The way I used to glaze my beads, before discovering dipping them works better and faster, is to use brush on glazes. I started my journey with Mod Podge and Ceramcoat Varnish. I used 2 coats of each and discovered over time the beads would stick together. Then I tried 2 coats of Mod Podge and 2 coats of Future Floor Finish. They were better but still stuck together so I tried several other brush on glazes until I found one that works no matter what time of year it is and it produces the smoothest, non tacky finish for brushed on glaze. Judikins Diamond Glaze is the glaze I found that works best when brushing on glaze. Another problem, no matter what brush on glaze I used, is that the beads would stick to the toothpicks I used. To avoid having the beads stick to the toothpicks, I coated the toothpick with a mixture of beeswax and mineral oil. Chapstick is about the consistancy that works great for this! Below are details about each glaze I tried.
If you have watched any of my bead related videos, you have seen me use this glue. I use this white glue to secure the end of the rolled up strip of paper. Place a dab of glue on a scrap piece of paper and use a toothpick to apply the glue onto the inside of the end of the paper strip before taking the bead off of the rolling pin.
Some people will coat their beads with glue after they are done rolling and then coat them with a shiny top coat like Janice Mae's Vibrance. I have read instructions where you mix the white glue with water to the beads can be dipped. I found this can make the colors run on beads that are printed on copy paper or made with construction or colored card stock. The glue to water ratio would be 2 parts glue to one part water. This method could work great for magazine pages and other pre printed sheets of paper.
Mod Podge Gloss Lustre
I went through a short period of time when I used to use 2 coats Mod Podge and 1 coat Future Floor Finish to glaze my beads. The way I did it was to use a soft bristle children's craft brush and I would apply 2 coats of Gloss Mod Podge to each bead. I then put some of the floor finish into a small plastic container and with the bead on a toothpick, I dip the bead into the finish. I would then spin the toothpick between my fingers to spray off the extra floor finish. Then I would stick the toothpick with the bead on it into a drying block. I found it time consuming and somewhat messy. Of course the finished beads came out really nice and almost non tacky. Without the Future Floor Finish, the beads were very tacky and would stick to each other.
Delta Ceramcoat Varnish
Before I started with major experimenting with different finishes, I used a coat of ModPodge and a Coat of Delta Ceramcoat Protect, Gloss Exterior/Interior Varnish. This varnish is actually a Super Tough Polyurethane. The bottle says it is for Indoor and Outdoor use. I do remember that my beads stuck together when I used this as the top coat for the beads and that is why I started my search for another type of glaze. It took me a few years but I finally found a glaze that does not make the beads stick together. Judikins Diamond Glaze
Judikins Diamond Glaze
Judikins Diamon Glaze. It is fantastic! It is the best brush on glaze I have found thus far. The finish dries hard and non tacky and crystal clear! I do use 2 coats for best results. I use a child's craft brush and a little cup to brush on this glaze. You can get it from Amazon and other online retailers. I used this method for about 2 years until I discovered dipping them.
Best Finish By Far, Most Water Proof!
No glues and finishes page would be complete without talking about the ultimate in finishes for your beads! Two Part Epoxy Resin! It is the most difficult to work with but also the most durable and almost completely waterproof finish you can use.
I actually use Luxe Resin for my beads. It costs less than the Ice Resin and works just as good. I use this to coat the beads I intend to make rings with. I start with paper beads that have already been glazed and are complete. Any package of resin will tell you to coat your beads or item in a glaze to begin with especially if it is made with paper, to lock in the colors and to protect them from the chemicals used in the resin.
You also want to do this in a well ventilated area and have paper towel and perhaps a dampl cloth near by. You also want to make sure you have all of the beads and other items you want to coat handy and near by because this is a one shot deal. You need to mix up very small batches, I mean no more than an ounce or 2 at a time when coating beads because the resin will start to harden on you before you get through several beads. The last time I covered beads with resin, I managed to cover about 30 beads before it started to harden. I just poured the rest into a prepared mold to make a pendant.
When I did this last time, I coated all of my toothpicks with the wax and mineral oil mixture to prevent the beads from sticking to the toothpick, and I placed all of the beads on my toothpicks before I even mixed the resin. I also had my block of styrofoam handy to stick the toothpicks in sitting right next to the pile of beaded toothpicks.
I mixed my resin and working as fast as I could, I dipped each bead already on the toothpick into the resin and stuck the toothpick in the styrofoam block and allowed them to dry for 24 hours before touching them.
Other Finishes I have Tried
You can use any type of nail polish you like. I have tried a base coat/top coat clear nail polish. I have found this is a better finish for the final coat over the mod podge but it is a bit expensive. I only put one coat over the mod podge. I brush my beads with the mod podge, allow to dry then brush on the nail polish. With the massive amounts of beads I make, this is just not an affordable option for me.
Glue and Water
I have tried this method an found that the colors ran so I do not recommend this unless you are coating magazine pages or other papers that are already pre-printed and not photocopied. Use 3 parts glue to 1 part water to just thin the glue down a little bit. You can then dip the beads into the mixture, shake them off then allow to dry completely. Do this at least 5 times to get good coverage.
I would only do this outside and only on beads which are made from magazines, giftwrap or brown paper bags since the colors would tend to run if you use too much at one time. The surface tends to be a little bumpy so you would want to sand your beads between coats. I would apply several thin coats for best results. I really did not like glazing the beads this way.
Other Finishes I have NOT Tried
If you make your beads out of scrap paper and want to make them look different, you could paint them with any acrylic paint which dries quickly. I haven't tried this yet but the possibilities for how they would look are only limited by your imagination.
Liquid Polymer Clay
This would have to be brushed on and then you would bake the beads in the oven. I haven't tried this yet.
Candle and Bees Wax
This is the way it was done in the old days. If you use bees wax, you would end up with a yellowish finish. I personally would prefer to use the PC-Petrifier and Fast Finish Decoupage for my beads.