Photoshop for texturing. I laser print on card stock, then glue the card stock to foam core or cardboard. The house I am making now is an "enhanced" paper model. It's mostly flat but I added some foam features and pasted a few extras (also card stock) on top so they would stand out.



Eclectic Wave29 Jun 2020 11:17 a.m. PST

Before you seal your model test the sealant on something first! I put together a paper bat mobile model, took me weeks, went and sprayed sealed it (with my normal brand I had used dozens times before with no problem) and it turned white on me because I hit the just right temperature/humidity. The model came out looking like it had snow all over it. Real disappointment. Lesson Learned, no matter what, test something first. Now I keep a piece of scrape paper around to seal first and judge how it will dry, before I seal my model.

Gallocelt29 Jun 2020 12:06 p.m. PST

Hi Eclectic,

I also once had some model turn white from a clear coat spray when the humidity was too high. I was pretty upset. I read that in some cases if you re-coat under better conditions the white would disappear. I had nothing to lose so I tried it and it came out great. The white was gone, like it had never been there. I'm thinking I might not be so lucky next time! Ever since then I've been leery about spraying in high humidity.



michaelk177607 Jul 2020 9:00 a.m. PST

My experience has been to take my image to a print shop, and have it laser printed on the heaviest card stock they have. i alo, have it printed on an ivory or some other off-white stock. Laser printed is water proof, less resistant to fading, and CHEAPER than home printing on an inkjet. I make my images fit on aa 11x17 inch page of cardstock, and it costs me about 1.50 USD. A typical building (in 28mm scale) is normally 2 or 3 sheets.I then us a spray glue (3M 777) to mount on foam core.

Gallocelt08 Jul 2020 3:41 p.m. PST

Hello michaelk1776,

What I have been doing is very similar. The main difference being that I've not used spray adhesive. I simply use Elmer's liquid glue or more recently, Mod Podge. I am interested in using sprays, however. This is mostly because I will be gluing whole sheets of card stock (11 x 17)to cardboard. I don't think I can get the Elmer's glue down fast enough, same with the Mod Podge. Spray adhesive, on the other hand, might be what I'm looking for. Some sprays adhesive's are a problem as they soak in to the paper/ card stock and stain it. I'm not sure what the best spray adhesive would be for my purposes. I will look into 3M 777 and a few others, including Elmer's spray.



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