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Quick Tips for Using Acrylic Paints

Part of the Acrylic Painting For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Painting with acrylics is different from other mediums because of the paint's density (thickness) and acrylic drying patterns. Artists of all levels will appreciate these tips about the properties of acrylic paints.

  • Acrylic paints dry fast. Protect brushes from drying with paint in them by placing them in water (if you’re taking a break) or cleaning them by rinsing them in water (especially when you’re all done).

  • All acrylic products are compatible.

  • Acrylic medium makes a great glue/decoupage for adhering papers for collage.

  • Some acrylic paints darken as they dry.

  • You can clean acrylic paint off of your hands with soap and water.

  • You can clean dried acrylic paintings with denatured alcohol.

  • Acrylic paint sticks to itself, so insert a clean sheet of paper between paintings (or better yet, avoid stacking them, altogether).

Here are a few more tips about working with acrylic paints.

  • As you paint, keep a misting bottle of water nearby to help keep paint on your palette moist.

  • If you find your paint is too thick, you can thin acrylic paint with either water or acrylic medium.

  • Using a palette knife is usually the easiest way to mix acrylic paints.

  • Reusable glass and high-density plastic make good palettes because acrylic paint doesn’t cling to them, which makes cleanup easy.

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