Home » Golden Archival Spray Varnish Gloss - Size: 12 oz

Golden Archival Spray Varnish Gloss - Size: 12 oz

SKU: GAC7731

GOLDEN Archival Varnish is formulated with 100% solvent-based, reversible acrylic co-polymer resins. It is designed to produce a flexible, clear film to protect against environmental concerns such as ultraviolet light, dirt and moisture. The cured coating is resistant to yellowing.

GOLDEN Archival Varnish Mineral Spirit Acrylic Aerosol w/UVLS is made by reducing standard GOLDEN MSA Varnish (w/UVLS) with fast drying acetone and a propellant to create an easy to use spray product. Properly applied, it can create a durable, even film.

GOLDEN Archival Varnish should adhere well to most non-oily surfaces. It may exhibit poor adhesion to fresh oil paint films or if residual surfactants are present with water-based paint films. It has excellent wet and dry state clarity. Over time, the MSA film resists changes in appearance and remains flexible. The UV protection is achieved from a blend of Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer (HALS) and an ultraviolet absorber (substituted benzotrizole compound). The unique adjustable fan spray tip allows precise application with reduced overspray. Coverage is approximately 30-35 sq. ft. per can.


Prior to actual use, it is very important to experiment with Golden varnishes on test pieces to become aware of how they perform and how they alter the surface appearance of paintings. For best results, apply to a test piece that is similar in composition as the artwork to be varnished. This will help ensure that all variables are accounted for, and a successful varnish application will be achieved.


Only intended for acrylic paintings, do not use on oil paintings.

For future conservation and varnish removal purposes we recommend the use of an isolation coat prior to varnishing. An isolation coat is a permanent, non-removable coating that serves to physically separate the paint surface from the removable varnish. This will help protect the surface if the varnish is ever removed and make future cleaning and conservation easier to avoid working directly on top of the pigmented part of the work. Therefore, even if painted with delicate washes or large areas of colors that could potentially bleed, a clear barrier would safely cover the painted surface. It will also seal absorbent areas, which will result in a more even application of the varnish. In the event that no varnish gets applied, the isolation coat serves to decrease the water sensitivity of the paint surface, affording protection during routine cleaning/dusting.

Given the current state of conservation science, the use of an isolation coat is considered to provide the most protection. However, isolation coats are also significant and permanent additions to a painting and inevitably will cause changes in the painting's surface qualities. Whether these changes are acceptable is an aesthetic decision that each artist needs to make after sufficient testing. In addition, since it is non-removable, any mistakes or problems during this procedure cannot be easily corrected and there is always an element of risk that needs to be considered.

For brush application, the appropriate isolating medium can be made by diluting Golden Soft Gel Gloss with water (2 parts by volume Soft Gel Gloss to 1 part water). If a spray application is desired, a 2:1 mixture of Golden GAC-500 to Transparent Airbrush Extender can be applied with an airbrush, touch-up spray unit or commercial spray equipment. The absorbency of the surface will dictate the number of isolation layers required. For relatively non-absorbent surfaces, as is the case with a uniform paint layer, one coat brush applied or two coats spray applied are recommended. For more absorbent surfaces, which tend to be very matte, it is recommended to apply sufficient isolation coats to achieve a satin sheen on the surface. This may require two or more brush applied coats or three or more spray applications.

The isolating layer is of critical importance when applying a matte varnish over an absorbent surface to prevent a cloudy or "frosted" appearance from occurring. This frosted appearance results from the varnish and solvent being absorbed into the support, while the matting agent remains exposed on the surface. While we have carefully selected the matting agent that is in Golden varnishes to be as transparent as possible, it is still a dry particulate material. When the matting agent is deposited onto the surface, and is not a part of a continuous varnish layer, it appears as a white solid. If varnishing water-soluble paints, including watercolor, gouache and tempera, the isolation coat must be sprayed on in very light layers to avoid solubilizing the paints, which could cause loss of distinctness of the underlying image.


General Aerosol Directions

  • For best results, both can and spraying area should be 65-75 o F.
  • Shake can 2 minutes prior to initial use.
  • Re-shake 10 seconds after each minute of use.
  • Avoid spraying in crosswind, direct sun or heat.
  • Ensure nozzle is pointing safely away from face before starting.
  • After spraying, turn can upside-down and flush out spray varnish (5 to 8 seconds).
  • Allow for sufficient curing time to prevent materials from sticking to the surface.

