Thursday, March 8, 2007

How to thin acrylic paints and techniques to use with thinned acrylic paint

Christine asks:
What do you use to thin acrylic paints?

The quick and easy answer is water. Acrylic paints are water-based, therefore when you want to thin them down, just add water. A few common uses for thinning with water include:

1. When you want to use a liner brush. Use water to thin the paint to an inky consistency so that you can load your brush and the paint will flow easily to make smooth lines.

2. For staining. I frequently use acrylic paint to stain a wood piece rather than using a prepared stain. This allows me to use whatever color I want--blue, red, green, brown, grey--it doesn't matter. To do this technique, I take a very damp paper towel and dip it into my puddle of acrylic paint straight out of the bottle and then rub it over my surface going in the direction of the grain. To make darker, repeat the proccess. To make lighter, add water to your paper towel and go over the already stained area before it dries.

3. Creating pale washes of color.

4. Louise Jackson uses acrylic paints to create the look of watercolor on paper. To do this, she thins the paint with water;

5. Floating color for shading and highlighting.

In addition to water, there are some mediums available to some folks use for thinning. Ros Stallcup, for example, uses the DecoArt Faux Glazing Medium instead of water when she wants to thin paint or create floats. She still uses water, however, for line work.

Hope this helps.
Judy Leasure, TDA

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