Acrylic Paint, An Artist’s Dream Come True!

Acrylic Paint, An Artist’s Dream Come True!

Acrylic paint is a fast drying water soluble paint. Even though this paint is soluble in water, it becomes resistant to it once it gets dry. You can make your acrylic paintings look like oil paintings or water colored paintings. You will probably not be able to find the kind of range in acrylic paints anywhere else, even in software.

Art schools, classes, and crafting are primary users of acrylic paints. The reason why you should opt for acrylic paints it that it is straightforward to remove it with water and no other chemical or solution is necessary. You don't need to worry about these paints leaving stains on your clothes.

Acrylic Paints By Golden

Acrylic paints were made commercially available in the year 1950. A company known as Golden came up with their variation of acrylic paint in the following year; this paint was waterborne and appropriately named “Aquatic." In the early days, water-based acrylic paints were branded and sold as latex house paints.

Main Components Of Acrylic Paint

There are different materials present in acrylic paints. Egg yolks and different types of oils among a few other things are mixed with various pigments to achieve the perfect blend of acrylic paint.


Binder is an essential component for Acrylic paints as it significantly increases the durability and handling of the paint.

Acrylic Resin

Acrylic emulsions are made using polymer. Acrylic resin is an essential component for achieving a top quality polymer.


The pigment is a powdery material which is extremely dry. There are different types of pigments. Synthetic, natural, inorganic, and organic pigments are among the popular that manufacturers use. The use of a binder is necessary for the dye to cling to the surface of a painting and blend with the paint.

Acrylic Paint Pigment

Some Characteristics Of Acrylic Paints

  • Acrylic paints are nonflammable; they do not have any fumes or odor, and non-toxic thinners are used to produce them
  • These paints do not mix with oils or turpentine; they only mix with acrylic emulsion mediums or other acrylic paints
  • Acrylic paints get dry by the process of evaporation. It takes ten to twenty minutes for thin paint films while it takes an hour to three days for thick paint films to dry
  • Only soap and water is required to clean out dry acrylic painting from its surface
  • Always be sure to keep your hands clean and your brushes wet before you begin painting
  • Clean your paint palette with water or soap
  • Acrylic paints are soluble in water when they are wet

How To Clean Up Acrylic Paints?

  • Dip a rag in water and clean the paint from its surface if it is still wet. You can paint over the dry paint; you won't even require a new canvas
  • Just use water and soap to remove acrylic paint from your hands
  • You have to be extra careful if you want to remove acrylic paint from your clothing because as soon as it dries, it is impossible to remove it from any fabric. Therefore, clean your clothes while the paint is wet using water and a few drops of window cleaner
  • If you want to remove the acrylic paint from your brushes, then merely use denatured alcohol or acetone if the brush is dry. Only soap and water would do the trick for dry brushe

How Long Does It Take For Acrylic Paints To Dry?

The reason why acrylic paints are so widely popular among the people is that of their ability to dry quickly. As we mentioned earlier, thin films of acrylic paint take about thirty minutes to dry up, whereas thick coats of acrylic paints take about an hour to a couple of days to dry. 

Dried Acrylic Paint

Temperature and humidity also play a vital role in the drying time of acrylic paints. It is advisable to store your paintings in an area where the temperature does not fluctuate on a regular basis, and the humidity is low as well.

Ventilation is another crucial factor that affects the drying time of your paintings. If the airflow in your storage room is standard, then your paint will take up extremely little time to dry. However, lack of airflow will slow down the drying process.

Difference Between Acrylic Paint And Oil Paint

Acrylic paints are an excellent choice for people who are willing to paint on many surfaces and are not just limited to canvas. Preparing and setting up acrylic paints take little to no time, they dry fairly quickly, and you won't have to work for a long time. The drying time might increase if you decide to add an extra layer of acrylic paint to your canvas.

If you are looking to add edge and crispiness to your pictures, then acrylic paints are the right choice for you as most color palettes of these paints are bright. A minor drawback of acrylic paints is the fact that you might find it difficult to create an unruffled blend in your paintings.

Some other significant differences between acrylic paints and oil paints are as follows;

  • Oil paints produce transparent effect, while acrylic paints produce opaque effect
  • Oil paints require paint thinners, turpentine, and a few other solvents to clean up, whereas acrylic paints only need water
  • Oil paints tend to fade significantly quicker than acrylic paints
  • You can paint on a wide range of objects with acrylic paints, whereas with oil paints you are only restricted to the board or canvas

It is because the acrylic paint dries up too soon. A good tip for those who take their time to paint and aren't in any hurry is to add a retarder to their paint. The retarder will ensure that your acrylic paint doesn't dry as quickly, and you get the perfect amount of time to blend your colors.  

A combination of solvents, binders, and pigments is present in oil paints. The adhesive is linseed oil, and the dye is usually in powder form. The solution that is typically present in oil paints is generally mineral spirits or in turpentine form.

