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How do I “seal” it?

14 thoughts on “How do I “seal” it?”

  1. Thank you for this great summary article pulling together a number of different articles on sealing and protecting. It will be a useful article to refer back to to find the exact topic one needs, like a good index. I was surprised, though, that you omitted the articles by Cathy Jennings on varnishing watercolors:


    QoR/Golden also had a fabulous video on this topic recently (as well as an entire art exhibition on the topic!):

    Maybe these could be added to the list? I would think that you’d get a lot of questions from watercolor artists!

    • Hi Lori,

      You are most welcome. And thank you for the suggestion to include the articles by Cathy Jennings! I will include them.

  2. This is why I always come to this page–Just when I think I have nothing more to learn Golden surprises me again with a very timely subject. Not only have you gone over the details you have also provided the links to additional resources to follow up on. I am sure that there is much more out there to learn in the ongoing search for better and more durable acrylic films, at least now I know how to proceed with the undertaking of most projects I encounter. Thank you.

    • Hi Dillard,….thank you for your kind comments! And yes, you are right, there certainly is much more to learn about acrylic films, and we are reminded of this every day as we move forward with our testing and research.

    • Hi Charles,….Thank you for pointing out that the caption to this photo was not relevant to the article! It was a stock photo that came with a caption and we did overlook that it was not relevant. It has been changed! Thanks again!

    • Hi Charles,

      That photo of the exterior wall is simply there as a visual to indicate a possible exterior mural surface. Not sure of the square feet there. Looks to be that it could be a large space.

  3. Thank you for this informative article.

    I see that the subject of sizing murals, canvas and wooden artboards is covered,
    however, what are your recommendations regarding paper?

    Although I’ve heard of most art papers being pre-sized by the manufacturing company,
    sometimes quality control manages to have a bad run.

    Would it do well to manually coat my art papers for sizing, before applying gesso,
    just in case?

    Or just rely on layers of gesso to make up the difference?

    can a sizing solution lock in paper fibers,
    so that they are less likely to deteriorate over time?

    Or are there more effective ways of prepping acrylic paintings on paper for archival storage?

    • HiJohn!

      You are most welcome and your questions are very good ones. The main way to assist any paper for archival storage would start with making sure the paper is acid free. And then to store in a way that the acrylic on the paper does not stick to any other surface, as acrylics can be prone to this. Stacking paperworks with acrylic on the surface can cause damage due to sticking. Silicone release paper can help in this regard, but more pressure and weight can still sometimes cause sticking of acrylic to the paper surface of the piece on top of it. And thirdly, the have the paper stored in a container that does not transmit acids or any other potential compounds that might affect the life of the paper. Almost all paper comes with some kind of sizing, unless it is handmade and purposely not sized. The main purpose of sizing in paper is to control and even out the absorbency of the paper. This can be done with acrylic mediums, if the artist wants to lower the porosity of the surface of the paper to facilitate a particular painting or working method. So you may or may not need to size your paper with acrylic if you are already painting on it with no problems or issues.

      You could use a fairly wide range of various mediums of ours, each with different results, but the main factor, as mentioned, is to create a new surface with a new and different level of absorbency. And yes, acrylic inside and on a piece of paper can help to hold the paper fibers together in the long run, but will not help an acidified paper from degrading, yellowing or becoming brittle over time. There are some neutralizing products available that apparently can help with that. But it’s always best to start with acid free paper.

    • Hi John,

      Paper can be tricky as there are so many kinds of paper. Typically, a sizing is not needed if painting with acrylics as acrylic will not harm the fibers, so any “sealing” of the surface is usually not needed, unless you want a different surface for your painting methods. You might want a less absorbent surface for instance. So in this case, you have a very wide range of choices which is similar to the choices for preparing a canvas or a panel actually, except paper can warp and buckle when it gets wet. An acrylic coating can help to hold paper fibers together as you are essentially adding an acrylic plastic coating that can also soak in to some degree. If the paper is not archival paper, has acids in it, then an acrylic coating or sizing will not make it more archival. Acidified paper will still yellow and become brittle over time. The acrylic layer may help hold it together but the paper fibers will still degrade. As for archival storage of acrylic paintings on paper, make sure you use acid free paper, and do not stack the works if they have textured and glossy surfaces as they will stick to the work on top of it eventually, especially with any pressure or weight. Use silicone release paper between the works if you must stack them. Low textured matte surfaces will be best. Store in containers or drawers that use acid free construction materials or or lined with acid free materials that do not outgas. Here are related and pertinent links for you:

      article about paper warping with acrylics: https://www.justpaint.org/paper-warping-when-painting-with-acrylics/
      Safe Handling and Transportation of Acrylic Paintings:  https://www.justpaint.org/safe-handling-and-transportation-of-acrylic-paintings/
      Rolling Acrylic Paintings for Shipping or Storage: https://www.justpaint.org/rolling-acrylic-paintings-for-shipping-or-storage/


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