How to Seal a Watercolor Canvas

by Brenda Priddy

There are two ways to get watercolors onto a canvas. The first method is to simply glue watercolor paper to a canvas surface. The second method is a special kind of canvas that is treated with chemicals to give the same effect as watercolor paper. Sealing a watercolor canvas will protect the image from smudging, washing away or sunlight damage. The seal will also give the image a glossy appearance, which helps the canvas look finished.

Items you will need

  • Clear gloss acrylic spray
  • Standard canvas, slightly larger than watercolor image
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Matte medium
  • Heavy book
  • Gloss varnish
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Step 1

Spray the watercolor image with a clear gloss acrylic spray. Allow the spray to dry for one hour and then apply the second and third coats. Allow the paper to dry overnight.

Step 2

Paint the canvas with acrylic paints to match the background of the watercolor paint. Allow the paint to dry overnight.

Step 3

Paint the back of the paper and the canvas where the paper will rest with matte medium. Press the paper over the canvas. Turn the canvas upside down and smooth out any air bubbles from the back of the canvas. Place a heavy book on the back of the canvas. Allow the glue to dry for one hour. Flip the canvas over and wipe away any excess glue. Allow the canvas to dry overnight.

Step 4

Paint a coat of gloss varnish over the paper and canvas. Allow the canvas to dry for one hour. Apply a second coat of varnish and allow the canvas to dry overnight.

Photo Credits

  • Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images