How to Make Waterproof Origami

Make your origami creations last longer!

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Waterproofing techniques can be used in creating origami that is durable enough to be displayed outdoors or turned into handmade jewelry. Finding the right waterproofing method for your project may take a little work since each technique has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Clear Nail Polish

If your origami is very small, you can coat it with a thin layer of clear nail polish to seal and protect your work.

This technique is often used when making rolled paper beads to string into necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Coating your origami with clear nail polish is the cheapest waterproofing method. You can often find clear nail polish for $1 per bottle in drugstores and discount stores. For added sparkle, you can use clear nail polish with small bits of glitter mixed into the formula.

Mod Podge

Mod Podge is a crafting medium typically used for decoupage projects that involve adhering several small bits of paper to one larger surface. It will also work as a protective coating for your origami models.

Mod Podge comes in many different formulas and finishes. Basic Mod Podge comes in gloss and matte finishes, but specialty products include glow-in-the-dark Mod Podge, antique Mod Podge, and glitter Mod Podge.

Mod Podge finishes work well for small origami jewelry projects, as well as home decor pieces that need protection from dust and dirt.

Wax

Applying a coat of melted beeswax or soy wax is a simple way to make your origami waterproof. This technique is often used when making origami boats. Fold your boat as desired, then use an old paintbrush to apply a coat of wax to the exposed areas. Be careful to avoid dripping melting wax on your skin or work surface.​

Aleene’s Spray Acrylic Sealer

Aleene’s Spray Acrylic Sealer is often recommended as a useful tool for creating waterproof origami. You can spray the paper before folding it or spray the finished model. Aleene’s Spray Acrylic Sealer can be used to create an origami wreath for your door or decorations for an outdoor wedding.

For best results, work in a well-ventilated area and apply two or three coats to your paper. Let the sealer dry completely between coats. You should hold the can 10 to 12 inches from the paper’s surface and apply with a slow side-to-side motion.

Minwax Polycrylic

If you want a hard clear finish for your origami, try applying several layers of Minwax polycrylic to your folded design. Visit how about orange to see a demonstration of how to use Minwax Polycrylic to make durable origami refrigerator magnets.

Special Paper

If you plan ahead, you can make your origami waterproof by choosing your materials wisely. Stand Innovations has a waterproof and tearproof paper from Xerox that is ideal for origami use. The company also sells Tyvek, which is very strong and durable, making it ideal for outdoor origami.

You could also head to your kitchen and simply fold your origami from the wax paper cut to the appropriate size.

Wax paper is a good choice for an origami cup that you want to be able to drink from.

Plasti Dip

Plasti Dip is a product originally used to make rubber tool handles. If you dip your origami into a container of this solution, you end up with a rubber sculpture that can be displayed wherever you wish.

Plasti Dip creates a thick coating on the paper, so this is not a good solution for projects with lots of fine details. However, Blight Design was able to use this method to create pretty rubber origami crane ornaments for use outdoors.