How To Thicken Acrylic Paint – Simple And Easy Techniques

Acrylic paints are generally easy to work with. They can bring to life any painting work or art project. Acrylics are versatile and can be used in various ways. However, in some cases, your painting task may require you to thicken the paint solution to achieve the effect that you are aiming for.

Paints have different viscosities and consistencies. It also sometimes depends on the blending technique used. A thicker consistency is usually required to conceal a pre-existing dark colored base.

Luckily, there are simple and easy ways on how to thicken acrylic paint to get the right amount of thickness and texture for your artwork. The simplest way to thicken your paint is to use and add more color and reduce the amount of water content. If you don’t know where to start, we’ll show you how.

Here’s What You’ll Need:

  • Acrylic Paint Medium
  • Textured Gel
  • Modeling Paste
  • Cornstarch
  • Crushed Eggshells
  • Talcum Powder
  • Fine-Grain Sand

Tips On How to Thicken Your Paint

Painting with acrylics is fun especially since you can create various textures and designs with this paint material. You can easily change the consistency of the paint by applying thickening solutions. There are a lot of options how to achieve that certain viscosity you are looking for.

1. Buy a paint medium

You can easily purchase a paint medium at your local hardware store. Paint mediums are easy to mix with acrylic paints. A good option is to use a matte or gel medium with a clear finish. Just mix a small amount of paint medium with your acrylic paint.

Stir the paint well and test the consistency on a sample material. Allow the sample dry and observe the effect once the paint dries. Check the thickness, color, and texture of the paint if it suits your requirement. You can add more medium to make it thicker.

Using a paint medium is one of the simplest ways to thicken your paint. Professional paint mediums provide a great solution especially since it is made with quality ingredients to last you a long time.

Different types of paint mediums:

  • Matte Medium: Acrylic paints usually have a glossy finish. However, a matte finish produces a softer and non-reflective appearance.
  • Glossy Medium: This helps enhance the natural beauty of the acrylic paint. A glossy medium makes the paint thinner in consistency and gives a transparent finish.
  • Semi-Gloss Medium: In order to achieve a semi-gloss effect, you can combine equal proportions of matte and glossy mediums.
  • Gel Medium: This type of medium appears similar to a paste. It has a white color and has a gel form. This effectively thickens your paint and retains your brushstrokes. A gel medium is suitable for collages because it strengthens the adhesion in your acrylic paint.
  • Glazing Medium: A Glazing medium enhances the transparency of the paint using specific glazing techniques.
  • Acrylic Additives: Acrylic additives have similar functions to acrylic mediums. However, additives do not have any acrylic binders, unlike mediums. This means you have to be more careful when you’re working with additives in order to get the correct proportions. If you overdo the additives, it may affect the color and adhesive properties of the paint.

2. Use a textured gel to add more thickness

Most gels contain ingredients similar to ceramic, stucco or sand. Mix the gel with the acrylic paint to give the paint a textured feel. A gel can affect not only the thickness of your paint but the sheen and finish as well. You can opt between a glossy or matte finish.

If you want to be more creative, you can experiment and create your own texture. Mix the gel and paint with sand or sawdust. This is a fun way to come up with unique and customized paint textures.

3. Mix the paint with a modeling paste

Use a small amount of modeling paste to the acrylic paint to add more thickness. The viscosity will appear on your brush strokes. If you want to achieve a three-dimensional finish, a modeling paste is the best solution.

However, be mindful that modeling paste produces a white color when it dries out. In this case, it may affect the color of your paint. You can test it first on a sample material before applying it to your painting surface.

4. Use a cornstarch

Yes, you read it correctly. Some household items such as cornstarch contain thickening constituents for your acrylic paint. This is a good alternative to professional paint mediums, gels, and modeling paste.

At the same time, it is best for budget-conscious painters since this is relatively cheaper. A DIY thickening substance is as effective as the professional paint supplies.

So, how do you apply it? Mix a one and a half cup of water with two tablespoons of cornstarch. Put the mixture in a saucepan and heat it until it produces a thick solution.

Once it cools down, you can add the solution to the acrylic paint to get the right amount of consistency. If you happen to have extra solution on hand, you can put it in a sealed container for future use.

5. Use other household products to thicken the paint

Aside from cornstarch, there are other possible ingredients lying in your household that can act as a paint thickener. Similar to cornstarch, these ingredients are easy to get hold of and is very easy in the pocket. However, there are pros and cons to each item.

  • Crushed Eggshells – This is easy to prepare. However, it leaves a distinct texture on your acrylic paint.
  • Talcum Powder – This ingredient produces an even consistency. On the other hand, the texture and sheen leave you with a greasy finish.
  • Fine-grain Sand – Once you mix this with acrylic paint, it doesn’t easily dry off. However, the sand grains is visible through the texture of the paint.

When you are mixing solutions, you can experiment by trying different methods. This way, you can determine which type of solution may work best for you.

Combining textures and materials is a great way to add variety to your painting. Just experiment until you find a suitable solution on how to thicken acrylic paint.

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