Wednesday, June 30, 2021

How to Seal Flowers for Resin

colourful assortment of fresh-picked flowers

One of the most long-lasting and beautiful ways to preserve flowers is to embed them in resin. But unfortunately, resin usually penetrates the petals, can fade the colour, or worse still, it can turn them completely translucent!

So, what can you do to prevent those things from happening?

Well, you need to seal the flowers before embedding them in resin. That simply means creating a barrier between the flower and the resin to stop the resin from penetrating the cells. There are times when you get away without a barrier but unfortunately, there's no way of telling if your flowers will be affected by the resin until after you embed them, so the safest thing is to seal them first.

There are a few different methods you can use:
  1. Paint them with any white craft glue that dries clear. 
  2. Spray them with an aerosol sealer
  3. Laminate them inside a clear plastic pocket

For pressed flowers, you can choose any of the methods above. But when it comes to complex, 3D flowers, you'll need to choose one of the spray methods because it's way too painstaking to paint all the petals of complex flowers.

Before we dive into that, your blooms must be completely dry. And you can read all about different methods for drying them in this post, "Drying and Preserving Flowers for Resin".  Once you've dried all your flowers, you're ready to move on to sealing them.

So first, let's look at flat flowers and pressed petals.

1. The Painting Method

For pressed flowers and leaves, and simple flowers like daisies, you can paint the petals with white craft glue. Some of the best known of these glues are Mod Podge, Aleene's Tacky Glue and Elmer's Craft Glue. But any PVA based adhesive is suitable because it won't yellow over time. 

It doesn't matter whether the product you choose has a matte, satin or glossy finish because it will disappear under the resin. 

If you're using straight PVA glue, you might find it too thick to paint on, so thin it with a little water to a paintable consistency. Try 3 parts PVA to 1 part water and you'll find it much easier to apply.

TIP: For added UV protection, use a sealant with a UV protector like PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive). It will help the flowers keep their colours.

Tall and short bottle of Perfect Paper Adhesive

N.B. PPA has a thinner, wetter consistency compared to products like Mod Podge so it's better suited to petals and flowers that have more body to them than flowers that are delicate and flimsy. The flimsier petals tend to curl up as they dry, making them a bit harder to work with in resin.

How to "Paint" the Petals

What You'll Need:
White craft glue of your choice
Soft paintbrush
Non-stick surface to work on (silicone mat, Teflon craft sheet, silicone baking paper, etc)
Paint palette
Rose petal, daisies, Mod Podge, paint brush and paint palette in a flat lay

Place the botanicals on the non-stick surface and paint on a thin, even coat to one side of each petal. 
Mod Podge being applied to a red rose petal with a paint brush

Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat. 
Applying a second coat of Mod Podge to the front of a rose petal with a paint brush

When this coat is dry, flip each petal over. 
A hand turning flipping the flowers over

Apply two coats to the back of the petals, allowing drying time between each coat. 
Pressed yellow cosmos flower being painted with Perfect Paper Adhesive

Allow the petals to dry completely before embedding them in resin. I like to leave them overnight to make sure they are well and truly dry before using them.

2. Spraying Methods

If you have whole flowers to work with, then the spraying method is the easiest way to seal them.

There are a number of different products you can use for this and the process is much the same for each one.

These are some of the sprays that can be used:
Castin'Craft Resin Spray
Mod Podge Spray (if you like Mod Podge, then you'll love it in the spray can!)
EnviroTex Spray Sealer
Any clear, quick-drying acrylic aerosol sealer
Hairspray - a budget solution 

You'll need to test these out on your flowers as they can behave differently on different flowers.

How to "Spray" Flowers for Resin

What You'll Need:
Disposable gloves
Spray booth or painter's drop sheet
Non-stick baking paper

You'll need to work in an area where overspray won't a problem, either outside, or in a spray box. To protect the surface you're spraying on, you can lay down a painter's drop sheet that covers a much larger area than you're spraying or you can set up a makeshift spray booth using a cardboard box. Either way, lay down a piece of non-stick baking paper so that you can easily peel off your delicate flowers and petals once they've dried.

If you're working with petals or flat flowers, set them out on the paper so that they're not touching. If you're working with 3D blooms, you may be able to hold the base of the flower so that you can rotate it as you work. If you'll be holding the flowers, make sure you wear gloves.

Gloved hand holding a rosebud being sprayed with Mod Podge inside a cardboard box spray booth.

Spray each flower or petal with a short, light mist. If you're sealing individual petals, you may find they fly away with the pressure from the spray, so spray from a higher position and allow the mist to settle on the petals. Allow the botanicals to dry. If they aren't fully covered, give them a second coat (and a third, if necessary).

For petals, you'll need to turn them over to do the back also. 

Each of the aerosols will take a different amount of time to dry:
  • The hairspray will dry in just a few minutes, so you'll be able to use these petals straight away. 
  • All the other spray sealers will tell you on the can how long to wait between coats and how long before the product is dry. Make sure you wait this long before embedding the flowers in resin.

Tip: It's faster to spray a few light coats, waiting for each coat to dry before adding another, rather than spraying with one heavy coat.

3. Laminating Methods

This method is only suitable for flat botanicals.

There are two different ways you can go about this. The least expensive is to enclose the petals inside packing tape. 

How to "Enclose" the Petals in Packing Tape

What You'll Need:
Clear packing tape

Cut off a length of tape and place a petal onto the surface, pressing it down firmly. 
Hand placing a pressed pink rose petal onto a piece of clear packing tape.

Fold the tape over to cover the back of the petal, taking care not to get any wrinkles. 
A hand folding clear packing tape over a pressed pink rose petal

Cut the petals out, leaving a border. 
Hand holding scissors, trimming around the petal encased in clear packing tape

There'll be a gap between the edge of the petal and the point at which the tape sticks to itself. To make sure that the resin can't get in, you'll need to cut beyond this point.

If you like the packing tape idea but your botanicals are too large, you can also use clear contact paper.

How to "Laminate" Petals

If you have a lot of petals to seal, then you can use a laminating pouch. 

What You'll Need:
Laminating pouch

Just open the sleeve and place the petals on the surface, leaving a gap between them. 
Hand placing a pressed yellow rose petal on a laminating sheet alongside red and pink rose petals and rose leaves

Insert the pouch into the laminator and the laminator will seal the petals inside. 
Laminating pouch filled with rose petals and leaves running through the laminator.

Cut out each petal, leaving a border. You'll be able to cut a little closer to the petal than you can with packing tape. 
Scissors trimming a yellow rose petal encased in a laminating pouch close to the petal

Now you have several options for sealing flowers ready to embed in resin. You'll need to experiment to find the right combination of flowers, sealing method, the resin that you're using and the project you want to include the botanicals in. After all, you don't want a great big clear packing tape border around a pair of rose petal earrings.

Pin This Idea!
Orange crucifix orchid being painted with clear Mod Podge

Happy Resining!

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