Dr. Pritesh Dagur, founder at Art’zire is the finest quilling artist I have ever met. She is a doctorate in material chemistry & a multitalented human being with proficiency in jewelry making, writing, singing, sketching, painting and the list goes on… . You can checkout her blog @ http://quillingmesoftlee.blogspot.com/ . She conducts quilling & jewelry making workshops in Bangalore. Following is an article from her on water-proofing quilled jewelry.
Here is the image of all my waterproofing sprays and varnishes. And pleeeeeease, there is NO cut and dried answer for which one to use for which kind of jewelry. It all depends on your preference, the kind of elements in the jewelry, the finish required etc. So a judicious judgment has to be made according to the situation encountered.
(L to R) Winsor & Newton Charcoal spray, recommended for matte finish. Asian Paints Touchwood Varnish, available in any hardware store, not recommended for white jewelry. Asian Paints Clear Synthetic Varnish, more viscous than Touchwood but easier to use on white jewelry, still lends a slight yellowness on whites. Schjerning Krystal Fixative (from Panduro Hobby, Sweden), recommended heavily for quick waterproofing (dries much faster than Winsor Newton spray), it is not available in India.
All of them are good for waterproofing and provide strength but varnishes (after a few coats) lend almost a plastic like finish + strength. I am personally not a fan of it and lean on the matte side, but it is a personal preference. You need to experiment with these yourself and find what works for you……….
For quillers in India specially, things like Diamond Glaze are not easy to come by. So, here goes the process (specific to materials available in India, I’m sure quillers in other countries will be able to find analogues easily).
Step 1: Making the jewelry itself. It is an important step for making jewelry sturdy. You’ll need to use your judgement in gauging whether the piece is sturdy. I am hopelessly obsessed with the jewelry being able to withstand stress (like my son pulling at my earrings). Make the piece “sturdy” before you think of water-proofing.
Step 2: Give a coating of a “water-soluble glue”. It should at least be water soluble when wet. You can use Fevi-Gum. Make sure you coat all crevices etc properly. Synthetic bristle brush works best, camel hair brush is a little difficult to handle due to variable length of the hair. Allow this to dry properly. I am biased towards Fevicryl Hobby Ideas Fabric Glue. It’s more expensive but I prefer its consistency compared to Fevi-Gum (which I find more runny). But it’s purely a personal preference.
Only glue coating is not likely to make the jewelry water-resistant as PVA (poly vinyl acetate) glue “swells” when in contact with water. It looks ugly to say the least, and the jewelry will be disfigured forever. Fevicryl Hobby Idea Fabric Glue however, is OK by itself. It still remains “sticky”, so I won’t recommend glue layer alone (unless you want all your paper jewelry to become ONE single lump, all earrings mating with each other!
Step 3: This is a crucial step and takes most time (not for coating, but for drying). Use a good lacquer varnish. My recommendation is Asian Paints Touch Wood. But practically any varnish should do. Again, use a synthetic brush to coat the jewelry. You WILL see some discoloration but don’t worry, if you’ve done the glue coating properly, this discoloration usually vanishes after drying. Varnish needs overnight drying, so plan properly. If you are enthusiastic about a glossy finish, you can put 3-4 layers (which means coating them for 3-4 days). It lends a pretty (not my personal favourite still) glossy finish that is harder as well.
Please prepare properly for handling varnish (gloves if you are particular about not getting your hands smelly). Work in a well ventilated (preferably with an exhaust fan) fan place. Use some organic solvent to clean the brush (kerosene works fine for me). Keep a scented hand-cream handy, you’ll need it to get rid of the strong smell varnish will give to your hands. Try tying a wet cloth over your nose, organic solvents, when inhaled, are BAD for women of reproductive age (please take my word for it, I’m a PhD in Chemistry and I specifically know the side effects)……