There are only two methods for glazing paper beads: dipping and brushing. Multiple options are available for the sealant itself.
Popular sealants are mod podge, polycrylic, glue, and beeswax.
How to Glaze Paper Beads
After making the beads, the next thing you should think about is making your beads feasible for everyday use as accessories.
Depending on the glaze you are going to use, you will need to dip your beads in the glaze, or brush them with it.
If you are going to use the glaze variant that needs to be brushed on the beads, you are going to need a lot of PATIENCE. Yes, because you will have to brush the beads one by one.
If you are going to use the dipping method, you just need to string the beads first and dip them into a container with the glaze.
The next step is to wait for the beads to dry. This is an important part of the process as the glaze should not touch any surface. If it does, it won’t dry as good as you want to.
The best way to dry the beads is to make a drying station out of a shoebox. Simply cut multiple slits from the shoebox. This where you will put the thin stick or wire where you will string the beads. These will focus like a clothesline.
You could also hang the strung beads on an indoor clothesline. Hanging the beads outdoor while drying may cause dust and other foreign particles or objects to stick to the still wet glaze.
How to Glaze Paper Beads: What Sealant to Use
Paper Bead Crafts provide a comprehensive review on how to glaze paper beads using various sealants.
How to glaze beads tutorials provide the pros and cons of the sealants used as well as the methods used to apply them.
It is recommended to apply four coats of PC-Petrifier and two coats of Fast Finish Decoupage. This sealant uses the dipping method. The writer also says that Fast Finish Decoupage can be expensive so they buy it in bulk.
The best finish and most waterproof glaze is achieved by using Two Part Epoxy Resin. It’s a bit hard and would require you to mix just 1-2 ounce per batch as the resin dries fast.
The people at I Love Paper Beads also tested various sealants on how well they protect the beads against submersion in water, scratching with sand paper and scraping by a fingernail.
The sealants they used are Krylon Low-Odor Clear Finish Spray, Mod Podge (Gloss Finish), Minwax Satin Polycrylic Protective Finish, Triple Thick Gloss Glaze and beeswax.
After testing the different glazes, they ranked them according to various categories (yeah, it’s like the Emmy’s or Oscars of Paper Bead Glazes.)
Read their full article here.