How to Seal a Watercolor Painting

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Things You'll Need

  • UV-resistant, acrylic matte clear-coat spray

  • Fluid matte medium

  • Paintbrush

  • Plexiglass

  • Books

  • Cloth

  • Gloss varnish

Preserve your water color art by sealing the surface with a UV-resistant clear-coat spray.

Sealing a watercolor painting on paper is a way to preserve the colors of the painting for decades and minimize fading from exposure to light. A few layers of a ultra-violent-resistant matte clear-coating properly applied provides protection without altering the appearance of the painting as mounting behind UV-resistant glass might. After spraying, the painting is ready for mounting and framing, with the clear-coat providing protection from light and physical damage.


Step 1

Place the paper watercolor painting on a flat surface that provides enough space to work. Work in a dust-free area to avoid dust settling on the sealant as it dries.

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Step 2

Shake a can of UV-resistant acrylic clear coat vigorously to mix the material and ensure a smooth, even spray. Hold the clear-coat about six inches from the watercolor's surface, then spray the painting with a light coating, taking care not to let the coating pool. Keep your arm moving constantly back and forth to create an even coat on the page without saturating the page. Allow the layer to dry for 30 minutes.


Step 3

Apply two additional layers of clear-coat to the watercolor, following the same procedure. Allow each layer (except the last) 30 minutes drying time. Let the final layer dry overnight.

Step 4

Glue the paper to a canvas for framing using a fluid-matte medium brushed on the back of the watercolor paper and the canvas. Press the two together to form the initial bond, then flip the canvas so the watercolor is face down. Press the rear of the canvas from the center outward to remove any air bubbles trapped between the canvas and paper. Place a piece of Plexiglass large enough to cover the watercolor on the back of the canvas over where the watercolor is attached, and then place several large books on the Plexiglass to weigh it down, aiding in the bonding process. Leave the weights in place for two hours.


Step 5

Remove the books and the Plexiglass. Flip the canvas over and wipe away any of the matte medium that squeezed from between the paper and canvas with a piece of cloth. Allow the paper to dry in place overnight.

Step 6

Use a paintbrush to apply two coats of a gloss-varnish mixture on the canvas and watercolor. The varnish should be mixed with three parts varnish to one part matte medium, with a little water added for smoothness,



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