How To Varnish An Oil Painting

Oil Painting Varnishing Supplies

In this blog post I'd like to share with you how to varnish an oil painting. As the oil painting dries, it loses some of the glossy effect that it had while it was still wet. So by varnishing the painting, you can get that beautiful glow back. The varnish also protects the painting and gives it a professional looking finish.

How To Varnish An Oil Painting

Varnishing supplies you need:

  • A wide brush. I use a goat hair brush which is super soft, but you can also use a synthetic brush.
  • Picture varnish such as Gamvar or Talens picture varnish. I like to use gloss varnish, but you can also get varnishes in satin or matte.
  • A clean working surface. Make sure there is no dust on the surface of your painting before you start varnishing.

Helpful tips for varnishing an oil painting:

  • Work in a well ventilated room.
  • Wear a face mask if you are particularly sensitive to smells.
  • Keep a pair of tweezers handy, you can pick out any pieces of dust or hair that might get on the surface of your painting while you are varnishing it.


In this video you can watch how I varnished my painting 'Mortimer' with gloss picture varnish.

Thank you for reading!


Eeva Nikunen is a fantasy artist from Finland who specialises in narrative style fine art and illustration.