Top 10 uses for Soft Gel Gloss

Top 10 Uses for Soft Gel Gloss


When the question is “where do I start?” Soft Gel Gloss is a great answer. You can hardly go wrong with it because it offers a balance of texture and leveling in an all-purpose acrylic binder. In fact, the challenge with a product as versatile as Soft Gel Gloss is narrowing down the list of things you can do with it. These are just 10 of the ways we like to use it:

10. Isolation coat

For acrylic painters who use removable varnish, we always recommend a solution of thinned Soft Gel Gloss as a protective coat between color and varnish. Here is a video on how to make a brushable isolation coat:

9. Surface Absorption Control

Use Soft Gel Gloss to reduce the absorption of a surface before painting - particularly when painting with a low viscosity paint like High Flow or Fluid color. You can also use Soft Gel Gloss to give a matte paint or support a glossier quality.

8. Loosen up Heavy Body paints

When you want a softer feeling in the surface of a painting, maybe brushstrokes but with a less brushstroke texture, adding Soft Gel Gloss instead of water will increase the leveling, but won’t weaken the binding quality of the paint or increase shrinkage the way water does.

7. Adhere watercolor or other art papers to panel

Works on paper can be works on panel when you use Soft Gel Gloss to mount paper onto a panel. The viscosity is just right to get into the texture and fibers and hold it to panel without saturating it and changing the qualities of the paper. We have a video about this as well:

6. Make your own gel or color!

The Lab at GOLDEN has produced dozens (maybe hundreds) of experimental gels with everything from ground up corks to plastic ants in it. These product concepts don’t usually make it to stores, but you can make your own custom aggregate gel by mixing Soft Gel Gloss with whatever you have on hand.

5. Fast Drying Glaze

Add a tiny bit of color to Soft Gel Gloss, mix thoroughly and spread thinly for glazes that dry fast with moderate texture.

4. Stretching Colors

The flip side of glazing is extending. Adding Soft Gel Gloss to colors is an economical way to stretch them – and with the high pigment load of GOLDEN Acrylics, you can usually mix up to 25% gel to color without a significant loss of strength and opacity.

3. Gel Skins

Lay out a piece of plastic sheeting (HDPE, like a garbage bag or drop cloth) and spread some Soft Gel Gloss onto the plastic. You might mix in some color or drizzle color over the wet gel. Allow the gel to dry completely and peel the gel up. You can use these “skins” as pre-cast layers in painting, in collage or mixed media, or as a window cling. “Dry Monotype” is a more elegant sounding name than “Gel Skin” but it is the same idea:

2. Collage Adhesive

You may have figured this out from #7, adhering paper to panel is collage, but the value of Soft Gel Gloss as a collage medium cannot be overstated. Its soft consistency helps fill gaps between varying textures and can encapsulate all sorts of materials to create a permanent bond with canvas or panel. Here is another popular video about how Soft Gel Gloss and other acrylic mediums work in collage:

1. Image Transfers

This is the #1 use of Soft Gel Gloss because of its popularity. On the GOLDEN YouTube channel, four of the five most viewed videos have image transfer as a topic. Soft Gel Gloss was the medium used in the first image transfer video we produced: