The final result of all partitions sprayed was VERY difficult to photograph since the biggest difference couldn’t be photographed – the smoothness or “feel” of each section compared to Dullcote.
Here is what I found:
Krylon Matte Finish – while it did dull the very glossy black, it was more satin than matte or flat. The black color underneath stayed richer and less diluted than with the Dullcote. I know from personal experience that the more coats of this you use on your model, the shinier it gets. Many artists prefer this over the more dulling effect of other brands, such as Dullcote, because it protects the model better and doesn’t dull down the richness of the color underneath as Dullcote does. It gives the model a “healthy coat” sheen, but can make the model harder to photograph due to the shininess. Smoothness-wise, it was coarser than the Dullcote.
Kryon Crystal Clear Flat – the dulling effect was very much like Dullcote’s and it is much less smelly. Just a tad bit “toothier” than the Dullcote, but still quite smooth.
Rustoleum Matte Finish – the spray on this one was very powerful, much stronger than any of the others. I don’t know if it is only my particular can that is this way or all of them are like this but you have to be careful not to get the model too close or else you’ll run the risk of too much sealer hitting your model and causing drips. It dried very similar to Krylon Matte Finish – a bit more satin and allowed the black color to come through more than the Dullcote. Because of the powerful spray, it was difficult to get an even finish. It was coarser to the touch than Dullcote – more like the Krylon Matte Finish.
Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Clear Flat – I had an old can of this and thought I would include it in the test group, even though I don’t know if they offer this any more. It doesn’t matter if they do because I would not buy another can, based on the results here. The finish it left was definitely flat but very pebbly. Maybe it is just because my can is old, but I won’t be buying another one, just in case this is the way it really dries.
Tree House Studio Clear Acrylic Matte Coating – not as smelly as Dullcote, it left a nice, smooth dull finish. Not as smooth as Dullcote but smoother than the others.
Valspar Clear Sealer Flat – this one is a definite NO because of the pebbly finish.
Of the six different sealers that I compared to Dullcote, the one that came the closest to dullness and smoothness was Tree House Studio Clear Acrylic Matte Coating. I found my can at Hobby Lobby for $5.99 and I used a 40% off coupon to make it a real bargain. The can is 11 ounces.
The next most comparable spray would be Krylon Crystal Clear Flat. It was a bit more smelly than the Tree House sealer but not as smelly as Dullcote. In terms of smoothness, it felt just a tiny bit coarser than the Tree House, but not by much. It comes in an 11 ounce can and I believe it can be found at Walmart. (UPDATE: It seems that this product has now been discontinued and replaced with CoverMAXX and it is NOT THE SAME. CoverMAXX is horrible stuff so don't substitute it for Krylon Crystal Clear Flat).
This is not a definitive list by any means. If you have a dull, matte, or flat sealer that you use that isn’t on this list, I sure would like to know about it to see how it compares to Dullcote. Thanks!