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Old 10-06-2008, 09:27 AM
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Question Collage Fixative or Varnish?

I finished two collages on handmade paper both of which incorporate paper. Should I preserve them by spraying fixative or varnish over them or both? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:56 PM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

I use spray acrylic and spray varnish pretty interchangeably on my work, but I'm not really sure if that's proper. You can also use liquid varnish that brushes on for a much more secure (and thicker!) finish.
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Old 10-07-2008, 03:27 PM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Thank you very much. I have since found out that I can use Golden
Acrylic Mediums. I ordered Golden Digital Medium Topcoat today which sounded like the best choice. I happen to have Golden's Soft Gel gloss on hand. I plan to try them both out and see which I prefer. It was also recommended to me to use an isolation coat before a final varnish. I may or may not apply a final varnish depending on the outcome with the two mediums. Thanks for your advice.
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Old 10-08-2008, 07:20 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

I love the new digital medium topcoat...it's got the UV protection that most works really need. What I'll say about using an acrylic medium as a top coat is this: in certain climates, you'll find it stays sticky. It's not a good idea for finishing a page in an altered book, for example, unless you're going to then coat it with a spray, cornstarch, or wax. Oh, there's another possibility...Dorland's Wax is loved by many. Just to give you even more confusing possibilities

I don't think there's just one answer here. It tends to get down to what you like.
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Old 10-08-2008, 09:57 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

I coated something in my art journal last night and today the pages were stuck together. I pried them gently apart and thankfully only one corner was damaged. What kind of spray do you recommend? I am not sure how to coat anything with wax or constarch either. It would probably be too difficult to describe the latter process to me. I wish I had read this before using the acylic medium on my journal.
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:56 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Don't worry, Lisa! Both cornstarch and wax are easy to use, and you will just apply them right over the acrylic medium. The sprays aren't completely reliable in preventing sticking once the medium is down, but a couple of coats of varnish spray may work. In an altered book or journal, I'd use the spray instead of the medium. I'm glad you were able to salvage the pages.

Here's what you can do: you probably have access to cornstarch more readily than wax, so try that first. Simply sprinkle a small amount on your fingers, and brush them all over the page, especially on the areas that stuck. It leaves a bit of a matte finish, but I personally don't mind it. You can also use those PearlX powders if you want a sheen instead of matte.
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Old 10-09-2008, 10:01 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Thank you for the great advice. I can tell you that you have saved me from frustration, despair, and possibly lots of torn out art journal pages. The collages I think I will do mainly in my art journal anyway. Thank you.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:31 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Then you definitely want to go for those no-stick options. I know it's confusing, because there are so many products available. So much of it is trial and error (lots of errors sometimes) to find what works best for you in your climate, with your materials, giving you the finished look you want. Cornstarch works well for me because I don't mind the matte finish in my books. I'm much less likely to use it on a flat collage...then I go with a topcoat of varnish or the digital medium topcoat. I never got into finishing wax that much, but some people swear by it.
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:54 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

It seems like most of what I have learned has been by trial and error - especially those errors. I never forget big mistakes or humiliating failures. The important thing is I that learn from them. Something positive comes from it. I like to experiment. Having some options pointed out really is helpful because it opens my mind to stuff I might not otherwise try or even think to try. Ultimately you are right, what will in the end, work best for me, will be an individualized fit.
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Old 01-05-2013, 08:53 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Is there any fixative spray out there that absolutely will not cause color change on collage contents? I refer mostly to a fixative's effect on aging, low-quality grades of paper (e.g., a comic book page) that may be a part of my collage. I just had the nasty result of a gray sliver turning yellow after my spraying it with Krylon Crystal Clear. Thanks in advance to anyone who can share advice.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:08 AM
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Re: Collage Fixative or Varnish?

Lascaux and Golden brands work well for me. I have used the Krylon workable fixative with no problems. I hope that helps.
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