Pigments can be inorganic, organic, or even artificial. Famous artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, and Rembrandt were famous for their use of oil paints.

Difference Between Acrylic And Oil Painting

However, oil paints are comparatively expensive than acrylic paints and aren't as good either. Oil paint is strictly restricted to professional painters as beginners would find great difficulty in painting with them.

A disadvantage that makes oil paints less desirable than acrylic paints is the fact that they almost take a month to dry up. It is why most artists, beginners, and professionals alike have switched to acrylic paints.

Difference Between Acrylic Paint And Watercolor

  • Following are the significant differences between acrylic paints and watercolors
  • With watercolors, you can only paint on a piece of paper, whereas you have a wide variety of options with acrylic paints
  • Watercolors take up too much time for drying; sometimes people even place their watercolor paintings under a fan or use a hairdryer to speed up the drying process
  • Cleaning watercolors are comparatively easier than cleaning acrylic paints. You only need soap and water for cleaning both acrylic paints and watercolors. However, watercolors clean up quicker
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    There is no requirement of painting light or dark colors first in acrylic paints; however, with oil colors and water paints, you have to follow specific guidelines
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    Watercolor paintings give a tinted effect; whereas acrylic paintings are significantly brighter
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    Watercolors blend in perfectly in comparison to acrylic paints. The reason why acrylic paints don't mix well is that they dry up instantly
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    Acrylic paints do not require too much water; however, as the name implies, watercolors do
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    Shading is uneven in acrylic paints as compared to watercolors
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    Even though cheaper than oil paints, acrylic paints are expensive than watercolors
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    Brushes that have some dry acrylic paint residue on them are delicate and sometimes even washing them is complicated, whereas watercolor brushes are relatively easy to clean
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    The layer techniques in watercolor paintings are remarkably different from acrylic paintings

Different Types Of Acrylic Paints

There is a wide variety of acrylic paint brands available on the market. These varieties have different consistencies and distinct qualities, providing versatility to artists at beginner and professional levels. 

Different Types Of Acrylic Paint

Fluid Acrylics

If you are looking to make thinner layers in your paintings, then fluid acrylics would be the best option for you as they allow you to make small segments with no sacrifice in saturation. The color of your acrylic paint is going to dilute if you add any non-pigmented thing in it. The fluid acrylic painters easily achieve similar levels of pigmentations as watercolors and oil paintings.

Slow Drying Acrylics

The demand for slow drying acrylics has rapidly increased in recent years.  Using slow drying acrylics eliminates the need to use any drying or extending agents.

The reason why slow drying acrylics have been gaining popularity is that they significantly increase painting time and allow the painters to add details in their paintings, something which wasn't possible with quick-drying acrylic paints. Painters even have an advantage of adding numerous other colors to their portraits with the help of slow drying acrylics. 

Artists have often compared the painting with slow drying acrylics to painting with oil colors. However, there are only a handful of manufacturers that produce slow drying acrylics. So, if you are the kind of person that doesn't prefer to rush their paintings, acrylic paints are the perfect option for you.

Heavy Body Acrylics

Unlike fluid acrylics, heavy body acrylics make sure that the paint you apply has thick layers. Heavy body acrylics are perfect for impasto painting, as they dry up in no time. Even though these paints are already thick to begin with, you can add some gel and make them even denser.

If you want to find out whether an artist is worth his or her salt, check how well they do with heavy body acrylics as they are perfect for determining the quality of brushwork and gesture.

Craft Acrylics

These paints are usually available in small sized bottles having a pop-up cap. Craft acrylic paints have significantly smooth consistency and would be an excellent option for those who are seeking a non-three dimensional or nontransparent effect. These acrylics do not cost much and are perfect for decorative paintings and murals.


These paints share numerous similarities with watercolors. The difference that sets gouache apart from other paint materials is the fact that once gouache dries up, it becomes irremovable. Even water and soap do not come in handy on gouache paintings.

Specialty Acrylic Paints

Numerous specialty acrylic paints have different properties that come in handy in creating unique painting effects. Fluorescent, glitter, light interference, and iridescent acrylics are among the commonly used specialty acrylic paints.

Bottles Of Fluorescent Acrylic Paint

Iridescent Acrylics

Iridescent acrylics have an appearance similar to metal, for example, copper, silver, gold, aluminum, etc. Artists often use iridescent acrylics to give a dramatic effect to their paintings

Light Interference Paints

These paints have reflective qualities and change their appearance depending on the observer’s point of view. To get a dramatic effect even more significant than the iridescent acrylics, try applying the light iridescent paints on a darker surface. These paints are often present in paintings that depict dreams or fantasies.

Fluorescent Acrylics

This variation of acrylics is often used to make paintings glow. Artists make their paintings glow even brighter by placing a light behind their portraits.

