Gel Topcoat w/UVLS


GOLDEN Gel Topcoats w/UVLS are thick acrylic gel mediums containing Ultra Violet Light Filters and Stabilizers (UVLS) to protect materials from fading and deterioration caused by exposure to UV radiation.


GOLDEN Gel Topcoats w/UVLS are formulated with 100% acrylic polymer dispersion incorporating a system of Ultra Violet Light Filters and Stabilizers (UVLS) for protection against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. When used as a topcoat they help lower overall water-sensitivity and limit air exposure, while providing increased durability for fragile surfaces.

Gel Topcoats are not intended for use on high wear items. They dry to a permanent, flexible, non-removable coating. The Gloss version dries with great clarity and a highly reflective surface, while the Semi-Gloss dries to a translucent, more wax-like finish and like all topcoats may appear to alter color saturation.

Gel Topcoats are fully compatible with GOLDEN Acrylic Colors, Mediums, Gels and Pastes, and may be blended with these products in any proportion. Formulated primarily as a topcoat, they can also be used like other acrylic gels to modify sheen and transparency, create texture, provide a clear barrier or coating for subsequent paint or other materials, and to extend product.

UV Protection

Our tests with 10 mil films of GOLDEN Gel Topcoat demonstrated a similar degree of UV protection as the same thickness of GOLDEN MSA Varnish w/UVLS -- greatly limiting fading in fugitive, dye-based, inks after 1600 hours of UV exposure at 140° F, with ambient humidity normally below 50%. The cumulative UV exposure correlates roughly to the amount of UV energy from 100+ years of typical indoor gallery-lit conditions.


General Use as a Topcoat

For Fine Art and Craft use only. Not intended as a commercial topcoat for high wear items.

Apply as desired using brush, palette knife or other tools. The thick consistency of GOLDEN Gel Topcoats retains tool marks and texture, although marks relax slightly during drying. Apply carefully to avoid generation of foam or entrapping air. Thin with water to modify viscosity. Always test for your application before applying to anything of importance.

When used as a final layer, Gel Topcoats should greatly increase the longevity and lightfastness of whatever media you are working with. Overall they lower water-sensitivity, limit air exposure, and provide substantial UV protection. However, when exhibiting pieces without glass, we strongly recommend applying one of our removable varnishes as a final coat to facilitate cleaning and future conservation. Comprehensive resources and information regarding varnish application can be found here.

Use Over Water-Sensitive Materials, Such as Watercolors and Inkjet Prints

When working with water sensitive materials, such as watercolors or digital prints, including those made with GOLDEN Digital Grounds, it is critical to always test for the potential water-sensitivity of the various materials being used. If testing shows the materials can be easily damaged or re-activated with moisture, we strongly recommend initially sealing or fixing prints with either GOLDEN Archival Varnish (Gloss) or GOLDEN MSA Varnish (Gloss). Failure to do so can cause permanent damage to your work.

With GOLDEN Digital Grounds

Gel Topcoats can usually be applied directly to inkjet prints that are fully dry and have been printed on our GOLDEN Digital Ground White (Matte). However both Digital Ground Clear (Gloss) and Digital Ground for Non-Porous Surfaces are very water-sensitive and great care must be taken when working on top of them with water-based materials. While Gel Topcoat, when applied undiluted, will often not cause any issues, many variables can impact this: drying time, ink system, thickness of the ground and gel coatings, and degree of surface agitation, to name a few. For these reasons, it is essential to always check for one"s application using a test print before applying to anything of importance. Safest practice is to first lower any potential water sensitivity by first applying either our Archival or MSA Varnish.

Refer to GAC Products on Inkjet Prints for additional testing and application information when using GOLDEN products over inkjet prints.

Use as a Painting Medium

Although developed to be applied as a final layer, the GOLDEN Gel Topcoats may also be used like other GOLDEN Acrylic Gels. They are compatible with GOLDEN Paints and Mediums, where they can be used in separate layers or blended in any proportion. Like other Gels they can also be used to create gel skins, image gel transfers, decoupage collage elements, to extend paints or increase their transparency, create a wet layer to work into, or simply as a clear ground to work on top of.

It is important to note that when the Gel Topcoats are mixed with other products their UV protection is reduced because the UVLS system, to be fully effective, needs to be topmost layer. Therefore fugitive materials mixed with the gel will not fully benefit from its ability to provide UV protection and may still degrade or fade over time.


While Gel Topcoats will provide substantial UV protection, as well as some chemical and water resistance, they are permanent non-removable coatings and any damage cannot be easily repaired. Also, being acrylic-based products, they are subject to dirt and dust accumulation, may become tacky in warmer temperatures, and their surfaces can be easily damaged during handling or shipping. A final reversible varnish such as GOLDEN Polymer Varnish, MSA Varnish, or Archival Spray Varnish is recommended for fine art paintings and prints if not displayed under glass.



The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.