Most media, even the most robust, fade over time upon exposure to elements. So, what is the most effective way you can think of to protect your beautiful work of art from dust, sunlight, and other hazards?
The recommended method among artists is a fixative spray. Such a spray coating can keep your painting colors intact for a long time.
If you are here for the best fixative for pastels on the market, read the recommended list below. Also, there is a comprehensive buying guide, and step-by-step instructions on how to take advantage of the spray fix the most.
- Fixative for Pastels Reviews
- 1. Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear
- 2. Grumbacher 546 Workable Fixative Spray
- 3. Sennelier D’artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix
- 4. Winsor & Newton Artists’ Aerosols Workable Fixative
- 5. SpectraFix SFX-31270 Fixative Spray
- 6. Grumbacher Final Fixative Gloss Spray
- 7. Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
- 8. Sennelier Latour Pastel Spray Fix
- 9. Camlin Kokuyo Artists Fixative Spray
- 10. Lascaux Archival Fix Spray
- 11. Sennelier Delacroix Fixative Spray
- 12. Grumbacher 549 Final Fixative Matte Spray
- How To Choose Fixative for Pastels?
- Do pastels need fixative?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Fixative for Pastels Reviews
1. Krylon K01306 Workable Fixatif Spray Clear
This matte workable fixative spray of Krylon K01306 is a wonderful choice to preserve drawings by chalk, pastel, charcoal, crayon, pencil, and computer prints. It produces a clear and mousy finish to prevent unwanted smudges and wrinkles from the mentioned soft art materials. The spray takes 30 mins to dry up.
Because the matte fixative spray has been certified to be both acid-free and archival-safe, I am quite certain about using it in the long run. When you apply this layer of clear spray on a targeted surface, you can even turn it into an eraser through the artwork’s old coating to redo your dissatisfying piece of art.
There are a lot of surfaces that you are able to spray this workable fixative vapor on including paper mache, glass, metal, wood, plastic, dried silk flowers, ceramic, etc. Most people recommend the fixative spray as easy to use and a true value worthy of your money, especially when it doesn’t leave any yellow odor.
However, I feel the need to say that this workable spray has to be used in a well-ventilated area because of its chemical smell that might disturb your respiratory system. Although its material has been free from acid and safe for archival, you should not stay inside a closed room to avoid the risk of inhaling it.
2. Grumbacher 546 Workable Fixative Spray
In order to thoroughly prepare for your targeted drawing surface and make the applied ink last longer, I suggest you use this can of Grumbacher 546 fixative spray for pastels. It has been manufactured and qualified with the strict USA standard so I think there is not much doubt in its overall performance and high quality.
This fixative spray produces a matte and non-glossy preparation layer for the artwork prior to your drawing process. Remember that it is not a final fixative to be used after you have finished. The workable spray delivers the most ideal effects when combined with water-based media like pastel, charcoal, and pencil.
Despite being an effective protective seal for the spray can’s head, its cap is closed too tight and makes it hard for an adult to open. As a consequence, I have to cut it off and now the broken cap is unable to perform its initial task of closing the fixative vapor can anymore. It should have been made less stiff to open.
3. Sennelier D’artigny Oil Pastel Sprayfix
Most people do not seem to care much about the noise created by using a vapor, but I know that the sheerness of this Sennelier D’artigny spray fixative for oil pastels will delight a lot of users. Plus, it will eliminate the undesirable noises created when you use the spray to cover a large painting around other people.
It is common sense to think that oil pastels would never dry up on your work of art, but having this vinyl resin and alcohol-based spray fix to hold the ink in place and keep debris off will save you much effort afterward. Since the pastel fixative has been rated with thickness, you should apply thin layers multiple times instead of a heavy coat.
This spray fixative is able to make your applied oil pastels really glossy and have a more professional look. I think the most suitable type of users to take advantage of the alcohol-based fixative spray would be professional/amateur artists and art teachers, as it is one of the best fixators you can find on the market.
There are not many critical comments on the product quality but I expect the brand Sennelier would provide further information about this oil pastel spray fixative to its users. The important but missing information is its expiration date and how brand new users can properly use the 400ml spray can with the right technique.
