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Acrylics and Tips

For the professional artist, budding art student or hobbyist, quality acrylic paint makes the ultimate difference in the final results of your project. A demonstration of the paint's quality is achieved through its vividly intense pigments, the workable viscosity, its inherent integrity as well as its drying abilities. Paints that neither crack, chip nor retain a bubbled appearance are sought after by craftsman, artisans and masters alike. With a wide range of colorful options, Liquitex acrylics can exceed your wildest musings. With 249 tubes in each set, Liquitex acrylics maintain a rich, consistent and brilliant sheen without distracting uneveness when dried. 

For your next masterpiece, think Liquitex.

Imagine the paintings, crafts and projects created with 249 acrylic paint tubes to choose from. A high quality array of vibrant pigments and textural consistency will produce the perfect blend for your shading, toning and tinting techniques. Water soluble formula makes clean up a breeze!

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Acrylic Paint Mediums

What is an acrylic paint medium used for?

To change the consistency of your acrylic paints you will have to add mediums. If you want to be able to create textures or show off your brush strokes you will want to add a medium that will thicken your paint. To create washes of color you should add a medium that will thin your acrylic paint.

Applying Acrylic Paints To Your Canvas

How do you apply acrylic paint colors?

Acrylic paints are very versatile. You can use them in diluted form to achieve the watercolor fashion or you can use them in an opaque way. When you are working with transparent colors you should work from light to dark just like you would if you were painting with watercolors. Keep in mind that acrylic paints dry darker. This is different than watercolors which lighten as they dry.

Improving the Flow of Your Acrylic Paints

What does medium do when mixed with acrylic paints?

Do not assume that just because acrylic paint is water based that to increase the paint flow you would mix it with water. That is just not true. While adding water to your acrylic paint will increase its flow the depth of the color will be lost. To increase the flow of acrylic paint without losing its color you should use a medium that improves the flow. Do not use water unless you want to improve the flow and lighten the paint.

Mixing Acrylic Paint Colors

Is there a right way to mix acrylic paint colors?

When creating different shades with your paint you must work fast. The best method to mixing acrylic paint colors is to add dark colors to light colors. This method works because you will only need to add a small amount of dark paint to change the light paint to the color you desire. If you add the light paint to a dark color you will have to use a lot more paint.

Mixing Browns

How do you mix brows?

When it comes to mixing paint, browns and grays can be the most difficult. The best way to go about making these colors is to use the complementary colors that you are working with in your painting. For instance, if you are using blue in your painting try making brown by mixing orange with blue instead of mixing green and red.

Opening Stuck Acrylic Paint Tubes

How can I open sealed acrylic paint tubes?

If your acrylic paint tube becomes sealed with dried paint, simply invert the paint tube into a glass of hot water for a few minutes. This should unseal the tube. If it does not loosen the cap you can snip off the bottom of the paint tube and get the paint from that end. To reseal a paint tube that has been opened from the bottom all you have to do is roll it up and close it with a bulldog clip.

Saving Extra Acrylic Paint

How can you store extra acrylic paint?

If you are having trouble with your acrylic paints drying out, you may want to invest in moisture retaining palettes. The trays are made out of plastic and have a lid. All you have to do is place a wet sponge in the base of the tray and place a piece of grease proof paper over the sponge. The paint is then placed on top of the sheet of paper. These trays will keep your paint moist for days.

The Environmental Impact of Acrylic Paints

How can I dispose of acrylic paints in an environmentally safe way?

Before you discard your paints, paper towels and old brushes you should allow them to thoroughly dry out first. This will lessen the risk that the paints will harm the environment when they reach the landfill.

The Frugal Acrylic Painter

How can I save money on acrylic paint supplies?

If you are looking for a cheap and useful household object to use for your palette, you should consider using plastic ice cube trays. It is easy to mix colors in an ice cube tray. To keep your paints fresh simply add a drop of water to each color and cover it with plastic wrap at the end of each day.

Acrylic paints

Why are acrylic colors best?

Acrylic paint colors are smooth and have a thick buttery consistency. They perform mulch like oil paints yet they are relatively easy to brush out. All acrylic paints are made to dry within a very tight satiny sheen range. This helps to reduce the chance that the colors in your painting will dry with different sheens such as matte, satin or gloss.

Acrylic Paints

Why do many artists prefer acrylic paint?

Acrylic paint is a fast dryer. You can dilute your acrylic paints in water and they will still be water resistant when they are dry. Depending upon how much water you use to dilute your acrylic paint will determine the finished look. It is important to note that many people use acrylic paints instead of watercolors simply because acrylics can resemble water colors -- yet they do not dry “light” like watercolors.

