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What varnish to use for acrylic paint?

When you have finished an acrylic painting, you can choose to protect it by applying a varnish. This not only protects your artwork from dust, dirt, and wear, but also can make it shine or give it a matte appearance. There are several types of varnish for acrylic painting, each with its own characteristics. Here are some of the most common options:


Bottles of aerosol spray cans from different brands.

  1. Acrylic gloss varnish: as the name suggests, this type of varnish gives a glossy finish to your artwork. It is ideal for colorful and vibrant paintings as it makes them stand out and gives them an almost glass-like appearance.

  2. Matte Acrylic Varnish: Matte varnish gives a matte finish to your painting. It is ideal for more subtle paintings or works where you want the texture of the canvas to stand out more.

  3. Acrylic satin varnish: Satin varnish provides a finish between glossy and matte. It gives a slightly shiny aspect to your work without being as shiny as gloss varnish.

Acrylic varnishes are an important element in preserving and enhancing your acrylic-based artworks. But did you know that the application of varnish can greatly influence the final result of your work? Let's review the different methods of applying acrylic varnish to help you choose the best option for your next project.

  1. The brush method: The brush method is the most common way to apply acrylic varnish. It involves using a quality brush to apply the varnish in thin, even layers on your working surface. Depending on the quality of the varnish used, the varnish can be self-leveling or, conversely, leave brush marks if the varnish is of poor quality.

  2. Using a roller: Using a roller is a practical option for larger surfaces, such as large canvases or wooden panels. It is important to choose a quality roller to avoid streaks and roller marks. Apply the varnish in thin, even layers for the best results.

  3. Spraying: Applying acrylic varnish by spraying is an effective method for achieving a smooth and streak-free finish. It is important to cover the surrounding areas well to avoid any stains and to spray the varnish at a constant distance to avoid marks. This method is particularly recommended for large-scale projects, such as murals.

  4. Dipping: Dipping is an uncommon but effective method for small-scale projects such as acrylic jewelry or small objects. Simply dip your piece into a bath of acrylic varnish and ensure it is completely submerged. Remove the piece and allow it to dry completely before handling.

Some brands of varnish that I recommend


1. Lefranc Bourgeois

Lefranc Bourgeois is a well-known brand in the painting world, especially for its quality acrylic varnishes. Used by many professional artists, these varnishes offer effective and durable protection to their creations.


Lefranc Bourgeois acrylic varnishes are available in a variety of finishes, ranging from matte to glossy to satin. They are also available in liquid form or as an aerosol spray, offering great flexibility in application.


One of the main features of these varnishes is their resistance to UV rays, which protects the paint from fading and deterioration caused by sun exposure. They are also water-resistant, making them ideal for artwork displayed in humid environments.


For me, this brand remains the best among all others when it comes to using it in the form of an aerosol spray, as I have not tried other methods of application.


2. Pébéo Studio

The Pébéo Studio acrylic varnishes are designed to protect acrylic artworks and provide them with a durable and resistant finish. The range of acrylic varnishes is available in three finishes: matte, satin, and glossy. Each varnish is formulated to offer optimal protection against UV rays, dust, dirt, and moisture, while preserving the original color and texture of the artwork.


  1. The Pébéo Studio matte varnish is ideal for artworks that require a discreet and non-reflective finish. It gives the paint a velvety appearance and is perfect for works that will be exposed under intense lighting or in places where reflections can be problematic.

  2. The Pébéo Studio satin varnish is perfect for artworks that require a finish with a slight sheen. It gives the paint a silky appearance and enhances the colors without being too shiny.

  3. The Pébéo Studio glossy varnish is the perfect choice for artworks that require a bright and luminous finish. It gives the paint a smooth and radiant appearance that enhances the colors and texture of the artwork.

All Pébéo Studio acrylic varnishes are easy to apply with a brush, roller, or spray gun, and can be diluted with water to obtain the desired consistency. They are also available in aerosol spray form, dry quickly, and provide durable protection for your acrylic artworks.


3. Montana

The Montana brand is a reference in the street-art field and is known for its high-quality professional products in the world of graffiti. There is also the Montana varnish, which is available in aerosol spray form.


The Montana varnish range offers different levels of shine, ranging from matte to glossy. You can choose the varnish that best suits your painting and the effect you want to achieve. Montana varnishes are also UV-resistant, which protects your paintings from fading.

The Montana varnish is easy to apply and dries quickly. It is important to follow the manufacturer's application instructions for best results. Generally, it is recommended to apply the varnish to a clean and dry surface, by spraying evenly at a distance of about 20 cm. It is also important to shake the spray can well before use and to clean it after each use.


4.Guardi

Guardi is a brand of varnish available at Boesner that provides excellent protection against UV rays and dirt while enhancing the appearance and lifespan of your paintings. Guardi varnishes are available in several finishes, ranging from matte to glossy, including satin finish. The brand offers a wide range of varnishes for different types of media such as acrylic paint, oil paint, and even for works on paper. Guardi varnishes are also available in different formulations, including water-based and solvent-based varnishes. The varnishes are designed to protect your work against the harmful effects of sunlight, dust, and pollution, while enhancing the appearance of your paintings with a professional finish. Applying Guardi varnish is easy and quick and can be done with a brush, a spray gun, or in an aerosol can.


5. Sennelier

Sennelier is a renowned brand in the art world, offering a wide range of products for both professional and amateur artists. Among these products is the Sennelier acrylic varnish, a high-quality varnish that protects acrylic paintings from scratches, damage, and fading.

The Sennelier varnish is composed of a mixture of acrylic resin and solvent, which allows for easy and quick application on all kinds of surfaces, such as canvas, wood, metal, and even plastic. This varnish is designed to dry quickly and provide a transparent, UV-resistant finish that does not yellow over time.

The Sennelier varnish is available in three types: glossy acrylic varnish, matte acrylic varnish, and satin acrylic varnish.


In conclusion


All the varnishes that I have mentioned in this article are of good quality. To be honest, I rarely use other methods than aerosol sprays, which are much easier to apply and allow for perfect homogenization without any traces if applied correctly. As with the article on acrylic paints, I advise against using low-cost varnishes as they are often of poor quality.

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