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I thought about using a charcoal lump (you know, the regular stove coal) as a stand.

Is it possible to make it stop leaving black marks on anything it touches? Like, sealing it, or something else?

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    You could try clear acrylic spray or nail paint. – Bella Swan Mar 21 at 5:14
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    @BellaSwan If you have an answer, would you be willing to put it in an answer format? Comments are not for answering. – Web Head Mar 21 at 14:42
  • I added it as a comment because I am not sure if it's a correct answer or not. – Bella Swan Mar 22 at 4:52
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There are a few ways you can do this.

You didn't say whether you wanted to maintain the natural colours within the coal or not, but if you do, you can use a clear spray lacquer, coat it in clear furniture varnish or any other coating that will seal the coal.

The suggestion by @BellaSwan of using clear acrylic spray or nail paint will do the trick too but it will take a lot of nail paint bottles to coat a reasonable size chunk of coal.

If you wish to colour the coal lump, then you can use whatever kind of paint you choose; emulsion, eggshell, chalk-based, even gloss.

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Another approach to coating the coal is to submerge it in a liquid so you can be sure to seal every crack and surface imperfection. The amount of weight it needs to bear might be a factor in choosing a sealant too (you said it was a stand).

If I were really worried about the weight, or the strength of the sealant I'd be using a 2 pack clear epoxy finish.

Budget approach to high strength sealant

As a cheaper way out, my next choice would be to dunk it in a tin of slate-and-tile sealer, as this is designed for heavy foot traffic. Then I'd give it a second or even a third coat (dunking).

I'd give a link for slate sealer to a local Australian hardware, but I'm not sure which country you're in. Just check it is non-yellowing, and do the dunking in the open air. The products I have used stink of nasty toxic chemicals when wet.

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