4. Winsor & Newton Artists’ Aerosols Workable Fixative
This Winsor and Newton fixative can is made in France and delivers a transparent coating on your painted surfaces from pastel, chalk, pencil, and charcoal. The durable fixative provides a protective layer for a painting surface and as a consequence, protects your work of art from dust, smudges, and debris.
In the middle of your work, you should apply this fixative as a good medium. Also, it can enable you to continue working on the top of a surface after the workable spray application. I find it pleasing that this spray fixative can will not affect the colors, and at the same time enhance its lightfastness-for a better outcome.
Its most noticeable downside straight out of the box is the lack of a spray head or sometimes called a nozzle. Without this particular component, there is no chance that you can use this spray can in the right way. A fixative spray bottle can miss anything but the head to eject its vapor, so it needs to be repaired soon.
5. SpectraFix SFX-31270 Fixative Spray
The SpectraFix SFX-31270 spray produces light water mist rather than thick aerosol like another fixative for oil pastels on the market. There are 3 pump bottle sizes available for the product, but I would recommend getting the 12 oz one because it is among the standard capacity for most pastel fixative sprays.
I am highly interested in this fixative spray’s list of ingredients made from a milk casein formula including casein, denatured alcohol, and water. They are all-natural and do not leave unwanted odors on your painting. This light mist works with a lot of water-based media such as pencil, charcoal, pastel, chalk, etc.
More than one previous users have run into this certain problem with the 12 oz fixative spray and so have I. Its spray nozzle does not release this product in a fine, even mist and it is a great likelihood you will see several water blobs sitting on top of your artwork after the spraying. This may ruin the art piece.
6. Grumbacher Final Fixative Gloss Spray
Apart from creating a matte protective layer, a fixative spray can also produce a glossy finish and that is why the #543 gloss spray from Grumbacher is your next available option. This type of final fixative is often used to rework and preserve art pieces made from dry media such as charcoal, graphite, and pastel.
I am quite pleased to have this charcoal fixative alternative around because it is applicable to a series of different surfaces like ceramic, photographs, paper, and other printed materials. You only need to keep in mind that the art piece should be held vertically and the spray should be applied 12 inches from it.
Being manufactured in the USA can be considered a major bonus for this fixative spray with guaranteed high quality. Though it creates a glossy finish, it is also colorless and does not turn yellow later on in the painting. I am impressed by how quick drying this spray is and you can draw over this dry layer.
Surprisingly, many users value the effects that this Grumbacher #543 fixative gloss spray make on their art pieces, and there is nearly no negative comment about the product. I hope the brand can continue to produce brilliant products like this spray to serve many creative users, both professional and amateurs.
7. Blair Very Low Odor Spray Fix
About the Blair 10516 spray fixative, the most highlighted feature is already on its name, which is leaving a really low amount of unwanted odor on your piece of drawing. So you needn’t be afraid that your hard work would be ruined in a few minutes by applying transparent oil pastels fixative on that surface.
Its finish is colorless matte, and the spray is used to redo artworks that you are not yet completely satisfied with. After having this protective layer of low-odor fixative vapor on your painting from pastel or other wet art media, I can assure you that the finished art piece would never smudge or get dusted again.
Because the fixative spray for pastel is prone to leave spots on drawings, I believe that not many users would feel alright with this issue. I must admit that some artists could find this type of spotting beneficial for their work of art, but in my opinion, an effective matte spray fix should not include this kind of flaw.
8. Sennelier Latour Pastel Spray Fix
This brand is famous and highly reliable in manufacturing a series of fixative spray for different art media, and this one is the Sennelier Latour spray fixative for pastels. As usual from the brand, this spray fixative for pastel can is enough for you to spray on a large surface or use the can for a long time.
I love how the pastel spray fix does not alter the colors in a drastic way like most other products available. However, too much vapor would darken your applied ink so remember to gently pump it from a distance. On the other hand, a sufficient amount of this fixative coating makes sure your painting does not smudge.
Nonetheless, the fixative spray can does not seem to manage its inner vapor well because it might drop large watery blobs on your artwork by chance. In spite of the fact that this defection does not happen on a regular basis, it still has the potential of discoloring your art piece and therefore, should be fixed.
