It’s a hack that you’ve probably heard about. Can you use hairspray to seal an acrylic painting? Well, this is something that I can dispel quite quickly for you. Hairspray is not an adequate seal to use for an acrylic painting. Whether on canvas, rocks, glass… the problem is that it’s not going to be a permanent seal and worse, it’s simply not waterproof.
In this spirit of this question, we’re gonna take a look today at some frequently asked questions about sealing acrylic. I’ll let you know some good spray options for this, as well as talk about using Modge Podge, and whether or not sealing is completely necessary for your acrylic.
I’ll start off with some good sealing options that you definitely CAN use and we’ll go from there!
What do you spray over acrylic paint to protect it?
It takes a long time to get that acrylic on in the first place, so you definitely need to protect it. To make your acrylic waterproof then you are going to need to apply a sealer and this breaks it down to the choice between a spray varnish or enamel.
My preference is the varnish, as it’s going to add a nice shine to your work at the same time that it will give your acrylic paint a layer of protection to keep things like yellowing, dust, and UV rays at bay. I like to use a glossy finish myself, but you should also try a satin or a matte just to see what you one favorite is going to be.
One protip that you’ll want to hang on – take a photo of your painting before you varnish it. Don’t worry – this is practical. Once that shiny coat is in placed and completely cured, when you try to take a picture of your work then you are going to have an interesting time with the light in the room bouncing off of it.
So, make a little tradition of taking pictures before you varnish and throw them in a scrapbook to enjoy later!
Can you use Modge Podge to seal acrylic paint?
Well, yes and no. Modge Podge is some fun stuff and if you haven’t used it before, it’s a glue. This glue allows you to varnish, seal, or stick-together all kinds of mediums and it’s really useful to have around. Now, that said, you can technically use it to seal your acrylic paintings and it will probably be fine – but there’s a caveat.
Modge Podge is water-resistant, rather than completely waterproof, so if you want your acrylic paint to be completely waterproofed then Modge Podge will technically not fit the bill. It is some pretty solid protection however, but I wanted to make sure that you know this.
That said, I’ve used it to seal acrylic paint and I haven’t had any problems with it. It goes on clear and looks great, so don’t think that I’m saying anything bad about it. It’s great stuff! It’s just that if you are painting something that is going to get a lot of wear and tear, like some rocks or signs in your garden, just know that you might want to keep an eye on your seal as the years go by just to be sure that your paint is protected.
Do you need to seal acrylic paint?
Yes. Sealing your acrylic is very important. This is what is going to protect your work from things like UV rays, dust, and damaging moisture. Sealing your work will give it the protection that it needs to last a long, long time, and it will also help to keep discolorations such as yellowing at bay.
The easiest way to go about this while keeping on a budget if going to be using enamel sprays or varnishes. They are inexpensive, easy to apply, and they will get the job done so that you won’t have to worry as much or at all about your finished work.
Some final words on sealing acrylic paintings
In this article I’ve taken a little time to talk about sealing acrylics and why hairspray is a popular, if bad idea. Hairspray doesn’t make a proper seal for protecting acrylic paint, simply because it won’t last very long and it’s not going to be waterproof. A nice varnish or enamel is going to be the way to go and yes, you can also use Modge Podge in a pinch – just remember that it’s water-resistant, rather than waterproof.
If you are curious about sealing acrylic paint on a medium such as leather, check out this 3rd party link and you can find a great tutorial on the subject which I think that you will enjoy.
Acrylic paints – they just look good everywhere, don’t they?!