Phenol is a 4% solution of phenol (carbolic acid; CAS Registry Number 108-95-2) to prevent mold formation on gesso and chalk (traditional) grounds and waterborne paint. Add phenol to newly-made gesso or chalk ground mixtures or waterborne paint for maximum effectiveness. Store for days in a cool, dark place, or weeks in a refrigerator, without mold forming. Add to water to prevent solutions of casein, gum arabic, skin glues, etc,. from decomposing on storage, and as a preservative or antiseptic to prevent mold growth.
Phenol is packaged in amber Boston round PET bottles for maximum storage life with a mist sprayer. The amber colored PET bottle prevents light from degrading the product.
Phenol (carbolic acid) has been accepted in the past as a more or less standard preservative, antiseptic, and germicide, but it has two disadvantages. It is volatile and has an odor; it is customary in industry to mask this by the addition of an odorant such as oil of sassafras or some other essential oil [Ed—clove oil is excellent for this purpose and also has some antiseptic properties]. Despite its disadvantages, it is still widely employed, especially with gum arabic solutions, because of its thoroughly known behavior.
Reference: Ralph Mayer (1991) The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques. Fifth Edition. New York: Viking Penguin. p. 441.
To purchase Clove Oil for use with Phenol:Directions of Use For Casein, Gum Arabic and Hide Glue Solutions
- Spray Phenol generously onto the surfaces of the containers, spoons and tools that will come in contact with the solution.
- Add Phenol to the water (1 teaspoonful to 16 fluid ounces or 500 ml) in the recipe before adding other ingredients.
- Spray Phenol generously onto the surfaces of the containers, spoons and tools that will come in contact with the ground mixture.
- Add Phenol to the water (1 teaspoonful to 16 fluid ounces or 500 ml) in the ground recipe before adding solid ingredients.