What are some tips for pouring paint

Acrylic paints - the great guide

Acrylic paints are a wonderful, versatile medium for creating impressive works of art. Large and small artists use acrylic paints to create pictures that inspire with their luminosity and color effect. This guide contains everything you need to know about the versatile paint, its possible uses, painting techniques and a lot of tips and tricks for painting. Become an expert in the field of acrylic paints!

The best acrylic paints

Below you will find my personal selection of the best acrylic paints for different areas of application.

The largest selection of acrylic paints

Acrylic paints for small paintings

Basic set of acrylic paints

  • Image: ®Schmincke artist colors (example image)
  • Schmincke Academy acrylic colors in 500ml bottles
  • The bottles are great for large projects or paints that you use very often. I would recommend at least a titanium white, mixed white, lemon yellow, magenta and cyan to start with.
  • approx. € 13 each
  • Buy in the artist shop

Metallic acrylic paints

  • Image: ®Schmincke artist colors (example image)
  • Schmincke Metallic Acrylic colors in 150ml bottles
  • You can get started right away with the ready-to-use artist bronzes. You don't have to mix them with clear acrylic paint first. However, they can still be mixed with one another in order to hit the perfect tone. We have also had very good experiences with the restoration of gilded ceiling stucco in Berlin theaters.
  • approx. € 16 each
  • Buy in the artist shop

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Everything you need to know about acrylic paints

Technical terms acrylic paints - a little crash course
Have you often asked yourself what exactly is behind terms such as pigment, binder and viscosity? Knowing technical terms can be very helpful when choosing and buying acrylic paints, but especially when painting. Here you can find out what's behind it.

Pigments
Pigments are what gives the painting medium its color. The type of pigments is the same for all types of paint such as acrylic paints, oil paints or watercolors.
However, colors differ in their pigment content: a high number of pigments stands for a high color strength, colors with a lower pigment content have a correspondingly weaker color strength.

binder
The binder of a color ensures the "connection" of the dry, powder-like pigments. Only then is it possible to apply a coherent layer of paint to the painting surface. Depending on which binder is used to produce a color, the pigments produce different types of color. In acrylic paints, the binder is called acrylic polymer emulsion, in oil paints it is oil (usually linseed oil), in watercolors it is gum arabic (a vegetable component). The binder also has an influence on the color fidelity of acrylic paints.

solvent
Solvents are used to turn the pigments bound in the binder into a paintable color. For this purpose, water or alcohol is used for acrylic paints. The solvent gives the paint its viscosity, otherwise you would have to deal with a tough lump of paint.

viscosity
Viscosity is understood to mean the flow behavior, i.e. the spreadability of a paint. It determines the processing options in painting and ranges from thin to paste-like (pasty). Acrylic paints are available in different viscosities. This means that different painting techniques such as flow and flow techniques through to spatula work can be implemented.

Color fidelity
One speaks of color fidelity when a color retains its brilliance in its original shade after drying. In contrast to oil paints, which usually have a high degree of color fidelity, it is often the case with acrylic paints that the color changes when dried. The change can go in both directions and lead to acrylic colors becoming lighter or more cloudy or, conversely, darker and more brilliant. Color fidelity should not be confused with color fastness.

Color fastness
Color fastness indicates the resistance of the color under external influences. While factors such as heat or friction (from washing) play a role in colors for textiles, acrylic colors for pictures are primarily subject to the influence of UV rays from sunlight. The light fastness as part of the color fastness plays a major role here.

Lightfastness
Lightfastness describes the resistance of colors when exposed to light. Light, especially the UV light from the sun, can cause changes over time such as B. lead to fading of a color. A color with high lightfastness retains its hue even when exposed to strong light. Artists' colors are divided into four classes according to their lightfastness: low / sufficient / very good / highest lightfastness.

What are the best acrylic paints?

If you want to use acrylic paints, the question quickly arises as to which acrylic paints are the best. Because their growing popularity has led to an unmanageable market in the past few decades.

Basically, there are two different quality levels of acrylic paints:

Acrylic paints in artist quality
are characterized by high pigment values, good color strength with expressive, brilliant colors and very good lightfastness. Naturally, they have a correspondingly high price.

Acrylic paints in study quality
have lower pigment values ​​and often contain fillers to stretch the color. As a result, the colors appear less vivid and brilliant. The lightfastness and durability cannot be compared with artist-quality colors. The advantage is a comparatively low price.

In addition, “hobby paints” or “craft paints” are often offered, the quality of which is low in accordance with their price. Often, however, the quality of the colors is not explicitly named, and unfortunately you cannot simply look at them. High-quality acrylic paints in particular with a high level of color brilliance in the end result often look more milky or cloudy when wet, due to the high proportion of binder, while colors of poorer quality can look "nicer" when wet.

