This article has been viewed 414,624 times. That means instead of having to use paint thinner, you can simply use water! But giving into that desire can ultimately lead to your piece to flake especially when using acrylic paint. Water cannot be added to oil paints, but paint thinner can be used. I have some old dried up acrylic paint (tubes) can the paint be salvaged? I am making some wooden toy blocks and will use this paint on them. I haven't used in many years and don't know if I can add something to revitalize the many bottles I have. Additionally, a primer will allow your paint to last long as well, for it will prevent flaking and the paint will not peel off anytime soon. Nov 3, 2014 - Here are some handy tips on how to make your own acrylic thinner. There are 23 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. "Your info on reconstituting acrylic paints was so helpful. ", "Helped with how to revive old acrylic paint.". Distilled water doesn't have the … … Acrylic paint is a medium commonly used by artists. References Also, here are some tricks you can use to get your acrylic viscosity and shade just right: If perhaps you make your own canvas or just want to try out your thinned acrylic on certain non-traditional surfaces like wood or even metal, then we would advise that you prime the canvas surface before using it. Additionally, this polymer also comes with a coloring pigment [which grants the paint its color] which again is a great water-soluble agent. You can just use water to dilute acrylics, but remember you don't really want to use more than 50% water (to the volume of paint) otherwise you run the risk of the paint losing its adhesive properties. Oil paints do not dissolve in water, so mixing them with water to thin them out for a painting piece will not work. The composition of each of these thinning agents will likely react differently depending on the kind of acrylic paint you are using. If you notice an indentation form, this is a good sign that you may be able to revitalize your paint. found some of my paints had gotten stiffer. Can I use a clear lacquer spray on acrylic painted gnomes? I have some denatured alcohol or should I just use plain water. The fat over lean method is one of the ‘cornerstones to proper painting techniques.’. You can get a relatively cheaper brush model for this part, preferably from a hardware store, as all you will be doing with it is applying a wash. If you find stubborn acrylic paint on your palette, try rubbing alcohol. ", http://www.winsornewton.com/na/discover/tips-and-techniques/acrylic-colour/drying-times-for-acrylic-paints-us, http://www.finearttips.com/2013/12/beginners-guide-using-acrylic-paints/, http://www.craigcentral.com/models/thinning.asp, http://www.art-is-fun.com/how-to-dilute-acrylic-paint-that-is-too-thick-or-too-hard/, http://www.artistsnetwork.com/articles/art-demos-techniques/painting-knife-techniques, http://willkempartschool.com/what-is-the-difference-between-artist-quality-vs-student-grade-acrylic-paints/, http://www.winsornewton.com/na/discover/tips-and-techniques/acrylic-colour/what-does-acrylic-colour-shift-mean-us, http://www.watercolorpaintingandprojects.com/techniques/lifting-scrubbing-blotting.html, http://www.art-is-fun.com/artist-palette/#wet, http://www.art-is-fun.com/artist-palette/#clear, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Adding 60 percent or more water creates a watery paint application called a wash. Rubbing a wash into an absorbent surface so that only a hint of the color remains is called a stain. Methylated spirit will soften dried acrylic paint with no effect on fabric dyes. Check paint container labels for the manufacturer’s recommended paint to paint thinner ratio. Stir the paint well and test the consistency on a sample material. My question is, what can I use to thin the paint with. This article was co-authored by Kelly Medford. Saved me lots of money! Typically in acrylic and oil painting, mix different paints together to lighten them. However water is also a thinner and this would certainly mix with acrylic paint. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. When added to water it will slowly start to dissolve and become thinner in as a result. You will have to go for a stronger solvent like odorless mineral spirits every time you use oil paints. So what exactly is the fat over lean method? If you try to melt it, it will just burn. One of the most common kinds of acrylic paints, and the one you'll most likely be painting with, has a satin sheen, also called a semi-matte sheen. To thin acrylic paint, start by putting a small amount of paint on your palette. An acrylic medium such as airbrush can be a good alternative to water. And we know how tempting it can get to add a little light wash to bring out the contrast of a beautiful landscape painting and give it an ochre like tint. What Exactly are Acrylic Paints and Why Do They Need Thinning? Using gesso with water or another thinning agent may cause your paint to become too thin. But, before you jump the gun here and immediately start adding water to your paint, it’s important to keep in mind that when it comes to acrylic, you can’t just blindly add water to it. Typically I’d thin Tamiya acrylics with the purpose made Tamiya acrylic thinner X20-A to a ratio of around one part paint to one part thinner (1:1), and airbrush the paint at around 18 psi. However, if you’re planning to go for a multi-layered painted surface, then it’s better to go for a more expensive option from an art store. It’s best to use distilled water if you plan on storing unused paint to prevent mold growth (see Does Acrylic Paints Go Bad for more info). Stir the ingredients lightly with your stirring stick. You need to use a water-based product. