Can You Make Tempera Paint Permanent?

Tempera paint, also known as Poster Paint, is a water-based paint with mixing few chemical bindings; it is a non-allergen and non-toxic painting solution.

Tempera paint is not permanent paint, making the painters skeptical about whether they should use it. As a painter, you may also wonder if you can make tempera paint permanent. 

The short answer is yes. You can make tempera paint permanent by following some simple steps. You can use a primer or sealant, glue or gelatin, or you can make tempera paint permanent by applying heat. 

In this article, we will walk you through the process of making tempera paint permanent.

Tempera Paint

What Makes Tempera Paint Permanent

Tempera paint or poster paint is not permanent and long-lasting. Most of them are made of pigments, calcium carbonate, cellulose, and water. As egg tempera is a permanent paint, it can stay the same and eye catchy for a long time. You can use tempera paint on wood, glass windows, paper, ceramic, and canvas, and also if you want, you can use the paint on your hair.

Modern tempera paint has to be externally customized to be made permanent. Here are a few tips that can help you make your paint permanent.

Use Primer or Sealant

Primer is the coat painted on a surface before doing the actual painting to increase the longevity of the paint. Sealant is a thin liquid solution applied to a surface before painting to grab the color widely.

If you are going forward with sealant, then you may use Mod Podge. Mod Podge can make your tempera paint seal faster. The original formula of Mod Podge will give your creation a shiny look that is not possible with only tempera paint. 

Tempera paint is similar to watercolor that both of these are liquids and re-soluble. For that reason, while selecting Mod Podge, you must ensure that you have selected one that is water-resistant. 

Water or any liquid can fully ruin your painting if it touches unprotected tempera paint. Sealing your paint is a straightforward process. 

Simply spray or brush your painting with a very thin coat of Mod Podge, don’t make the coat thick which can be negative to your expectation. 

Give it half an hour to get dry, and then again put on another coat of Mod Podge. Definitely, two coats of the seal will be more than enough to protect your creation.

Be aware that you don’t touch or try to move the paint before it gets fully dry otherwise, it can get your fingerprint, dust, or any other obstacles.

Use Glue or Gelatine

If you mix glue or gelatine with your tempera paint, the stuff will make your colors more permanent on the surface. This is a common practice for artists to increase the lifetime of a good painting. 

Similarly, after finishing all your creative touches on the painting, let it dry fully. After the painting is dry, put as much thin a layer of glue as possible on the painting.

Be careful, and don’t let the paint get wet because it may ruin the painting! Again leave the painting to dry out the glue layer.

Gloss Acrylic Medium

Gloss Acrylic Medium can perform the role of varnish and also can be used as a fluid gloss medium. It can improve the adhesion better of the paint. If you add gloss acrylic medium to the paint, it will be waterproof once it dries, and you can also wash it when it is wet. Moreover, this is not expensive. If you don’t expose your painting to direct sunlight, the painting will last a long period. 

Applying Heat

Applying high temperatures up to specific degrees can help the paint to be more attached to the surface but it is a bit risky because it can damage the color quality.

Applying Heat On Tempera Painting

Pros and Cons of Making Tempera Paint Permanent

Everything in the world has two sides: advantages and disadvantages. As we have talked here about making tempera paint permanent, now, let us discuss the pros and cons of making tempera paint permanent.


  • Increases Versatility

Tempera paint comes as a non-permanent solution, so while working with it, there lies a certain number of usage limitations. But when you convert it into a permanent solution, your work becomes more flexible, and you can try different stuff.

  • Easy to Work

The tempera pain can get ruined with water or any other liquid stuff, so working with that is very sensitive, and it can waste all your hard work with a simple touch of a hand.

When you mix an appropriate medium and make the paint permanent, you can be free from the fear of ruining it. So, you get more comfort in painting.

  • Makes the Paint Water-Resistant

Tempera Paints available as a liquid solute in the market are usually not waterproof. If any type of liquid, such as water, oil, sweat, or other liquid gets mixed with the paint, the paint will peel off the surface. 

But if you use sealant to make the paint permanent, it will make it permanent and water-resistant.

Water-Resistant Tempera Paint
  • Non-Toxic to Health

Most of the paint or colors available today contain poisonous chemicals, and inhaling or swallowing many of them are as toxic as they can cause human death. 

From that perspective, tempera paint is much better to use as it is not toxic to health and nature.


  • Not Vibrant as Other Paints

The brightness and catchiness of the paint get reduced by adding glue, heat, sealant, and other elements to make the paint permanent. By nature, tempera paint provides a matt finish. Apart from making the paint permanent, you can make the paint shiny.  

  • Lack of Color Variety

Tempera paints have a limited number of colors. When you add elements like glue to make them permanent, they lose their ability to make various colors by mixing one another.

  • Long Time to Prepare

Under the heading making tempera paint permanent, we have talked that it will take half an hour twice to make a painting permanent. 

The main benefit of using Tempera Paint is that it is a fast-drying paint. However, you will need longer than usual when painting because of making the paint permanent. 

Final Thoughts

Tempera paints are mainly made of pigments, water (as a binder), calcium carbonate, and non-toxic chemicals. To make it permanent, you should add glue, sealant, heat, or a plastic coat with the paint. 

There are plenty of options for choosing the right sealant or ingredient. Whatever you use to make the paint permanent has to follow the guidelines to get the best result. 

To get the best result from tempera paint, try to use it on a flat surface as this paint flakes. So, it is better to work on paper, paperboard, cardboard, or poster board with Tempera paint.