Actionable acrylic paint tips you should know

Actionable acrylic paint tips you should know

Do you moisten the brush before beginning to paint with acrylic paint?

Consider using a dry brush to add texture and detail to the painting. When you move a dry brush over the surface of your painting, it will skip slightly. This gives the paint a gritty appearance, which is ideal for places where you want to add some texture or detail. 

  • For example, you may dry brush the ground in your painting to simulate grass.
  • If you’re dry brushing, make careful to properly wipe the brush dry between colors if you rinse it.

How should acrylic paint be thinned?

Add water to make the color more transparent. Acrylic paint may seem thick and impenetrable when applied directly from the tube. Increase the opacity of the paint by adding additional water to the paint on your palette. Add extra water to the paint to make it more translucent. 

When combining acrylic paint with water, never add more than roughly 20% water to the paint. If you use more than that, the binding ingredient that holds the paint to the surface may break down, resulting in the paint peeling off after it dries.

Acrylics may be thinned with glaze or paste to alter the texture of the paint. On a canvas, if you use solely straight acrylic paint, the whole work will have a boring, homogeneous feel. By diluting the acrylics with mix-ins, the visual texture is varied. Therefore, while thinning the acrylic, include additional media such as glaze or texture paste. In general, thinned acrylic paints have a liquid, watery appearance after they have dried. 

  • Glazes will provide a satiny sheen to the cured paint and a brilliant, lustrous texture.
  • Texture pastes give the paint a rough, chunky texture, but may dilute the color somewhat after drying.
  • Avoid using more than roughly 30% of your chosen medium, as this will result in the paint not coating the surface of your canvas.

How are acrylic paints blended on a canvas?

Paint a line of one color, then another, blending with your brush in between. Arrange the two lines in such a way that one is directly above the other. Then, work your way up and down the lines with your brush. This creates a smooth gradient, giving the colors the appearance of being merged together. 

The smoothest transition will occur if both colors are moist while you work. If you like a more textured effect, apply the darker color first, allow it to dry, and then brush the lighter color over it.

Can acrylic paints be layered?

Yes, layer your work to add texture and depth. It is recommended to work in layers while using acrylic paint. This enables you to add depth, for example, by using varied colors of green to create shadows and highlights in a tree. Allow sufficient time for each coat of paint to cure completely before painting another layer over it. While thin layers dry in roughly 30 minutes, heavy layers take well over an hour to dry.

Begin with dark colors and wide shapes and work your way up to bright hues and detail. When you begin painting, begin by sketching out your outlines, major forms, and any dark regions. Utilize the darkest hues in your palette. Then, progressively brighten the colors as you add additional layers, adding detail, texture, and highlights. 

Once cured, acrylic paint does not mix. If you begin with the lightest colors and then add darker tones, the darker colors will just cover over the lighter ones—they will not grow lighter. This is a general rule—if you apply too much highlight, you may need to go back in with a deeper hue and fill in some detail. That is perfectly OK!

If you’re accustomed to painting with watercolors, you’ll note that this is the polar reverse of that approach, in which you always begin with the lightest hue and work your way to the darkest.

How do you use acrylic paint to create texture?

With a wet brush, splatter paint to create large areas of color. Coat the bristles of a paintbrush or toothbrush with water and then with paint. With one hand, firmly grasp the brush, and with the other, hit the brush just below the bristles. The paint will clump and adhere to the canvas as it flies off in thick clots. 

  • Splattering is an excellent technique to utilize while creating abstract art. Alternatively, experiment with splattering to add texture to your painting.
  • To manage the spatter area, try holding the brush around 2–3 in (5.1–7.6 cm) from the canvas. Additionally, you may use masking tape to seal up any parts that you do not want splashed.

Stipple the canvas by dotting the paint on it. Stipple by coating the bristles of a paintbrush with paint and gently tapping the tip of the brush on the canvas to produce a feathery, dotted look. This technique is ideal for painting birds or animals, or for infusing an abstract piece with a feathery texture. 

Never move the brushes along with the canvas while stippling. This will smear the stipples together, defeating the purpose of the effect. Additionally, you may dip a sponge in paint and dab it gently on the canvas to produce a bubbly look.

How can you get perfectly straight lines while painting with acrylics?

Apply a strip of masking tape to the canvas to create crisp edges. Masking tape may be used in the same way as painters use painter’s tape, for example, to outline the edge of a ceiling. Masking tape may be applied straight to the canvas or to dried paint without hurting it. Simply push the tape firmly to ensure that no paint bleeds under its surface. After painting the hard edge, carefully peel away the masking tape to expose your flawlessly straight line.

This method is ideal for highlighting the sharp edges of a mountain top or the clean lines of a structure.

What is the proper way to clean acrylic paint off a palette?

Allow used paints to dry completely before discarding them in the garbage. Avoid washing your color palette, since the acrylic paint may block your plumbing. Rather than that, use a plastic tray as a color palette and allow any remaining paint to dry after usage. Then, after the paint has fully dried, remove it off the tray. 

Alternatively, you might just apply fresh, wet paint right over the dried paints. It’s ideal to use the same color as the dried paint—colors will not mix after the paint is dry, but if you layer various colors over the dried acrylic paint, it may be difficult to discern which color you’re using. If the paints are still rather wet, you may be able to remove them off the palette with a moist paper towel. Check out Acrylic paint tips for beginners