When assessing the color quality of acrylic paints, the price is a very good guide, because the simple formula almost always applies: high price = good to very good quality - low price = moderate to poor quality.

In addition, the intended use and painting technique play a major role in the decision to buy acrylic paints. The properties of acrylic paints depend on the composition of their components. So are z. B. Solid acrylic paints dry quickly, more liquid paints dry more slowly. Depending on which painting technique you want to use or what effect you want to achieve, either one or the other can be beneficial. The question of which acrylic paints are the best and which properties they should have always ties in with your project.

What do acrylic paints cost and how much acrylic paint do I need?

The price range of acrylic paints is wide - according to the quality range. Medium-sized tubes of paint are available for prices of around € 2.50 to € 8. But even if some colors are much more expensive than others at first glance, one must not forget that these are highly pigmented and therefore very productive. While cheaper tubes of paint are already running out because you simply need more paint for a comparable result, the more expensive tubes still have a lot of "reserve".

Conclusion:
As a rule, it is not worthwhile to save on painting material. The consumption of paint is low, so you will enjoy your good acrylic paints for a long time. You can also see the quality of the colors on the canvas and nothing is more frustrating than having to worry about fading colors afterwards when you have a successful picture. Cheaper colors may be suitable for first attempts, but you will simply have more fun painting with artist-quality acrylic paints. Because even a beginner in acrylic painting is already an artist!

What do you need for painting with acrylic paints?

If you want to start painting with acrylic paints, this is possible without a lot of effort. Acrylic paints are a material that is easy to work with and yet versatile. That is why painting with acrylic paint is also a great opportunity for children to be creative and offers pure painting fun.

You don't need a lot of equipment to get started. The most important utensils are:

  • a painting surface (e.g. cardboard, canvas, stretcher frame or wood)
  • a small selection of acrylic paints
  • some brushes of different sizes (synthetic hair brushes are best
  • a painting palette, an old plate or a plate made of glass, wood or plastic to mix the colors
  • a container of water
  • old clothes or a paint smock

What material is acrylic paint suitable for?

Acrylic paint owes its popularity not only to its good processing properties, but also to its versatility.

Because the use of color goes far beyond painting pictures on paper, cardboard, stretcher frames, canvas and similar surfaces: it can be used on almost any surface that is suitable for painting, so that a wide variety of objects can be decorated with individual works of art can: No matter whether wood, glass, metal, fabric or concrete, clay and ceramics. Even styrofoam and plastic can be painted with acrylic paint.

However, depending on the material, a few special features must be taken into account. You can find some recommendations and processing instructions here:

Acrylic paints on wood

Acrylic paints on wood embellish decorative objects, practical everyday objects, furniture and much more. Make sure the wood is completely dry before you begin. Since wood is very absorbent, you should first prime it at least once and then let it dry thoroughly. Without a primer, the colors become paler, as the moisture and the color pigments are absorbed into the wood. Since acrylic paint dries up to be waterproof, the primer forms a "separating layer" which, after drying, prevents the new paint from being absorbed by the wood. As a result, the subsequent layers of paint are stronger and less paint is required overall. A subsequent finish with a matt or glossy lacquer makes the wood particularly resistant.

Acrylic paints on metal

If you want to paint objects made of metal with acrylic paint, you should first clean the metal thoroughly, because the surface must be clean, free of grease, oil and dust. If the metal already has an old coat of paint, it must be removed with sandpaper. After everything is clean, the object is prepared with a metal primer. Before you start painting, the primer should be thoroughly dry. When applying the acrylic paint, it is best to proceed “from back to front”, that is, you start with the background and then work your way forward layer by layer to the last brushstroke. This makes the paint layer particularly durable and the metal is protected from oxidation (rust).

Acrylic paints on plastic or plastic

Painting plastic or plastic surfaces is often difficult due to the very smooth surface. Because colors need a rough surface that absorbs them and that they can adhere to. With appropriate preparation, however, painting plastic with acrylic paints is also very possible. The first step is to clean the plastic with warm water and a mild dishwashing detergent. Be careful not to use harsh detergents as they can damage the plastic surface.

After careful drying, the plastic surface must be roughened slightly. To do this, you can use fine sandpaper z. B. use from the hardware store (250 to 330 grain). So that no dust particles remain, the surface should now be cleaned again, preferably with rubbing alcohol.

