You Asked – Seal Acrylic Painting?

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Today’s question comes from Pat :

Pat Writes:

“When I paint with acrylics on canvas should I seal it with anything when I finished. Is there more than one choice? What should drive my decision?”

Do you have any information that might help Pat?  Please leave your response in the comments box below.


20 Comments on "You Asked – Seal Acrylic Painting?"

  1. Carol on Thu, 5th Nov 2009 7:57 pm 

    Hi Pat:
    It’s not necessary to seal your finished work when using acrylics but you will definitely see the colors pop and become more vivid if you do.

  2. Miranda on Fri, 6th Nov 2009 1:21 am 

    There’s a couple of different products you can use, but like Carol said, it’s not absolutely necessary. It just depends how complicated you want to get!

    I’ve used a spray fixative that gives the painting a bit of a glossy finish. It’s quick and easy and pretty effective.

    I’ve also used what’s called galkyd medium. It’s a clear, oil-based medium that gives paintings a very shiny, wet look. It really enhancs your colours, but like oils, takes a long time to dry.

    There are other ways to seal acrylic paintings, but those are the ones I’ve had experience with!

  3. Sharron White on Fri, 6th Nov 2009 11:21 am 

    I agree with Miranda – acrylic dries very flat and any varnish or protective medium will serve to enhance the colors. I paint in oil most of the time and it does not require finishing such as that, but if apply an acrylic background to the canvas, then I always put a finish on it with the luster depending on the subject matter. In my opinion, acrylic is at its best when varnished or has had a protective medium brushed over it.

  4. Patrice Lynne Young on Thu, 12th Nov 2009 11:22 am 

    It’s very important to seal an acrylic painting for the following reasons:

    Acrylic paints have different sheens, and these change further with the addition of retarders and clear extenders. A finish or sealer gives an overall sheen that does not distract from the work itself. One wants viewers to notice the art as a whole – not dull and uneven areas. A finish coat also does help to give more depth to the color.

    Second – The chemical nature of acrylics means that dust and dirt not only is attracted to – and clings to the surface, but will over time become one with the surface. The varnishes and finish coatings made for acrylics give a harder, slicker surface so that less dirt accumulates. They also allow for cleaning the paintings in future without disturbing the paint itself.
    .-= Patrice Lynne Young´s last blog ..Three small paintings… =-.

  5. Patrice Lynne Young on Thu, 12th Nov 2009 11:24 am 

    And by the way – one should never put an oil sealer on top of acrylics!!
    .-= Patrice Lynne Young´s last blog ..Three small paintings… =-.

  6. Susan French on Tue, 30th Mar 2010 3:24 pm 

    A lot of times I paint with acrylic and then oil on top so what kind of finish should I put on the painting, will an acrylic spray finish be OK on this combination acrylic oil painting?

  7. Rose on Sun, 2nd May 2010 11:50 pm 

    I too am thinking of trying out oils on top of acrylics, as I do portraiture and I’d like to see if I can get some better blending going.

    I have two questions…what product is the ‘best’ product to put upon acrylics? I have had some uneven results with ‘brushing it on,’ in the past. I also heard someone mention sprays. Could you tell me what spray you used that gave a nice sheen?

    And, again, since I am thinking of putting an oil finish in certain areas of my canvas, what finishing should I then use?

    Any help would be appreciated!

  8. Jesse on Wed, 6th Oct 2010 9:50 am 

    Patrice, I am asking this for an artist friend of mine…do you recommend any specific brand of water based sealant for acrylics? Thanks :)

  9. EB Organic Salon on Fri, 24th Dec 2010 10:43 am 

    I paint in oil most of the time and it does not require finishing such as that, but if apply an acrylic background to the canvas, then I always put a finish on it with the luster depending on the subject matter. Thank you.

  10. prachi on Mon, 19th Dec 2011 2:40 am 

    Please tell me if acrylic paints can be used for painting serving trayzs…in that case if i wash the paint the paint goes away… which material shud i use to seal the paint on the trays… and which are the companies that manufgacture sealers in India.

  11. Amy Smith on Wed, 4th Jan 2012 9:25 am 

    I have used Minwax and then, as it is too shiny for my taste, I apply a coat of matte acrylic sealant over that. The Minwax REALLY makes the colors pop and the matte finish over the top takes some of the shine away.

  12. Sheri on Sat, 21st Apr 2012 11:14 am 

    I purchased a patriotic trunk and realized it was painted with water paints a if water hits it the paint runs is there a finish that I can use to seal it so when the grankids are around it doesn’t run and get destroyed, HELP PLEASE

  13. Gloria on Tue, 26th Jun 2012 6:31 pm 

    I paint doors with acrylics, inks and interior house paints. Is there a sealant that will go over all three of these types of paint without reacting badly with one or the other?

  14. Chelley on Sun, 9th Sep 2012 1:16 pm 

    I am new to painting. I’m experimenting with different paints trying to find what works best on what.
    I recently painted an armoire. I sanded and primed it. I used a crackle medium over latex and acrylic on the top. I had a few setbacks and ended up stripping it all the way down and starting over. I am happy with the finished product and now need some advice on how to seal this piece of furniture that will be used on a regular basis. Any suggestions on sealing it to protect from everyday use?

  15. Linda Waldroop lewis on Fri, 5th Jul 2013 11:28 am 

    I used acrylic paint on an old window to hang on the fence in my gardens..should I use a sealant.??

  16. Jean on Fri, 12th Jul 2013 7:10 pm 

    I usually finish my paintings, no matter what the medium, with mod podge glossy or plain, depending on how I want it to look. A spray clear coat or paint on clear acrylic will cover most other paints. I also do wood and canvas with acrylic and it lasts very well outside if clear-coated.

  17. Niall on Fri, 3rd Oct 2014 6:21 pm 

    Hey, How are you doing?
    Like your page,
    Thought you may be the person to ask..

    I am looking for a sealant that drys to a completely non sticky finish.
    I am making a large acrylic painting in public, and it newly painted parts
    are collecting so much dust and grime from the wind, eve after it has dried –
    as the acrylic finish is naturally sticky.

    Do you know how if there is the type of sealant on the market that would seal
    the dried acrylic color so as to have a kind of a clear skin over it, preventing dust and
    hair from tacking to it?

    I cant seem to find anything on the internet.

    Please if you could email me advice
    here is my mail

    Much appreciated,


  18. tiffany on Mon, 24th Nov 2014 1:35 am 

    krylon Matte Finish Or Glossy Clear Spray Paint Works Great On All Mediums. It Dries Without A Sticky Finish, Protects From Dust, Seals The Paint, And Protects From Yellowing Over Time. Walmart And art Stores Carry It. (Sorry For The Capitals, My Phone Hates Me) Happy Painting!

  19. Brian Morrison on Wed, 24th Dec 2014 4:57 pm 

    I just got two of my photos printed to canvas by an online printing company. Can I apply a gloss to those prints to bring out the colors an brightness? If so, what should I use? Or should I take them to a professional?

    Thank you,
    Brian Morrison

  20. Dione on Sun, 18th Jan 2015 2:43 pm 

    Hello, I’ve been using Minwax Polycrylic, on acrylic paintings, on canvas panels with great results. I’m thinking of using it on stretched canvas and am a little worried that it might be too hard, as opposed to something like Liquidex, and will crack or something weird considering that the canvas is flexible. Does anyone know anything about this? Thanks so much.

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