Tipsy Tuesday – Crystal Clear

One of my favorite people asked me about how to use Crystal Effects. While I like the stuff so much I always keep a backup bottle, I still went to the experts. Here’s some tips by Colleen Kidder.

Crystal Effects is also known as 3-D Crystal Lacquer. It is a water based lacquer that adds depth and texture to your hand stamped projects. Crystal Effects will appear "cloudy" as it is applied but it will dry to a crystal clear sheen. The favorite way stampers like to use this product is to apply it to areas where they would like a 3-D look or "raised effect" . . . whatever you apply it to will seem to  j-u-m-p  right off the paper. However, there  are other fun and fabulous ways to use Crystal Effects and I’ve listed a few below but first let’s get the basics down.

Tips for using Crystal Effects:

  • Use and store Crystal  Effects at room temperature.
  • Allow Crystal Effects to dry completely before handling. Thin coats will take only a few minutes but thicker coats may take a half hour or longer to dry completely. If you handle before it is dry you risk adding your fingerprint to  your art work.
  • To prevent bubbles, Crystal Effects should not be shaken.
  • Prior to use, place the bottle upside down in a coffee cup, letting any air bubbles that might be in the bottle to raise to the top. This will keep bubbles from appearing in your finished project.
  • Once Colleen starts slowly applying the Crystal Effects, she tries to NOT pick the tip up off of her  project until it is completely covered. Viola . . . no air bubbles. For her, the key is to move slowly and do not lift tip from surface during application until you are finished. This way there are no air bubble being "blown in" to your work. It may take you a little longer to get all of you work covered, but the outcome, is well worth it!
  • The tip of the bottle may become clogged. To prevent this from happening place the bottle upright on table and allow the Crystal Effects to drain back down into the bottle. If the tip does become clogged, before Colleen begins her project, she uses the a paper clip or needle to open a pathway for the Crystal Effects to flow smoothly.  Keep the paper clip attached to the bottle by wrapping a rubber band around the  bottle and sticking the paper clip in it. If you find your tip really clogged just  unscrew the cap and rinse with warm water. Then dry and replace cap. Do not store the Crystal Effects with the pin or paper clip in it, it will rust and ruin your bottle.
  • To achieve a thicker coating of Crystal Effects it is better to apply several thin coats. If you try to apply it all at once you may cause the dye ink underneath to blur or "feather." Also, Crystal Effects is water based, so if too much is applied at once the paper may buckle.
  • Do not use heat gun to speed dry time. It becomes extremely  bubbly and unattractive.

I would only add that you should let your Crystal Effect image dry flat – it will run.

Here’s some examples of my projects with Crystal Effects. Of course, there’s Rosie’s card from yesterday.


I used Crystal Effects to adhere the pearl and microbeads to the center of this blue rose cake box.


And, here’s another cake box using Crystal Effects to keep the beads in the center of the flower.


Here’s some other suggestions from Colleen.

#1. Layer it on your projects to give a smooth glass-like finish.

#2. Use the applicator tip to apply a thicker layer of Crystal Effects to "select elements" of your design to add emphasis. Apply a second or third coat if your first layer was not standing up off your paper enough to please you. Some ideas are to apply it to leaves, flower petals, insects, teacup, umbrella, window, eyeglasses, Christmas ornaments.

#3: Simulate dew on a petal by adding little droplets to flowers.

#4: Use Crystal Effects to outline your image. This provides the look of embossing without needing the heat gun. This looks especially inviting when used as "frosting" of a cake.

#5: It truly gives the look of glass and as such looks wonderful when used on glass items such as the light bulb in the Little Inspirations set or the Christmas lights in the Border Builders set . . . Makes the lights shine. Use Crystal Effects on a fish bowl or use it to create a  faux glass "Bug Jar" and use one of the bug sets to stamp some bugs to go in the  jar. Use it to highlight the glass globe of a Snow Globe. Apply some Dazzling Diamonds glitter to create the look of snow.

#6:  Create a dimensional paint. Add Crystal Effects to small containers and then add a drop or two of Stampin’ Up! Classic re-inker and stir using a toothpick. Then apply color as desired to your stamped image allowing a few minutes drying time between colors so they won’t blend.

#7: Crystal Effects makes the perfect glue for any project!! Use it to attach your poly shrink plastic embellishments, beads, feathers, and bows. It is very strong, great for adding hard to hold magnets, pin backs, and wire to your stamped projects. Be sure to let it dry completely before handling.

#8: Use it to make flat marble magnets or bulletin board tacks. Purchase the glass marbles/pebbles that have a flat side to them in the floral section of craft stores. Then use the circle punch to create the perfect shape to place behind these see-through marbles. Stamp desired image on the card stock circle and color it in using markers. Use Krylon Matte Acrylic or use the Krylon  workable Fixative to seal markers. Next, apply Crystal Effects to the flat marble and not to the stamped image. Then press the marble onto the stamped circle. If you don’t have the Krylon to seal the markers, applying the Crystal Effects in this manner (to the marble instead of the stamped image) will keep the image colors from smearing. Apply a bit more Crystal Effects and then attach a magnet or push pin to it.

#9: Use it for "fray check" on the ends of your ribbon after you have cut them to the desired length.

#10: Create "Shimmering Pearls" by adding a small amount of Pearl Ex powder to some Crystal Effects. Then apply over your stamp art with a brush.

#11: Use it to re-glue any stamps that have either come unmounted from the foam or that you took off the wood block because you wanted to trim and re-mount.

One last suggestion of my own . . . you can use just a tiny dab of Crystal Effects on top of a bow or knot to keep it from coming undone.

I hope this helps and that it’s Crystal Clear (sorry, couldn’t resist).



Sweet Comments

  1. Thank you thank you thank you for this great information. I have always wondered about this product. I guess my only other question would be, can this be purchased any where but through Stampin’ Up!? I just was trying to think of a way to get it faster. Or is there a similar product out there that you know about? Thanks for the info.

  2. Well there are some uses I didn’t know about. Here is a silly one that was not listed in your list. I dropped a bottle of perfume in my bathroom and it chipped the tile. Let me tell you, that Crystal Effects has kept those 3 chips in place for about 2 years now!!! It even has a use outside of the stamp world. I truly love this stuff.

  3. Great info here! Thanks for sharing!
    I read somewhere that to prevent the tip from clogging, store the bottle upside down all the time. Has anyone tried this?

  4. Hey – is it bad form to comment on your own blog? Anyway, in answer to storing upside down, I’ve heard that too, just haven’t tried it. I have heard, though, that someone tried keeping a pin or paperclip in the bottle to keep it from clogging but the pen rusted and ruined the bottle. Me, I just let it clog and then unclog it with a pin when I’m ready to use. Basically, it clogs so easily, even as I’m using it, that it’s just hard to prevent it.

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