View Full Version : Help with Fixative!

04-13-2009, 12:44 PM
I make liberal use of fixative with pastels. However, my spray nozzles keep gumming up! How can I stop this? Spray cans are expensive and I'm wasting a lot because of unusable spray nozzles!

Donna T
04-13-2009, 01:11 PM
Hi Tiffani, Are you turning your can upside down and spraying out the fixative in the tube when you are done with it? Would wiping off the head of the sprayer with something like paint thinner keep it from drying up and plugging that little hole? That's about all I can think of - hopefully someone else will have a better solution.


04-13-2009, 01:32 PM
I have not been turning the can upside down. Im assuming the will prevent the problem in the future. I will start doing that. Any ideas on how to repair the damage already done? I have three half empty cans I'd like to get my money out of! Thanks!

Donna T
04-13-2009, 01:50 PM
I guess you could try to pop the heads/nozzles off and soak them in paint thinner, but I have no idea if the paint thinner would dissolve dried up fixative or not. Good luck - I hope you can get some more use out of these cans or even one!


04-13-2009, 03:14 PM
Check your local art store for extra spray heads. I've never noticed them, but extras used to come with cans of Spray Mount, so maybe you can purchase extras. Check with hardware stores also.

04-13-2009, 04:50 PM
If you're lucky, soaking the spray head in water will loosen it up, and then you can push out what's lodged inside by turning can upside down and let the gas do the job.

I rinse mine in water immediately after use, and spray upside down. No problems ever.


Donna A
04-14-2009, 02:31 PM
Hi! And I suppose it must depend on what brand you use. I've been fortunate to not have this happen. I've been using what Ross Merrill, the former head curator of the National Gallery in DC reported being the best fixative during a program in 1999 at the IAPS Convention---Grumbacher, which was bought by Prismacolor a year or so ago. A strong runner up was Lascaux fixative.

I use fixative during and to finish a pastel painting, too! But I spray only once over quickly and lightly---and let it dry for a couple of minutes and then spray again, etc! For the final spray, I spray 8 to 12 times---lightly and evenly overall!

I think Charlie's suggestion of cleaning your nozzle is a good one! But you also might try changing your spraying technique so as not to collect a lot of wet spray in the nozzle at any one time---and perhaps try changing brands since I found years ago that some work far better than others!

I typically use the can of spray till it's about 2/3rds used up, then reserve the remainder for times when I want to darken an area of a pastel painting by spraying heavily to get the area very wet. Cans of spray that have been used 2/3rds to 3/4ths tend to begin to 'sputter' with some big drops that can ruin a painting---and require another layer or two of pastel to cover up the problem caused by the spattering.

And there is a new fixative that's now available called SpectraFix which does not have the fumes and issues of many of the brands that have been available for so long. You can read more about it at www.SpectraFix.com! I've been trying it out and it's great! There has been a thread about it the last week or so here that you might want to look at, too: New Type of Fixative Spectra/Fix All Natural, Odor-Free Milk Casein Formula!

Very best wishes! Donna ;-}