How To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (2023)

Acrylic paint is amazing to work with considering it can be applied on various different surfaces, and it produces amazing vibrant colors. However, many artists use varnish once they finish the painting process in order to achieve the glossy effect of the painting. Also, sometimes for a retouching varnish. So, is there a possibility to get the glossy effect without using varnish, and what is the proper way to achieve that?

If you do not want to use varnish to coat your artwork for whatever reasons, you can opt for different tools that will make your artwork glossy. Art-grade resins and acrylic gloss mediums can achieve the same glossy effect as varnishes. You just have to mix them into the paint and you will get the gloss you desire. Or you can use a gloss varnish, instead of a matt varnish, after the last paint layer.

When painting with acrylics, you probably want to find ways in which you will use less toxic substances. Varnishes do not always include toxins, but many people try to avoid them and achieve the glossy effect in another way. In this article, you will read about the methods by which you can achieve the gloss of acrylic paint without using the varnishing technique.

Table of Contents

  • 1 How To Create A High Gloss Acrylic Finish Without Using Varnish?
    • 1.1 Use Glossy Acrylic Medium
    • 1.2 Use Art-Grade Resins
      • 1.2.1 Make Sure You Avoid Hardware Store Epoxy Resins
    • 1.3 What Are The Best Glossy Acrylic Mediums?
      • 1.3.2 Chosen By Educators: Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gloss Medium
      • 1.3.3 Best For Poured Paintings: Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring Medium
    • 1.4 Why Are Glossy Acrylic Mediums A Good Option When It Comes To Obtaining The Glossy Effect?
    • 1.5 Why Do Many Artists Opt For Varnish When Trying To Get The Glossy Finish On Acrylic Paint?
    • 1.6 Final Words
    • 1.7 Source

Sometimes, you would like to achieve a high glossy effect in your paintings, meaning that varnish would be useless in that case. Therefore, you need something else that will help you get the glossy finish, and be sure that the technique would be successful. However, since we are talking about finishes at this point, you would probably want something simple and easily achievable.

Use Glossy Acrylic Medium

According to many artists, using a glossy acrylic mediumHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (1) instead of varnish would really help you get the effect you desire for your painting. The glossy acrylic mediumHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (2)s are actually quite useful and simple at the same time due to the easy way of using and applying them. In order to get the high gloss in your painting, you would just have to mix the acrylic medium with paint on the palette, and you will be all set.

(Video) Diy varnish /#homemadevarnish,/ how to make varnish at home / homemade varnish for paintings

After you mix the paint with the medium, you will need to wait for the paint to dry up, and you will see that your glossy effect will appear on your artwork. However, sometimes, you would want to add a little bit of varnish if you need your painting to be really glossy. A glossy acrylic medium is highly successful and the glossy finish would be really noticeable, but sometimes, you might need something more, and only varnish could help you.

On the other hand, there are mixes of varnish and medium in one product, so you might opt for that if you want a really sparkly painting. This would be the easiest way to achieve a glossy paint without applying a glossy varnish.

Use Art-Grade Resins

Another option for creating a thick gloss finish on your acrylic paintings is by using art-grade resinsHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (3) . These resins are specifically designed for artwork, meaning they will not harm or destroy the acrylic paint in any way. The resin varnish also serves to protect pieces of art from UV rays and yellowing that might occur with time.

If you need a specific brand for art-grade resins, most artists recommend ArtResinHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (4) since this is a product that is particularly aimed at creative projects. You will be able to achieve a high gloss acrylic finish, and at the same time, provide protection for your artwork. The ArtResinHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (5) is low in odor, meaning you will not be forced to wait for the smell to go away for a long time.

The art-grade resins are particularly suitable for wooden surfaces, so if you are painting something on wood, you should opt for this kind of finish. You will definitely get the gloss you desire to achieve, and you will create a light coat of protection with just a thin layer. You should never forget that all pieces of art need some kind of protection at the end since you do not want them to be destroyed or damaged in a really short period of time.

Make Sure You Avoid Hardware Store Epoxy Resins

As I explained above, resins can be good for getting the glossy effect on acrylic artwork, as well as obtaining protection for your project. However, not all resins are suitable for acrylic paint. This means that you have to carefully select the product you intend to use.

That being said, you should know that hardware story epoxy resins are a “no-go” to make a varnish layer on an acrylic paint. In other words, make sure you avoid these kinds of resins since they may damage your artwork for good. These kinds of resins are inexpensive and it is usually easy to obtain them in the closest hardware store, but their quality and effect are not what you are looking for in your paintings and projects.

(Video) homemade clear gloss varnish for acrylic paintings \ only 2 ingredients \ creative fun with nimra

If you apply hardware story epoxy resins, you might think that you do not see a difference and that they work quite well. However, the change will come over the year, meaning you will notice some changes in your artwork that you will not like. They might look good for some crafts, but these resins are designed to be replaced every 10 years, which is not something you can do if a painting is in question.

