What is the difference between craft acrylic paints and artist-grade acrylics?
I asked this exact question recently, except I asked what the difference between craft and liquid acrylics is. For a basic answer I was directed to Dick Blick - they have a great question/answer section on acrylics. Here is a quote from their site:
"Artist acrylics adhere well to canvas, and have a flexible binder. They are not as well suited to other surfaces, and they do not survive as well when exposed to outdoor elements. Exterior grade acrylics concentrate on good lightfastness and a binder with a slightly harder, more durable quality to it. They are not as easily damaged by humidity or extremes of weather. Craft acrylics use a binder resin related to fabric paint, but without as much wetting agent, which draws the color into fabric. They can be heat set into fabrics easily."My friend Beth told me "The pigment is the expensive part. The craft acrylics will sometimes use different, less expensive, pigments in order to reach a similar color. Sometimes you can't get as clear or pure a color by mixing craft acrylics as you could by mixing liquid acrylics because of the choice of pigment, but unless you're really into color mixing you might not notice the difference."
Jean said "When I'm covering a large area and trying to get a solid color, it usually takes 3...4...or even more coats depending on the color with a craft paint. With liquid acrylics it's usually one coat or two tops. I tend not to be very patient while my paint dries, lol, so this makes a big difference to me. I'm frugal by nature, so I've tried all kinds of brands, and the differences seem even more apparent as the price of the craft paint goes down. As for vibrance, I'm not sure that this is the right word; but between craft and artist paints, I notice a difference in the depth and brilliance of the colors.For me the artists acrylics really do provide more value for the money."
So there you have it! Hope this helps!