The Pros and Cons of Using Canvas Sealer

Canvas sealers are often employed by artists and hobbyists to protect their artwork, enhance durability, and improve the appearance of their pieces. While canvas sealers offer several benefits, they also come with some drawbacks. Understanding both the pros and cons can help you make an informed decision about whether or not to use a canvas sealer for your projects.

Pros of Using Canvas Sealer

  1. Protection from Environmental Damage Canvas sealers create a protective barrier that shields artwork from dust, dirt, moisture, and UV rays. This is especially important for pieces that will be displayed in environments where they are exposed to these elements. 
  2. Enhanced Durability Sealing your canvas can make it more resistant to scratches, abrasions, and general wear and tear. This ensures that the artwork remains in good condition for a longer period, making it particularly beneficial for pieces that will be frequently handled or displayed in high-traffic areas.
  3. Colour Preservation Many canvas sealers have UV-resistant properties that help prevent colours from fading over time. This is crucial for maintaining the vibrancy and accuracy of your artwork, especially if it contains bright or delicate colours. 
  4. Improved Aesthetic Appeal Depending on the type of sealer used, it can enhance the overall appearance of the artwork by adding a glossy, satin, or matte finish. This can help bring out the colours and details in the artwork, giving it a polished, professional look.
  5. Ease of Cleaning A sealed canvas is generally easier to clean because the sealer provides a smooth surface that can be gently wiped down without damaging the artwork. This is particularly useful for pieces displayed in areas prone to dust and dirt.

Cons of Using Canvas Sealer

  1. Potential for Altering Appearance While a sealer can enhance the look of a canvas, it can also alter it in ways you might not want. Some sealers can change the texture or sheen of the paint, potentially impacting the original aesthetic of the artwork.
  2. Application Challenges Applying a canvas sealer can be tricky. If not done correctly, it can result in streaks, bubbles, or an uneven finish. This can be particularly problematic for those new to using sealers or for intricate pieces where precision is critical.
  3. Cost High-quality canvas sealers can be expensive, especially if you are working on large pieces or multiple canvases. This added cost can be a significant factor for artists working on a tight budget.
  4. Health and Environmental Concerns Some sealers contain chemicals that can be harmful if inhaled or if they come into contact with skin. It is essential to use these products in a well-ventilated area and to follow safety guidelines. Additionally, the environmental impact of these chemicals should be considered, as they can contribute to pollution.
  5. Reversibility Issues Once a sealer is applied, it is often challenging, if not impossible, to remove it without damaging the underlying artwork. This means the decision to seal a canvas should be carefully considered, as it is typically a permanent change.


Canvas sealers offer several advantages, including protection from environmental damage, enhanced durability, and improved aesthetic appeal. However, they also come with some drawbacks, such as potential alterations to the artwork’s appearance, application challenges, and health concerns. By weighing these pros and cons, artists can make a more informed decision about whether using a canvas sealer is the right choice for their specific needs and circumstances.


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