You Asked – Seal Acrylic Painting?

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.


  1. Carol says

    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. says

    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 says

    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. says

    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. Susan French says

    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?

  6. Rose says

    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!

  7. Jesse says

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

  8. EB Organic Salon says

    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.

  9. prachi says

    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.

  10. says

    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.

  11. Sheri says

    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

  12. Gloria says

    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?

  13. Chelley says

    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?

  14. Linda Waldroop lewis says

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

  15. Jean says

    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.

  16. Niall says

    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,


  17. tiffany says

    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!

  18. Brian Morrison says

    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

  19. Dione says

    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.

  20. Parul Patel says

    I just did a painting using Acrylic Paint on Canvas, but before painting used tissue paper to cover the base before painting to give some texture. What should I use to seal the painting and make sure that the tissue doesn’t start peeling off in a few years.
    Thank you.

  21. says

    I have painted a picture in acrylic . My teacher told me to get some clear acrylic sealer for my picture . I have painted with oils in the past . I would like to know if I can use this sealer on Oil . Thanks

  22. says

    For years I did not seal any of my paintings. I paint using both Acrylics and Oils, not on the same piece. Over time I noticed both medias getting dull. Now everything I paint gets three coats of Polyacrylic. It is a brush on sealer and you can get it in pints, quarts or gallon cans at home improvement stores. I use the gloss finish, but I think it is available in Matte.

    A word of caution when using a brush on sealer. This is a penetrating sealer which means that it will start to soak into the paint, so when applying the first coat, avoid re-stroking over the same area too many times,

    If you think of your canvas as having rows only stroke twice per row then move to the next row. Apply the first coat stroking from side to side, allow it to dry completely and then apply the second coat stroking from top to bottom. The last coat can be in either direction. (you do not have to be as careful with the second or third coats.) Using this method of application will give you a nice even and complete coverage.

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