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How to Seal Chalk Pastels?

how to seal chalk pastels

Chalk pastel drawings are some of the most beautiful pieces that any artist can make. However, because you are using chalk, they are also quite delicate. If you know how to seal chalk pastels, you can make your drawings last much longer than not having them sealed at all.

In this article, you will be learning how you can properly seal your chalk pastel drawings. This will allow you to display or store your drawings more easily without worrying about them getting damaged or the colors smudged. Don’t worry. These methods are quite easy and I am sure that you will be able to do them yourself.

Step-by-Step Guide

Using regular fixative spray

using regular fixative spray

What to prepare:

  • Chalk pastel fixative spray – You can find this product in most art supply stores. Just ask for the one that is suitable for use on chalk pastels

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Prepare your chalk drawing

Place your chalk drawing on a flat surface carefully. Also, make sure that you will be doing this in a well-ventilated place. This is important because you will be using a spray-on fixative, which can smell quite nauseating.

Step 2 – Spray the fixative all over the drawing

Shake the spray can of fixative thoroughly. This will make sure that you will be spraying a uniform amount of fixative. First, hold the nozzle at least 8 inches above the drawing. Point the nozzle outside of the drawing, press the button, and then spray across the drawing and beyond the other edge.

Spraying the fixative this way will prevent globs of the fixative on the surface of your drawing. Make sure that your sprays are uniform and overlapping.

Step 3 – Wait for the first coating to dry

If you will be using several coatings of fixative, then you will need to wait for the first layer to dry. Wait around half an hour to ensure that the fixative has dried enough that you can apply the next layer of fixative.

Step 4 – Wait for the fixative to dry completely

Leave the drawing to dry completely once you have finished spraying the fixative all over it. Depending on the brand of fixative you used, you may have to wait a couple of hours. However, to be on the safe side, you should let the drawing dry overnight. Once the fixative is dry, you can display or store the drawing.

Using Hairspray

using hairspray

If you do not have a fixative on hand but you have a can of hairspray, you can use it as a makeshift fixative.

What to prepare:

  • A can of hairspray

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Prepare the drawing

Before you can start spraying the drawing with the hairspray, you should turn it on its side and give it a good shake to remove loose chalk dust. You don’t have to shake too vigorously. It should be just enough to remove some of the loose dust.

Place the drawing on a flat surface covered with a couple of sheets of newspaper. Ideally, you should be doing this in a well-ventilated area.

Step 2 – Start applying the fixative

Just like before, keep the nozzle around 8 inches to 1 foot away from the surface of the chalk drawing. Point the nozzle outside of the drawing, press the nozzle, spray across the page, and end outside the other edge. This will prevent the hairspray from leaving streaks and blobs on the surface.

Continue until you cover the entire surface of the drawing. If you need to apply another layer of fixative, wait at least half an hour or until the surface feels a bit tacky. You can then apply the next layer.

Step 3 – Wait for the fixative to dry

The hairspray will usually dry completely after a couple of hours. However, just to make sure that it has dried completely, you might want to leave the drawing alone overnight. Once the surface is completely dry to the touch, you can now display or store your chalk pastel drawing.

Why Do You Need to Seal Your Chalk Drawing?

why do you need to seal your chalk drawing

Protects the drawing – Charcoal pastels are easy to smudge. Even the slightest touch will smudge the colors together. You will have to apply a sealer or fixative to prevent the chalk layers from getting smudged.

Prevents the colors from fading – If you display your chalk drawings unprotected, exposure to light, especially sunlight will cause the colors to fade. Although you can retouch the colors later, sealing the chalk pastels will allow the colors to last longer.

Provides you with your desired finish – You can choose from a sealant that has a glossy finish or a product that has a dull matte finish. Regardless of the finish that you chose, the fixative will do its job of sealing the drawing properly.


Knowing how to seal chalk pastels is one of the most important things that you can do for your precious drawings. You want to do whatever you can to make your drawings, which you put many hours of work into, last longer.

Sealing your chalk drawings will make sure that the colors will stay on the surface of the paper or canvas. With a good sealant/fixative, you do not have to worry about smudging or shaking the chalk off the drawing surface.

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