Wood finishing is a vital step in DIY wood jewelry. Even store-bought laser-cut findings come unfinished, so there’s really no escaping it.
The challenging part about finishing wood jewelry is finding the right finish. There’s so much variety it gets seriously overwhelming. It’s like a child walking into a toy store.
So, what is the best finish for wood jewelry? The best finish for wood jewelry is the one that protects the wood surface from environmental elements and the build up of dirt that can easily penetrate the porous surface, causing damage. It should also enhance the natural charm of the wood.
Isn’t that what jewelry is all about, adornment? Finishing your wood jewelry should, therefore, be exciting because you actually get to decide the exact look you want.
This post quickly takes you through the available wood finish options. We will also recommend the best wood finish products. Let’s get started!
Choosing a Finish For Wood Jewelry
Evaluating the needs of your jewelry is essential before settling for a particular finish.
Some types of jewelry surely do take a beating more than others and need robust finishes. A good example is a wood ring one never takes off. Compare a wooden ring to a pair of dangly earrings worn only on special occasions. The latter will stay pristine longer and outlive the former, even with a subpar finish.
Aesthetics certainly matter, too. Some finishes retain the wood’s natural appearance while others transform it entirely. Therefore, the final look of your piece is something to think about in advance.
You also want to opt for food-grade or skin-safe products, given that jewelry is nearly always in contact with the skin.
Types of Finishes For Wood Jewelry
There are two types of finishes for wood jewelry: oil finishes and layer finishes. Each has their own pluses and minuses. Here’s what you need to know about each:
An oil finish is a finish that basically fuses with the wood by seeping into the fibers to become part of it. You get to retain the wood in its most natural state, showing off the depths of its grain and texture.
The oil not only gives the wood jewelry a shiny appearance but also conditions it. And the best part is reapplication is usually just once a year. A simple buff with beeswax is all that’s needed to maintain the wood jewelry looking as good as new.
Hope’s Tung Oil is a classic and excellent choice for oil-finishing wood jewelry. It is 100% pure and non-toxic, which makes it safe on the skin. It prevents drying out and dulling of the wood surface.
Furniture Clinic’s Linseed Oil is another suitable alternative for that authentic, vibrant woody look.
On the flip side, oil finishes do not offer much protection for everyday wear jewelry pieces that are in constant exposure to harsh elements. It is the best finish for wood jewelry that does not face daily abuse or come into frequent contact with harsh elements.
Anything donned once in a while and then put back in their storage box, be it earrings, bangles, or pendants, can be finished this way and last a long time. But pieces which may be worn daily and take a real beating, might be better off with a different finishes.
Layer finishes form a coat on top of the wood surface. It can be protective, decorative, or both. Because this finish is a film that crowns the wood, it forms a barrier that prevents damaging elements from reaching it.
Layer finishing is hard-wearing and extends the life of wood jewelry significantly than oil finishing. However, with this finish, you lose the wood’s natural appeal and texture.
It gets replaced by an artificial, sometimes plastic-looking kind of surface. Notwithstanding, many people find these finishes gorgeous besides the enhanced protection.
Polyurethane, clear acrylic paint, or water-based varnishes make the best layer finishes for wood jewelry.
If you prefer to use a spray finish for wood jewelry, we recommend using Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint or Krylon Kamar Varnish. They go on beautifully and flawlessly whether your wood jewelry is unfinished, stained, or painted.
These are particularly easy to use and the least tedious option for intricately detailed wood jewelry like filigree earrings. You don’t have to worry about not reaching those tight spots.
For more permanency and resilience, opt for polyurethane. Minwax Water-Based Wipe-On Poly is an excellent choice of polyurethane finish for wood jewelry. It forms a sleek hard impermeable coating that keeps your pieces protected.
The wipe-on application ensures no ugly drips or brush marks ruin your beautiful jewelry. It is also water-based and, therefore, non-toxic on the skin.
Best Finish For Wood Rings – Epoxy Resin
What is the best finish for wood rings?
This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to finishing wood jewelry. Probably because most finishes tried before failed terribly within a short while.
Wood rings require a special finish compared to earrings, pendants, or bangles. A ring is rarely taken off and therefore takes in a lot of abuse every day – from water, soap, oil, sweat, heat, UV light, a lot of friction, and sometimes a bang against hard surfaces.
A more permanent wood finish that creates a super tough exterior that can stand up to daily wear is what’s needed.
Epoxy resin is the best finish for wood rings. Applying a thin layer of high-quality jewelry-grade epoxy resin like the Puduo Crystal Clear Epoxy Resin will leave your wood ring rock hard. You’ll lose the wood texture, but the grain profile will show through the attractive glassy quartz-like layer.
Up Next: The 3 Best Paints For Wood Jewelry