Using Fixatives

Final Fixative

Final fixatives are used to fix and protect dry media such as pastels, charcoal, pastel pencils and graphite from smudging and rubbing off. Final fixatives come in glossy and matte finishes.

You should always test fixatives on a scrap surface with the media used on your final work before using artwork. Fixatives will tend to darken your media. The degree of the color shift will depend on the media, the amount of the media and surface of the artwork.

Always use in a well ventilated area with temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity below 65%. Follow safety instructions carefully. Never spray near a flame. Not for use by children.

Set work vertically. Shake the can for a minimum of 1 to 2 minutes before use. This is especially important for matte finish fixatives. Prior to spraying clear the nozzle. To do this spray a few blasts onto scrap paper, then turn the can upside down and spray until there is only gas coming out. This will assure the spray will not come out in clumps. Spray at least 12 inches from the artwork. Overlap the spray about a ½ inch on each pass. Light coats are best. Additional coats may be used if heavier applications are desired. (This is where you apply according to your test) Wait 5 to 7 minutes between coats. Turn the artwork 90 degrees before each coat. Allow fixative to dry completely before touch the work.

Do not over apply as it will cause a more dramatic color shift or even cause pastels to dissolve in the fixative.

Workable Fixative

Workable fixatives are used to fix dry media such as pastels, charcoal, pastel pencils and graphite when it is desired to use additional media. Historically workable fixatives were developed for use by designers using gouache. One could fix the gouache and paint over it without having the colors mixing. Now it is primarily used with dry media. Workable fixatives have a matte finish.

You should always test fixatives on a scrap surface with the media used on your final work before using artwork. Fixatives will tend to darken your media. The degree of the color shift will depend on the media, the amount of the media and surface of the artwork.

Always use in a well ventilated area with temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit and relative humidity below 65%. Follow safety instructions carefully. Never spray near a flame. Not for use by children.

Set work vertically. Shake the can for a minimum of 1 to 2 minutes before use. This is especially important for matte finish fixatives. Prior to spraying clear the nozzle. To do this spray a few blasts onto scrap paper, then turn the can upside down and spray until there is only gas coming out. This will assure the spray will not come out in clumps. Spray at least 12 to 18 inches from the artwork. Overlap the spray about a ½ inch on each pass. Light coats are best. Additional coats may be used if heavier applications are desired. (This is where you apply according to your test) Wait 5 to 7 minutes between coats. Turn the artwork 90 degrees before each coat.

Allow fixative to dry completely before painting, drawing or touching the work. Do not over apply as it will cause a more dramatic color shift or even cause pastels to dissolve in the fixative.