It’s time for another topcoat review! As regular readers know, one of my goals is to try, test, and review as many sealants, topcoats, and glazes as possible to share how good they are when used for paper quilled jewelry. I make sure to test a product on several types of pieces before reviewing it so that you get the best picture. I have been using 3D Crystal Lacquer on and off for almost 2 years now, so it’s definitely time for an official review! It’s a great product, but it does have a couple disadvantages that make it not one of my top choices.
3D Crystal Lacquer
These scores are representative of my own personal experience with using 3D Crystal Lacquer with paper quilling.
Overall I like using 3D Crystal Lacquer. It has a nice, smooth, shiny finish. It is not a super hard finish like Diamond Glaze, but sometimes the more flexible finish is desired. It does have a slight yellowish tint when it is dry, so I don’t use it with white or pastel colors. With darker colors the slight yellowish tint is indiscernible.
- Has a nice shiny finish
- Fairly thick, so it’s easy to use in ring and pendant trays
- Can be used as an adhesive
- dries with a very slight yellow tinge, so I don’t use it with white or very light papers
Is it waterproof?
This is a question that is asked about all sealers, topcoats, glazes, etc. I cannot find information about how water resistant this product is from the manufacturer. Here is their official description:
Water base acid free and non toxic transparent acrylic lacquer. Lacquer is thick so your simple application of 3D Crystal Lacquer will create beautiful and shinny 3 dimensional effects on your arts.
I did a test recently for the water resistant properties of different sealers, glazes, etc. You can see the full results of the test in this post. In summary what I did was use many different products to coat little rounds of paper quilling. The one labeled 3D is the 3D Crystal Lacquer. After the pieces were all coated and fully dried I let them soak in water for 10 minutes. The 3D Crystal Lacquer did get a tiny soaked spot right in the middle, but I’m guessing it was not properly coated in the center hole. Another test will be necessary to see whether it does better! I did a crazy test whereby I put them all in the washing machine as well. The 3D Crystal Lacquer didn’t fare so well there, but neither did most of the others, no real surprise there.
How to Use
When looking to protect my paper quilled jewelry, I like to have two types of protection:
- To make the paper stiff to help protect against it being smashed
- To make the paper water resistant to protect against dirt, moisture, rain, etc.
I don’t know of any product that does both things perfectly. That is why my usual method involves using a liquid sealer as a base coat which soaks into the paper and makes it quite stiff. When that dries I add a glaze or topcoat for extra protection. A sealer by itself may not last forever and might not be as water resistant, and a glaze by itself won’t make the piece as stable as possible because it won’t soak into the paper to make it stiff. 3D Crystal Lacquer does not soak into the paper, so I use a sealer under it such as Ceramcoat Sealer (see my review here) or DecoArt Americana Sealer (see my review here)
When it is time to add the glaze, it can be helpful to add water to it so make it thin so you get a smoother finish. Sometimes this is not necessary, but if your piece has a lot of crevices, it can really help. Here is the tutorial post showing how to do that:
Basically what you will do is squeeze a bit of the glaze into a container (I use a little empty cap) and mix in a few drops of water until it is as thin as you’d like. Then either dip your piece in (as shown in the post that I mentioned) or use a small stiff paintbrush to paint it on. If your piece is quite solid, use the dipping method. If it is delicate and has open scrolls, use the painting method, and paint on very light coats! Click here and here for posts about putting sealant onto open coil designs. Here is a post about how to apply sealant and topcoat to larger solid designs:
Using 3D Crystal Lacquer with Gold Edged Paper
One of the first times I tested 3D Crystal Lacquer was with this experiment. I made 4 rings, all the same, and used 4 different glazes/topcoats on them to see the different effects. It turned out that 3D Crystal Lacquer was my second favorite in this project. Diamond Glaze gave a slight bluish look, Crystal Coat Glaze made some of the gold color disappear, and PPA gloss was the best of the lot. The 3D Crystal Lacquer gave a very slight bluish hue, but was otherwise good. Click here to read the whole post about these gold edge rings. Click here to learn more about using PPA on your jewelry.
