How to Seal a Canvas Painting

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It's likely that you will need to know how to seal a canvas painting whether you choose to paint with watercolors, oils, acrylic or any other paint medium. It is best to seal a canvas painting so that your work stays preserved from touch, smearing or even aging. Some artists even seal a painting as it is being produced to create layered effects. Sealants are also used for pastel, pencil, ink and charcoal drawings.

Things You'll Need

  • Workable fixatif
  • Canvas painting
  • Spray fix or coating
  • Easel (optional)

Sealing Between Layers

Find a well-ventilated outdoor location to begin sealing your painting. Fixatives contain toxic odors that can cause health problems if not used properly.

Use your workable fixative if you want to add multiple layers to your painting. Hold your spray can about 1 ½ feet from the painting and, with a sweeping motion, lightly spray the area you would like to seal. You can spray at a distance of about ½ foot if you want to darken the colors with the fixative.

Wait for the workable fixative to dry for about half an hour and then add a second coat. Let it dry for another half hour before adding your next layer of paint. Be sure the fixative is completely dry before adding new paint.

Adding the Final Seal

Find a well-ventilated location outside to seal your entire canvas painting once it is completed. Set your painting in an upright position by leaning it against a wall or putting it on an easel.

Hold your spray can so that it is about 2 feet away from your painting, and spray a light coating over the entire artwork. Let the spray move a little past the edge of the canvas so that you can seal the entire art piece. Use a sweeping motion to apply the fixative.

Let the fixative dry for 2 hours, and then seal the painting with a second coat. Repeat the process a third time once the second coating dries for 2 hours.

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