Back to:Mediums

Final treatments (all techniques)


The right final treatment for your painting

A successful work of art deserves protection against harmful influences so that it loses none of its brilliance and intensity even after many years. Moreover, there is often a desire to change or smooth out the surface of a picture. These tasks are performed by special final treatment mediums.

A distinction is generally made between fixatives with a firming effect between coats of paint, finishing lacquers that are permanent and irreversible and finishing varnishes that are reversible and removable at any time with a suitable solvent. There is another special type again for oil paintings: intermediate and retouching varnishes.

They are all applied in the thinnest possible coats to a thoroughly dry picture surface.

The following possibilities are generally available:

  • using a wide soft varnish brush (varnishes, lacquers)
  • with a special fixative/atomizer (fixative)
  • with an aerosol can (fixative, varnishes)
  • with a pump spray (fixative, varnishes)
  • with a spray gun (lacquers)
  • with a lacquering roller (lacquers)

Read more

No matter what you decide to use, you should definitely take note of the following helpful hints for fixing, varnishing or lacquering:

  • The picture surface to be treated must be free of dust – just like the workplace – so that no dust particles adhere to the work of art.
  • Please note, in the case of varnishes, especially that both the mediums and the object to be treated must be of room temperature.
  • All products are ready for use. But, if necessary, they can be thinned using the individual thinner stipulated for each article.
  • If a satin-matt varnish or lacquer is required, a product specially formulated for this purpose should be used and no self-made combination of gloss and matt!
  • Products that are specially matt or satin-matt must be shaken well before use to ensure the even dispersion throughout the solution of any matting agents that may have settled over a longer storage period.
  • For application using the varnish brush or lacquering roller, the picture is either positioned flat on a workbench or perpendicular on an easel and the varnish or lacquer is applied in a thin coat quickly and evenly.
  • Material for an atomizer or AEROSPRAY- and AEROPUMP-products should be sprayed onto a perpendicular or slightly inclined upright object from left to right and top to bottom from a distance of 30 – 40 cm. Please ensure during all spray applications that you make the change in spray direction away from the picture!
  • If you plan to use an AEROSPRAY- on a larger surface area, we recommend using two sprays simultaneously. When a spray head is held down over a longer period of time, the pressure drops inside the can and this may lead to an uneven “spitting” effect of the spray. Any clogged-up spray heads are best cleaned using acetone.
  • Varnishes and fixatives may contain volatile organic solvents and, therefore, should only be used in well-ventilated rooms. Please refer to the individual Safety Data Sheets.


ATTENTION: The subsequent fixing or varnishing of the surface of a picture produced using materials low in binding agents, especially pastels, gouache and water-colours, may cause the colour shade to become significantly darker. Using too much fixative or varnish frequently causes a loss of “lightness”. Some of these mediums may also make the support, for example the paper, more transparent. You should generally always conduct your own pre-tests using the painting materials you intend to use. If you have no separate sample available for such a test, then you should perform a test on a small area at the edge of the picture if possible, but not in the centre (!) of the original picture.