View Full Version : Advice with fixing pastel. Need a secure protective final coat.

12-06-2009, 08:51 PM
I recently starting painting on used floor tiles, and the results are amazing so far. However, these cannot really be framed for various reasons. A friend mentioned using an acrylic fixative that would create a plastic like coating over the final layer, but I have no clues as to which one to use.

Any other ideas? Framing them would ruin the overall effect I've created.

Also any ideas on hanging them would be great! Still no clues on that front.

12-07-2009, 12:14 PM
I have no idea what to recommend. Call an art store and see if they have any ideas. Best of luck.


Kathryn Wilson
12-07-2009, 01:47 PM
I'd love to see what you've come up with. How do you do pastels on floor tiles?

12-07-2009, 05:21 PM
Somewhere in this forum there is a whole thread about permanently fixing pastel to either paper or canvas supports that would probably work on tile as well. However, you need to know that these are techniques that need a lot of experimentation before using on your finished artwork. A whole lot of success depends upon the brands of pastel you used, and most often the colors darken very much or disappear all together. Just using a spray acrylic sealer will not work well on pastels.

I'm sorry I can't give you more positive advise.


12-07-2009, 05:59 PM
Hi Peggy, very good to know an acrylic sealer doesn't work well on pastels.

Hm, I do remember the thread, but vaguely, and I think she sprayed with fixative first, and then some acrylic. She'd learned to adjust to the darkening, by choosing lighter pastels when painting. I think it was about 2 years ago, and here in Talk. Use the "search this forum", it goes by words in posts too.


12-07-2009, 07:05 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. So far what I've been doing is just using a load of fixative. I lay one layer down, let dry, then another. Rinse and repeat x5. Still some pastel coming off.

I'm using Mount Vision pastels, and they seem to darken more on paper then they do on ceramic tiles.

The image below was my first attempt. Very experimental, but I have improved my technique since then. I'll post more images later in the proper forum. The texture does not show well except around the eye. It looks amazing in person. Should have used a flash. :rolleyes:


Going to search out that thread. I'm thinking maybe an epoxy coat over a fixed layer might work. Will post my results!

Edit: I managed to find this: http://www.skjackoboice.com/images/article_pastel_journal_june_2004.pdf
at http://www.skjackoboice.com with a forum search. It somewhat details a technique used to seal pastel on canvas. Seems like this just might be what I'm looking for. Posting it here for future reference.

12-07-2009, 08:37 PM
It would make sense to me to use test swatches on one of the tiles in the colors and effects you're using for the paintings. Then try anything and everything that's a permanent sealer until one works the way you want it to.

Now you have me intrigued and I might try some test swatches on other substrates just to see what I get if I put a thick glossy coat of some kind over pastels. It might be fun for certain types of things other than traditional pastel painting too, like decorating a wooden pastel box and then polyurethaning over it with several coats so that I've got a surface that stands up to being hauled around -- but the art on the box at least vaguely resembles the art I'll be doing with the box.

Oh yeah. Because I've been thinking about decorating that box since 2004, polyurethane furniture varnish comes to mind. The stuff you put on wood that will form a hard, durable glossy coating and last decades under small children and animals banging on it. It seems to not yellow when it's used on furniture but I don't know what it would do to either pastels or ceramic tile.

It might be worth at least testing on a swatch though to see how badly it distorts the pastel layer -- or changes it, which may not be a bad thing if you adjust for that. I know that I started using different colors when I started using fixative because of the darkening and sometimes will use fixative to darken something if I don't think the color's rich enough.