9. Camlin Kokuyo Artists Fixative Spray
This is the smallest container you can find here in this review list, so I advise you to buy this Camlin Kokuyo spray fix for quick use and first-time experience. The spray delivers a colorless finish that cannot be removed from your surface in order to preserve it from external elements. such as debris and dust.
For all types of dry art media such as charcoal, pencil, chalk, and pastel, this artist fixative spray will do the work of an effective medium during your process. The vapor is said to dry up quickly after your application so it would not leave watery odors on the painting. It is one of the best options you can get as a beginner.
Unfortunately, this fixative spray usually produces an obnoxious chemical fume that is not safe for the respiration health of users. Though it has been instructed to be used in a well-ventilated room, it is still not enough as the whole room reeks of the smell as soon as you finish spraying several times.
10. Lascaux Archival Fix Spray
At first sight, I am impressed with the minimal and modern tin bottle design that carries this acrylic fixative of Lascaux 2070 Archival Fix Spray. With this amount of qualitative pastel fixative spray, I believe you would not encounter much trouble spraying the vapor on desired surfaces and protecting them.
The spray has a tendency to darken the applied media such as oil pastel, ink, watercolor, pencil, charcoal, etc. but not too much that alters its appearance. I enjoy how the archival fixative spray does not leave any sort of smearing and bubbles after being applied to your piece of art. It is a smart choice for these values.
However, not every user is satisfied with its color darkening outcome when the fixative spray dulls the pastel ink that they used to draw with. It may not be too obvious on white paper based pastels, but sadly, it turns out quite noticeable with black ones. This issue should be further improved to please more users.
11. Sennelier Delacroix Fixative Spray
The final Sennelier fixative for pastels on this list is called Delacroix with the usual bottle capacity from this brand. Its fixative vapor is colorless and non-yellowing to make sure it would not damage your work of art by accident. This layer also helps to preserve the drawing from smudges and getting dirty.
This spray is praised to deliver professional results through a matte finish that seals artwork made from dry media like charcoal, pencil, and graphite against external impacts. It is said to be quite strong compared to the Latour fixative line I have mentioned earlier, therefore, you need to be careful using it with pastel.
Luckily, there has been absolutely no defection so far when it comes to the overall quality and performance of this powerful fixative spray for pastel. Most users are happy with the money they spend on this product that is able to protect their artwork. After the spray, you can still draw more right on the top of it.
12. Grumbacher 549 Final Fixative Matte Spray
This is another reliable oil pastel fixative alternative that you can trust to provide your painting with durable protection, the Grumbacher 549 final spray fix. The spray delivers a strong matte finish without doing any harm to your art piece. Its manufacturer is based in the USA, which always obtains the highest quality.
I see that users are able to use this fixative spray both as a preparation for their drawing surface and as an effective final sealing. This means the artwork would include multiple light preservation layers for enhanced protection and durability. It is a perfect spray to function with most water-based media like oil pastels.
In spite of these wonderful advantages, the final fixative spray does not perform as well with charcoal paintings as expected. The applied charcoal might come right off after a few sprays from the can, which is considered great damage to the artist. I hope the brand will figure this issue out and repair it soon.
How To Choose Fixative for Pastels?
After researching through the comprehensive review list, you probably think that fixative sprays for pastels on the market do not differentiate much from each other. However, without a closer look at the following features, I bet that you would not be able to purchase the best and most suitable spray for your purpose.
Let’s start with the external container type of a regular spray fix. As you can see from the produces above, it is usually contained inside a pressurized aerosol can to eject fixative vapor. Another less popular type but functions the same way would be a spray pump bottle that produces a fine mist.
Of course, both of the mentioned container types need to have a spray nozzle and a sealed cap. However, aerosol cans tend to release a thick coating that you cannot control at all times. The propellant needed for fixative ejection may have unforeseeable effects on pastels, therefore, a light mist spray is more recommended.
11, 11 ¾, 12, and 400ml are the most common can sizes for soft pastel fixative. There are other bottle capacities such as 200ml but I think it should be your first try-out rather than long-term use because this size is not much compared to the common ones. It takes a few A3 and A4 drawings to run out.