When using acrylics, always remember to clean your palette after painting to avoid a build-up of dry colour.

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More Tips on Acrylic paints:

  • Acrylic paints are water-based paints that dry as the water in the paint evaporates. Made up of a binder or polymer and pigment, they can be easily applied to many types of surface from fabric, wood, plaster, canvas and paper – almost any surface that is not slick or greasy. They provide artists with the feel of oil paint in an easy-to-clean, quick drying format.
  • Mediums are often added to acrylic paint in order to change the paint's consistency. A thicker consistency allows the artist to show off their brush strokes or to create textures, while thinning the paint lets artists create washes of color. Mediums also give you control over the finish on the canvas from glossy to matt
  • When dry, acrylic paint is durable and can be varnished. Varnish protects finished paintings from dirt and pollution in the air. Over time, if the varnish becomes dirty, it can be removed without harming the paint itself, so the painting can be cleaned. Just make sure your painting is absolutely 100% dry before varnishing.
  • Learn about the history, techniques and unique properties that make Acrylic Painting so popular. Discover information and tips about acrylic paint sets, acrylic colors, acrylic oil paintings and water color techniques at If you have tried water color painting and oil painting and are looking for a new artistic direction, perhaps acrylic painting is the new medium for you.
  • The wonderful versatility of acrylics is that you can use them in both a diluted, watercolor fashion or in a more opaque way. If working with transparent washes, apply your color from light to dark, as you would with watercolors. When working with an oil painting technique, the opposite is true – work from dark to light. Acrylics become darker as they dry, unlike watercolors, which become lighter.
  • For an artist, mixing acrylic paint colors is both a challenge and a joy. The variations and shades you can create are endless, but you have to work fast so the colors won't begin to dry. One good method is to always add the dark color to the light color. The reason? You only need a little bit of a dark color to change a light color, but it take a lot more of a light color to change the dark one.
  • Mixing browns and grays are sometimes the hardest of all to accomplish. Often they don't quite harmonize with the rest of your palette. There are many ways to create brown, but try creating brown by using complementary colors in the palette of your painting. So if blue is a dominant color in your painting, mix your brown by combining blue and orange, instead of red and green. By varying the proportions of each color, you will get a good range of browns to work with
  • If you seal a tube of acrylic paint with wet paint on the threads of the tube, it will dry and seal the tube closed. If this happens to you and you can't open your paint tube, first invert the tube and soak it for a few minutes in hot water. This should do it. But if not, snip off the bottom of the tube for use and then keep it closed with a bulldog clip.
  • Acrylic paints are very popular today, so its surprising to learn that they were very slow to catch on. Invented in the 1940s, they didn't really gain acceptance until the 1960s. Today, acrylic paints are available in both student and professional grades, offering two price points. They come in a wide range of premixed colors as well as specialty paints such as iridescent, fluorescent and glitter.
  • Ever wonder what the environmental impact is of discarded paint supplies? If you are ecologically minded, as we all should be, always allow your wasted paint and paper towels to fully dry before you discard them. The dried pigment lessens the risk of its solubility in landfills and wastewater.
  • The frugal acrylic painter can find lots of household items to augment their art supplies. Plastic ice cube trays make great palettes. Mixing colors are easy in ice cube trays and at the end of a painting session, just put a drop of water on top of each color and cover with plastic wrap. The colors will stay fresh for days. You can also store colors in baby food jars or 35mm film canisters.
  • We recommend beginning painters start with Acrylics. Later, you can decide to stick with Acrylics or switch to Oils. We recommend the Liquitex Primary 6 Starter Set. This set contains the 6 acrylic colors to start and mix with. The Acrylics store neatly in the box it comes in.
    Acrylic paints, a modern medium which came into general use in the 1960s, have become very popular due to their extreme versatility. They are made from pigment, water and an acrylic binder, which forms a hard, clear film as the water evaporates. It is this transparent film, reflecting light from the pigment inside it, that gives acrylic colour its brilliance. The film is more flexible than that of other media and is unlikely to crack. Acrylics are resistant to water once dry, which means they can be overpainted without disturbing the previous colour. This means that colour cannot be dissolved with a damp brush as it can with watercolour. To thin the colour, simply add water, or a Winsor and Newton acrylic medium. Acrylics become darker in tone as they dry, rather than lighter as with watercolour, so remember to allow for this effect when mixing your colours. You can mix them with water and use them rather like watercolour, or you can use them straight from the tube as if they were oil paints. Do not think that they are just a pale imitation of these other media, though – they are a fascinating medium in their own right and are used by many professional artists in a variety of ways.
  • Interested in acrylic painting tips? The Acrylic "Oil Painting" Technique is when acrylic paint is used straight from the tube. Acrylics have a consistency very similar to that of oils, and like oils, they retain the impression of the brush or knife, allowing you to create a considerable variety of surface or textural effects. Compared with oils; Acrylics dry rapidly, it is usually possible to overpaint within an hour. Even when dry, acrylics stay remarkably flexible, which means they can be painted on to most non-shiny, non-greasy grounds without cracking or splitting.

