How to Stiffen Beadwork


How to Stiffen Beadwork

There are a number of different ways to stiffen beadwork and these are just a few of my personal favorites. Make sure to test any product on some leftover beads before applying it to your beadwork to make sure there is no unwanted discoloration. You may wish to apply the product only to the back of your beadwork, to the front and back or just to some some portion of your beadwork (like the arms of a star or snowflake to keep them from flopping). You probably won't want to use any of these products on porous Czech coatings such as Bondeli.

Permalac NT:

Permalac NT is my favorite when it comes to stiffening beadwork. sells it in handy little bottles in Semi Gloss and Matte that look and work just like nail polish. Although Potomac Beads is marketing Permalac as a protective coating and sealant, I love the way it works to stiffen most any type of beadwork. I have used the Semi Gloss on crystal, too, without any problems. Make sure that you brush it on in a well-ventilated locale since, like nail polish, it is a bit stinky, and let your beadwork dry overnight. You can find out more about Permalac NT by watching the video where the product is available for purchase by clicking here: Permalac NT.

Clear Nail Polish:

A quick and easy way to stiffen beadwork is to paint the back of your beadwork with clear nail polish and let it dry overnight. Linda Genaw of Linda's Crafty Inspirations recommended that I try clear Sally Hansen Hard as Nails nail polish and it does work well. Clear nail polish is the quickest, easiest and least expensive way to get the job done.

Acrylic Floor Polish:

If you have beaded up any of Sandra Halpenny's gorgeous snowflake patterns, then you are familiar with using acrylic floor polish products to stiffen beadwork. Although it has changed names several times since I started beading, Sandy recommends Pledge Floor Gloss, Original by Johnson (formerly SC Johnson Pledge Future Shine and Future Floor Finish). Simply dip the finished motif in the liquid, shake off the excess and let it dry overnight on wax paper. You can find Sandy's directions at the bottom of one of her free snowflake patterns by clicking here: Beaded Snowflake #31 Ornament Pattern.


Sandy has a new method for stiffening her beaded snowflakes which I have not tried using white glue, corn starch and cold water. You can download a free tutorial on her website here for details:

Stiffening Your Snowflakes The New Way



I admit that I have not tried ProtectaClear yet but it is highly recommended by several great designers. Here are some links to videos and blog posts of interest regarding the product:

Recommended by Jill Wiseman who has a video here:
and Lisa Yang who has a video here:

How to Stiffen Beadwork to Hold Shape Better, article from Lisa Yang

Other resources and methods

• YouTube video by Alicia Grebe of Beading Away, describing Diane Fitzgarald's technique: How to dip your work

• Interweave article: The Secret Ingredient to Firm and Protect Beadwork