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How to Harden Origami

Updated February 21, 2017

Origami, the art of folding paper into sculptures, requires significant time and concentration. Once the artwork is finished, time, humidity and decomposition of the paper may weaken the folds and cause the origami to lose its shape. Hardening origami preserves and protects your hard work, allowing you to safely display it without fear that it may lose its shape. Clear coat acrylic paints and sealers stiffen the origami a bit more with each additional coat applied, so you can decide how hard or flexible you would like it to be.

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  1. Crease each fold in your origami again to ensure crisp corners and lines. Search for any imperfections before spraying your origami because you will not be able to make adjustments once the paper has hardened. Lay a couple sheets of newspaper outside and set the origami down.

  2. Shake the can of clear coat acrylic, or open the paint jar and stir it with a Popsicle stick. Hold the can 8-12 inches away from the origami. Spray a thin coat of clear acrylic over the entire surface of the origami. If using a can of clear acrylic, dip the paintbrush in the acrylic and wipe any excess away on the edge. Brush a thin coat of the clear acrylic over the surface.

  3. Allow the origami to dry for 20 minutes. Then spray or brush on another thin coat. Turn the origami over and repeat the coat and dry process four or five times for each side. Allow the origami to dry overnight and then check the hardness. If you would like it stiffer, add a few more coats until you achieve the desired effect.

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Things You'll Need

  • Clear coat acrylic spray or paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Popsicle stick
  • 2 sheets newspaper

About the Author

Anthony Diaz de la Vega has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has appeared on the Celebrity Net Worth website, among other online entities. Vega earned his Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Alma College.

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