View Full Version : Pastel fixatif worries

10-27-2017, 07:34 PM
I paint in soft pastels once or twice a month, and I use krylon fixatif after drawing, but the smell of the fixatif causes me dizzines and headache, after a while it disappears, but I'm worrying because the can says health hazards short and long term. Is there a natural and non toxic way to fix the painting?

10-27-2017, 08:47 PM
Yes, you should never use these types of fixatives indoors unless you have a heavy duty fan and ventilation system. I would also recommend using a respirator to anyone using these types of fixative.

Luckily, there is one non-toxic fixative that i know of - Spectrafix. I would highly recommend Spectrafix dor anyone who wants to use fixative.


Keep in mind that fixative is not a requirement and many pastel artists don't use any. It may depend on the type of paper and the softness of pastel - some papers with more tooth hold the pastel better than others.


10-27-2017, 08:50 PM
And without fixatif, how to protect the drawings in a paper block or pad?

10-27-2017, 09:03 PM
And without fixatif, how to protect the drawings in a paper block or pad?

Well, yes, more difficult in those situations. I have never kept a completed pastel in a pad or block. They are removed from the pad and covered with a piece of tracing paper. Some folks use glassine, which is more expensive. While these methods protect the pastel fairly well, there will still be dust issues. I usually take completed pastels and tape them to a piece of foambaord or cardboard, then cover with the tracing paper.

Hopefully, others may have better suggestions.


10-27-2017, 11:11 PM
The problem is that I don't have space to keep separated drawings framed and all. That's why I keep them in the block. Unless it's something very good.

water girl
10-27-2017, 11:35 PM
I agree with Don. But I have a roll of glassine and use that rather than tracing paper. If you store in a pad, slip a sheet of tracing paper or glassine between each painting.

10-30-2017, 12:35 PM
I keep my paintings in plastic sleeves for safe storage and it works extremely well.

10-31-2017, 01:21 PM
Spectrafix is my favorite spray fixative. Krylon gives me a horrible headach also. I have to wear an organic vapor mask when using it in the garage.

The best protective cover sheet I have found is a printshop paper called Kromekote. It is a high gloss coated white cover stock. Significantly better than glassine, mainly because it won't wrinkle and stays very flat. Once you get wrinkles or folds in glassine it will eat away at your pastel. More than one of ours has been ruined by glassine. The Kromekote is easily cleaned with a soft cloth so you can use the same cover sheet for a different painting later. We have some sheets that we have been used for 5 years and they are just as smooth as the day we started using them. Some colors will leave light stains on the Kromkote paper after cleaning but that won't transfer over to a new piece at al. Very little pastel dust will adhere to this paper, again significantly better than with glassine.

If you can't find it near you it can be bought online for 17 cents each for an 11x17 in 200 packs.