Now you can apply the primer and after it is completely dry you can start the actual painting. When you are finished, you should seal your work. Note that plastic items for everyday use can still have paint peeling off. This is due to the fact that plastic is a more or less flexible material - in contrast to acrylic paint, which has a lower mechanical strength and cannot fully adapt to the “movements” of the plastic.

Acrylic paints on glass

Since glass has a very smooth surface, only a few colors are suitable for painting. In addition to special glass paints, acrylic paint is also used here. Your advantage: It dries very quickly and then forms a solid, water-impermeable film on the glass.
This is how you go about painting on glass with acrylic paint:

cleaning
As always, it is important that the glass surface is free of dust, dirt and grease before painting with acrylic paint. Thoroughly clean the glass surface with rubbing alcohol and a paper towel. It is best to wear disposable gloves, so fingerprints don't stand a chance either.

primer
After cleaning, you can apply the primer. A universal primer for spraying on is ideally suited for this purpose. With the help of a spray can, the primer can be applied thinly and evenly in no time and dries particularly quickly.

Paint
Now you can paint the glass object to your heart's content. Small mistakes can be corrected with rubbing alcohol as long as the acrylic paint has not dried.

To seal
Since glass, unlike plastic, is an absolutely rigid material, the paint does not tend to flake even with intensive use. However, it can be caused by external influences during use - e.g. B. by scratches - be damaged. It is therefore advisable to finally seal the acrylic paint. So your glass object is completely protected and you will enjoy it for a long time.

Acrylic paints on fabric

Painting on fabric is a specialty. The color must be particularly durable and should withstand one or the other wash. Special textile or fabric paints seem to offer themselves here. However, if you consider that acrylic paint can practically no longer be removed from an item of clothing once it has dried, it only seems logical that it is also very suitable for fabric painting. In fact, using good acrylic paints on fabric even has some advantages over textile paints:

  • Acrylic paints are more resistant to washing out than textile paints due to their high color intensity and resistance.
  • Since acrylic paints are extremely lightfast, they fade less from UV radiation.
  • Textile paints run quickly and can look spongy, while acrylic paint, with its more even color gradient, enables careful, detailed painting.
  • Acrylic paints have a short drying time compared to fabric paints.
  • Acrylic paint is environmentally friendly and harmless to health, as the only solvent used is water or alcohol. Fabric painted with acrylic paint is therefore also safe to use for allergy sufferers.

Tips for painting on fabric:

Make sure the fabric lies flat before you paint it. It is best to tighten the fabric on the surface (for example on a wooden plate) with thumbtacks or sturdy needles.
To prevent the fabric from hardening after drying, don't apply the paint too thick, but rather dilute it with plenty of water.
Bristle brushes with bristles made of nylon, polyester or natural bristles are particularly suitable.
Note that mistakes in painting are difficult to correct because the fabric absorbs the color immediately. A correction with rubbing alcohol removes or blurs the correct and desired brush strokes, provided they are not yet completely dry.

Acrylic paints on concrete, clay and ceramics

Acrylic paints and the rough surfaces of concrete, clay or ceramics go well together.
Concrete in particular is still trendy. Regardless of whether you have cast or bought concrete objects: acrylic paints can be used to set colored accents on bowls, candle holders or flower pots. Shiny metallic colors look particularly pretty on the rough material, which set a great contrast to the rough concrete look.

The same applies to processing as to wood. However, especially coarse-pored concrete and ceramics often suck more than wood, so you should pay attention to a sufficient primer.

Tips & tricks for painting with acrylic paints

When painting with acrylic paints, little tricks and tricks can be helpful or in difficult situations they can be the solution.
Here are some tips for you to make painting with acrylic paints even easier:

Fix or seal acrylic paints

Your acrylic painting is ready and you want to capture the luminosity and brilliance of your work of art for the future? Then you should seal or fix your painting in a last and important step.

Acrylic paints are relatively insensitive and durable compared to oil paints. Nevertheless, it is advisable to protect the picture from harmful environmental influences. A varnish can also make the surface of the picture more even.

What is the correct procedure for sealing acrylic paints?

It is important to let the picture dry out really well before sealing. The painting technique used must be taken into account: While thinner layers of paint are often dry after 72 hours, thick, pasty paints can take 1-2 weeks before the time to seal.

A final varnish or varnish is usually used as an aid for sealing acrylic paintings. These are applied to the well-dried picture surface in several layers that are as thin as possible.
With a final varnish, you can make the surface of the picture shiny, semi-gloss or matt. It protects the image from dust, dirt, moisture and fingerprints. Final varnishes can be dissolved again with organic solvents, i.e. the seal is not permanent. In contrast to final varnishes, final lacquers dry permanently and cannot be removed again. Acrylic paintings treated with varnish are also more scratch and impact resistant.

