Ghiant Waterbased Spray Varnish for Oils and Acrylics – Say Goodbye to Toxic Sprays

In my opinion, every painting needs a good coat of varnish. Varnish brings out the best in the colours of a painting and especially the dark hues get a deeper and richer look. Varnish protects the painting and makes it easier to dust and wipe clean, yet many artists fail to varnish their oil and acrylic paintings. I see this frequently at markets and it is a pity. It is also unprofessional if you are selling your paintings.

Varnishing is Easier than Ever

If there is one drawback with traditional varnishing it is the nasty fumes and the cleaning up involved. This has never been my favourite part of the process. Brushing on varnish is fun, but the toxic fumes are a headache. Spray varnishes do offer speedier work without spoiling any brushes, but the fumes are still an issue. Until now.

Ghiant is a Belgian company that has introduced waterbased spray varnish for oils and acrylics. They claim to have removed 90% of the solvents so I quickly got my hands on the three varieties on offer: gloss, satin and matte. I may be old fashioned in thinking that waterbased varnish is not able to match the traditional solvent-based varnish. Hopefully, these sprays would prove themselves to be winners.

Testing the Waterbased Sprays

Ghiant Varnish Spray Range

I started with the gloss varnish for my oil painting. I prefer a slight gloss for oil paintings and satin for acrylics but sometimes I use matte for acrylics when I want to avoid a shiny surface. I also chose to spray the paintings indoors with some cross ventilation in the room. Typically for old-fashioned sprays, I will work outside, but I hoped these Ghiant sprays would make indoor work possible.

First Impressions

After giving the can a good lengthy shake I sprayed the oil painting using a rapid side to side motion to avoid any drips and over-spray. There was no spluttering at the nozzle and the spray went on smoothly.

The great part is that the toxic-smelling fumes are practically gone. Yes, there is a slight smell, but not nearly as severe as with traditional sprays. It is far less than with paint-on varnish too. I could remain in the room and carry on working while the spray varnish dried over the next twenty minutes or so. Job well done! Another plus is that the gloss is not overly glossy either. Very similar to a light retouch varnish.

The satin varnish is very good too. It is an attractive varnish with just a slight eggshell sheen. The matte quite naturally has no shine, but still seals as you would expect. I applied a few drops of water to the varnished surface and the water beaded up instantly.

I have also tested the waterbased varnish on gouache paint with perfect results. Bear in mind that the spray is intended for oils or acrylics so using it on gouache is at your own risk.

Malcolm-Dewey-holding a-Ghiant-Waterbased-Spray-Varnish-for-Oils-and-Acrylics-in his hand
Ghiant Varnish Satin

Value for Money

I do believe that varnish sprays like these waterbased sprays offer good value for money too. Consider that they dry very quickly, have very little smell, are convenient to use and you do not need to find a brush either. Add up all of those factors and you are saving time and money.

To summarise the important benefits offered by Ghiant waterbased varnish:

  • The varnish improves the appearance of your paintings.
  • The varnish protects the paintings against dirt and pollution;
  • The near absence of toxic fumes is a significant advantage,
  • Overall good value for money compared to competitors

Links: H2O Water-based Varnish 400ml Spray Can – Ghiant

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