A pair that air dried clay sculptures, painted with acrylics and also finished v varnish


If you’re painting your air dried clay sculptures, you might want to take into consideration varnishing them. Yep, just when you thought all your difficult work was done, ns am suggesting that you add another action to your an imaginative process. But trust me, it deserve to make a large difference.

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Varnish is a non-pourous, transparent layer that is placed on peak of a last artwork (be the painting, drawing, sculpture, you gain the idea). Varnishes deserve to be removable or permanent. They deserve to be brushed or injected on and generally come in 3 various levels the sheen.


Reasons to Varnish

I use varnish on mine Creative Paperclay sculptures because that the same factors that painters varnish your paintings:


Unvarnished artworks are much more vulnerable to the elements and ageing (aren’t we all). A high quality, artist-grade varnish adds a class of protection versus dust, UV light ray (which dull colours end time) and also yellowing (depending top top the paint).

Environmental considerations are an essential for air dry clay artwork: because the clay isn’t vitrified like ceramics, it’s much more susceptible come humidity. Friend never know what type of residence a collector has, so ensuring that you’ve done every you can is good artistic practice.

I stated that part varnishes are removable, and the reason for that is to aid with restoration/future maintain of the piece. Dust and also dirt collection on top of the painting, and also after part time, the varnish deserve to be removed, and a new layer included on, in order to cleaning the painting.

I execute not usage a removable varnish. Ns think a permanent, incorporated varnish provides enough protection, and also I ensure I put down number of layers. It’s always worth knowing an excellent professional practice, even if you decide the it’s no the best for you and also your art.

Unify surface quality and also improve colour

If you’re favor me, and you use a range of surface ar decorations, a piece can finish up spring “patchy” through uneven matte or glowing areas. Different mediums and also gels have difference finishes, and even the sheen that acrylics will readjust depending on how much water is added. A varnish will even out the all at once sheen the the end up sculpture and also make all the facets feel cohesive.

This unification of the surface also method that, if you’re utilizing a gloss or satin varnish (more on that below), the darker colours of a paint deepen and also look an ext vibrant. We’ll get into that below.


Matte or Glossy?

Varnishes typically come in 3 levels of finish: glossy, matte, and also satin which is a mix of the two. The level of sheen you pick is a personal preference, but there are a couple of basics come understand. 


Gloss varnish will certainly make colours look an ext saturated, particularly darks. Ns won’t get into the scientific research of it, suffice it to say, gloss varnish encourages the enjoy of light off the surface.

On the various other hand, the matting agent within a Matte varnish is frequently white, which can appear to lighten dark colours. On irradiate coloured artwork it isn’t noticeable, but on dark paint, it can make the surface show up cloudy or frosty.

Satin is a balance between the two, for this reason while that is no matte, it is no as reflective together gloss.

Historically, different groups of artist have preferred one form of sheen over an additional for these miscellaneous reasons. The Impressionists discovered the highly glossed surfaces gave paintings of the time an ostentatious feels, if representational painters desired a gloss surface since of the increased sense the depth.

There are likewise artists who pick not to varnish your work. No matter your aesthetic requirements, finding the appropriate surface quality is a very personal choice.


Best Varnish because that Air dried Clay?

I gain lots of concerns asking me i beg your pardon varnish is my top an option for air dried clay sculpture. Honestly, most commodities designed because that artist usage are more than adequate. As someone working from home I uncover water-based, brush-on varnish the easiest (and least toxic) to use. I have actually used spray (outdoors obviously) with an excellent success, but it"s no much longer my go-to method. My existing favourite is Liquitex Satin or Matte varnish, but I recommend golden MSA spray varnish for hard to brush pieces.

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Adding varnish help ensure your hard work watch its best for a long time, and put bluntly: it’s the easiest method to make your sculpture’s surface look better. It seals in the good stuff and also keeps the end the bad, and also can enhance the appearance all in one go. Appears a nice open and shut instance to me.


What"s Next?

Get one idea of how I repaint my air dry clay sculpturesSee one air dry clay sculptures from begin to finish