Do all clear sealant sprays perform equally well on waterslide paper?
We wish we could tell you they do. However, the fact is, they are not all equal when using them to seal inkjet waterslide decal paper.
One brand of aerosol clear spray paint may be the best fit for one project but not the best fit for another project.
We have researched, tested and reached out to some of the leading spray paint companies in the United States to get more information on what clear sealants work best on our waterslide decal paper for Inkjet printers.
We wanted to find out first hand from these companies if their products were considered waterproof, water resistant, water repellent or none of the above.
We also wanted to know what the manufacturers recommended cure time was and if they thought their products would work well to seal our inkjet waterslide decal paper.
This blog post summarizes our research, clear spray manufacturers recommendations and testing so that you can choose the best clear sealant for your waterslide decal paper projects.
Before we dive into the specific sealants, let’s talk about our testing methodology.
We wanted to ensure that our results were consistent and reliable, so we followed a standardized process.
All sealants were sprayed on the same day in the same location.
We applied three coats of sealant to each waterslide decal sheet, allowing three minutes of drying time between each coat.
We conducted two cure time tests: one where we let the paper dry for 5 minutes after the clear coat was applied, and another where we let it dry for 24 hours before submerging it in water.
We then tested the activation, quality, and durability of the decals every 30 seconds while they were submerged.
Now, let’s get into the results.
1. Rustoleum 2X Clear Gloss
According to the manufacturer, Rustoleum 2X Clear Gloss is considered cured within 24 hours when applied in a controlled environment with temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
While it is not waterproof, it is water-resistant and can withstand short periods of submersion.
Our testing confirmed the manufacturer’s claims.
After a 5-minute cure time, the decal remained intact and durable when submerged in water for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
Even after a 24-hour cure time, the decal performed seamlessly when submerged for the same duration.
2. Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear
Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear has a cure time of 7 days, according to the manufacturer.
It is not considered waterproof or water-resistant and should not be submerged in water.
However, it may repel water after the 7-day cure time.
In our testing, Krylon Triple Thick performed excellently.
After a 5-minute cure time, the decal remained intact and durable when submerged in water for 3 minutes and 30 seconds.
The adhesive activated well, and the decal slid off the backing smoothly.
The same results were observed after a 24-hour cure time.
3. Plaid Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer
Plaid Mod Podge Clear Acrylic Sealer has a cure time of 24 hours in a controlled environment.
The manufacturer advises against submerging the product in water as it may break down.
In our testing, after a 5-minute cure time, the waterslide decal became gummy and not usable after being submerged for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
However, when retested with a 24-hour cure time, the decal stayed intact and applied well after being submerged for 45 seconds.
4. Krylon Colormaster Acrylic Crystal Clear
Krylon Colormaster Acrylic Crystal Clear did not perform well in our testing.
After a 5-minute cure time, the decal became slimy and the ink started to crack after just a few seconds of being submerged in water.
This made the decal unusable. However, when retested with a 24-hour cure time, the decal stayed intact and transferred well after being submerged for 45 seconds.
5. Plasti Dip Glossifier
Plasti Dip Glossifier requires a 24-hour cure time to be considered waterproof.
The manufacturer recommends waiting 10-30 minutes between coats when using the aerosol can.
While it may not have the same “rubber qualities” when applied to paper as it does on other solid surfaces, it still provides good results.
In our testing, after a 5-minute cure time, the decal became slimy and not usable when submerged in water.
However, many customers have recommended using Plasti Dip as a final coat after sealing with another clear sealant.
After a 24-hour cure time, the decal remained intact and was able to be applied well after being submerged for 45 seconds.
6. DupliColor Acrylic Lacquer
DupliColor Ac rylic Lacquer has a cure time of 48 hours or more, depending on the environment.
It is not considered waterproof or water-resistant, but it does repel water when applied to metal or plastic.
However, it may leave open fibers when applied to paper.
In our testing, after a 5-minute cure time, the sides of the decal started to lift and the ink began to crack after 1 minute and 30 seconds of water submersion.
This rendered the decal unusable. However, after a 24-hour cure time, the decal remained intact and transferred well after being submerged for 45 seconds.
7. Flex Seal Clear
Unfortunately, we were not able to get in contact with the company to gather information on their recommended applications for Flex Seal Clear.
However, we still conducted testing to provide some insights.
After a 5-minute cure time, Flex Seal Clear activated after 2 minutes and 30 seconds of being submerged in water.
It applied well to the surface but left an eggshell texture finish on the decal, which may not be ideal for some projects.
After a 24-hour cure time, the decal remained intact and durable when submerged for the same duration, but the eggshell texture finish was still present.
Choosing the Best Clear Sealant
Based on our testing, most clear acrylic sprays will work well if they are left to cure for an appropriate amount of time (24 hours or more).
Insufficient cure time may result in a slimy, cracked decal with running inks when submerged in water.
If you are in a hurry to complete your decal project, we recommend using Rustoleum 2X Clear Gloss or Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear.
However, it’s important to note that sealants may react differently depending on humidity and weather conditions, so we always recommend following the manufacturer’s cure times or conducting a test to determine the best sealant for your environment.
Additionally, using a hair dryer can help speed up the curing process, especially during winter, but be sure to hold it at a safe distance from the paper and move the heat evenly across the surface.
Finding the best clear sealant for your waterslide decal paper projects requires careful consideration of the manufacturer’s recommendations, cure times, and testing.
Based on our research and testing, Rustoleum 2X Clear Gloss and Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear are both excellent options for achieving durable and long-lasting results.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that different sealants may perform differently depending on the specific project and environmental conditions.
If you have any questions or need assistance troubleshooting sealant issues, feel free to reach out to us or check out our blog post and YouTube channel Royal Elements for more information.