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wendyv123
11-09-2018, 12:58 PM
I was wondering.... who cooks up their own fixative with caseine ? Spectrafix is not available in Belgium, so I am stuck with the spray fixatives that I use but do not like very much. I can buy caseine powder and try to make my own. I have found this ingredients list for the Spectrafix stuff : Ethanol (grain alcohol) 23% Isopropyl alcohol 1% Water 70% Casein 6% Has anyone tried to make it ? I have both sorts of alcohols

Donna T
11-09-2018, 04:46 PM
It's interesting that you bring this up, Wendy. I just read about a pastel and mixed media artist in the Pastel Journal who makes her own fixative. Her name is Mira M. White. Here's an excerpt from the article:

Preserving the integrity of the pastel quality when used in these complex strata of diverse media, including wax, is paramount to the success of White's mixed-media work. It requires a fixative that seals both dry pastel and graphite marks and images between paint layers. For this important task, she has come to rely on a fixative that she has used on her pastel paintings for more than 30 years. Consisting of a 1:1 mixture of fat-free milk and 70-percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol, the artist applies it with a Preval aerosol-based sprayer, which is commonly available in hardware stores. She explains, "The alcohol evaporates, leaving the casein of the milk to affix the particles permanently. So when working with pastel on paper, there's no need to use glass to protect my work."

No need to use glass?! I would really like to know if anyone else has tried this and if it really works.

indraneel
11-11-2018, 01:56 PM
Fat free milk has lactose, which will entice the critters after it is dry. One needs to curdle the milk, and drain the liquids first. After that, the casein will not dissolve in water, so it has to be made mildly alkaline. Borax (from hardware store) is best as it also acts as a buffer at the required pH. It is also a preservative/disinfectant. Then add alcohol. Any alcohol will do, but hardware store denatured alcohol is best at keeping off critters and mold.

It works very well.

wendyv123
11-12-2018, 10:20 AM
I think I am going to try 1 part borax on 3 parts caseine powder, I have read that the caseine needs to soak over night, than desolve the borax in warm water

wendyv123
11-12-2018, 11:55 AM
Fat free milk has lactose, which will entice the critters after it is dry. One needs to curdle the milk, and drain the liquids first. After that, the casein will not dissolve in water, so it has to be made mildly alkaline. Borax (from hardware store) is best as it also acts as a buffer at the required pH. It is also a preservative/disinfectant. Then add alcohol. Any alcohol will do, but hardware store denatured alcohol is best at keeping off critters and mold.

It works very well.

it should keep for a long time because of the alcohol but have you tested the shelf life ?

indraneel
11-13-2018, 01:40 AM
it should keep for a long time because of the alcohol but have you tested the shelf life ?

Yes, I have it for more than 3 years in disposable mineral water bottle with no problems. I guess, infinite shelf life. Squeeze out the air at the top.

I could not get hold of fat free milk (not commonly available in India), so the 0.5-1.0% fat rises to the top when stored. This is usually not a problem, but can possibly clog the spray nozzle if one is not careful when the level runs low. I use small 50ml spray bottles, they have finer nozzles.

One can potentially wash out the fat from the casein with multiple washes with hot water. I didn't.

contumacious
11-18-2018, 08:08 PM
She explains, "The alcohol evaporates, leaving the casein of the milk to affix the particles permanently. So when working with pastel on paper, there's no need to use glass to protect my work."

No need to use glass?! I would really like to know if anyone else has tried this and if it really works.

I did some testing to see if I could get a pastel to resist any rubbing off with moderate pressure from a soft cloth. It is possible. It takes many coats of fixative, thinly applied and fully dried between coats to get there (8-12 or more for a fairly thick passage) and as you can imagine, the look of the pastels changes quite a bit, but it still looked like pastels. To make it durable enough for me, to display it without glass is another story. The amount required turns the piece into something that doesn't look like the original but it is still attractive. If I wanted to sell something like that, without glass I would probably seal it with some acrylic medium once fully sealed with the Spectrafix so chunks would be less likely to fall off if touched / bumped and so it could be cleaned as needed in the future.