How Clear is it?
The main downside to 3D Crystal Lacquer is that when it dries it has a bit of a yellow tint. I wanted to show you, so I let a thin layer of diamond glaze dry in a cap and peeled it out, and then let a thin layer of 3D Crystal Lacquer dry in the cap and peeled it out. After folding the dry film a few times each, this is what they look like:
You can see that at the edge, the 3D Crystal Lacquer looks clear, but where it has been folded, you can see the yellow tint. The Diamond Glaze has no tint.
You cannot see the yellow tint at all when you use 3D Crystal Lacquer on darker colors. Even though it is not my very favorite of the glazes that I have tried, I will still use my bottle until it is gone (not on white and pastel, though!) It is nice and shiny and does its job!
Where Can You Find it?
Here are some places where you can find 3D Crystal Lacquer. If you have a Joann Fabric and Crafts nearby you can easily pick this up there, it is also in their online store. You can even find it at Walmart in the craft section (they have it in the online store as well). In fact, this seems to be a fairly widespread product in the US, so if you have another art and craft store near you, it is probably there! If you love Amazon, it can easily be bought there as well.
Amazon in Canada seems to have it as well, if you are based there. Amazon in the UK also has it. You can find it here and here in Australia. In Malaysia you can find it for sale at Beading.my. Other than that, I don’t really see it being sold outside of the US. If you know of a place, do let me know so I can update this post. But even if you are outside of the US you can still order it from Amazon or another online store and get it shipped to you.
If you cannot find 3D Crystal Lacquer where you live, what can you use? Luckily there are quite a few products that work to add shine, durability, and water resistance to your quilled earrings. Here are some:
- Diamond Glaze – Find my full review here or find it here on Amazon
- PPA (Perfect Paper Adhesive) – This comes in both gloss and matte finishes. Find it here on Amazon or read my posts about using it here and here.
- Mod Podge – This widely available product is not my top choice, but it does the job! I wrote several posts about it. Here is the summary post. You can find it here on Amazon.
- Crystal Coat Glaze – I don’t have a full review of this product yet, but I’ve used it for years and it does a great job. You can see it here in this post, and you can find it here on Amazon.
- Triple Thick Glaze – I don’t have a post about this yet, but it’s coming as I experiment more with it. So far I really love it! Find it here on Amazon.
- Clear Nail Polish – I don’t use this on any of my jewelry, read why in this post, but some people love using clear nail polish.
If you cannot get any of these products, take a look at your local craft shop. Look for a product that you can paint onto your quilled jewelry or dip it into that is meant to protect and give a water resistant finish.
How Does it Compare
How does 3D Crystal Lacquer compare to some of the similar products? Well, I find that it does not have a super hard surface when it has dried. Diamond Glaze and Triple Thick Glaze are quite hard when they are dry. 3D Crystal Lacquer, PPA Gloss, Crystal Coat Glaze, and others have a softer finish. It is more flexible than a super hard finish, so that is nice, but you do have to be careful not to press something into the surface, especially if there is a thick coat on it. If it is one or two thinner layers (that you diluted with water) then it is more “fingernail resistant” than if you just put on one thick coat.
The other way it compares is in how clear it dries. It has a very slight yellowish tinge when it is dry. All of the other above products dry to a perfectly clear finish. Sometimes Mod Podge has a slight yellowish tinge depending on the variety.
I hope that you found this review helpful. Let me know if you have any questions about 3D Crystal Lacquer and I’ll do my best to answer! I have many more products to review, so stay tuned!
- Click here to see all posts that are about sealants, topcoats, and glazes.
- Click here to view free paper quilling tutorials!
- Click here to view paper quilling tips and tricks!
- Click here to view a list of places to buy quilling supplies around the world!
- Click here to view some of my own quilling projects, with tips so you can make your own if you’d like!
*All products and supplies mentioned in this post I purchased and/or made on my own.
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