How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4 of 4, sealing

how to clean bones tutorial part 4 sealing

How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4 of 4, sealing

How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4 will walk you through a few ways to seal your bones. Once you’ve finished part 2 and or part 3, you may want to seal the finished bone.

Optional Part to a Finished Bone

This part is 100% optional and many people never seal their collection. I have several skulls that I have never sealed for one reason or another. One reason may be that it is a very sturdy bone like the bear skulls I have. Another may be that it is a rescue from a house fire and I don’t know what sealing a burnt skull would do. Did it get wet during the fire or did the fire do something to it that sealing may damage?

Are They Ready for Sealing?

If the bones or skulls still have dark spots on them see part 2 again. Whitening will do no good if de-greasing has not been done thoroughly. Any remaining grease that you seal inside will only cause damage to the bone later. It will not look good. As well, are they 100% dry from the last step in which they were wet? If they are still retaining moisture sealing that moisture in will create discoloration, mold, and a cracking seal. Remember, bones and skulls are porous and it can take months and even years for moisture and grease inside them to surface if just left to sit. Heat and moving air can help speed the process. Once sealed, it is very hard to go back a step or two.

How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4: options for sealing

• Paraloid B72
• Elmers School Glue
• Spray
• Beeswax

Paraloid B72

Paraloid B-72as bought here will cost you about $26. That $26 goes a very long way so if you plan on sealing a lot of bones or other organics it is well worth the money. I bought my bucket of B-72 in or around 2010, have sealed around a hundred or so projects with it, and still have enough to finish hundreds if not thousands more. I might never need another bucket of this stuff.

Paraloid B-72 is resin-like little chips. Soak some in a glass jar of acetone until the chips have thoroughly been “melted”. The chips to acetone ratio depends on how thick or thin you want the solution to be. You will need a hair painting brush you don’t care about; it can’t be a cheap plastic brush as the acetone will melt it. You will also want to make a little plate out of aluminum foil; this is to catch any spills or drops.

How to Use Paraloid B-72

First, test how thick the mixture is by dipping your brush into the jar and painting a line on the foil.  Watch it “dry” before your eyes and the smear of resin it leaves behind is how thick the mix is. Actually, the acetone is evaporating and leaving the resin behind.  You want it thin enough that it won’t cause your bones to be shiny but thick enough that it isn’t a puny mix. It’s hard to describe the right mix if it’s too thick you add more acetone, if it’s too thin add more chips.

If the thickness is to your liking now it’s time to test an area on the bones. Never touch the mixture with bare hands, and only paint the bones in sections letting dry between sections so you don’t touch it and absorb some of the stuff yourself. Due to your natural skin oils, that acetone doesn’t like, a little bit won’t harm you but I wouldn’t stick your finger right in t he jar or anything. Or you can just wrap a string around the bone and hang it in the solution until you see that air-bubbles have stopped surfacing from the bone.

How Paraloid B-72 Works

The acetone acts as a vehicle for the paraloid and transports the resin into the surface of whatever it touches. Acetone evaporates fast, so as it is penetrating a surface it is taking the resin with it and then leaving it behind. Voila, sealed without looking sealed.

Some young skulls that I have painted with this have been extremely porous so I have painted them 10 or more times without them looking shiny. Some adult skulls are very smooth that even one coat of a very thin solution makes them shiny. The solution will all depend on each bone. If you end up with a shiny bone and you do not like the shine there is a fix.  Use an acetone soaked rag and “buff” the skull to get rid of the shine.

Elmers Glue

This is a 50/50 elmers and water solution. Soak the bone in it and the elmers glue will end up inside the pores of the bone.  Allow to dry for a few days.


There are various Krylon brand spray-sealers that some folks use. These only seal the surface and can easily wear off. For large skulls like horse or bison a spray would be less work than elmers or paraloid.


I have not personally used this method on my skulls, but I have on my bone jewelry. It really is as simple as warming it up and rubbing it on.

Thank You For Reading How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4, 3, 2, and 1!

You are done with this tutorial. I hope you learned a few things, and maybe have even taken the chance to teach me a few things by leaving a comment. Thank you for reading and please take a look at our other tutorials and hey, maybe even consider supporting us here at Root Inspirations by buying a $1 coloring page (several have skulls in them!) or perhaps some bone or gourd art at our store! Thank you.

Author: Colleen

1 thought on “How to Clean Bones Tutorial part 4 of 4, sealing

  1. Hi Colleen, thank you for this great information! Could you use the same 50/50 elmers mixture for turtle shells, or would you recommend something else?

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