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Sealing Pan Pastels Mixed Media Style

Video showing how to seal PanPastels  mixed media style!I adore PanPastels and what they do.  Since they are a pastel they need to be fixed or sealed in order to stay put, especially when I add layers on top of them.  When I say I add layers on top what I mean is I like to flood it with spray inks, brush paint around on top, and I am not very gentle about it.

How did I figure this out?  Hope you are sitting down because it will shock you.  I read the directions on the jar.

Using DecoArt Media Ultra-Matte Varnish  to seal PanPastels.

  • Mix half water with half Ultra Matte Varnish in a small spray bottle.
  • Shake well.  Really well.
  • Spray a light mist and let dry.
  • Spray a 2nd coat and let dry.
  • Test to see if the PanPastels smudge any and if they do, spray again.

I use a very small spray bottle so I can use up what I mix within the day and rinse out the bottle so that it doesn’t clog up the sprayer.

In the video, I show how I use PanPastels with stencils and after showing you how I sealed them add some messy layers on top.  And nothing smears!

Watch Sealing PanPastels Mixed Media Style on YouTube.

You can find my other PanPastel videos on YouTube here.

 Supplies Used

Thanks DecoArts for introducing me to Ultra-Matte Varnish!


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  • Peg R December 4, 2014, 9:25 pm

    Good to know. Thank you

  • Corrine December 5, 2014, 3:41 am

    Nice. Love those pearly colors too. Tjey really are the perfect thing to use with stencils. xox

  • Sharon Estes December 5, 2014, 10:37 am

    Loved this video. I always learn a lot from you .

  • Sandra December 5, 2014, 3:00 pm

    First sign of the apocalypse: Carolyn Dube read and followed directions!

  • Gwen L. December 5, 2014, 3:17 pm

    What a great idea! I would never have thought to try and seal my PanPastels this way… I’m going to have to try it out. Thank you!

  • Vicki ross December 5, 2014, 6:30 pm

    Great tutorial, Carolyn! Can you tell is there was much color shift? That is an age-old problem with sealants on soft pastels. The only one I will use on my pastel paintings is a casein based by Spectra-fix. Of course, mixed media is a totally different usage 🙂

  • Beverley December 6, 2014, 7:05 pm

    FYI, just an aside… to stop jar lids from welding themselves shut, smear Vaseline/petroleum jelly around the thread. Don’t need big splodges of it, just enough to cover. Don’t use on rubber as it will perish, but works on glass, plastic. Makes life a whole lot easier.

  • Sylvia Tabor December 7, 2014, 12:37 am

    this is great, thank you!!! I never know how to properly seal anything, but now I can cross Pan Pastels off the list!!! Sharing…

  • Ruth L December 7, 2014, 3:18 am

    Fantastic idea Carolyn, I will need to try it, thanks for sharing!

  • Andria December 8, 2014, 7:50 am

    Great demonstration, Carolyn! You are so thorough in your instructions, but don’t take a long time to deliver them…perfect. I still haven’t ventured into the world of Pan Pastels, but I enjoy seeing how they work with stencils.

  • Marjie Kemper December 8, 2014, 11:35 am

    Fabulous tute. Sorry so long between visits… your blog looks great with so many new projects!!

  • Patia Schacht June 16, 2017, 10:43 pm

    I love pan pastels. Been using them for years but getting upset with the framing.
    Thank you so much for your video and explaining the method of sealing the pastel
    Very excited about it

  • Patty June 6, 2019, 12:45 pm

    Thanks so much for your Deco Media Varnish ,demo. I paint huge portraits on fabric panels with black panpastel, sometimes followed by stitch. I was struggling to stop smudging since I don’t frame my pieces. I tried spraying diluted fabric medium and modpodge, but both changed the background fabric color and left a pebbly, even sticky, plastic finish. The Deco Media Varnish worked much better. No smudging after one light coat and while it changed the hand of the fabric and left a slight plastic finish, it was not obvious to the eye nor offensive. Thank you! Now I can get back to creating with panpastels without the worry of smudging.

  • JULIE A BODNAR September 23, 2020, 8:32 pm

    Very informative video. Thank you!

  • Maria Mar June 12, 2021, 11:45 pm

    Hi Carolyn,
    First of all, thanks for your humor and handy tips. I loved the one about how to break your gelli plate!!!

    I’m starting to work with pastels, but work with mixed media so I need a way to seal it before applying other coats. I loved this technique. Went to check it at Amazon.

    But I could not get any information in terms of what are the contents. I stay away from toxic, smelly stuff, so I need to know what’s in there.
    Do you know?


  • Carolyn November 3, 2022, 3:11 pm

    Thanks so much carolyn dube from carolyn glein

  • Barbara March 7, 2024, 4:22 pm

    I use “clear” spray Rustoleum “spray paint” on any final piece that needs a fixative. It always goes on in a mist finer than all the other fixative. It protects colorfastness. But my work is for everyday people and is not of “archival” concern. There is a matt, satin, semi gloss and gloss. The Matt is very subtle, the satin is sort of a Rembrandt effect, the semi gloss is good for flashy work, or work with a lot of reflective light, I only use gloss if it’s a specialty piece with a lot of metallic/fantasy effects. But it’s a great answer for a permanent safe ” fixative”.