Finishing Touches: How to Protect and Enhance Your Clay Creations

Clay creations, whether made from air-dry clay, polymer clay, or kiln-fired ceramic clay, can be transformed into unique sculptures that last for years with the proper finishing and preservation techniques. Finishing your clay creation not only enhances its appearance but also helps protect it from damage. In this article, we will explore various finishes and sealants that you can use to ensure your clay creations maintain their beauty and durability.

Types of Finishes

There are several types of finishes available for clay creations, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. It is essential to choose the right finish based on the type of clay used and the desired final appearance.


Glazes are a popular choice for finishing ceramic clay pieces that have been fired in a kiln. They are made of silica, flux, and alumina combined with various colorants and opacifiers. Glazes provide a glossy or matte finish, depending on the formulation, and help protect the piece from moisture and staining.

Applying glaze to your clay creation involves brushing or dipping the piece into the glaze mixture, followed by firing in a kiln. The high temperatures during firing cause the glaze to melt and form a glass-like coating on the surface of the piece.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a versatile option for coloring and finishing both air-dry clay and polymer clay creations. It is water-based, quick-drying, and available in a wide variety of colors. Acrylic paint can be applied using brushes, sponges, or even airbrushing techniques.

For best results, apply multiple thin layers of acrylic paint rather than one thick layer, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. This will help prevent cracking and ensure an even finish.


Wax finishes, such as beeswax or carnauba wax, can be used to achieve a soft sheen on air-dry clay or polymer clay creations. Wax finishes are easy to apply and provide a natural, low-gloss finish that enhances the texture of the clay.

To apply a wax finish, gently rub a small amount of wax onto the surface of your clay creation using a soft cloth. Buff the wax into the clay until you achieve the desired level of shine.


Sealants help protect your clay creations from damage caused by moisture, UV light, and general wear and tear. They are particularly important for outdoor sculptures or pieces that will be handled frequently.


Varnish is a clear, protective coating that can be used on both air-dry clay and polymer clay creations. It is available in gloss, satin, or matte finishes and can be applied with a brush or spray.

When using varnish on polymer clay, it is essential to ensure that the varnish is compatible with the type of clay used. Some varnishes may react with certain types of polymer clay, causing the finish to become sticky or cloudy. Always test a small area before applying varnish to your entire piece.

Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is a durable, high-gloss sealant that provides excellent protection for your clay creations. It can be used on air-dry clay, polymer clay, and fired ceramic pieces.

Epoxy resin is applied in two parts: a resin and a hardener. These need to be mixed thoroughly before application. The mixture is then poured over the surface of your clay creation or brushed on in thin layers. As epoxy resin cures, it forms a strong, glossy coating that protects your piece from damage.


Finishing and preserving your clay creations is an essential step in ensuring their longevity and maintaining their beauty. By selecting the appropriate finishes and sealants for your specific project, you can create unique sculptures that will be admired for years to come.

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Hello everyone, I'm Bea, and I absolutely adore bringing imagination to life through arts and crafts. I find great joy in volunteering for scout troops and local gatherings, helping young minds discover the magic of turning simple materials into their own masterpieces.

While I've been told I have a knack for crafting, I believe that the real magic lies in the shared moments of creativity, the laughs when something doesn't go quite as planned, and the pride that comes with completing a project. For me, crafts are less about perfection and more about the joy of creating and sharing.

When I'm not busy with a project or event, you'll often find me exploring new craft ideas or hunting for unique materials to transform. From paper and paint to fabric and beads, there's no craft supply that doesn't spark my imagination!

Whether you're an experienced craft enthusiast or just starting out, I welcome you to join me on this journey of creativity and fun. Here at Be Crafty, let's inspire each other and create beautiful things together!