What you will get with hardware store resins is yellowing and discolor of the pigment, as well as loss of the clarity of the colors. Your acrylic paint will become cloudy and messy, and it will start losing its original shapes, therefore, it is not advisable that you opt for this kind of finish for your acrylic paint.

What Are The Best Glossy Acrylic Mediums?

As I mentioned above, the best option for achieving high gloss without using a high gloss varnish would be to use a glossy acrylic medium. These mediums can provide amazing results, and there is no reason why you should not opt for them. However, there are many choices on the market, so you might get confused about which one you should get for your artwork.

To make your job easier, I have provided some of the best glossy acrylic mediums that artists enjoy using, so you could make your decision from a narrowed-down list. This way, you will not have to waste a lot of time on research online or wandering around artist stores.

Chosen By Artists: Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Gloss Medium

If you want something that is proven to work and is used by professional artists, then Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Gloss MediumHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (6) would be the perfect option for you. By opting for this medium, you will know that you will have something that will really work for your acrylic paint projects. This is a highly popular brand that is known to produce some great products for artists, and glossy acrylic mediums are not excluded from this.

Sometimes, the name of the brand is enough to be assured that you are buying something of high quality, and something that you will not regret afterward. The reason why this glossy acrylic medium is among the best ones is that its consistency is somewhere between a gel and a lotion, and once it is fully dried it gives off some kind of translucent effect. This is enough to be sure that by using this medium you will not end up with a pasty, white gloss finish that most mediums produce.

Chosen By Educators: Liquitex Professional Acrylic Gloss Medium

This acrylic gloss medium used to be known as a mix of a medium and varnish, however, nowadays its capabilities only refer to an acrylic gloss medium, and it is known as one of the best used by art educators. If you want something that is recommended by art professionals, then go for the Liquitex Gloss MediumHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (7) . You will not regret choosing this medium for your acrylic paint since it will give you the gloss you desire for your projects.

(Video) Never use high gloss varnish to finish your art!

This is an acrylic gloss medium that is known to be quite similar to varnish, so if you really want to achieve some high glossy effects for your paintings, then make sure that you opt for Liquitex. It is quite clear and flexible, and it mixes with paint quite easily and simply. You will not have any issues with blending the medium with acrylic paint and applying it later on.

Since this is used by educators and students, you should expect some quick-drying effects. If you are in a hurry, and you want to have your painting ready and finished in no time, then Liquitex will give you that possibility. In other words, if you are trying to find the ideal medium that will provide you some quick results, do not continue your research, but go for Liquitex immediately.

Best For Poured Paintings: Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring Medium

If you work with poured paintings, then the Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring MediumHow To Make Acrylic Paint Gloss Without Varnish? | Sustain The Art (8) is the exact product you are looking for. Since poured paintings have become quite popular, Pebeo Studio has made sure that they have the right product for these kinds of art projects. Considering that flow is the main factor in poured paintings, it is obvious that you will need a medium that will not interfere with that flow.

That is why this acrylic pouring medium has the best features for these paintings , meaning it will not damage the colors or the paint in any way, and it will leave the surface smooth and glide as it is supposed to be. The Pebeo Studio Acrylics Pouring Medium will make sure that there is no appearance of air bubbles, and you will not worry about the yellowing of the paint.

Why Are Glossy Acrylic Mediums A Good Option When It Comes To Obtaining The Glossy Effect?

Since I explained above, a varnish would not always be a suitable choice. Therefore, your next best option would be a glossy acrylic medium. The reason why artists opt for an acrylic medium over varnish is that it allows building up the thickness of the paint. If you want to achieve thickness as well as glossy effect, you will have to choose the right acrylic medium, but you should be aware that you have that option.

The technique for building up thickness will include slow and patient layering, but the end result would be magnificent. However, you should remember that you need to be very careful in selecting the type of brushes you will use for this method. You can easily mess up your painting if you try layering with an inadequate brush.

Why Do Many Artists Opt For Varnish When Trying To Get The Glossy Finish On Acrylic Paint?

As you see, you have options for achieving a glossy finish without using varnish, but some artists still opt for the varnishing method after all. This is due to the fact that varnish is a more secure option when it comes to acrylics. If you are a beginner, you might as well opt for varnish instead of a glossy acrylic medium or art-grade resins.

(Video) Testing Sargent Art Acrylic Gloss Varnish to Seal an Acrylic Pour Painting

Acrylic varnish also gives you the opportunity to choose the finish you want to achieve, i.e. you can choose among satin, glossy, and matte finish. When you have more options, you are free to experiment in your own creative ways, so sometimes, a varnish would be a more suitable solution for an acrylic finish. Also, a varnish gives you the opportunity to use different finishes on the same painting, which is one more advantage in comparison to mediums or resins.

Final Words

What method you will use for finishing your art projects is of crucial importance considering that this way you are protecting your work and the paint you use along the way. However, it is convenient to know that you have more than one option for achieving the finish you want, so choose wisely before making your decision.

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