Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My Sealing Setup; Or How To Make the Most Out of Limited Space

Hey, I'm back! Just like a penny, you can't get rid of me. The moved sucked a lot out of me, but I decided "not" to let it get me down, and now I need to catch up.

I still get a lot of questions about sealers, what to use, what it means to "seal" a jewelry piece, and my set up. So...I decided to let you in on a little secret of mine in relation to my setup. I use about 2 foot of space in my (what used to be my) kitchen to patina and seal my hand crafted jewelry. Here it is:

This is my little setup and it actually works quite well for the space I had available to me. I lived in 525 square feet, so I had to make the best of what I had! Just to be clear, the items in the background that aren't on the towel were "not" part of the setup. That's normal kitchen stuff, of course. I suppose you could use a blender, but the end result would not be pretty...enough humor.

The wide mouth glass jars to the left are what I keep my ProtectaClear sealer and gun blue in. FYI, I got them at Michaels in the wedding department. They were $5 each and have a good seal in them. That is a must, especially when storing gun blue. I stored the gun blue in a plastic container for a while and it seemed to sweat or something and became a little too messy for me. You don't want to store your ProtectaClear in plastic either. It is a solvent based product, and according to the manufacturers plastic storage is not a good idea. They recommended glass to me when I talked to them so that is what I use.

You will also want to keep a supply of paper towels around. I buy them in bulk and write them off, cause I use a ton of them. Of course you will want gloves of some sort. I will tell you this, You might want to get them in bulk, too. The ProtectaClear can eat through those pretty quickly, at least the way I work. I am a slob and get stuff everywhere. If you are pretty careful not to get ProtectaClear on your gloves, they will last. I tried regular kitchen rubber gloves and they lasted longer, but like I said I am touchy feely, so my gloves don't last very long at all. We should all probably invest in some lightweight chemical gloves, right? Oh, don't get me wrong. The ProtectClear is non-toxic! It just likes to make dinner out of latex, rubber, or plastic.

Next up is my 3-tier bracelet holder. I wrap wax paper around the arms and tape it. When I dip bracelets or necklaces, they hang from there to dry or cure. As gooey as ProtectaClear is, it doesn't stick to the wax paper. Yeah!

I also use a couple of handmade hooks. I made these out of 18 or 16 gauge wire and use them to retrieve the jewelry pieces from jars. You can make them as short or long as you want, and you can use them over and over.

The entire set up is on two layers of old towels (I'm paranoid and I rent!) and a layer of wax paper. I keep several layers of paper towels next to the jars. After dipping, whether in gun blue, LOS, or ProtectaClear, you want to dab off the excess on the paper towels. I let the piece hang on the hook for a few seconds over the jar, because waste not want not. Then I place it on the paper towels face up for just a few seconds to soak up any remaining extra, and place the item on the bracelet holder.

What about earrings, you say? I use the cupboard knobs over my work area and a nice metal shirt hanger. I hang the hanger from the cupboard over the wax paper area, and wallah! Earrings will dry like a dream floating in the air.

The really great thing about a set up like this is it's easy to use and easy to store. I leave the wax paper on the bracelet holder for several uses. I just rotate it around the arms until it looks spent. That goes in the closet...or behind the sofa. The jars, lids tight, go back in the cupboards. If you have kids, you might want to label them poison and put them up where they can't get to them, but then you probably already knew that. My gloves, if they lived, stay on the towels and wax paper, as do the hooks, and any reusable paper towels. I fold them all up together and put them in a drawer or on my work table till next time. No need to waste the wax paper. It's good for several uses. Oh, and you can write that off, too.

So, see, it isn't that complicated. All you need is:
2 feet of counter space
Glass jars with a good seal
1 or 2 old towels
Paper towels
Wax paper
Bracelet holder of some sort
Rubber or latex gloves
1 or 2 handmade wire hooks
Gun blue, LOS, and sealer
An understanding husband, partner, or roommate (this one is essential!!)

Have fun and Stay Wired Up!!


  1. Where do you buy the ProtectoClear? And what is gun blue and LOS? I've never heard of these before and I use a lot of craft wire so it would nice for it to not start turning copper or bronze in places. Right now, I use Jewelry Shield just on ear wires but I'm curious as to where you get what you're using as a sealer. Thank you!

  2. Gun Blue is used to add the dark color to gun barrels. It works on copper only. LOS or liver of sulfur, is just that, and can be used on a variety of metals. ProtectaClear is a jewelry sealer product from Everbrite Coatings. You can search these things on google or Amazon.