How to Varnish an Acrylic Painting on Canvas + Why Protect Your Paintings

How to Varnish an Acrylic Painting on Canvas + Why Protect Your Paintings


Hi everyone! Today I’ll show you how I varnish my acrylic
paintings. I’ll go through my supplies, the technique
and also why I varnish some paintings and not others. Let’s start with the supplies and tools I
use for varnishing my acrylic paintings. The varnish I use is Winsor & Newton Galeria
Acrylic Mediums Gloss Varnish. You can apply the varnish with a flat brush
or a sponge. The flat brush I use here is part of the cheap
brush set from Ikea. I’ll list and link the supplies in the description,
if you’re interested. Dust off the painting before you start and
make sure the brush you use is also clean. I recommend pouring the varnish on a clean
container and dipping the brush in that and then applying the varnish on the painting. I’m using a washed lid in this video. While applying the first coat, I’m actually
pouring the varnish straight onto the canvas, ’cause I wanted to get those dripping sounds
for an ASMR video. But I think it’s easier to apply a thin coat
of varnish, when you don’t pour it straight onto the painting. The instructions on my varnish say to apply
two thin coats of varnish and let it dry at least 24 hours in between and after the last
coat. And wash the brush with water and possibly
soap right after use so it won’t be ruined. I want to remind you that these instructions
apply to acrylic paintings, and to the brand of varnish I’m using and might not apply to
different acrylic varnishes. You can also varnish watercolor and oil paintings,
but I haven’t varnished paintings of those mediums yet, so I can’t give you any tips
about them at this point. I’m applying the varnish in vertical or horizontal
strokes. Make the layers thin and apply them fast so
that the varnish doesn’t clump up. And make sure you ventilate the area, because
varnish smells really bad. Before we continue, I want to mention that
if you don’t want to miss more art tips like this, subcribe to my channel and click the
notification bell. When I paint on canvas, I continue the painting
to the edges and I want to varnish the edges, too. I varnish the front of the painting first
and then lift it off the table by putting a box under it and then apply varnish on the
edges. That way the varnish won’t glue your painting
to the table. Remember to protect the table from from any
drips. I was using a desk pad from Ikea for the first
coat to make the background of my video look clean and I did the second coat in a different
place using some old desk pad. But you can simply use old newspaper or something
like that. Since I’m using a gloss varnish, it does make
the painting shinier than it was before and there’s much more glare on the camera. So, make sure to scan the painting or take
a photo of it before you varnish. When I bought this varnish, I could only find
a glossy one, but when this one is finished I’d like to try a matte varnish next. If you think the varnish might need to be
removed one day, you should first paint on an isolation layer with matte medium. So, when the varnish is removed with a varnish
remover, it won’t ruin the painting, because there’s the matte medium coat between the
varnish and the painting. I did not paint on an isolation layer for
this painting or any of my other paintings, but that’s an option. So, let’s get into why you might want to varnish
acrylic paintings. It’s up to you if you want to varnish your
paintings or not. Acrylics don’t reactivate with water so you
should still be able to wipe them off, when they get dusty on the wall. If you’re planning to sell your paintings
or give them away as gifts or you just want them to be presentable for a long time, I
would still add the extra protection of varnish. And it’s a good idea to first practise by
varnishing some less important piece before you varnish something you’re about to sell. Also, if you use different mediums in your
painting, like matte medium, some parts of the painting might look shinier than others,
and varnish will even those out so the painting looks more uniform. And the varnish will also deepen the colors. However, if you paint on paper, you can just
frame it and it will be protected by glass. So I wouldn’t varnish an acrylic painting
on paper. I’ve also painted on cardboard and I’m still
not sure what to do with those in terms of framing or varnishing so I guess I’ll let
you know if and when I find out. If you change your mind and want to paint
over the varnish later, I think you can do that too. Thank you so much for watching and check out
my channel for more tips with acrylics and other art videos!

3 thoughts on “How to Varnish an Acrylic Painting on Canvas + Why Protect Your Paintings

  1. Great informative video! I've always used spray varnish but I'd like to try out the liquid kind. I've found I like the matte finish better as a personal preference. I'm not really into the shine that the glossy gives.

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