When you are painting your acrylics, it’s only natural to get a little experimental. This begs the question, ‘can I use oil varnish on acrylic painting?”. The answer is that yes, you can, and it’s not very hard to do, but you want to keep in mind that you are going to get a little bit of yellowing over time. It looks amazing, however, so you’ll have to decide that for yourself.
Today I’ll talk a little about varnishing your acrylic paintings so that you can get a little better idea of how to finish your work. We’ll touch on regular varnish, as well as the best ways to varnish your paintings, and by the end of the article you’ll be better-prepared to add those finishing touches!
Can you use oil-based varnish over acrylic paint?
Oil-based varnish can definitely be used over your acrylics but you want to keep a few things in mind. First off, oil varnish has a bit of an amber tint to it, so if you use it on your acrylic painting then you need to factor this in with your color scheme to make sure that you are going to like the finished results.
There is a real possibility of distorting some of your colors as well, because it is going to yellow over time, so this is something that you’ll want to carefully experiment with if you want to make sure that you will get and KEEP the look that you are aiming for.
If you’d like to experiment, I recommend going with a polyurethane varnish and it should give you good results – just remember, it is going to affect the color a bit!
Can you use normal varnish on acrylic paint?
Generally, you want to use varnish that is specifically designed for acrylic paint, but if you are looking to use some wood varnish that you have around then house, then you might well be able to use it. There are a few things that you will want to check on the label for, however, so let’s get those out of the way.
First and foremost, the varnish that you use needs to be of the clear-drying variety so that you don’t end up distorting your painting (unless you are experimenting and just want to see what it does!). Next, you want to make sure that the varnish which you have selected is going to be both water-resistant as well as UV resistant.
Finally, check to see if the varnish is removable. Varnish that is removable is more common these days, as it makes the art easier to clean, and this actually makes removable varnish quite common in art that you see displayed in museums.
As long as your varnish fits this criteria, then give it a try and see what happens. More likely than not, it’s going to look great!
What is the best way to varnish an acrylic painting?
The best way to varnish an acrylic painting is going to be using an acrylic-specific spray or brush-on varnish. I also recommend that you go with what’s called an ‘isolation coat’. An isolation coat is simply a clear, permanent barrier that you can apply before varnishing that serves a few useful purposes.
First, if you are going with a matte varnish, then an isolation coat can help to keep you from getting a ‘frosted’ effect that distorts your work. This can happen when the varnish component ends up soaking into your painting but the matte color ends up sticking on the surface.
Secondly, an isolation coat helps to protect your painting for when the varnish needs to be stripped. It adds an extra, clear layer so that you’ve got a little added protection from damage in the case that the varnish needs to be removed. One or two coats of isolation agent should be sufficient and once this is dried, then you can spray or brush on at least 2 coats of your acrylic varnish and you are done!
Some final words on using an oil varnish on an acrylic painting
In today’s article we’ve explored varnish options to answer the question, ‘can I use oil varnish on an acrylic painting?’. As you can see, you can indeed use oil varnish on an acrylic painting, you just need to keep in mind that it’s got an amber tint to it and you should expect some yellowing as the painting ages.
If you don’t believe that this will distort your colors too much, then give it a try. This can certainly produce a great look that gives your work more of a ‘classic cart’ feel to it. You can also try using wood varnish if you like, you just want to make sure that it is clear, resistant to the elements, and removable. Finally, the best way to varnish your work is to employ an isolation coat for added protection before adding the varnish.
This will keep your painting from looking cloudy and provides added protection in case it needs to be revarnished at a later date.
As a little bonus, I’m including a 3rd party link that will tell you a little more about why varnishing is a good idea in the first place. If you are just getting started, this will provide you with an overview of why varnishing your work is a really good idea.
Paint it and protect it… be sure to stock up on that varnish!