Type of Finish
Most fixative sprays produce a matte and transparent finish so as not to affect the pastel paint on your piece of art. Glossy is not the foremost priority because it may cause changes in the overall structure of an artwork. But it can definitely be a brilliant decorative addition to your painting.
In conclusion, the spray fix finish should best be colorless and quick-drying regardless of its type. That way, it would not ruin your precious artwork by any chance and provide a firm protective coating away from smudges and dust afterward. Just make sure you have checked the bottle specifications carefully before buying to avoid bringing home the wrong type of fixative finish for pastel.
In most cases related to using art supplies like this artist fixative spray for pastel, users would certainly make direct contact with them for continuous hours. Therefore, it is a must for the sprays to be formulated from safe ingredients that most minimize the risk of doing harm to your health.
Other than the acid-free and archival-safe feature that a majority of spray fix includes in their vapor, you can find sprays made out of a natural formula such as milk casein. It would reduce the amount of toxic alcohol inside the product for you to safely use this pastel fixative spray inside the house with less worry.
Nevertheless, I see this as a disadvantage for many people who use a fixative spray to protect their paintings. Unlike the AP ACMI and EN71 certification for drawing tools, there is no specific standard or qualification to assess the safeness of a fixative spray can. You have to check and give it a test yourself.
Last but not least, although it is not displayed on the bottle label, I know plenty of users are concerned about this matter. It relates to the smell that a fixative spray produces when releasing its vapor, which has to be either pleasant or at least not in an obnoxious, annoying way that can cause headaches.
It is sad to know that a lot of fixative sprays are free from chemicals but still produce a disturbing scent while in use and cause irritation to your respiratory system. You should better put on a mask when spraying, plus, the distance between your sprayer and the aimed surface should always be at least 15 inches.
Obviously, it is impossible to demand fixative spray for pastel brands to create art preservative products that have a perfume-like smell. However, I think they should decrease the alcohol level in the spray to lessen the chemical smell. That way, people would be less intimidated by the effects it makes on their health.
Do pastels need fixative?
Yes, they do. It is highly recommended to use a suitable type of fixative on pastels to preserve the media well.
Soft pastel tends to move on the paper surface due to its lack of sticky properties. Therefore, the media can be smeared and brushed off if we accidentally rub our finished painting.
That’s why putting a light fixative layer over your work is necessary to keep the pastels intact. And it’s best if you do that occasionally.
Indeed, the fixative is applicable not just after the work is completed. You can carefully apply it to pastels while in the middle of painting to help the pastels stick better. Besides, this agent works in darkening the colors used too, so it would be helpful if you need such an effect.
- Do not apply a thick layer of fixative on pastels
- Wear a mask when you use the agent
- Let the fixative dries completely for at least a day before framing the painting
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Who is This for?
A fixative spray for pastel can be used by any creative users, from amateur to professional artists, colorists who want to obtain an effective method of preservation for their wonderful drawings. You needn’t have previous skills to buy a spray fix can. But it is not for children as the spray formula contains alcohol.
What are The Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Fixative for Pastels?
Getting to know too many benefits of a fixative spray for pastel would be a disadvantage because you should truly understand what it has got to offer and what it cannot at once. Therefore, it is my pleasure to collect and present both the pros and cons of a regular pastel fixative spray for you to be further aware of.
- Provides a durable protective coating to stop smears and wrinkles from ruining your paintings or paper prints
- Works with loads of art supplies including pencil, pastel, chalk, crayon, water painting, etc
- Applicable to a series of surfaces such as plastic, ceramic, metal, wood, dried flowers, paper, glass, etc
- Covers large areas from getting dirty with debris and dust
- Enables easy rework of the drawing in case of undesirable mistakes
- Seals the media on a piece of art from fading over time
- One single bottle can be used to spray evenly on wide surfaces
- Ingredients are not entirely safe, especially because of the vapor
- May darken the applied color of oil pastels or leave spots and odors
- Troublesome nozzle not ejecting your desired amount of spray
- Produces an unpleasant chemical smell so it has to be used in well-ventilated rooms to avoid inhalation
- Extremely flammable when placing around hot and fiery areas
- Sometimes leaves unwanted bubbles and still smears after applying
What are the Different Types of Fixative for Pastels?
