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Can I mix the Solvent Varnishes to get the finish I want?

This interesting question came into me via email.

Hi Chroma

I am a new user and just about to commence varnishing with Chroma Solvent Varnishes. Paintings are Atelier Interactive acrylics on masonite and canvas board, both surfaces have been gessoed 3 times. I Have varnished one painting with gloss - it worked fine, but I want to lower the gloss level. Also I will try satin.

Gloss/Invisible mix:

I intend to try gloss/invisible mix because of website advice re dilute with Invisible to retain mould protection.


  1. I presume this will lessen the gloss level the same as diluting with turps?
  2. I imagine it will also give better coverage rather than a thinner mix with turps, that is coverage like "straight" gloss, but a lower sheen?
  3. I would like to mix 1:1 and wonder if this will reduce gloss to similar as satin, but "clearer" because no flattening agent? I like the colours "popping" with gloss, and wonder if this effect will be retained (although not quite as pronounced) with this method rather than using satin.
  4. Do these two products mix/blend easily? Any tips re this?
  5. Any other advice?



I have some concern re instructions -

Info sheet says satin varnish should never be diluted with turpentine, bottle says can be diluted with turpentine?

Info sheet says "shake", bottle says "stir carefully" - how vigorously should it be mixed (concerned about air bubbles etc).

An early response would be appreciated (I'm anxious to get going!). Love the paints.

Kind regards

Peter S

There are (2) Comments, Comments are now closed for this discussion?
  1. comment_1_6832

    Jim Cobb commented on Février 9, 2009, at 11:48 am.

    Thank you for your very well set out questions on the use of varnishes. As you would have already read on the website, the solvent based varnishes are much more failsafe than the water based ones so to answer your questions in sequence:-

    1. Invisible Varnish will reduce the gloss level as you assumed.
    2. It will dilute the gloss varnish in much the same way as adding turpentine because it is in fact, one could say, a retouch varnish with a very low level of solids but it has a high level of anti mould, and the anti mould is the most important component if you happen to live in a humid area where mould is a problem. (Mould is usually more of a problem on oil paintings than on acrylic paintings).
    3. Yes, your dilution of 1:1 will give you a reduced sheen which you may well find is more pleasant than the satin varnish which does need to be applied full strength.
    4. Everything blends very easily.
    5. I think you have asked all the relevant questions.

    Regarding your concerns about instructions, the satin varnish should never be diluted with turpentine because the flatting agent is likely to become unbalanced and can leave an unpleasant whitish deposit. You do need to shake or stir carefully and if you look at a bottle of satin varnish you will see that there is a soft layer of flatting agent which settles in the bottom of the bottle and this needs to be stirred so that the mixture is kept in balance.

    You won’t need to worry about air bubbles. If you have a full bottle the best procedure is to decant some of the varnish so that it is easy to shake the remaining quantity in the bottle and then return what you have decanted and shake that gently.

    As you can see, there are a number of pitfalls with the satin based varnish which is at present made with a silica flatting agent, and I am at present experimenting with a satin varnish which is based on a wax additive which seems to be much easier to use and remains in suspension. This will probably become available in about 6 months time.

    Once again, thanks again for your very sensible questions and it seems we need to revise the statement on the satin varnish label which suggests that it can be diluted.

    Kind regards

  2. comment_2_6832

    Lorna commented on Avril 3, 2009, at 5:09 pm.

    Hi Jim, I'm Lorna from New Zealand who contacted you regarding information on how to best deal with a painting going to Alaska to be hung on a boat, with regards to the risk of mould. I ordered the satin solvent based one from my art supplier but looking at the above comments should I be using the gloss and the invisible mixed on the 1:1 basis? I am wondering this because of the problem you mention with the satin and also the invisible having the best mould protectant.. Just to remind you this painting is done in Atelier Interactive.

    Many thanks