Though professional art fixatives are always a better option, hairspray works in a pinch to protect your pencil drawings from erasing and smudges.
Can you use a hairspray on pencil drawings? Yes! Hairspray can be used as a useful final fixative for pencil drawings. It works well to protect your drawing from smudging.
To protect your pencil drawings from smudging, spray them with a fixative. This will create a barrier between the graphite and anything that might come in contact with it. If your drawings are in a sketchbook, you can also put wax paper, frames, or page protectors between the pages.
The properties of hair spray as a fixative for pastel and charcoal on paper. Many artists who create drawings with friable or powdery media, such as chalk, pastel and charcoal, choose to use hairspray as an inexpensive alternative to commercially available art fixatives.
Use a Fixative or Varnish
- Take the art to a well-ventilated area.
- Make sure the artwork is free of dust and dirt.
- Spray a light coat over the entire surface of the artwork with inconsistent sweeping motions.
- Allow drying for about 30 minutes.
- Add a second thin coat if desired.
- Allow to dry completely, or about an hour.
The most effective way to prevent smudges is to spray your drawings with a fixative spray once they are completed. Other methods include hairspray, using a hardbound sketchbook, drawing with H-grade pencils or ink, placing wax paper between each page, and placing rubber bands around your sketchbook.
Hairspray can be useful even outside the beauty parlor. Though professional art fixatives are always a better option, hairspray works in a pinch to protect your pencil drawings from erasing and smudges.
A Better and Cheaper Solution
After trying several methods which were not really successful I found a website claiming that spraying the paper with hair spray actually stopped the bleeding. Not just any hair spray but apparently VO5 Firm Hold Hair Spray was the best one for the job!
Even a light coat of fixative or varnish will provide protection for your colored pencil drawing. Environmental dirt, dust, and other similar substances will come to rest on the varnish instead of on the drawing itself. A light dusting with a duster or dry clothe is all that's necessary to remove the dust.
Use acid-free packaging such as tissue paper or glassine. You can bubble wrap your artwork for storage and transportation but leave it slightly open so it can breathe. Store your paintings vertically, rather than horizontally and do not stack them.
To retain a detailed sketch throughout the painting process use an H-grade pencil and seal it with a fixative spray. Use charcoal if retaining the drawing is not necessary. Other mediums can be utilized such as markers, pastel, ink, colored pencils, transfer paper, and even paint.
For many paper projects spray adhesive is the preferable choice, but according to Artpaper.com spray adhesives "are messy and unhealthy." Rubber cement is a good alternative because it dries clear and quickly and is water resistant, though the bond created with rubber cement tends to weaken with age.
The spray adhesive is meant to be used between two things to stick them together. Krylon's spray adhesive is mega sticky, I wouldn't recommend having it on any exposed area at all. From my experience, it's not going to "dry", the adhesive will remain tacky.
Even if the hair dries after spraying, the spray remains in it. So even after drying, it is flammable. Hairspray should never be exposed to temperatures above 120 degrees as it is able to burn the used texture quickly.
A spray fixative is used to "fix" the drawing material (usually graphite or pastel) so that it does not smear as easily. A varnish is used to change the sheen of the artwork and protect it from absorbing pollutants from the environment.It often is available in a variety of finishes including gloss, satin and matte.
The answer is yes – you can use hairspray to set your charcoal drawing if needed, but you should use a professional fixative if you are serious about drawing. What is this? Hairspray can be used to set charcoal because of the unique properties it possesses that make it so great for “setting” your hairstyle.
Use a Fixative to Protect Your Drawings
Fixatives help protect your pencil work against smudges and dirt by making a clear coat on top of the page. However, be careful because too much fixative will cause yellowing or bubbling in paper over time.
Use a Kneaded Eraser
The kneaded eraser has an advantage over a regular rubber or vinyl eraser. A kneaded eraser picks up graphite or pigment instead of rubbing it off. If an eraser marks paper, the better option would be to use a kneaded eraser.
Spray It. Clear polyurethane coating, clear acrylic spray paint and lacquer spray sealers -- all waterproof paper. These sprays are relatively inexpensive and available in various finishes, such as matte, satin, glossy and high-gloss.
For unframed pieces
Use a sheet of silicone release paper to cover the canvas and seal it with packing tape, ensuring that no tape makes contact with the canvas. If you can't find silicone paper, a clean plastic sheet works too.
Wax. A coat of melted beeswax or soy wax offers an organic way to waterproof origami, and it's particularly ideal for making origami boats. Just fold your boat as desired, then use an old paintbrush to apply a coat of melted wax to all the exposed areas.
Winsor & Newton Artists' Fixative
This workable fixative is an excellent choice for artists who work in graphite, pastel, pencil, and chalk. It offers great smudge and dust protection after you spray over a layer, drying quite rapidly so you can lay down the next layer.