You may think there is only one single type of spray fixative to work with your pastel art piece, but different types of fixative for pastels are available on the market. It is for your own advantage to learn about these fixative spray types to identify which one would suit your personal needs the most among so many.
The common feature of any fixative spray is ink preservation and protection from smudges, dust, and debris. But you ought to know when is the right time to apply different spray types to your work based on my instruction right below. It could either be a preparation method, a medium, or mostly a final sealing.
For use throughout the whole working process: before, during, and after finishing the art piece.
Only performs as surface preparation or medium in the middle of your work because it is not a final fixative.
As you can see, it is really important to read through the product description at least once to clearly understand the main purpose of your desired spray fix. Some are even used to create an erase-through layer to rework your painting, or in contrast, once applied, you are no longer able to add any extra ink on the piece.
What are the Most Popular Fixative for Pastels Brands?
In terms of the most popular and reliable fixative spray for pastel brands, I would definitely give a thumbs up for these names with their high-quality and durable products: SpectraFix, Krylon, Blair, Windsor & Newton, Lascaux, Grumbacher, Sennelier, and Camlin. Why do they deserve to be purchased?
These brands offer a wide range of fixative sprays and diverse bottle capacity for different groups of users to find exactly what they need. Their sprays all consist of safe ingredients that deliver a transparent finish, whether it is matte or glossy. They protect the art from fading, smudging, getting dirty, and dusted.
Can you Use Hairspray as a Fixative for Pastels?
There is a variety of fixative spray alternatives but as far as I am concerned, the most inexpensive and popularly used method would be using hairspray. But in your case, can you really use hairspray to replace a fixative for pastel drawings? What are the main differences between these two spraying tools?
With a bottle of hairspray, users can find a well-known brand with a pleasant fragrance to apply to their work of art. On the contrary, if you pay for a fixative spray specifically made for art uses, it would be the money for the dispersion of this spray and to achieve a true acrylate coating that can preserve your drawing.
In case you insist on using this fixative alternative for pastel, I would suggest applying the hairspray on art pieces made from friable or powdery media (besides pastel there is chalk and charcoal). Hairspray can be found in many convenience stores and supermarkets at a reasonably low price for you to select.
How to Use it?
With a fixative spray can, you should either spray in your preparation for the surface, during your drawing process or after you’ve completed your artwork according to its specification. Always remember to take a look at the spray description for further information about the best moment to apply it to your surface.
My advice is to test the vapor on a scrap surface that consists of a similar media application as your own work prior to using it. It is always ideal to use the spray in a well-ventilated room and follow its safety instructions. Be careful with your force since over-applying may change the colors and dissolve the pastel.
Subsequently, you need to shake well for a minute. You can clear its nozzle by spraying a bit on scrap paper, turn the can upside down, and continue until only gas comes out. The painting should be set vertically and be sprayed at 12 inches. Wait 5 minutes between each coat, and allow full dry before touching.
Here is a great tip from my personal experience. The closer you spray this pastel fixative on a certain surface, the higher the chance of damaging the paper, or power washing the graphite powder and pushing the grains into a different direction. That is why you should stand at least 12 inches afar to spray.
Where can you Buy it?
Knowing the most reliable brands of fixative spray is not enough for you to successfully purchase a fine can for your drawing. What you need to fulfill the list would be reputable addresses to get them at reasonable prices and trusted quality including Home Depot, eBay, Walmart, Lowes, Amazon, and Best Buy.
These names consist of both famous chain stores and online shopping sites where you can find a wide range of fixative spray with different features at your most suitable budget. They also provide trustworthy product warranties in case you are not fully satisfied, with dedicated customer service to support you.
Despite having other less expensive alternatives, you cannot deny the fact that fixative spray is the ultimate product to work with pastel art pieces. It is not simple to find any other type of product that is able to seal your media and preserve it from smudges and dust. That is why it has to be your go-to option.
What is your opinion on this article about the best fixative for pastels? Have you found any suitable products to purchase yet? If not, it is perfectly fine as you can make use of my buying guide and professional tips to check out other fixative sprays on the market. Have fun shopping and thank you for reading.