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Water in a Can

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My interest in simulating water effects led me to accidentally discovering water in a can as I call it: Minwax brand Polycrylic Wood Sealer that comes in clear gloss and dries to a hard surface, is very realistic. This product is found in the home improvement isle of many hardware stores and costs about $20 for a quart can that is blue in color with the above mentioned labeling. It is designed to seal wood against moisture but as I found out, the water scenes that result from the pouring of this product onto any prepared scene will make the groundwork appear wet as in my diorama We Got You Covered!.. (See it HERE), as well as my HO layout river scenes.

Because the product is acrylic based, it will blend with various tones of acrylic hobby paint and even cover water tinted acrylic caulking. In the photo the water course is a semi-arid scene with some water showing in a creek bed made of sand sealed with wood glue. Covering a snowy scene with this product will also make the scene appear to have icy spots as well, as I use baking soda for snow which is very effective in any scale.

The following steps will help with the application of the acrylic based wood sealer after the water course base is complete, I typically use water-thinned caulking tinted to earth tones or sifted dirt over wood glue.

1.) Shake or stir the contents to assure a smooth finish. 2.) Gently pour or brush on the contents onto the scene to be covered with one thin layer, let dry to a clear appearance. 3.) Continue to build layers, letting each dry. 4.) The creamy white appearance will disappear as the product dries. 5.) The product is nearly odor-free and one step as there are no other elements to add. 6.) The product cleans up with water--now there's a novel idea! And you might even use it to waterproof a woodworking project.

I recommend that railroad modelers purchase a smaller container and experiment with the sealer as I did to find out the workings. One last note, if you use this to cover a plexiglas surface, try stippling the near-dry sealer to simulate waves.

The product also comes in Satin which might result in a great waterfall scene depicting rushing water, I have yet to try that in my re-built HO layout in a barn.

The best and thank you, John Staehle

About the Author

About John Staehle (johncpo)

My twenty four year Navy background is in leadership and professional development of personnel through education and experience. Additionally I have completed a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Information Technology and Marketing as the main courses. I have extensive knowledge of...