How to varnish mixed media artwork on paper

Reader Question: I've created a mixed media (collage and acrylic) work on heavy weight paper and want to know if you can varnish works done on paper? The product says is it flexible when dry, but I'm worried it may crack when the work is in the process of being framed. Although the finished piece has many layers of paper, paint and adhesive, it is not rigid as would be a piece completed on a wood panel.

For works on paper as you describe, I'd say you're pretty safe with varnishing them. It would probably depend on what type of varnish you use, and how you apply it. Here are three suggestions:

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  1. Spray Varnish: A spray varnish might be the easiest... something like Krylon Triple Thick would be perfect because it will seal the mixed media piece and give it a finished look.
  2. Resin: Another suggestion would be to pour resin over the finished mixed media piece to help seal all the various elements together under a sturdy, protective coating.
  3. Gel Medium: Use an acrylic gel medium. I've used Soft Gel Medium by Golden to seal my mixed media pieces, and it worked really well.

I hope those suggestions help! If you try something and it works well for you, let me know!

Best of luck with your creative endeavors!

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