How to Choose the Best Sealant for Your Door Hanger

Which type of sealant is best for your door hanger - spray-on lacquer or brush-on varnish? I'll compare the two and show you favorite products!

How to Choose the Best Sealant for Your Door Hanger

Welcome back! This is going to be a quick blog post to answer a common question that I get asked all the time, “How do you seal your door hangers!?” So I’m going to show you two of the sealants that I use the most often. And I’ll help you figure out how to choose the best sealant for your own DIY painted door hanger!

Note: Affiliate links included within this post for your convenience. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 

Spray Vs Brush On Door Hanger Sealant by Southern ADOORnments
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A Good Sealant is Important!

Wondering why you would even need a sealant for your painted door hangers? I like to use them for a couple of reasons. 

For one thing, it protects the paint and the wood underneath. This is especially important if you’re going to hang the door hanger outside, maybe on your front porch or backyard deck. 

It helps keep moisture out of the wood, and prevents the paint from flaking as easily. It can also help protect the door hanger from scratches and scuffs as you’re taking it in and out of storage each season.

Plus, it just gives the door hanger a nice, glossy finish. It looks more professional and brings the colors to life. The finish helps make it look complete.

There are two basic types of sealant that I recommend for your painted wood craft projects. One is a brush-on (I use DecoArt Americana’s DuraClear Gloss Varnish). The other is a spray-on (I like Rust-Oleum’s Lacquer Spray in Gloss). 

There are pros and cons to each type, which will help you decide how to choose the best sealant for your own painting needs. The results are similar but they work differently.

Choosing the Best Sealant For Your Door Hangers:


  • Faster
  • Mess-Free
  • No brushes
  • Less cleanup
  • Very smooth
  • Even coverage
  • “Factory-Like Finish”



  • Easily applied
  • Portable
  • Safe to use indoors
  • Can be used at craft shows and paint parties after last minute customizations and touch-ups
  • Glossy finish after just one coat
  • Good coverage


  • Takes more time
  • Can be messier
  • Extra brush clean-up
  • Shows brush strokes
  • Less smooth finish
  • Requires more care when applying
  • Less “professional” look up close

Comparing the Spray-On Lacquer vs Brush-On Varnish

Here’s a comparison of two door hangers of the same design. The one on the left has been sealed with the spray-on lacquer: Rust-Oleum Lacquer Spray. The one on the right has been finished with the brush-on gloss varnish: DecoArt American DuraClear Gloss Varnish

After one coat, the one on the right with the brush-on is glossier. But it is less smooth. Even though I was being careful, you can still see my brush strokes when you look closely. Of course, you’re the only person that’s going to be looking that closely! But it does make it feel less “professional”.

If you want a closer look, here’s a quick facebook video where I originally went over all these details about how to choose a door hanger sealant. (If you already follow me on facebook, you might remember it!)

In this video, you can see the two finished door hangers up close to get a better idea of the finished look.

The Takeaway: Both Sealants Have Advantages

I like to use the spray lacquer when the weather is cooperating and I can spray it outside. But I keep the brush-on varnish to use inside my craft studio at home, or if I’m painting at a paint party or craft show. If you don’t have good ventilation and moderate temperatures, use the brush-on!

I hope that this quick tip has helped you plan for your next door hanger! If you’d like even more of my tips and tricks like this, grab my FREE e-book, “Door Hangers 101: Everything You Need to Know About Creating Your Own Door Hanger!

It’s the perfect place to start for beginners. But it also has some great tips for you veteran painters, too!

You can also keep an eye on my facebook page for new crafting videos and tutorials every week or join my free facebook group for painters! I go live on facebook every Tuesday with a new video to show you my newest designs, favorite painting techniques, and my most popular tips and suggestions.

Make sure you follow me on Pinterest and Instagram too to get even more ideas, creative inspiration, and lots of other fun stuff!

Have you signed up for access to my FREE template gallery? Sign up and you’ll get access to download some of my favorite door hanger templates – for free! Ready for more? Join my new Template Club and get first access to all of my new releases every month, for one low price!

Completely new to painting door hangers? Check out my latest blog post that will give you great techniques and tips for painters that are just starting out. 

And don’t forget about our Painters’ Clubhouse! Once you join, you’ll become part of a monthly membership group where we paint and learn together! From new techniques and painting tips, to getting access to exclusive content all month long, it’s the best place to grow your painting hobby together with us! But it is only open to new members twice a year. So make sure you get on the waiting list now so that you’ll be one of the first to have an opportunity to grab a spot when membership opens again.

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