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Clear matt finish products non darkening ???

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  • Clear matt finish products non darkening ???

    Hi Guys
    Need a bit of help deciding on a finish for my kahikatea (similar to basswood) cheetah carving. What I'm looking for is a Clear matt finish to protect the watercolour paint wash and pyrography colour that will not affect the colour of the piece. Grain pattern is not required for this piece as I'm looking to get this as lifelike as I can. It needs to be a fine finish that soakes in a bit rather than sitting on top of the wood clogging up the detail.

    Do you think something like a clear artists matt varvish might do the trick??

    All thoughts are most welcome on this one.

  • #2
    Ouch...that one is a debate. One watercolor can run so whatever you use needs to be tested on a non seen area. Most watercolor finishes are spray-on super light a few times and not recommended. If it was me, I would use Krylon spray Matte finish or Golden matte finish...but no guarantees that it would work. Remember this one matte finish can turn frosty white if put on too thick so keep it light.
    Last edited by DiLeon; 01-26-2022, 07:40 PM.
    . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di


    • #3
      I do not have a guaranteed solution but would like to offer the following.

      Watercolor paint will require a quick one step application because watercolor is designed to be "lifted". When any wet substance is applied over a watercolor, the watercolor paint will be dissolved and absorbed into the newly introduced wet substance. When you apply a varnish or an acrylic matt medium over a watercolor you must work quickly so as not to 'lift' the watercolor. Don't go over the first layer you apply. The degree to which it "soaks in" may cause a slight hue (color) shift and it could lighten the value.

      I do not have any experience with varnish over watercolor but I have had some success with
      'Liquitex thinned acrylic matt' over watercolor. While both should work be sure to test the process to be sure you will be happy with the results. The more it sits on top the less it impacts the watercolor beneath. The more it is thinned the more it soaks in.

      Another option could be using a spray fixative that is used by an artist to "seal" a drawing. I have found that 'Delacroix Pencil & Charcoal Fixative Spray' is a very good non-gloss sealer for delicate charcoal drawings and works well sealing all forms of pencil drawings including watercolor. see fixatives here
      This is alcohol based, soaks in and drys VERY quick. Having tested several fixatives, this one was the only one I felt did the job without bleeding, hue shifts or value changes. It seems to seal and then disappear.

      Please let us all know what you do and how it worked as we can all learn from this one.
      "Quality is not expensive. It is priceless!"


      • #4
        Hi Di
        Thanks a lot. Haven't decided to go with watercolour yet so still playing with ideas and options. Found I can get Krylon paints in NZ so will go have a look.

        Hi John.
        Thanks a lot for the information Now that you mention it I actually have a can of fixative that I got for a printed Light shade and yes it dries super fast with no distortion to detail so this might be a great option. Many thanks for suggesting it.


        • #5
          John is right about the fixative...and the recommendation by several artists is on watercolor is spray fixative and then if you want your spray matte varnish. Again test. Here is a video on the preferred method and it should work....??? but I have never sprayed anything with watercolors.

          . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di


          • #6
            Hi Di thanks for that. The video was very good. This has given me some good ideas to ret out I think.


            • #7
              Man, you got to love this site, I would be greatly surprised if there were any better
              . . .JoeB


              • #8
                I agree with Di, Krylon matte spray has never failed me. I use two very light sprays, rubbing with crumpled brown paper bag between the coats.


                • #9
                  My most often used finish is Minwax Satin Polyurethane that is brushed on. Because I paint with acrylics or other water-based paints, it doesn't lift or remove them when applied. I buy the small cans, so that the polyurethane is fresh, meaning it is thin and watery , which lets it absorb into the wood rather than just pooling on top. I flood the whole carving with a cheap brush and let it sit and soak in about a minute, before blotting off any excess puddles with a clean paper towel. It provides a matte finish that protects the carving and is very durable and doesn't change over time. Do not apply additional coats or it will get shiny and plastic looking as the coats build up. I occasionally use the spray lacquer finishes but you have to be careful not to apply them too thickly or you will get runs in the finish. That is not a problem with brush-on polyurethane. Don't confuse the polyurethane with polyacrylic finishes, which is water soluble and could affect a water-based paint. Older carvings that have gotten dusty can be rinsed off in the sink with no harm to the carving.
                  'If it wasn't for caffeine, I wouldn't have any personality at all!"



                  • #10
                    The way I see both fixative and the matte finish are great to have on hand, both of these get used for various projects. The matte finish will turn frosty if sprayed too heavily...I used it for this reason on the coral reef for my fish another time did not like the high gloss look that I put on turtle one coat light which toned down the shine. Fixative is great for multi layers on wood carving to hold down.. things like color pencils, pastels, eye shadows, etc...on top of your paint. So you paint, let dry...add your chalks, or fine glitter, then spray with fixative add some lines with markers ...(watch these can run) so fast light spray fixative...then you finish with your matte spray or varnish or whatever sealer you are using.
                    . Explore! Dream! Discover!” aloha Di


                    • #11
                      When I make a paper tag glue on for one of my carvings I use my ink jet printer. Like water colors it tends to run when most finishes are applied. To prevent this I give them a coating of the Krylon Matte Fixitive which allows me to glue them on and coat them with a waterbased finish without the paint running. I tend to agree with DiLeon.


                      • #12
                        All good info, and once again, there are lots of options. I like Testors all purpose dullcote flat lacquer. It is made for wood, glass, metal, fabric, stone, styrofoam and ceramic. I have only used the fixative mentioned on charcoal and pencil drawings on paper and was not happy with the results, but I have never used it on wood or water color.


                        • #13
                          Glenn - There are short and long term considerations for the finish. I have carvings that I finished with marine spar varnish - very durable, but tends to yellow after forty or fifty years. Very difficult to strip and replace. You may have to re-carve the piece. I have switched to water-based polyacrylic for my recent works. Often I want to be able to wipe water-based gel stain into lines, textures and undercuts, then wipe off the excess. This calls for a sealer that penetrates the wood before drying and blocking the further penetration of stain or finish.


                          • #14
                            I moved this to the Wood Finishing and Painting forum; new members would be more likely to look here for finishing techniques that in General Wood carving...

                            Some excellent information here!

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                            • #15
                              Hi Joe, Arthur,Di,Eddy,Sappy and Phil.

                              Thank you all so much for all the information you have sent me this has given me a list of options to explore and Thank you Phil for advice on longer term effects which is one I had totally forgotten about. True oil tends to yellow quite a lot over time.

                              Looks like lots of trials on scrap are in order !!!!!! Think maybe the minwax satin polyurethane might be the one as this piece will have a lot of fine detail that will collect dust and being able to give it a gental wash now and then would be a good thing.

                              I'm putting a lot of effort into this piece so I want it to be the best it can be. Think it will be my most detailed piece yet. The cheetah is stage one. Then comes the base and the springbok.