Glitter Paints

These paints contain particles of metal and have a wide range similar to copper, gold, silver, and other metallic colors.

The Difference Between Student Grade And Artist Grade Acrylics

A lot of people wonder" what are the differences between student grade acrylics and artist grade acrylics?"  Well, to make things short and sweet, student grade acrylics are mostly recommended for beginners and students, and artist grade acrylics are recommended for professionals and artists as the names imply.

However, there is much more to it than that. Once you start painting and try both these acrylic paints out for a while, you will notice some significant differences.

The first significant difference you will notice is that student grade acrylics have an extremely low saturation of pigments; painters mix the acrylic polymer with a tiny amount of dye. The quantity of student grade acrylics is usually increased using various fillers.

Artist grade acrylic paints have a higher quality of acrylic polymer and provide enhanced colors along with excellent clarity. You’ll notice that in comparison to student grade acrylics, artist grade acrylics are significantly stronger.

Student grade paints do not have a complete color palette as some colors are too expensive to develop. However, artist grade acrylics have a wide range of colors. There are even unique colors available in artist grade, designed for giving unique effects in paintings.

Student And Artist Acrylic Paint Grade

Student grade colors are often produced using different blends, and the colors are not always pure. Cadmium red hue is often present in student grade colors. Another element that makes artist grade acrylics significantly different than student grade acrylics is the fact that artist grade paints are extremely expensive. 

Most students would not be able to afford artist grade acrylics which is why student grade paints became popular in the first place. Several companies price their paints according to their color palettes. For example, series-seven paints will be expensive in comparison to series-one paints.

Here are some points, demonstrating more critical differences between student and artist grade acrylics.

Student Grade

  • These paints do not have enough longevity or integrity
  • Some techniques and effects are impossible to create using these paints
  • Blending colors isn’t as good as artist grade acrylics
  • Covering power is too low

Artist Grade

  • The consistency of these paints is significantly smoother
  • These paints use a combination of pure color
  • Blending is quite simple
  • These paints have excellent longevity and integrity

How To Thin Acrylic Paints?

As you all probably know by now, artists are frequent users of acrylic paints. Sometimes artists need to create specific effects for which thinner layers of paint are essential. Following are some simple steps that will help you in thinning acrylic paints with ease.

Apply a tiny quantity of paint on your palette. You can even use a plastic container or bowl; remember that acrylic paints take extremely little time to dry up. However, artist grade acrylics take a more extended period to dry up in comparison to the student grade acrylics.

Make sure that you do not take out too much paint out of your tube, as there are chances of it going to waste because of its quick drying nature.

How To Thin Acrylic Paint

Add a little bit of water to your paint, and dip your brush in water. Be sure that the water is clean. Adding moisture will ensure that the acrylic paint gets thin. The more water you'll add the more dilute the mixture will become.

If water isn’t doing the trick, you can always add anti-congealing or thinning agents to your paints. Add these agents slowly and gradually and little by little, as too much of these agents can make your color useless.

Longevity Of Acrylic Paints Surfaces

The primary factor that ensures the durability of acrylic paintings is the surface an artist uses. Most artists recommend Belgian linen canvas instead of cotton canvas; they claim that the former is stronger than the latter.

Artists also use wooden support as they claim that wood is more durable and rigid than canvas. There is always the chance of bending and breaking when you paint on canvas. Painting on canvases without keeping your hands loose is impossible. That is why most artists recommend using a sturdier surface.

Why Should I Use Acrylic Paints?

People always wonder what the hype and mystery surrounding acrylic paints are. Some of them are led to believe that it is just a fad, and a marketing ploy to empty their pockets. However, let us explain to you the wonders acrylic paints can perform that other painting materials cannot.

  • Acrylic paints offer the most versatility among any other pigments
  • You can achieve effects of watercolor paints in acrylic paints by merely adding some moisture
  • You can add various mediums to your acrylic paints to create numerous effects
  • You can even use acrylic paints on aluminum
  • Acrylic paints are also available in different textures. These textures are useful for adding depth to your paintings

Priming Your Canvas For Acrylic Paint

Artists often recommend applying a small quantity of sand to the painting canvas before you begin to paint.  After using the sand, wipe it off with a tissue.

Preparing Canvas For Painting

If you are a beginner, consider buying a pre-primed canvas, once you get the groove of it then start priming the painting canvas yourself.

There are a few artists who prime their canvas with color. However, they are experts; we recommend you to prep on a grey or white surface. 


We have discussed in detail about acrylic paint, its uses, and different types. We have also compared acrylic paint to the water and oil paints. This article also discusses the mixing methods of acrylic paints to get the right color that you need.

It is a step by step guide about acrylic paints and discusses its features and importance in detail. Down below we have given you the perfect buying guide that will help you choose the acrylic paints that would best suit your needs.

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