View Full Version : Fixative warning

09-03-2008, 09:23 AM
Just wanted to let everyone know that Krylon Pastel/charcoal Final fixative doesn't work well for pastels. I bought a can because it's inexpensive and I could get it locally. I've had problems with it, not with darkening, but just the opposite. It seems to make a whitish opaque film on the picture. The film can be scraped off with a razor, but much of the pigment comes with it.

I have not had this problem with the prismacolor fixative.

So, word of warning - don't use Krylon.


Kathryn Wilson
09-03-2008, 10:31 AM
I've not heard of this happening before - it may be the contents had been frozen at some time - that's the only thing I can think of that would change the contents of the fixative.

09-03-2008, 10:35 AM
i have used the krylon pastel/charcoal fixative (just yesterday actually) and never have had this problem. I think you got a bad can and maybe might return it where you bought it?

09-03-2008, 03:37 PM
This can doesn't even smell like other fixatives I've used. It smells like petrolium. I'm going to "can" it.


Donna A
09-03-2008, 04:23 PM
I did quit using Krylon a couple of decades ago since, compared to other brands, it did seem much 'harsher' (which is the best thing I can think to call it from what I remember.)

The only time I've seen the white filmy response was when one of the artists in class took her painting outside at home, in very freezing weather, and sprayed over a gorgeous charcoal drawing she'd been working on in class. (She had planned to do a series of oil washes over it, much like something I'd been playing with and getting some yummy effects! But the white film made this impossible!)

When Kathryn said she was suspicious of freezing---I must agree. I know that Susan was using Prismacolor (formerly Grumbacher) Fix, as I do, and so the freezing is the only thing in common.

In class, we've taken pieces outside to spray before, but---most likely only in very cold weather, not in horrid freezing weather. There have been times in terribly horrid freezing or rain when I've taken someone and their work to the other end of the house to my private studio, with the HEPA filter fan going, and sprayed their work fast, holding our breath, by the fan and where any stray particles will fall to the throw rug where it can be vacuumed (and not floating in the air to breath in.)

So---this winter, I'll experiment on a freezy day to see what happens.

And in the meantime, Luana---yes, take that can back to where you got it! Might as well get your $$ back to invest in something you'll be happy to use! Best wishes! Donna ;-}

11-02-2008, 11:49 AM
Good advice!mI've had problems with droplets forming on my pastel painting w/Krylon.
It does freeze here, and they were kept in the garage.
I'm thinking of not using fixative on my latest colored pencil with pastel work. I'll put spacers to avoid smudging the glass in the frame. What do you think. My work took a long time, and I don't want to mess it up!

11-02-2008, 06:08 PM
I've used Blick workable fixative for a long time now without problems. The trouble with not fixing a work that has colored pencils in it is that the colored pencils may get "wax bloom" without it.

If you are using Lyra Rembrandt, Walnut Hollow or Caran d'Ache Pablo colored pencils, these are oil based and don't need fixative. Prismacolors and most others do need it or they turn pale and waxy looking over time. The "wax bloom" can be wiped off with a soft cloth without hurting the art but that needs to be repeated every three or four months -- and it could be hard to do that with pastels over it or near it.

So I would suggest a light layer of fixative, but no longer storing fixative where freezing temperatures could ruin it. Take that bad can back to the store for a refund, and then keep it indoors where it's normal room temp. It may help to spray into the air and wave the art up into the spray to deal with using fixative, it has fewer droplets problems that way.

11-03-2008, 06:01 AM
One suggestion : Try using a fabric steamer as a substitute fixative. It helps "fix" the small dusty particles and darkens the image a little at first but colors will return to normal when it dries.

(online since 1996)

11-04-2008, 06:14 AM
I have used hairspray as fixative before, but it *was* years ago so can't remember how well it worked but I do know it was cheaper than actual fixative and worked at least as well as - certainly not worse anyway......;)

11-06-2008, 03:54 PM
I have used hairspray as fixative before, but it *was* years ago so can't remember how well it worked but I do know it was cheaper than actual fixative and worked at least as well as - certainly not worse anyway......;)

Do you still have those paintings? Hair spray is not recommended under any circumstances on work that you hope to sell or hand down to the next generation. It is about as non-archival as you can get, and eventually destroys the paper.

Fixatives are one place where you don't want to save money. After putting all that work and heart into your work it doesn't make much sense to save a few dollars to destroy either the color of the pigments or the integrety of the paper.


11-06-2008, 09:32 PM
When you say "most others" are you including Conte Pastel Pencils and Carbothello pastel pencils as well?

11-06-2008, 09:40 PM
Since I can not stand the odor of Aersol sprays of any kind I use a steamer which seems to help a bit. It may not be as effective as the sprays but will have to do.