Conservar Acrylic Varnish

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Conservar Acrylic Varnish is a colorless, reversible varnish made with an acrylic resin dissolved in pure aromatic solvents with UV stabilizer.

Conservar Acrylic Varnish is a colorless, reversible varnish made with a methylacrylate (Paraloid B-44) resin dissolved in pure aromatic solvents with a UV stabilizer. It can be used both as an isolating varnish and a final varnish. The varnish can be removed with suitable aromatic solvents.

Paraloid B-44 (formerly called Acryloid B-44 in the United States) is a thermoplastic acrylic resin, and the principal component of INCRALAC provides an excellent varnish of hardness, adhesion, and film toughness together with clarity and transparency. It is often blended with other resins to adjust the balance of properties required for a set purpose. Paraloid B-44 acrylic resin can be dissolved in toluene, xylene, selected esters, acetone, and methyl ethyl ketone. Paraloid B-44 is not soluble in most alcohols, and aliphatic hydrocarbons as the sole solvent. It is well suited for various applications, including treated metal, copper, zinc, brass, aluminum, concrete, and certain plastics. While some change in the resin occurs after it has aged, this change can be eliminated by adding a UV stabilizer, which is included in Conservar Acrylic Varnish.

Paraloid B-44 is insoluble in almost all purely aliphatic solvents, such as odorless mineral spirits, making it an ideal isolating varnish. It can be used with other varnishes applied as a distinct layer, for example, below Conservar Finishing Varnish or other varnishes. Conservar Finishing Varnish remains easily removable without harming the Conservar Acrylic Varnish in the layer below. Conservar Acrylic Varnish can also be used as a final varnish that is less glossy than Conservar Finishing Varnish.

Compared to natural resin varnishes, such as dammar, Conservar Acrylic Varnish has a slightly satin-like appearance. It will not saturate colors as well as dammar or Conservar FInishing Varnish and is considerably less glossy.

Paraloid B-44 resin in Conservar Acrylic Varnish is a polymeric resin (high molecular weight), giving it a pleasant feel or ‘brushability.’ When brushing, it has enough viscosity to give a feeling of control while it easily spreads out evenly. Its primary advantage is its relatively good leveling in a single application without the tendency to sink into matte areas of a painting.

Recommended Uses

Conservar Acrylic Varnish is recommended as both an isolating and a final varnish on the following paint films:

  • Alkyd
  • Oil

Conservar Acrylic Varnish is specifically formulated to be applied over copper or as a varnish on oil or alkyd paintings on copper panels. It has been specifically formulated as a clear coat to protect copper from oxidation, so it works well on paintings where copper is exposed and not covered by paint film. Conservar Acrylic Varnish is based on the public domain formula of INCRALAC, a clear coat explicitly developed to provide corrosion protection for copper.


A four-fluid ounce (118 ml) can cover approximately 80 square feet (7.4 square meters).


Before actual use, it is essential to test Conservar varnishes on test pieces to understand how they perform and how they alter the surface appearance of your paintings. For best results, apply to a test piece similar in composition to the artwork to be varnished. This will help ensure that a successful varnish application will be achieved.

When to Varnish

The best practice is to wait 6 to 12 months before varnishing with Conservar Acrylic Varnish. Oil and alkyd paint films need time (typically months) to polymerize and form a resilient film; otherwise, a coating added to an improperly cured film may cause the layers beneath to swell and loosen.

It may be possible to apply Conservar Acrylic Varnish when the thickest areas of your painting are “dry through”—not touch dry. To determine if your painting is “dry-through,” press into the thickest area of your painting with your thumb while twisting it a full 90° on the paint film. If your painting is on a flexible support, such as stretched canvas, support the opposite side. The paint is considered dry-through when no loosening, detachment, wrinkling, or distortion is visible on the paint surface. This procedure is fully described in the ASTM Standard D1640: Standard Test Methods for Drying, Curing, or Film Formation of Organic Coatings at Room Temperature.

Please note, however, that the more the oil/alkyd paint is allowed to polymerize or cure, the more likely the varnish application will be successful. Always test the application of varnish on test pieces first to determine the suitability of the varnish for your application.

Preparation for Varnishing

Acclimate your painting and varnish materials and tools to the same environment. At least several hours before varnishing, place all items, such as your painting, brushes, containers, and Conservar varnish, in the same room. Varnish in a dust-free environment with the least amount of air movement to avoid raising dust.

It is best to brush or spray apply Conservar varnishes. Other methods, such as applying with paint pads, sponging, or rolling, are not recommended, as they may result in foaming, loss of film clarity, non-uniform coverage, excessive film build, sagging, or deposit of materials from the application tool.

Brush Application

Apply with a wide flat, soft-hair brush. Conservar Acrylic Varnish can be thinned up to 20% with high-flash mineral spirits containing at least 20% aromatics. DO NOT MIX WITH WATER. Apply only one coat as a final varnish when applying by brush. Allow to dry for three days, and wipe the varnished surface with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Spray Application

The best way to achieve an even varnish coating is by spraying. This is particularly true for impasto surfaces. Spraying is also a helpful technique for creating a matte surface. The size of the surface to be sprayed will determine the best type of spray equipment to use. Conservar varnishes can be sprayed from an airbrush, airless or air-pressure spray equipment, or a refillable aerosol spray can.

To prepare for spraying, make sure all equipment is free of dirt. Work in an area free of dust and dirt, and keep work off the ground when spraying. Spray two to four light, even coats instead of one or two thicker applications, allowing enough time for drying between coats (1 to 4 hours or until the surface is tack free).

Release the spray trigger when stopping the motion of the sprayer during application to avoid a buildup of varnish in one spot. Maintain a uniform distance from the surface, and avoid spraying in an arcing motion. Make straight passes across the work, changing direction once the spray has cleared the edge of the piece being varnished. Slightly overlap the spray pattern with each pass until the entire passage has been covered.

To achieve a more uniform spray application, turn the painting 90 degrees and apply the subsequent coat perpendicular to the previous one. A typical spray application lays down a film only 1/8 to 1/4 the thickness of a brush coat application. If maximum protection is required of the varnish layer, apply multiple coats.

Drying Time

When applying multiple coats (spray application only), allow 1 to 4 hours between coats. Inspect the surface for tackiness, which may mean the coat is not sufficiently dry. Let the varnish cure for several days before packing or transporting the painting. Avoid contacting the surface with packing materials, including glassine, bubble wrap, or any other plastic, during transportation and storage. NEVER STACK PAINTINGS, whether varnished or not.

Care and Storage

As Conservar varnishes are removable, it is essential that they not be painted over. Paint applied over the varnish would also be potentially removable and would pose a difficult problem in conservation or restoration attempts.

Techniques for Reducing Gloss

There are several different ways to reduce the gloss of Conservar varnish:

  1. Dilute the varnish with additional solvent before using.
  2. Apply a thin coating. The thinner the coating, the lower the gloss.
  3. Brush the varnish as it dries. When the varnish is starting to set up, if you continue to brush it, you will microscopically roughen the surface, making it less glossy.
  4. Spray apply the varnish.

If the varnished surface of your painting appears too glossy, you can apply a final coating of Conservar Wax. Rub on a thin layer of wax with a soft, lint-free cloth using small circular strokes. Allow the wax to dry overnight for the highest degree of matte. To create a satin finish, let the wax dry for 4 to 6 hours, then gently buff.


Clean all equipment immediately following application. Clean brushes with the recommended mineral spirits (not odorless mineral spirits), such as Stoddard solvent or a high flash mineral spirits solvent. Always make a test piece for your application and surface to ensure desired results.


Use a clean, soft, lint-free rag dampened with naphtha solvent or mineral spirits (Stoddard solvent). Gently rub the varnished surface and repeat the process until all varnish is removed. Do not use stronger solvents. Allow to dry and reapply Conservar varnish.


Paraloid B-44 is a registered trademark of Dow Chemical Corporation. Conservar is a trademark of Natural Pigments. Rublev Colours is a registered trademark of Natural Pigments.

More Information
BrandRublev Colours
VendorNatural Pigments
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.
Resin TypeAcrylic

Hazard Pictograms

FlammableHealth HazardExclamation Mark
GHS09: FlammableGHS08: Health HazardGHS07: Exclamation Mark

Signal Word: Danger

Hazardous Components

Distillates (petroleum), hydrotreated light

Hazard Statements

Flammable liquid and vapor.

Causes skin irritation.

Causes serious eye irritation.

May cause genetic defects.

May cause cancer.

May cause respiratory irritation.

May be fatal if swallowed and enters airways.

Precautionary Statements

If medical advice is needed, have product container or label at hand.

Keep out of reach of children.

Read label before use.

Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot surfaces. No smoking.

IF SWALLOWED: Do NOT induce vomiting. Immediately call a POISON CENTER or a physician.

IF ON SKIN (or hair): Immediately take off all contaminated clothing. Rinse skin with water.

IF INHALED: Remove person to fresh air and keep comfortable for breathing. Call a POISON CENTER or a physician if you feel unwell.

IF IN EYES: Rinse cautiously with water for several minutes. Remove contact lenses, if present and easy to do. Continue rinsing.

Conforms to ASTM D4236.

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Conservar Acrylic Varnish
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