Proper Spraying Technique

  • The adjustable fan tip comes set for a side-to-side spraying motion. Adjust for other spraying directions, such as diagonal or up and down.
  • Start and stop spraying beyond area to be varnished, and sweep across surface.
  • Generally a light spray (achieved with light tip pressure) is preferred. Fully depressing the nozzle tip creates a heavier spray, which can be beneficial on larger objects.
  • Spray several light coats in a consistent manner.
  • Singular heavy coats may result in unevenness.
  • Maintain a consistent distance (9-12 inches from substrate surface) and an even 90 o angle.
  • The surface should feel tack-free before recoating.
  • Allow a minimum of 15-20 minutes between coats.
  • Change spray direction or turn object between coats to minimize lap marks.
  • Coats may be built up indefinitely depending upon needs. After last coat, allow several hours before handling.

Adjusting and Cleaning Spray Tip

  • The fan tip starting position is for a side-to-side spraying motion.
  • Use needle nose pliers to carefully adjust nozzle for the intended direction of spray pattern.
  • Dried product may be cleaned from the tip with a soft cloth and pure mineral spirits or turpentine.
  • If tip clogs, remove from can and soak in pure mineral spirits or turpentine for 10 minutes.
  • Never insert pins or needles into nozzle.

    Different paints and substrates have unique circumstances. GOLDEN Archival Varnish w/UVLS should be used in accordance with these individual requirements. ALWAYS TEST ON SCRAP PIECES OR INCONSPICUOUS AREAS BEFORE USE ON FINAL ARTWORK. Absorbent substrates require several gloss layers to seal the surface. Listed below are general application guidelines for common substrates. For more thorough information regarding specific media concerns, review artist handbooks and other information sources.

    Acrylic Paints isolation coat(s) should be applied as per MSA Varnish directions located in the main GOLDEN Varnish document. Allow 24 hours for the final isolation coat layer to cure and then build layers of Archival Aerosol Varnish w/UVLS as needed.

    Oil Paints allow minimum curing time of 6-12 months when used as a final picture varnish and allow the painting to become touch-dry before use as a temporary varnish on fresh oil paint films. Heavy layers on fresh oil paint films impede the oxidation process, which may result in failure. Build layers of Archival Varnish w/UVLS as needed.

    Graphite/Pastels/Colored Pencil/Marker/Watercolor/Gouache due to the varying effects and changes that can occur when using the Archival Spray Varnish over Pastel, various drawing media, Watercolor and Gouache, it is recommended that you do NOT use it for fixing, top coating, or varnishing these mediums, unless first testing and experimenting thoroughly.

    The effects and changes noted above are primarily a darkening of the work due to changes in the nature of the surface and consequently, the refractive index. While there may be ways to fine tune the process by using a combination of satin or matte varnish over an initial gloss coat, or very light coats of varnish, we feel that the significant darkening observed in many cases, may constitute unacceptable changes for many artists.

    If deciding to continue with this varnish application, both the media and the substrate should be taken into consideration. Test all brands and colors to avoid bleeding or darkening of colorants. Begin by applying very light coats of gloss varnish as a fixative. Once enough light layers create a dried glossy film, begin layers of desired sheen in subsequent coats.

    Ink Jet Prints generally, GOLDEN Archival Varnish w/UVLS may be applied directly to prints; however consider substrate absorbency (see above notes) and intended level of protection (refer to UV protection section below). Several thin coats are sufficient for moisture resistance, but testing should be conducted if water-based gels are going to be applied over the varnish for brush-stroke texture.


    GOLDEN Archival Varnish contains Ultra Violet Light Stabilizers (UVLS) to protect materials from damaging light sources. However, spray coats are very thin compared to brush coats. The amount of varnish above the substrate and colorants is directly related to the level of UV resistance and the degree of fading due to light sources. When UV protection is required from this product, allow time to build up multiple coats. Testing shows 6 Archival Varnish w/UVLS coats are required to impede color shift of fugitive materials. When multiple spray coats is impractical, consider brush applying 2 or more coats of GOLDEN MSA Varnish (Gloss) if considerable UV protection is critical. After sufficient coats are built up, use GOLDEN Archival Varnish to develop the desired sheen.

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