Acrylic Paint Finishes for Artists

by CherylsArt

Are you wondering, does the type of finish used for acrylic paint make a difference? You can have a glossy finish, a matte finish, and or one that's in between. There's more:

Looks aren't the only reason to consider a finish; matte versus shiny. Also to consider is what you want the varnish to do. Will your painting have a protective covering? Will it be indoors or outdoors. Will people be walking on it?

Paintings in acrylic are usually coated with a varnish, to not only give the painting a more finished and unified look, but also to protect the painting.

People actually walk on paintings! - Protective Finishes for Floor Cloths

A good varnish also helps the edges to lay flat.

Not all paintings done in acrylic are meant to be framed. A popular choice for painting floor cloths is with acrylic paint. These too require a coating for protection.

My first choice for finishing floor cloths is now DuraClear by DecoArt varnish. It dries clear, is flexible, and the floor cloth lays flat once it is dried.

I didn't know that about varnishes for acrylic when I first started painting floor cloths. Some of the finishes made the edges turn, even though they were hemmed (edges folded under and glued down on the underside.)

I know if you're painting floor cloths, you'll want the edges to lay flat. (Also add carpet backing to keep it more stationary.)

The art varnishes also come in Interior and Exterior/Interior options.

The floor cloth that I painted years ago is still laying on our dining room floor.

This varnish is rated for indoor and outdoor, and is flexible when dry.

If you're adding a protective coating to floor cloths, you definitely want it to be flexible.
DecoArt DS21-9, American DuraClear Varnishes, 8-Ounce, DuraClear Satin Varnish

Brush-on polyerethane, non-yellowing varnishes that form a tough, flexible, clear finish that dries quickly. Can be used on most hard craft surfaces, both interior and exterior.

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Varnish for the look

Most Varnishes come in three different finishes

The matte varnish is for a non gloss look. If you don't want it to be affected by lights as much, as in a glare, then a matte finish would probably be the best choice. The matte varnish would also be my first choice for floor cloths. It does seem to allow more of the texture of the canvas to come through, which can be very important for walking on it.

The gloss finish gives the painting a more shiny look. If you want something to look like it shines, then gloss would be the choice.

The satin finish is somewhat between matte and gloss.

DuraClear Varnish

DecoArt DS21-9, American DuraClear Varnishes, 8-Ounce, DuraClear Satin Varnish

Brush-on polyerethane, non-yellowing varnishes that form a tough, flexible, clear finish that dries quickly. Can be used on most hard craft surfaces, both interior and ...

DecoArt
DecoArt DS60-9 American DuraClear Varnishes, 8-Ounce, DuraClear Matte Varnish

Brush-on polyerethane, non-yellowing varnishes that form a tough, flexible, clear finish that dries quickly. Can be used on most hard craft surfaces, both interior and ...

DecoArt
DecoArt DS19-9 American DuraClear Varnishes, 8-Ounce, DuraClear Gloss Varnish

Brush-on polyerethane, non-yellowing varnishes that form a tough, flexible, clear finish that dries quickly. Can be used on most hard craft surfaces, both interior and ...

DecoArt
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A sample painting using both gloss and matte

On the gemstone painting that I did, I wanted the gems to really stand out and to look shiny. I achieved this look by painting the black background with a matte finish. I painted the stones separately, with a gloss varnish. It was like painting everything all over again, but the results were worth it. What do you think?

Can you see a difference between the finishes on the Gemstone painting?

Do the stones look more glossy than the background?

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Yes indeed, I can see what you mean.
thelesleyshow on 05/30/2011

Wow, I love how you display your Zazzle work. Great job!

Michey on 05/27/2011

Yes it is visible, Thanks

Updated: on 05/19/2013, CherylsArt
 
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What is your favorite art medium? Did you learn something new about varnishes?


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CherylsArt on 05/17/2013

Cmoneyspinner, as far as seeing art done in other mediums, I don't have a favorite either. I just like it, too! : ) When it comes to painting, then my choice is acrylic; that's the one I'm most familiar with Glad some things were made clearer. Thanks so much for your visit and comments..

cmoneyspinner on 05/17/2013

I don't really have a favorite. If I like the artwork, I just like it! My friend in college back in the day was the first person to school me in the importance of varnish. But this article does make it clearer. (No pun intended.) That gemstone reminds me of when I used to try to do art. Your finished product is much better though. :)

CherylsArt on 06/17/2011

Thank you Pukeko. The edges of the painting were crisp to begin with. The varnishes were 'painted' on just like the paints were, following the same edges. Only the matte varnish was painted on the black. Only the shiny varnish was painted on the other colors.

Pukeko on 06/17/2011

The gemstone painting is amazing. I am confused as to how you would use the two varnishes on one painting and still keep all the gem edges so crisp. I am really impressed with your work. Thanks for the tips.

CherylsArt on 06/04/2011

Thank you JoyfulPamela. It's neat how it's lined up on the sneakers.

JoyfulPamela on 05/29/2011

Very nice - I love the design on the sneakers the best!

CherylsArt on 05/27/2011

I was wondering that too. Wizz pages sound good.

Michey on 05/27/2011

I will say wizzy pages...

Yes, finishes is everything, like the idea.

Michey on 05/27/2011

I will say wizzy pages...

Yes, finishes is everything, like the idea.



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