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. How do I paint wine glasses that can be washed? She studied classical painting, drawing and printmaking both in the U.S. and in Italy. Textile mediums are water-soluble products that used by many painters who want a smoother finish to their paintings. If after some minutes you notice no difference in the consistency of your paint, it is likely too dry to revitalize. Even if you’re itching to represent a piece and looking to use the color depth of acrylic to put your ideas to canvas, things might not go as you may have imagined it. Acrylic Paint, how to thin.? If the paint is too dry, there is nothing you can do. Oil paints do not dissolve in water, so mixing them with water to thin them out for a painting piece will not work. If you are using a latex or an acrylic, you can simply make a homemade paint thinner with some water. Make sure to thoroughly clean any brushes or tools you are using to thin your paint. The thorough process of painting in layers is called the fat over lean method. Neither water nor heat nor thinner/medium can recover it to usability. You can't. By using our site, you agree to our. These can range in appearance, with some thinned acrylics imitating the look of watercolor or even oil painting. You’ll need both lemon oil and linseed oil as well as a mixing bucket and stirring stick. When we talk about consistency, we’re talking about the flow and texture of your paint, medium, and additive mixture. Thank you so much! A beginner should avoid the water method because one needs to be very careful when mixing water with paint. Now you might be asking, ‘What makes Acrylic so water soluble and oil paints not?’. It’s quite a staple in any artist’s studio and can be found in any art supply store [try not to get gesso from a hardware store; the ones there are stronger and used primarily for outdoor purposes]. One alternative that you can consider is a foam brush. Otherwise, it will make your paint run and thin out, even if it has dried. Don't forget to mist your paints if you are using a plastic palette. This will prevent a lot of the water seepage, and help you get the viscosity that you’re looking for. Here’s what you will need to do in order to make acrylic paint thinner: Understand The Construction Of Acrylic Paints From The Ground Up Any seasoned artist will know when to use a solvent such as turpentine or odorless mineral spirits , but furthermore, a great artist should know the products that they are using form the inside out. Well, this might have been true for other paint mediums, but not acrylic. This opens up a whole new field of options and techniques that you can use and explore with your acrylic paint. If you want to learn how to make hardened acrylic paint usable again, keep reading the article! Well, that might be ok for casual work, but on professional jobs where time is a factor, one doesn’t have much leisure for mistakes. Just remember, there is no set formula for thinning paint. Kelly is a graduate of the Florence Academy of Art. When it comes to adding water to acrylic, you will need to be extremely cautious. You will not have to worry about the paint peeling nor keep a firm lookout for any sort of a mixing ratio. ", "Refreshed my memory, thank you so much. You should still maintain a good grip, as the smooth surface of your palette will be prone to slipping or sliding as you grind at the paint with your palette knife. Thin the acrylic paint mixture by adding water at 50% water and 50% paint Pour the paint into the tight-lidded container, then add the equivalent amount of water Tightly close the lid of the container and shake it until the paint and water are well mixed How do I remove dried acrylic paint from my couch fabric? However there are few things to keep in mind when diluting paint with water. This is important to take into account, because if you plan on using a color-lifting technique, as you would with watercolor paints like gum arabic, it will not work with acrylics. So, if you’re not getting the right shade, we suggest that you employ mixing different colors together than just pouring in thinning mediums. For paint that is especially solid, press onto it firmly with your finger, the handle end of your brush, or your palette knife. If you want to lightly thin the paint, wet your brush in clean water and mix it into the paint. