Imaging Spectrum Blog

How to Protect Your Fine Art Canvas Prints

Huzzah from the Inkjet team!

I’ve written about canvas print varnishing before, lots of times.  And the Imaging Spectrum inkjet team has answered hundreds of questions on how to varnish, if you need to varnish, why you need to varnish, when you should varnish, etc, etc, etc. Finally, Imaging Spectrum fulfilled our fondest wish and we now are stocking Golden Acrylic MSA varnish.  (Cue the rejoicing!)  This stuff is awesome.  It’s the one product I recommend unreservedly, all the time, whenever anyone even starts to say the word “varn—“.  Golden MSA varnish is made by the same terrific people who make Golden Acrylic paints – the most wonderful, buttery acrylic paints in the world (if you’re into that kind of thing).  Now, I’m not even into that “thing” – I’m an oil painter – a traditionalist, dammit! – but even I reach for the Golden paints when I need an acrylic. And, as further proof of their awesomeness, the good people at Golden have even created a series of videos on how properly apply the Golden MSA varnish.

Below is a video on correctly thinning your varnish.  (Also includes a handy tip on actually opening the can for the first time.)  Heartily recommended.   You WILL need to thin your varnish before using it – don’t try to apply it straight from the can.


And (drumroll, please) here is video demonstrating how to properly apply the varnish to your canvas print.

Before varnishing, please make sure that:

1)      Your print is completely dry (at least 24-48 hours since it came off the printer)

2)      Your print is secured to a board or flat surface.  (I use pushpins in the corners of the canvas or strong clamps.)  You do NOT want to start varnishing your (unstretched) canvas sheet and have it start moving around on you.

3)      Try to have a clean, dust (or at least dog hair) free area.

4)      Remember good ventilation, gloves, and safety glasses.

Golden MSA varnish is recommended for prints on canvas only.  It is the recommended varnish for all Epson Exhibition canvas products and can be used with great results on all canvas media, even the instant dry/ water resistant canvas media products, such as Aquasolv, Inkpress, Hahnemuhle, etc. 

Want to try it out?  We have 4oz, 8oz and 16oz cans available in satin and gloss finishes.

One final note – I prefer to use a foam brush (not a roller) instead of a bristle brush for varnish application over canvas prints.  Very rarely a stray bristle brush may catch on the unvarnished canvas and damage the print.  I’ve not had any damage problems with a foam brush.

Happy varnishing, y’all!

Questions for our inkjet team?  Want to try the new varnish or experiment with some new paper or canvas?  Call and ask for the inkjet team at 800-342-9294 or email us at

Inkjet specialist in fine art reproduction and large scale printing.

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