After experimenting with the recipe for a smooth, thick finish for the black papier maché clay, it was clear that the dry surface needed to be protected.
It scratched easily and left a fine black residue when it was wiped. I love the charcoal-like feel of the finish and wanted to keep that, as well as the matte look.
In addition to testing the spray, I’ve also been considering some materials for decorating the surface and I wanted to know how easy they were to work with and how the spray would react to them.
That called for a couple of test sheets. I spread some of the finish coat on them and let it dry.
Then, with my newfound knowledge from the other experiments with spray finishes and a beautiful spring day for spraying outdoors, I tried out Krylon’s UV-Resistant clear spray in a matte finish.
One thing I forgot to mention in the post on the smooth finish is that it also shows a slight shimmer and occasional tiny white specks. I assume both of these are from the joint compound. You can (barely) see traces of them in left half of the photo below.
What’s on the right below is the result of two coats of the spray. I’m of two minds about the look of it. The first coat looked more matte. The second coat added a sheen that I wasn’t really looking for.
If I wasn’t so taken with the look and feel of the smooth black coat (without the spray), I might feel better about it. There’s just something a little less “natural” looking about it.
One positive aspect of using the spray is that it seems to minimize the white specks and shimmery look.
I’ll probably be hard-pressed to find anything that leaves the charcoal feel and ultra-matte appearance intact. But the search goes on, and I might be able to at least get it closer to what I want.
Any color shift from yellowing of the spray isn’t obvious enough for it to be bothersome.
Try stopping at one (medium) coat of spray, making sure it’s completely covered. Usually you can count on catching any spots that might have been missed, but if I want to limit yourself to one coat, it had better be a good one.
A last minute thought… what if the glue in the recipe was increased? There might be a certain percentage of it that keeps the residue from forming and protects it from scratching so easily, so that a spray wouldn’t be necessary. We’ll see. Sound like it’s back to experiment-ville.
I also tested pastels, oil pastels, chalk and colored pencil on the unfinished maché clay surface. I’ll look at that in a separate post.