Paint Sealers


Once you have finished painting your mini, it's time to seal it. This will protect it from the elements, most notably, other gamers' grimy paws. :-)

Dear non-U.S.A. readers: If you are looking for a Dullcote Vendor outside of the US, contact at They are the US exporter for Testors Dullcote. If you are in the UK, contact, they are the UK importers of Testors Dullcote and can help you track down an appropriate retail store.

Warning: Spray Paint and Spray On Sealers Look Alike

I have not had this mishap yet, but a common complaint is that some folks reach for the sealer and grab primer instead.

Gloss vs. Matte

Gloss coats put down a nice solid, smooth, protective layer. A surface becomes shinier as it becomes smoother, so this makes sense. Enter the matte coat. Matte finishes are accomplished by roughing up the surface. Multiple coats of a matte spray can become progressively more glossy as the rough spots are filled in and become smoother. I have heard that some folks use only multiple coats of Dullcote, though, so keep that in mind.

Not All Matte Sealers Are Created Equal

The only spray on matte coat that I know of that is truly matte is Testors Dullcote. From my own experience and from the comments of others, I am not aware of any other truly matte spray on matte. Generally, however, brush on matte finishes will in fact be matte. You should always test a sealer first, and never forget that enough coats of matte will eventually become more glossy. Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium has a very flat finish and can be used as a primer as well as imparting a matte finish.

Spray Sealers

Name Finish Primary Source
Krylon Crystal Clear

True gloss

Craft Store
Krylon Matte Finish Satin finish Craft Store
Krylon Low Odor Gloss Don't use* Craft Store
Ral Partha Clear Matte Sealing Spray Satin finish Not sure...
Testors Dullcote True Matte Hobby Store
* - secondhand information -

Brush Sealers

Name Finish Primary Source
Folk Art Glass & Tile Medium True Matte Craft Store
Future Acrylic Floor Finish Gloss Supermarket
A bunch of choices I don't know Gloss ?

The Sealing Process

Step 0 - Let the Paint Dry, No Really, Let it Dry!

This is crucial. If the paint is not completely dry, the sealer can make it run, ruining all of your work. I recommend a minimum of overnight. If you use a slow-drying paint or add media to retard drying, you should probably wait longer. There isn't much of a downside to waiting, although protecting the mini from dust might be appropriate if you wait for a very long time.

Step 1 - Bulletproofing

First and foremost, let's protect it. If you read the labels on a can or ask a few painters you will find out that gloss coats are the protective variety. They make a nice hard smooth shiny shell. Two or three thin coats is a common choice, I use three, letting the mini dry for at least 30 minutes between coats. I use Krylon Crystal Clear and it seems to be a very popular choice. I have also used Testors Gloss Cote. Read the guidelines for spray painting, the same applies to spraying sealers.

Three coats of Krylon Crystal Clear

Step 2 - Matte Finish

Note: You should wait until the gloss coat is thoroughly dry. I wait overnight. I have heard people quote anything from 2-3 hours to a week!

A matte tends to look more natural and most parts of most minis thus need to be matte. So, putting down a matte coat now is a popular choice. I apply a single coat of Testors Dullcote. Recall from above that Krylon Matte Sealer is not a true matte; I have a photo below for comparison.

Three notes:

  • Read the guidelines for spray painting, the same applies to spraying sealers.
  • Dullcote comes out very fast, so quick sweeps are best until you get a feel for the flow rate; too much sealer will result in a cloudy gray appearance. However, you do want to moisten the entire surface with dullcote.
  • You may need additional applications to get a truly flat appearance
One coat of Krylon Matte Finish over three coats of Krylon Crystal Clear
One coat of Testors Dullcote over three coats of Krylon Crystal Clear

Step 3 - Gloss Highlights

If there are parts of the model that you want to have Gloss, you can go back and paint gloss over it. Future Acrylic Floor Finish is a pretty popular choice, but some have complained of clouding.

With Future highlights
(the contrast looks a lot cooler in real life)
With his buddies...
(The gloss on the plates is a little more obvious in this picture.)

What About Bases?

Astute observers might notice that the minis were not mounted on bases. Ideally, you would have the mini on its intended base, flocked, etc. before sealing. There is an exception though. Some folks have found problems sealing over static grass without getting droplets of sealer on the grass. It is not guaranteed to happen, but a concern worth noting. If you are really worried about it, then do everything but the static grass before sealing, then do the static grass afterwards.

Questions? Comments? Please let me know via my questions/comments form!