Using polycrylic coating on origami

I've been wondering what kind of protective coating to use on origami, paper jewelry, or other paper projects—something that would make the finished model sturdier, more water-resistant, and maybe a little bit shiny.

I've tried applying a couple coats of Krylon Satin Finish spray, but it didn't seem to have much effect. (Good if you just want to preserve the finish and texture of your paper and protect it a bit from dust, though.) I've also tried clear nail polish, but it didn't create the coating I was looking for.

This was my latest experiment: Minwax Polycrylic, purchased at Home Depot. I got the semi-gloss after standing in the aisle paralyzed, trying to decide whether I wanted a glossy or satin finish. So I aimed for the middle.

I tested the stuff on these origami sakura blossoms I folded from 2" squares of plain computer paper. Get a tutorial for the flowers here! After glueing the petals together, I also glued the loose flaps down to make them extra secure.

Then I painted them with lots of coats of polycrylic, letting the layers dry for an hour or two between coats. I think I applied six. The first coat will cause the folds to relax a little, so be attentive and make sure you reshape the flower a bit if needed before the coating dries. It was helpful to stick them on skewers to dry.

The polycrylic built up a nice, shiny coating and dried crystal clear with no brush strokes at all. The flowers are slightly flexible, but really tough, as if they were laminated with clear plastic or packing tape. Mission accomplished!

I hot-glued magnets to the back and stuck them on my file cabinet.

For other coating and glaze ideas, see the helpful tips from readers in the comments on this post!
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