How to Finish a Painting | Acrylics


Finishing an Acrylic Painting

When it comes to finishing your painting, here’s what I would recommend:

  1. Wait about three days before applying finish.

  2. ONLY use acrylic varnish for acrylic paintings, and oil seal coat for oil paintings.

  3. 1-2 coats of finish should do the trick. Wait one hour before applying second coat.

  4. You can paint acrylic over top any acrylic varnish. Just let it dry again and paint over it with another coat of varnish.

Types of Varnish


Depending on the final look you want to achieve, you have a couple different options for acrylic varnish. In the Animal Art Masterclass, we will just focus on acrylic varnish for now.

  • Gloss: Creates a high glossy finish.

  • Matte: Somewhat pearl looking finish.

  • Satin: Creates a low gloss finish.

Glossy just means a clear, shiny covering. I personally like the high gloss look, which is why I buy the Liquitex Basics Gloss Varnish brand for $9.99 at Hobby Lobby.

The 250mL bottle will last me about 2-3 months or so. I paint about 5-10 paintings a month.

How to Apply Varnish

Simply use any brush to apply the varnish over top. Just remember the following when painting the varnish:

  1. Use a damp brush to apply the varnish.

  2. Make sure surface of painting is clean and doesn’t contain dust, hair, or wet paint.

  3. Use a high quality brush that won’t loose it’s bristles.

  4. Cover the front and sides of the painting.