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Can You Seal Oil Paint with Mod Podge?

Oil paints are an awesome way to create smooth and vibrant paintings, and Mod Podge is an extremely versatile product that can make your life easy on so many occasions. It makes sense to wonder whether these two popular products work together.

So, can you seal oil paint with Mod Podge? Unfortunately, you can’t. You will not be able to seal an oil painting with Mod Podge, because it doesn’t have the ability to stick properly to the oil paint, and it has the potential of ruining the entire painting. To seal an oil painting, it is best to use a sealant that is specifically designed for oil paints. 

Mod Podge is a water-based product and oil paint is oil-based. Water and oil do not mix, and this remains true when it comes to paints. If you try to use a water-based product with an oil-based product, the two will not adhere to each other. In this article we go over everything you need to know in order to properly seal you oil painting. Let’s read on!

How to Seal an Oil Painting

Sealing an oil painting properly can be tricky. You have to wait until the oil paint is completely cured, which can take a long time. If you try to seal the painting before it is ready, you can end up ruining the entire thing and you could lose all of your hard work.

Oil paints take a very long time to dry, so you might find yourself waiting a while before you can apply a sealant on top. It could take oil paint anywhere from 24 hours to dry to several weeks. When you don’t smell the oil paint anymore, it will be safe to apply the sealant on top.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Oil Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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The very first thing you need to do when sealing an oil painting is make sure that you have a sealant that is made for oil paints. These sealants will be made with an oil base instead of a water base, making it possible to adhere to oil paint. 

For my paintings, I use Grumbacher Varnish. It gives your painting a nice glossy finish, and it also protects against yellowing.

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Choose a spot to work in that is well-ventilated and dust-free. It is best to apply a sealant inside with all windows closed, so it is extra important for the room to be well-ventilated. An art studio would be the best option, but a room in your home will work if you keep the door open.

It is best to use a soft varnish brush that is wide and flat. Make sure it is a clean brush that you only use for varnishing, not painting. You will also want to lay your painting flat as you seal it. If you work vertically, the sealant can run down the painting and cause drips.

Stir your sealant to mix all of the chemicals together properly. You will then want to pour some into a separate container. Grab your varnish brush and load it with the sealant. Wipe the brush on the side of the container to remove excess sealant.

Apply the sealant in thin coats. It is recommended to apply three or four thin coats for maximum protection of your painting. Make sure your strokes are long and even. Alternate the directions you paint the layers in. If your first coat is top to bottom, your next coat should be side to side. 

Do not go over the same area more than one stroke on the same coat. If you happen to miss any spots, wait for the layer to completely dry and add another layer, do not try to fix it while the sealant is still wet. Let the sealant dry for 24 hours between each coat and before you hang it after the last coat is applied.

If you aren’t sure if the sealant is dry yet, there is no harm in letting it dry for a little longer before moving it. It’s better to make sure the sealant is completely cured before touching it and potentially ruining the top sealant.

Can You Seal Oil Pastels with Mod Podge?

Oil pastels shouldn’t be sealed with Mod Podge. The two products are made from different materials and will not mix well together. Water and oil don’t mix, so Mod Podge will not stick well to any type of oil-based product.  

For oil pastel paintings, you should use Sennelier Latour Spray Fixative. This is the only varnish that will seal your pastel painting.

What Can I Use to Seal an Oil Painting?

There are two types of oil sealants: traditional natural and synthetic. With traditional natural sealants, there are both hard and soft. Hard sealants are harder to find, but they will not reactivate when they come in contact with a solvent like turpentine or mineral spirits, only by hot oil. This can damage the painting.

Soft sealants will have the ability to be removed from the surface of an oil painting without causing any damage to the painting. Soft sealants will also slowly yellow over time, which will impact how your painting looks over the years.

Synthetic sealants have many benefits over traditional sealants. These sealants will not yellow over time and they are more flexible than natural sealants. Synthetic sealants are also available in spray cans or as a liquid. 

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You are also going to have a much easier time finding a synthetic sealant. They are less expensive than traditional sealants and are available in different finishes. Like soft traditional sealants, they are easy to remove with no risk of the painting underneath becoming damaged.

One of the most used sealants for oil paintings is synthetic gloss. You will usually brush this on, but it also comes in a spray can. Using a spray varnish will prevent you from having to brush on top of your oil painting.

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If you don’t want a glossy finish, you might enjoy a sealant with a matte finish. This will take away the glossy finish and leave you with a flat finish that darkens your colors a little instead of brightening the colors. 

To seal my oil paintings, I typically use Grumbacher Spray Varnish, or of I’m brushing the varnish on, I use their brush-on option.

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Can I Dry Oil Paint with a Hair Dryer?

It might be tempting to speed up the drying process of oil paints with a hair dryer.  Unfortunately, this idea won’t work very well. When oil paints dry, they do so through oxidation. Adding heat from the hair dryer won’t speed up the drying process. 

Applying heat to an oil painting can potentially crack your painting and ruin all of the hard work you put in. The hair dryer also has the potential of making the paint thinners and mineral spirits evaporate at a quicker rate.

When the paint thinners and mineral spirits evaporate too quickly, all that’s left is the actual paint. The paint will not dry any faster because there is head applied to it and there is a potential the paint won’t finish drying at all. Using a hair dryer also increases the release rate in which the solvent fumes enter the air, which can be hazardous.

Final Thoughts

Oil paint and Mod Podge are both extremely popular art materials, so there is no wonder why you would think you can use them together. Unfortunately, it is not advised to use them together. Oil paint is oil-based, and Mod Podge is water-based. Since water and oil don’t mix, oil paint and Mod Podge don’t either.

Mod Podge will not stick to oil paints even when they are dry. If you are going to seal your oil paintings, it is best to do so with a sealant that is specifically designed to be used with oil paints. These sealants will also be oil-based, making it possible for it to adhere to the oil paint.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your oil painting turns out amazing. Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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