Wide, soft varnish brushes are used as a tool for sealing acrylic paints. Fixatives or varnishes can also be applied quickly and evenly with spray cans or pump sprays. Foam paint rollers also do a good job of applying protective varnishes.

Tips for sealing acrylic paint

Make sure that the picture is free of dust and dirt particles.
Like the picture, the varnish or varnish should be at room temperature during processing.
Cover the area around the picture extensively with newspaper or something similar.
Shake the sealing product thoroughly before spraying or painting.
Varnishes should be sprayed crosswise from a distance of 30-40 cm, first from left to right, then from top to bottom. The picture is vertical or slightly inclined.
Always change the direction of spray outside of the picture area. In this way you avoid visible transitions and get a nice, homogeneous surface.
Since varnishes contain volatile organic solvents, they should only be used in well-ventilated areas or outdoors.

Make acrylic paints liquid

If you want to make your acrylic paint more fluid, you can use various means:

Dilute acrylic paint with water
This is the simplest and cheapest option. When using water, the pigments and binders in the acrylic paint are diluted and the color intensity decreases. So if you want to achieve a transparent, translucent color effect, you can paint with the diluted color mixture in a very specific way. This procedure is ideal for backgrounds with soft color gradients. By using distilled water, you can keep the diluted paint even longer without it forming mold.

As a rule of thumb, do not add approx. 30-40% more water and stir well so that no cracks appear when drying.

Dilute acrylic paint with acrylic binder
If you want to retain the color intensity and other properties of the acrylic paint despite thinning the paint, it is advisable to use a commercially available acrylic binder. This binding agent is already part of the acrylic paint and can therefore be easily mixed with all paints. In this case, only the viscosity of the paint changes to a more fluid consistency, but the color pigments are not broken down as a result.
Overall, you shouldn't add more than 50% acrylic binder to the paint to get a balanced ratio of paint to binder.

Dilute acrylic paint with Pouring Medium
The third way to dilute acrylic paint is with the help of what is known as a pouring medium. This agent improves the flowability of acrylic paint and was actually developed for acrylic pouring, a special painting technique that is very trendy. You can use it to achieve an effect similar to that of an acrylic binder. The advantage is that the drying time is significantly longer, which gives you more time to paint your picture before the paint dries.

For acrylic painting, it is sufficient to dilute the paint with 10-20% Pouring Medium.

Acrylic Pouring - pouring acrylic paints

Anyone who deals with acrylic painting can currently not avoid one trend: pouring with acrylic paint, also known as acrylic pouring. The technology is very simple and the fun factor is high. With simple means, young and old can create spectacular works of art. The exciting thing is that you never know exactly what will come out in the end.

For casting with acrylic paints, the paint is mixed with a pouring medium for acrylic paints, the Pouring Medium. This increases the fluidity of the paint, so that it runs particularly well. The desired colors are layered in a beaker without stirring, poured onto the surface (e.g. a stretcher frame) and can also be distributed by carefully moving the surface. This creates fascinating, sometimes bizarre color gradients. The color formation can also change during drying.

Which acrylic paints do I need for acrylic pouring?

Basically you can use all acrylic paints for pouring. The important thing is that the colors are made flowable for a long time with a suitable medium. A special pouring medium for pouring acrylic paints is available in various designs in stores. So if you want to try Acrylic Pouring once, you don't need any expensive accessories or extensive material. But be careful: risk of addiction!

Mix skin color with acrylic paints - that's how it works

Sooner or later every acrylic painter gets to the point where they need a skin color to paint people. Since there is no such thing as “one” skin color, but rather a multitude of complexions from light to dark, the perfect mix is ​​usually not available for sale. In portrait painting, however, it is particularly important to use the right color tones. If you want to achieve a natural and realistic representation, it is best to mix the skin color yourself.

For mixing you should have a brush, spatula, a painting palette (or an old plate, for example) and of course the paints ready. For a spectrum of skin tones from light to dark you need the basic colors red, blue and yellow as well as white, purple, sienna and burnt umber. Ideally, you have a photo as a template so you can compare the colors directly.

To mix a skin color, first add about the same amount of each of the colors mentioned to the palette. Then the keynote is mixed. Depending on whether the end result is to be lighter or darker, different colors are required for this:

Mixing light skin tones
For lighter skin tones, mix the basic colors red, blue and yellow in equal parts. This creates a brownish hue. Now the key to getting the skin tone you want is adding white. Gradually add more and more white until you reach the right shade.

