The spray varnish I had picked up from a couple of locations. This turned out to be the thing that made the difference in my testing. I was using Moab paper, so it does make sense that their varnish works with their paper. My first few tests I found that it went down very well, and I was a big fan of the drying time before laying down another coat – 15 minutes. As it was a fine mist that dried well and nicely even, I found that I could even push it a bit in the coating process. It was rated for UV and scratch protection as well, so I felt like this was quickly becoming a winner. The finish luster was an almost perfect match, and I found that I had some difficulty in telling if it was on without a close inspection. There was a slight loss in contrast, but very minimal. After letting it cure for an hour (my choice) I decided to go for the water test. I dribbled water directly on the print and let it sit for two minutes — enough time to find it’s way in through the varnish and a simulation of me running to find a cloth to clean it off. I then grabbed a blue shop paper towel and rubbed it clean. It passed with flying colors — no damage from the water, no damage from my rough cleaning job. Perfect! But …


I did a few more tests and came up with a spray pattern that I liked: three passes — vertical, horizontal, vertical with a stroke in each direction and then slightly overlapping as I worked my way across the print. I’d print leaving a larger margin on the paper so I could tape the print to a wall and use the can upright. This gave me a solid coat that I could see and feel on the work. My problems came however when I switched to a new can — suddenly I had sputtering. I had heard about it, but not run into it yet. I had just finished one coat on a piece when my can ran out, so I moved to a new can for the follow up. Mid-spray there was sputter and that meant a ruined print. (sad face)

It took me a little to figure out what was going on. Luckily I had just had some good conversations with some friends who do graffiti and they turned me on to the vast differences in nozzles. My discovery was confirmed later by a rep from Moab, that there was a nozzle they were having trouble with that they pulled from production … I had found one in someone’s existing stock and it was jamming me up. Nozzles are easily replaced, and so I swapped them out and we were back in business. Like my friends, I too now have a little nozzle collection going. Back in business, but I still do a little spray check before committing the varnish to the work. (happy face)