Make Your Favorite Coloring Pages Last Forever with This Simple Trick

Applying fixative is an easy way to preserve your artwork for years to come.

By Cher Kaufmann

Fixatives and sealants are the best way to make sure your beautiful works of adult coloring page art last forever.

The best way to use sealants and fixatives is to understand their specific purposes. There are two different kinds of fixatives: workable fixative and final fixatives. Both can be used with pretty much any powdery or dry medium—pencils, charcoal, pastels, chalk, conté crayons, watercolor, and even unconventional art materials (like eye shadow).

So, what’s the difference between the two? Here’s the low down.

Workable Fixative

Workable fixatives prevent soft or powdery mediums from smudging, while also adding more tooth on the paper. This makes workable fixative a great tool when you want to add more layers of colored pencil, pastel, chalk, and more without smearing your initial layers. This can be very helpful when you’re using one medium (like pastel or chalk) for a background and another tool (like colored pencil) on the main design element of the page.

When using colored pencils especially, workable fixative can also be helpful to “fix” areas of the page where there has either been damage to the tooth of the paper or the layers of the pencils are getting too thick to blend well. By adding tooth with the workable fixative, you create extra texture that allows you to continue working!

Final Fixative

Final fixatives are used to protect and seal your work. Apply final fixatives when you are done with your coloring page and are ready to store, sell, or display it. Final fixatives are your last step in a completed piece of art.

How to Apply Fixative

Application is key with fixatives, no matter the type. Here are a few application tips to live by:

  • Use in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside!
  • Tape down your work to prevent it from moving around or getting dirty. This also helps it dry flat!
  • Apply in long, sweeping motions—starting and ending beyond your paper to ensure proper coverage. You want to apply thin layers to prevent drips and runs.
  • Do NOT apply in a zigzag motion—this may create uneven overlap layers or even missed areas on your paper!
  • Repeat multiple thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next layer.

Do you use fixatives or another type of sealant on your finished coloring pages? Let us know your tips and tricks in the comments below!

Tags: Tips & Techniques