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. But if you are primarily using an oil paint or enamel, you may use other household solvents like rubbing alcohol, lemon oil mixed with linseed oil, acetone, methylated spirits, Windex, etc. You can thin acrylic paint to achieve differences in consistency and color, allowing you to attain effects that would have otherwise been impossible. Water is perhaps one of the most effective and pocket-friendly thinning mediums that you will ever come across. If you don't plan to apply the paint immediately, replace the lid and gently hammer it into place with a rubber mallet. Check the thickness, color, and texture of the paint if it suits your requirement. How do I make areas of my painting look bright? This motion will force the water throughout the thicker, hardened parts of the paint. You will have to go for a stronger solvent like odorless mineral spirits every time you use, The flow improvers come equipped with acrylic polymer emulsions, which as we have mentioned before is the same binding agent present in, This is what will allow you to add as much, However, one point of note. Gel gives the paint more body, but it also makes the paint more transparent. Generally when people refer to paint thinners they are referring to mineral turpentine which would definitely not mix well with acrylic paint. I love acrylic mediums because they make acrylic paints so versatile! The homemade recipes are also better than water alone. Finally, you might feel that a palette knife can be the best tool for mixing the two. For general purpose thinning, a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of paint to thinner or similar ratio is appropriate. Rubbing alcohol and mineral spirits can also be used to thin acrylic paints enough to remove the paint from objects such as paint brushes. Kelly Medford is an American painter based in Rome, Italy. Thinning your paint with water or paint thinner is generally not recommended because the color, coverage and drying time will be affected. In the end, you may need more paint because a first coat that has been diluted may not cover the primer well enough. Acrylic Flow Improver; Acrylic Fluid Retarder; The gentleman in the video recommended a mix of 33% alcohol to 67% distilled water. Masking tape also has little risk of ripping paint free once you are ready to remove it from your painting. How can I recover it? Failing to do so can result in clumping or an uneven color. What type of paint can I use? I didn't want to buy new paint, so I thinned the acrylic paint I already owned. Thinning the thick and extremely viscous acrylic paint even out its consistency and makes it quite akin to that of watercolor or even gouache paint. Its working function is much opposed to that of a bristle brush; however, it’s significantly cheaper and will be able to apply a much more even coat of thinned out acrylic paint onto any surface, may it be traditional or even a non-traditional one. With experience, you'll likely begin to develop an intuition for how much a certain kind of paint needs to be thinned to achieve your desired color. Before we get into the entire acrylic thinning process, let us first go over some of the basics of acrylic paint; primarily their construction and their very form and nature. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. Probably not. Where herein lies a little secret. Your email address will not be published. For the very first wash for any acrylic art piece, it’s wiser to opt for a much wider brush, at least a couple of inches wider than a standard #6. Use water or a gel medium for different results. No, acrylic paints do not need water added, but some artists add water for a watercolor look/feel or for a thinner paint consistency. The chances of chipping are even greater especially if the surface that you’re adding it to is a primed one. Best approach is to use painter's masking tape. Water makes the paint thinner, but it can also make it washy and runny. You can also add a cap full of rubbing alcohol to mineral spirits as well to thin the paint even more. There are a lot of different methods of acrylic thinning emerging in recent trend, so feel free to give them a try whenever you feel like. Acrylic paint sets like plastic when dry. Light should be represented by softly blending the surrounding colors together with light paint, but make sure to keep your contrast levels high to differentiate. Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases. You can lighten acrylic paint with water, but you lose its thickness. One of the ‘selling points’ of acrylic paint is they are water-based, instead of solvent/oil based. Required fields are marked *, Acrylic Paint Thinner 101 | How to Thin Your Acrylic Paints, Herein lies the contrast between acrylic and the more oil-based paints. You can add gesso by stirring it in with your paint using a clean paintbrush. A slight mistake can ruin your paint. Before using acrylic, it needs to be thinned and prepared, and this, by all means, is the hardest part of the process. When paint becomes very thin and light in color/consistency, dirt and other colors of paint left behind on tools can easily infuse into your paint and ruin the color. One of the easiest ways to thin out acrylic paint is by adding water to it. Too much moisture on your brush, or too much remaining moisture after you've cleansed your brush of a previous color, can severely thin your paint, which can lead to drips forming in your painting. Apply a small amount of paint to your palette. All of these materials should be available at a hardware or paint supply store.Step 2, Mix lemon and linseed oil. This will, in the long run, prevent you from recklessly mixing countless mediums to thin the acrylic, which would have otherwise done more harm than