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how to make an acrylic painting waterproof varnishing tips

How To Make An Acrylic Painting Waterproof With Vanishing

You spend hours working on a painting from the design stage, color mixing, to the actually process of painting. The last thing you would want is for your painting to get damaged unexpectantly.

Which is why you need to vanish any acrylic painting. Here’s a guide that will show you how to make an acrylic painting waterproof that will ensure it stays protected for a long time to come.

So, if you ever accidentally spill a few drops of water on your painting or it’s at risk of getting damaged with the weather when you’re in the process of moving, varnishing your acrylic paintings will definitely save you the hassle.

See also: Is Acrylic Paint Good For Beginners? (4 Best Reasons Why)

Isn’t Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

No. Acrylic paint is known to be water-resistant meaning that once a layer is dried, it cannot be reactivated like other painting mediums but it is not waterproof even though by nature it is a water-based paint.

In order to make an acrylic painting waterproof to protect it from any external damage, you will need to seal the painting with a specific vanish.

One of the main reasons why you should waterproof these paintings is due to potential damage.

It’s important to vanish your acrylic painting correctly in case a specific event occurs where the painting is exposed to water or rain.

How Vanishing Works

Vanishing is made up of specific ingredients such as resin, oil, and solvent, among others. Why is this important? Well, oil and resin are well known as water-repellents and we all know that oil and water do not mix well at all!

When you vanish any particular item, it ensures that the surface of the painting is now protected since you are adding a protective layer with your sealant.

Vanishing also ensures that your acrylic paintings stay vibrant and avoids damage from sunlight which can eventually lead to your paintings looking incredibly dull or fading over time.

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Many artists also use varnish to add a beautiful gloss, satin, or a matte finish depending on the look they want to achieve.

Using a varnish is highly dependent on what you prefer but it will give you that ease of mind that in case of any unfortunate event, you can rest assured that you painting will be safe.

How To Make An Acrylic Painting Waterproof (Vanishing Tips)

Now that we know why waterproofing an acrylic painting is necessary, let’s look at the ways you can make an acrylic painting waterproof easily.

Vanishing is easier than you may think as long as you have the necessary supplies but there are a few things you will want to know before getting started:


Depending on the type of vanish you choose to use, you’ll want to use a soft bristle brush to dust off any excess dirt before varnishing and a large foam brush to apply the varnish evenly.

However, with spray varnishes, you may not need any particular brushes but you can a soft one to brush the paint lightly.

Type of Vanishes

There are three types of varnishes you can choose from (gloss, matte, or satin) but I typically use a gloss finish that gives a beautiful shine to the painting.

A great brand to try is the Golden varnishes and this is an artists grade brand so you won’t have to be concerned regarding the quality of the varnish or if it will damage your painting in any way but it is on the slightly pricey side.

You can find these varnishes as mentioned before in a liquid form or a spray. Whichever one is best for you.

Once you have your desired varnish, let’s get started.

Tips For Varnishing An Acrylic Painting

  1. Allow your painting to fully dry before varnishing. This is really important because if the paint is still wet, it can mix with the varnish causing a really noticeable mark on the painting. Allow for the painting to dry up to 24 hours before applying any varnish.

2. Keep a separate brush and jar for varnishing and you’ll want to ensure all of these supplies are clean so that dust does not transfer onto the painting when varnishing.

3. Make sure the painting is flat rather than sitting on an easel because the varnish can run down. When it’s flat, you can easily make sure the coating is even.

4. If you look at the painting from an angle, you can spot an area that may not have the varnish and you can go over this area carefully.

5. Make sure to varnish one layer at a time. Allow for each layer to dry in between before you paint or spray any additional layers.

How To Seal Acrylic Paint On Glass

If you’re planning to protect your glass paintings such as those on ornaments, mason jars, mirrors, and more, here are a few tips to try that will prevent the paint from chipping off the glass or fading with exposure to light.

Sealing acrylic paint on glass is typically the same process as you would varnish an acrylic painting on canvas but there are a few differences to be aware of.

When vanishing glass surfaces, make sure to use a glossy spray on sealant (or a brush on sealant depending on your preferances).

If you’re using a spray, be sure to shake the can well before using. The common rule is to be at least 12 inches away from the object and be sure to move along while spraying since this will prevent any patchy spots.

Allow each coat to dry before moving onto the next layer.

This can take anywhere between 20 to 35 minutes but for the entire thing to be dried, allow 24 hours and keep it in a place that’s away from any potential dirt or dust.

One thing to remember though is that always use this sealant outdoors or in a well-ventilated room since these paint fumes can be dangerous.

What’s Are You Working On Next?

Making an acrylic paint waterproof is really a simple process and although varnishing can seem terrifying at first, I highly recommend that you practice first on smaller paintings or those that weren’t a success.

This way, you’ll have more skills when it comes to varnishing and be able to figure out what works best.

As long as you apply an even layer when varnishing and allow it to dry between layers, you really have nothing to worry about!

Do you use any other method when making an acrylic painting waterproof? Share your thoughts below.

You might also enjoy:

No Motivation To Paint? Here’s 9 Ways To Fix It Fast

Painting With Gouache: Everything You Need To Know

How To Use Gouache On Wood (Tips For Beginners)

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