View Full Version : Varnishing Acrylic Paintings

09-06-2001, 01:42 PM
I have finished a few acrylic paintings, most of them on canvas, and some on canvas boards. How do I go about varnishing or protecting them? Do I have to wait a while after the painting is finished before varnishing? Any advice in this area would be very helpful.



09-06-2001, 03:33 PM
The short form:
Buy a bottle of acrylic varnish and follow the instructions on the label.
The long form:
Extensive acrylic varnishing instructions can be found at this link --> http://www.goldenacrylics.com/varnapp1.htm

09-06-2001, 08:32 PM
Isn't there some controversy as to whether acrylics need varnishing? Some say acrylics are self-sealing. I've never varnished mine, but maybe they need it.


09-06-2001, 11:07 PM
All serious artwork should be varnished unless it is protected behind glass, as long as the varnish is reversible. At the very least the varnish provides one thin layer of separation from abrasion, dust, dirty finger-marks etc.

Obviously some very textural work cannot be varnished successfully, even with a spraygun. In which case it should be protected behind glass (or accepted that it just won't stand up well).

Thin work on absorbent ground - like acrylics used in a watercolour technique on paper should not be varnished also in which case they should be just like watercolours.


09-07-2001, 06:57 PM
I too, advocate varnishing acrylics. No, you don't need to, but it is a good idea to, especially in the case Einion mentioned, when thin applications of paint are used and the surface shows through. The varnish will protect everything consistently.

If you prefer a matte finish like acrylics can give, just varnish with a matte varnish. But a semi-gloss will protect better. I mix the gloss and matte 50/50 to achieve a satin which is a good all-purpose finish.

You do have to wait until the acrylics dry just so the varnish does not lift what you've just painted. But you only have to wait as long as it takes to dry completely.


09-07-2001, 08:58 PM
As if I didn't have enough to do, stretching my own canvas, making my own frames, from scratch, no less...OK, OK, I'll get right on it. I'll, I'll do it...tomorrow.

Thanks, Einion and Diane, I really suspected they needed it. You just made me face facts.