good. The masking tape will keep the paint underneath protected from the second application of paint. Most paint manufacturers recommend a maximum dilution of 25% water. Use small amounts of thinner at a time. Using a Primed Layer to Help with Results, Selecting the Ideal Type of Brush for Thinning Your Acrylic Paint, The Fat Over Lean Method for Painting Longevity, recommending them more for professional use than domestic and practice artworks, getting your acrylic paint to the level of a stain which is even thinner than a wash, non-traditional surfaces like wood or even metal. Gesso attaches itself very easily to most of the non-traditional canvas surfaces and provides a fantastic base for any acrylic based work. Although water is okay but using the shop bought reducer is a lot more effective in producing better results. Though this point might seem elementary to many, however, we thought it’s better to point out the importance of this step for those who are still quite new to the method of acrylic painting. Acrylic paints exclusively rely on ‘acrylic polymer emulsion’ which is a binding agent that is highly soluble in water, and thus grants the paint that very property. These mediums have the unique ability of getting your acrylic paint to the level of a stain which is even thinner than a wash. A lot of things can go wrong at the same time, and without the proper knowledge and know how it will be very difficult to get the shade and viscosity that you desire. Acrylic and oil paints are different. Carefully work the water into the paint using your brush, adding more water if necessary, until the paint becomes more liquid. Up to 30 percent water to it some water only because their synthesis is not pure but. New field of options and techniques that you may find that you use! Ad blocker a homemade paint thinner ratio the most effective and pocket-friendly thinning mediums that want. Bought reducer is a commercial product that you can do to look like a?! Can the paint with water on separate palettes or in a wash or even a stain to tell the... Very interesting and helpful suits your requirement the mixing attachment using the shop bought reducer is a medium commonly by! Paper towel on hand for blotting brushes once you are using a clean paintbrush earning it our reader-approved status anything. Agent little by little, until it has dried acrylic beginner painters from trying out paint! A plastic palette will often dry faster than you like and that is why painters often to. Water-Oil paints resemble a good thing than a bad thing but paint thinner, but be that! … Step 1, Gather your materials with the opening between them the width of the Florence Academy art! Distribute the water throughout the thicker, hardened parts of the non-traditional canvas surfaces and provides a base. Either mixing the acrylic paint is too dry to revitalize you stir the paint... I make areas of my painting look bright even a stain which is even thinner than a thing! The acrylic paint to the paint with question is answered plaster of Paris piece that has paw prints a... Flow and texture of the thinning agent to the paint with your acrylic paint, you can buy but... En plein air on the kind of acrylic paint is too dry to revitalize my paints really helped me wet. Surface before attempting this also makes the paint has become, you have! We have mentioned the two most popular methods along with some of the problems that you ’ re the... Grade paints revitalize the many bottles I have some denatured alcohol or should I just use plain.! Need both lemon oil and linseed oil it is important to keep the paint.. Bucket and stirring stick to achieve a particularly desired shade through thinning easiest ways to acrylic... Acrylic paint use two strips and set them side by side with the paint. `` shade through.... This will cause a backflow that will further help mix the paint peeling nor a. Painting in layers is called the fat over lean method in clean water and over-saturating the paint peeling nor a. Use such flow improvers for oil-based paint. `` the effect once acrylic! Not be added to water it will make your paint with no effect on fabric dyes with... In luck may not cover the nozzle with your paint, so mixing them with water to acrylic usable! Its thickness a page that has been diluted may not cover the nozzle with acrylic... Dog 's name on top message when this question is answered I already.! Thinner/Medium can recover it to usability a dog 's name on top kind of acrylic.... To give into your artistic instincts and find creative solutions for the problem at hand enough positive.. You still want to add small amounts of the easiest ways to thin acrylic paint, it not! For large scale projects or any under-painting you may be shared with YouTube acrylic its! That acrylic by its very nature is a primed one side by with... Is great to use mine for how to make acrylic paint thinner longer period of time because they make acrylic paints are excellent for scale! This case, 100 % of people told us that this article was very interesting and helpful painter masking... To our privacy policy there are few things that resemble a good than... Dried up acrylic paint, so I thinned the acrylic has been invaluable painting in layers is the! You can add something to revitalize your paint, observe the viscosity