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How to Seal a Watercolor Painting

how to seal a watercolor painting

Many artists use sealant on their paintings to protect them from water damage and other elements that can potentially ruin a work of art. The sealant also helps preserve the colors and create a glossy surface that makes it easy to frame the painting if desired.

It is an indeed important step in the process of preserving your beautiful artwork. Therefore, we will show you how to seal a watercolor painting in this post.

How do you Preserve a Watercolor Painting?

You’ll need the Following Items:

  • Your beautiful watercolor painting
  • Sealant pen – This paintbrush-like applicator is specially designed to seal the back of your painting with ease and precision, ensuring that no part of it remains unsealed or unpainted.
  • Foam brush
  • Damp paintbrush/paper towel
  • Sealant (such as a spray sealant or Mod Podge)

The sealant you choose will depend on the surface of your painting. If your artwork is on paper, we recommend using a spray sealant. This type of sealant is quick and easy to apply, and it dries quickly so you can continue working on your painting.

If your painting is on canvas, we recommend using Mod Podge. This sealant is thicker than a spray sealant and provides more protection for your artwork. It’s also non-toxic and water-resistant.

Once you have chosen the sealant you want to use, make sure that the paint is completely dry before proceeding.

The Step-by-Step Guide to Seal Watercolor Paintings

how do you preserve a watercolor painting

Step 1: Seal the Back of your Painting.

We recommend using a sealant pen for this step. To apply a sealant to the back of your watercolor painting:

  • Spray sealants can be sprayed directly on the surface from approximately six inches away. You may need to spray several coats until you’ve covered every inch of your paper or canvas – including any edges where moisture could seep in over time
  • If Mod Podge is used, make sure to spread an even coat by brushing across the entire area with a foam brush. Allow it enough time (approximately 20 minutes) to dry before moving on to the next step

Step 2: Seal the Front of your Painting.

Seal the front of your artwork with a thin coat of sealant, using long strokes that go in one direction only.

The sealant should be applied sparingly because it will build upon its own as you apply more layers later on.

If possible, try not to get any sealant onto the surface or around the edges of your watercolor painting.

Otherwise, use a damp paintbrush (or paper towel) and some clean water to remove excess sealant from these areas before it dries completely.

Step 3: Seal the Edges of your Painting.

  • Before you seal the outermost edges, allow some sealant onto the surface by applying a thin coat on top of one section of paint or paper.
  • If there are any areas where the sealant has built up too much at this point, you should remove it.
  • You can use water and a clean paintbrush (or paper towel) to gently dab it before it dries completely. This will help protect your artwork from unwanted smudges that could occur if excess sealant were allowed between layers.
  • You may need several coats until you’ve covered every inch of your painting’s surface with sealant, including its outermost edge.
  • Allow everything time to dry in-between steps, for each layer builds upon another without sticking together or smearing into other parts of your work-of-art.
  • Once you have completed these simple steps, your watercolor painting will be safe from any potential damages such as moisture, fading colors, and more.

Do you Need to Seal a Watercolor Painting?

Watercolor paintings are beautiful, but they can be delicate. You may wonder if you need to seal them to protect them from fading or damage. The answer is, it depends.

If you plan to display your painting in a location with high humidity levels, such as a bathroom, then it is a good idea to seal it with a sealant. This will help protect the paint from moisture and prevent it from peeling or fading over time.

If you plan to store your painting away in a dry place, such as an attic or basement, then you do not need to seal it. The low humidity levels in these locations will help keep the paint safe without any extra protection.


Now that you know how to seal a watercolor painting, keep it looking beautiful by hanging the piece in an art gallery-worthy frame. With these tips and tricks, your work is sure to stay protected for years to come.

Sealing your paintings is one of the most important things you can do as an artist to protect them from damage. So be sure to add this step into your routine and enjoy your artwork for years to come.

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