How to varnish a giclee print that has been painted on with acrylics

Reader Question: Hi, I am going to have some giclee prints made of a painting, and then personalize the individual prints. I am experimenting with personalizing with acrylic paint, but will also try oils. My printer gave me a sample of a print with UV protectant on it and one without. I prefer personalizing on the print that is NOT UV protected. So, my question involves varnish after I am done with the personalization - is the varnish you recommend ok to paint or spray over both the giclee print and the added acrylic paint? Thanks!

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You know, I've done the same thing you are doing - painting over a giclee with acrylic paint (you can see of a pic of the result below). I did varnish it with Golden Polymer Varnish and it was fine. The giclee print was on canvas, so it was thick and sturdy enough to accommodate the varnish without warping or becoming over-saturated. To be on the safe side though, I applied two light (thin) coats, rather than one heavier coat, allowing the varnish to dry thoroughly in between coats.

A giclee print on paper might not be thick or absorbent enough to handle brush-on varnish. If your giclee print is on paper, I would recommend a spray varnish such as Golden Archival Spray Varnish or Lascaux UV Protect. Both are archival and offer UV protection, and they are okay to use with art on paper (whether it's a giclee, an original, or a mix of both!).

Here is the giclee on canvas that I painted over with acrylics:

Colorful Sheep Painting by Thaneeya McArdle

The colorful, detailed background was a giclee of my acrylic painting titled Vamoose, which I then painted over at the top and bottom with bands of color, and then painted the sheep. Painting over a giclee in this way was a lot of fun!

I hope that info helps! Best of luck with it.

For more info, check out my guide to Painting with Acrylics