Topics: Jeweler's Tools, Fixative

Many of your metal plated seed beads suggest using an "artist's fixative" to keep the metal from wearing off. Would you spray the individual beads before using them, or the finished piece. If the finished piece, how do you get into the crevices of the piece. Will this also stop tarnishing? What can you do if a finished piece, copper in this case, has started to tarnish?
- Pamela
Metallic and galvanized seed beads have a coated surface that will wear off with normal use; contact with chemicals and oils; exposure to sunlight; and are also susceptible to tarnishing. To extend the life of the beads finish, use a seal or fixative. Depending on the type of work used to create the seed bead design, it would be advisable to apply the fixative prior to stitching so your piece remains flexible. Beads can be temporarily strung and brushed with DesignaSeal top coat and hung to dry. DesignaSeal will be dry to the touch after approximately 15 minutes and a second coat can be applied after approximately 45 minutes. For best results, allow a full drying time of 24 hours.

Finished seed bead projects and larger beads can also be sealed with DesignaSeal top coat, using a brush to get into crevices. Sealing will help protect the metallic beads against wear, fading and tarnishing, but sunlight is still the enemy so avoid storing or displaying in sunlight.

DesignaSeal top coat can also be used as a fixative for dyed and hand-painted beads, polymer clay beads and gold leaf designs.

Spray-on artist fixatives will work like DesignaSeal; due to shipping restrictions these are not available at Fire Mountain Gems and BeadsĀ® but are available locally through art and home-good stores.

- Michelle Wood, Jewelry-Making Expert