How to Seal Soft Pastels on Paper – A Step-by-Step Guide

Do you want to create stunning artwork with pastels? Sealing the pastels to the paper is an important step in the process, as it ensures that the colors stay vibrant and won’t fade away over time. In this blog post, we will cover the process of sealing pastels to paper, from gathering the necessary materials and tools to adding a coat of varnish. With the step-by-step instructions provided, you’ll be able to successfully seal your pastels and create beautiful artwork that will last for years to come. Let’s get started!


1. Overview of Soft Pastels

Soft pastels are an incredibly versatile medium for artists, allowing them to create beautiful paintings and effects. They are an excellent choice for those who want to explore the deepest depths of color, texture and detail. Soft pastels are made of pigment mixed with a binder, usually gum arabic, and are available in a wide range of colors and tones. They are also easy to blend and can be used to create a variety of effects.

Soft pastels are ideal for paintings and creating artworks with subtle details. They can be used to create both abstract and realistic artwork, as well as to add texture and depth to a painting. Soft pastels are ideal for creating delicate and subtle gradients, as well as for adding fine details to a painting. They can also be used to create a range of effects, such as glazing, stippling, hatching and scumbling.

Soft pastels can be used on a variety of surfaces, from paper and board to canvas and wood. They are also ideal for creating detailed textures, as they can be easily applied with a brush or a palette knife. Soft pastels come in a variety of sizes, from thin sticks to large blocks, making them suitable for a variety of projects.

Soft pastels are a great choice for those who want to explore the world of colors and textures. They are easy to use and can be used to create a wide range of effects. Soft pastels offer the artist an opportunity to explore new techniques and to create beautiful, vibrant and detailed pieces of art.

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2. Choosing a Sealing Method

Choosing the right sealing method for soft pastels on paper can be a challenge. There are several options to choose from, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The most common method of sealing soft pastels on paper is using fixative. Fixative is a protective spray that helps to lock in the pastel pigment and keep it from smearing. It also prevents dust and dirt from settling onto the painting. When using fixative, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully in order to avoid damaging the paper or altering the colors of the pastels.

Another option for sealing soft pastels is to use a fixative gel. This is a thicker, more viscous form of fixative that can be applied with a brush. It is often used for larger areas of pastel and is especially helpful for blending and softening edges. The downside of using a fixative gel is that it can be difficult to work with and can be messy.

A third option is to use a sealing medium. There are several different types of sealing mediums, such as acrylic varnishes, shellac, and waxes. These can provide a more durable protective layer than fixatives and can also help to enhance the vibrancy of the pastel colors. However, they can be difficult to apply evenly and are best left to experienced painters.

Finally, you can also choose to use a combination of the methods described above. For example, you can apply a layer of fixative and then follow up with a sealing medium. This can provide a greater degree of protection and can also help to bring out the best of the pastel colors.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to remember that you should always test it on a small area of your paper before applying it to the entire painting. That way, you can make sure that it won’t damage the paper or alter the colors of the pastels.

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3. Preparing the Paper for Sealing

When it comes to sealing soft pastels on paper, the preparation of the paper is key. By taking the time to properly prepare the paper, you can ensure that your soft pastels stay put and achieve a professional-looking finish. Here are 3 tips to help you prepare the paper for sealing.

1. Choose the right paper. The type of paper you use can make a big difference when it comes to sealing pastels. Look for paper labeled specifically for pastels or that is acid-free, as these kinds of paper will help protect the pastels from smudging and fading. Avoid using paper with a glossy finish, as it can cause the pastels to not adhere properly.

2. Prime the paper. To further protect the pastels, you should prime the paper with a thin layer of primer. This will help the pastels stick to the paper and also provide a protective layer against smudges and fading.

3. Prepare the surface. Before you seal the pastels, you should make sure the paper is completely clean and free of dust, dirt, and oils. You can do this by lightly sanding the paper with fine sandpaper or wiping it with a clean cloth. This will help the sealant adhere better and provide a smoother finish.

By following these steps, you can ensure that your soft pastels stay secure and look beautiful. With the right preparation, you can make sure your pastel artwork is preserved and looks great for years to come.

4. Executing the Sealing Process

Once you have all of the necessary materials and tools, executing the sealing process is relatively simple.

First, you will need to ensure that the surface you are working on is clean and dry as any dust or dirt can interfere with the sealing process. Lay out the pastels on the paper in the desired design and let the colors stand out with their vibrancy.

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Next, you will need to use the aerosol spray to seal the pastels to the paper. Hold the can approximately 6 inches away from the paper and spray the paper with a steady motion. If you are looking for a more consistent finish, spray in a circular motion around the paper. Be sure to cover the entire area of the paper and pastel evenly.

Once you have sprayed the paper, you will need to wait for it to dry. Depending on the humidity and temperature levels, this can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours. If you need to speed up the process, you can use a hair dryer on a low setting to help the sealing process.

Once the paper is dry, you can gently brush away any excess pastel dust with a soft brush. This will help to ensure that the pastels are securely sealed to the paper.

Finally, you will want to protect the sealed pastels by adding a coat of varnish to the paper. This will help to prevent fading and wear and tear. For best results, use a varnish that is specifically designed for pastels. After the varnish has dried, your pastels will be securely sealed to the paper and ready to be displayed or given as a gift.

In Summary

This blog post outlines the process of sealing pastels to paper. It begins with ensuring that the surface is clean and dry and laying out the pastels. Then, an aerosol spray is used to seal the pastels and the paper is left to dry. After, any excess pastel dust is brushed away and a coat of varnish is added to protect the pastels. By following these steps, you can securely seal pastels to paper and have a beautiful finished product that is ready to be displayed or gifted.