    Acrylic painting tips: No question, we recommend Liquitex for Acrylic painting. Specifically, Liquitex Acrylic Artist Color Professional High-Viscosity Series  It has the following features:

    • High pigment load, intense color
    • 96 color spectrum
    • Heavy bodied paints
    • Exceptionally smooth, thick buttery consistency
    • Oil like performance
    • Retains brush strokes
    • Little to no noticeable wet-to-dry color shift
    • Great for thick/impasto applications.

    Another brand we use, which costs a bit less, is the Winsor & Newton GALERIA acrylics series. W&N is a world-class company in the art world and certainly need no introduction. One little, possibly less-known fact, is that LIQUITEX is also produced by W&N! They give you a choice between Liquitex and Galeria. An alternative company you might want to try, is Speedball. many of our students enjoy these. They have Gorgeous Colors and are also non-toxic. Speedball is a bit more economical too.

  • Acrylic paints, came into general use during the 1960s, have become popular due to their extreme versatility. Acrylic paint colors are made from pigments, water and an acrylic binder, which forms a hard, clear film as the water evaporates. It becomes a transparent film, reflecting light from the pigment inside it, that gives acrylic color its brilliance. Acrylics dry very quickly, avoiding a tedious delay before painting further layers.

    More acrylic painting tips: Acrylic Colors are heavy bodied paints that have an exceptionally smooth, thick buttery consistency and oil-like performance, yet they are easy to brush out. Each Acrylic paint color is uniquely formulated to bring out the brilliance and clarity of the individual pigments.

    All colors are formulated to dry within a tight satin sheen range. This reduces the problem of colors drying with different surface sheens (i.e. gloss, satin, matte, etc.) depending on pigment type.

  • Acrylics are sometimes used in place of watercolors because acrylics dry closer to the desired color, while watercolors dry lighter.
  • Acrylics can also be used as an alternative to oil paint because acrylics dry much faster than oil paints. Acrylic paints can achieve an oil-paint-like effect, and do so in much less time. Acrylic painters modify the appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other characteristics of the paint surface using acrylic mediums.
  • ACRYLIC "WATERCOLOR" TECHNIQUE: By thinning acrylics with a small quantity of water and acrylic medium, a paint that can be used like transparent watercolour is produced. Alternatively, an additive such as Winsor & Newton Acrylic Flow Improver will give acrylics the consistency of watercolours while maintaining strength of colour.

    Comparison with watercolours

    1. Since acrylics are water-resistant when dry, they can be overpainted without disturbing previous colour.
    2. For the same reason, there is no need to frame an acrylic painting behind glass.

    For additional protection, it is advisable to use Winsor & Newton Acrylic Varnish, which can be removed if necessary when the surface becomes soiled. When using acrylics, always remember to clean your palette after painting to avoid a build-up of dry colour.

    The Acrylic "Watercolor" Technique is done by thinning acrylics with a small quantity of water and acrylic medium, a paint that can be used like transparent watercolor is produced. Alternatively, an additive such as Winsor & Newton Acrylic Flow Improver will give acrylics the consistency of watercolors while maintaining strength of color.

    Compared with watercolors acrylics are water-resistant when dry and can be overpainted without disturbing previous color. For additional protection, it is advisable to use Winsor & Newton Acrylic Varnish, which can be removed if necessary when the surface becomes soiled. When using acrylics, always remember to clean your palette after painting to avoid a build-up of dry color.

    What you paint with acrylics on is as important as what you paint with. That being said, what can you paint acrylics on? Basically anything you want. Although more sturdy surfaces are preferred over lightweight papers.

    If you do use paper, choose a heavier weight paper, so that it doesn't buckle and warp from the liquid (unless that is the desired effect, in which case, by all means go ahead!) Traditionally, paintings are done on wood, masonite, or canvas. Illustration board is also a very good alternative.

    When using all professional artists' colors, we do advise: 1) wearing non-latex disposable hand-gloves, 2) washing hands well with soap and warm water after use and 3) keeping small children away from the area.