There are a variety of ways in which you can seal your acrylic paint pour. Depending on the overall look you are wanting to achieve will depend on which product/s you should use to seal it.
Today we will be showcasing the 3 most common ways of sealing your acrylic paint pour, complete with pros and cons for each one.
Using a varnish or enamel spray is a very common way to seal all kinds of art work. They can be a very good option if you need your finish to be as affordable as possible, if you do not require an ultra high gloss finish or if you require a quick turn around.
- Easy to use
- Easy to obtain
- Quick drying time between coats
- Can be used in lower temperatures
- Requires good ventilation before use
- Can have a very strong smell
- If you want a very shiny finish it can take many coats (6+) and even then may not be as shiny as you want
Just remember to read the can thoroughly before use. Not only because you will want to make sure you are taking all the necessary health and safety procedures, but some sprays will require the canvas to be flat down for application, whilst others require the canvas to be vertical.
You can also get these varnishing sprays in a satin or matt finish.
Tips for using a varnish or enamel spray
- Be sure to spray the sides as well as the front of your canvas
- Keep the can upright and spray each layer thinly and evenly
- Do a minimum of 2 coats to be sure it is protected (4 is usually the magic number – but to each their own!)
- Do not use in temperatures lower than 10°c
- Use in a well ventilated room or if you can, outside
Gloss medium/gloss varnish
If you are looking for a thicker, glossier and stronger finish, you might prefer instead to use a gloss medium/gloss varnish. These are very common and are available in all art stores and online and although usually cost a little more than the sprays mentioned earlier, can also be very affordable.
- Easy to obtain
- Glossier finish compared to spray alternatives
- Brushes or rollers can leave unwanted marks behind
- Long drying time between coats
- Can be tricky to remove all the bubbles – even with a blowtorch
As always, remember to read the product instructions thoroughly before use. Although most are usually safe to use inside, you will just want to check to make sure you do not require a lot of ventilation.
Tips for using a gloss medium/gloss varnish
- Do not shake the product. This type of product does not separate and shaking it will simply create loads of bubbles
- Make sure you have a blowtorch to remove any bubbles – you will always have a few!
- Synthetic brushes are usually better than natural brushes but pallet knives tend to work best – that way you avoid ugly brush marks
- Multiple thin layers are better than fewer thick ones
- Be sure you get the sides of you canvas as well
Finishing your latest acrylic paint pour with resin is the only way to really get that ultra-high gloss finish. If you want the piece to look like water, then this option is for you!
- Ultra-high gloss finish
- Very strong
- Really makes the colours ‘pop’ and gives dimension
- Can be safely used inside
- The most expensive option
- Long drying time
- Can fail if not mixed correctly
Again, be sure you thoroughly read the directions for use. This is because not all brands use the same ratios or length of mixing time which is vital to creating a good consistency and finished result.
Tips for using resin
- Use the Art Resin Calculator to work out how much resin you require
- Spread the resin evenly over the surface (you usually have 30-40 mins working time)
- Run a blowtorch over the resin to pop any bubbles
- Keep it level and covered for 24 hours to stop any hair or dust from falling onto the surface
Our top tip before sealing your art!
If you have used any silicone to create cells in your art, you will need to remove the silicone residue before applying a finish. This is because the oil creates a barrier and so the finishing product will not be able to adhere to these spots.
Before you do this though, your artwork will need to have had a minimum of 2 weeks drying time. Usually 3-4 is perfect but depending on the temperature and humidity the art has dried at, it is possible that it could be dry within 2 weeks.
Removal of the silicone residue
Once the art is thoroughly dry you are ready to remove the excess silicone. To do this you can use a few things;
- Dish soap and water
- Glass cleaner
- Isopropyl alcohol
Once you have decided on which product you will be using, pop on some gloves. This is because the oils in your skin can transfer onto the canvas. We recommend nitrile gloves.
You will want to apply your chosen solution onto a piece of kitchen towel and then rub it over the entire surface. Be sure not to wipe it too hard, especially if you are using the alcohol option as you could dissolve the paint and therefore remove it. However, you also do not want to be too light with your wipes as you do still want to remove the residue.
Which ever option you choose, you will likely see a small amount of the paint bleed onto the kitchen towel. This is fine and normal, however, if there is more than a little, or if the kitchen towel sticks and/or drags then stop as the paint is beginning to dissolve and will become compromised.
Once you have cleaned the surface, leave it to dry. Once dry, give the surface a quick wipe down with a dry piece of kitchen towel to remove any hairs and/or dust particles. This is especially important if you are going to use resin.
Once you have sufficiently primed the surface, you are now ready to apply the finishing product of your choice and seal your acrylic paint pour.
Use products with UV protective properties
Which ever product you decide to use, if there is a version that contains UV protective properties, we highly recommend choosing it. Although it may be a little more expensive, it is well worth it!
This is because the UV protector will stop the paint underneath from becoming damaged and discoloured from UV rays as well as stop the clear coat from turning yellow. This is a really common occurrence with clear products – you may have seen this happen on your clear mobile phone case!
So there you have it! The top three most common ways on how to seal your acrylic paint pour!
Special thank you to Katie of The Fluid Fox for allowing us to use her beautiful pictures. For further information about using resin on your art, head on over to her website and check out her ‘Acrylic fluid art and topcoat guide‘.
We hope you found this post helpful. If you have any other tips, tricks or advice, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. We love hearing from you!