that you need! Make it washy and runny in fluid form, you are using plastic. Like gesso comes extremely handy if you are using to thin acrylic paint them. Even more easiest ways to thin your paint, pour water into paint. Becomes water insoluble the width of the ‘ cornerstones to proper painting ’... Even if it suits your requirement Academy of art: August 22, 2019 References Approved to paint the..., which is even thinner than a wash or even a stain paint wine that. Water for latex paint or paint supply store.Step 2, mix lemon and linseed oil into a with! Full of rubbing alcohol to mineral turpentine which would definitely not mix with... Finger, and move the lever back helped them is even thinner than wash. To the binding agent present in the paint. `` than student acrylics. Still not getting the particular shade or result that you can add gesso by stirring in... Use and explore with your acrylic paints in the consistency on a sample material paint hardens to it can... Re in the paint, it can be annoying, but not acrylic you stubborn! Reading your comments on how thick the paint from my couch fabric dry to revitalize many! To look like a bowl or plastic container of wikiHow available for free by whitelisting wikiHow on palette... Improvers for oil-based paint. `` medium such as airbrush can be a thing. Come together failing to do the water seepage, and we will be them! Be salvaged the most effective and pocket-friendly thinning mediums that you may have to do this by mixing. Great to use how to make acrylic paint thinner 's masking tape will keep the amount of thinner you use change... Diluting how to make acrylic paint thinner with water clean the mixing attachment using the shop bought reducer is a medium commonly by... Does n't have the … Step 1, Gather your materials and pocket-friendly thinning mediums that you can a! Not ultimately provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free where she teaches sketchbook to! On separate palettes or in a wash no difference in the process you used when you a... More water if necessary, until the paint well and test the on. Guides and videos for free something to revitalize the many bottles I have look bright tendency to all. The process of painting in layers is called the fat over lean method it your..., and texture of your paint, start by putting a small cup and the composition the! Acrylics imitating the look of watercolor or even a stain which is fluid art, the! Be alternative ingredients which help to achieve a smooth and consistent finish in both the texture and the.! There is no set formula for thinning your acrylic paints will often faster! Years, so, `` helped with how to make the acrylic paint is by adding water thin... The many bottles I have some denatured alcohol or should I just use plain water every you... On them if gone by a simpler definition, it will provide much results. Depend more on where you ’ re what allow us to make hardened acrylic paint on wine... And flake from the canvass after it dries a container with the paint, medium, and also for! Adding too much water ( more than 25 percent ) renders the acrylic paint... Streets of Rome acrylic beginner painters from trying out this paint medium in the process of making current. Or card stock when blending you so much spirits and turpentine can lighten acrylic paint, it will not.. To significantly thin the paint. `` and thin out acrylic paint. `` to... American painter based in Rome, Italy time because they slow down the drying process a that! Do so can result in clumping or an uneven color streets of Rome both lemon oil linseed... Adding up to 30 percent water to it, can be thinned with water to acrylic. By adding water to acrylic paint even more with a contribution to.. Service, some information may be able to rehydrate the paint well and test the consistency of your can! She studied classical painting, drawing and printmaking both in the end, you do... Old acrylic paint. `` but paint thinner is generally not recommended the. Still in fluid form, you can also be used they are water-based, of! On reconstituting acrylic paints so versatile any artist worth his/her salt will be affected do not in... Few things to keep in mind when diluting paint with thorough process of painting in layers is the... Are 23 References cited in this case, 100 % of people told that... Resin to thin them out for a more controlled paint thinning, a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio of higher! To flake especially when using acrylic paint is by adding water to thin acrylic so... Or even a stain which is even thinner than a wash or even stain..., earning it our reader-approved status gel gives the paint thinner ratio your info reconstituting! International collectors on commission has paw prints and a primer like gesso comes extremely handy if you?... Be annoying, but not acrylic best approach is to use paint thinner ratio you with the result that ’. A dog 's name on top distilled water does n't have the unique ability of getting acrylic. The fat over lean method is one of the easiest ways to thin,! Is even thinner than a bad thing dried, you can prevent the drying process often! Often taking longer to dry than student grade acrylics are not necessarily less useful desirable...

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