Mixing medium skin tones
Medium skin tones need sienna and umber in addition to the basic colors, but this time not all colors are mixed in equal proportions. Start z. B. with red and yellow, and then add more colors with and with. Go slowly and with small amounts of paint until you have the ideal result in front of you.

Mixing dark skin tones
If you want to mix colors for a dark skin tone, sienna and umber play an important role. First create the basic tone from these two colors. Add a little red and yellow and approach your target color by adding the other colors.

Mixing skin tones is a complex affair that requires a lot of trial and error. Over time, however, you will gain experience and mix skin color from acrylics will become easier for you to do.

When painting with skin color, it is important to ensure that the color is not used uniformly and evenly, but that shades and light influences are taken into account in order to give the picture a lively and natural look.

Why don't my acrylics cover it?

Here you can find out what causes acrylic paint does not cover well and how you can improve the opacity of acrylic paint:

The quality execution of the acrylic paint

Every acrylic paint contains a proportion of water as a thinner. If you add water yourself while painting, the opacity decreases. There are also different versions of acrylic paints, which range from opaque to semi-opaque to transparent depending on the desired painting effect. The opacity is usually stated on the paint can or tube.
However, most acrylic colors do not cover 100% in the first painting pass. To achieve a higher degree of coverage, you can easily apply the paint in layers. If you let the first layer dry well, you will get better coverage with each subsequent layer. The binding agent contained in the acrylic paint ensures that it does not crack when it dries.

The priming of the substrate

Preparing the substrate with a primer can also improve opacity. A special primer paint or an acrylic binder (an acrylic paint without color pigments) can be used for this. You can apply an adhesive primer to smooth or highly absorbent surfaces such as plastic, glass or metal or wood, concrete and ceramics. The primer ensures on the one hand that the acrylic paint adheres better to smooth material, on the other hand it prevents it from being drawn deep into an absorbent surface and losing its opacity.

Can you remove acrylic paint from clothing?

When painting, it can be an advantage that acrylic paint generally dries quickly. However, if clothing is accidentally soiled, this property is very disadvantageous.

The same applies here as when cleaning skin or dirty objects: the faster, the better. Because as long as the paint is still damp, it can be easily removed almost anywhere.

However, once it has dried, it is characterized by its excellent durability - even if you don't want that in this case ...

Much better than devoting yourself to elaborate cleaning attempts with moderate success, however, is to prevent the matter right away: Old clothes or the popular painter's smock solve the problem in a very practical way. Especially when painting acrylic colors with children, this simple preventive measure is actually indispensable, as it saves time-consuming cleaning activities after the painting session, possibly with aggressive, environmentally harmful cleaning agents.

How do I remove acrylic paint on the skin?

While painting, it can always happen that some of the acrylic paint accidentally lands on your skin. As a rule, this is not harmful to your health, but it can be very annoying. It is best to react immediately before the paint dries. Because the longer you wait to remove the acrylic paint from the skin, the more difficult it is to get rid of it. There are various ways of doing this:

Treat stains of color on the skin with warm water and soap
Since acrylic paint is water-soluble, it can be easily removed this way as long as it has not dried up.

Remove acrylic paint on the skin with baby oil
After washing with warm water and drying thoroughly, you can rub the affected area with a cotton ball dipped in baby oil.

Remove acrylic paint with rubbing alcohol
Wash the skin with warm water and rub it dry. Use a cotton ball or washcloth to dab rubbing alcohol vigorously on the area and remove the paint from the skin. Then, rinse the skin thoroughly to avoid irritation.

Acrylic paints dried up - what to do?

Is there a way to restore acrylic paint that has dried on or on?
The answer is: it depends ...

If, while you are painting, you notice that a color is drying on your palette before you have finished using it, you may still be able to save it: just add a little water and acrylic binder and stir everything thoroughly. In most cases, you will be able to use them again afterwards. To prevent it from drying out too quickly, you can spray the paint with a little water or simply put a damp paper towel over it.

However, if the paint is already completely dry, there is no way to bring it back to life: the only thing that helps is to dispose of it.

How do I properly dispose of acrylic paint?

Dried residues of acrylic paints can usually be disposed of with household waste. This also applies to dry brushes or other painting tools and accessories such as rags, sponges, etc.

It goes without saying that leftovers should never simply be thrown down the drain or into the toilet. After all, acrylic paints are made of plastic and the fact that the paints are water-soluble does not mean that they are also harmless to water.
That's why brushes shouldn't be washed out under running water all the time, but rather rinse them in a container and then dry them off. If you only use a little water for this and wait patiently until it has evaporated at some point, you will find that a lot of "microplastic" has collected on the floor, which would have got into the sewer system if cleaned under running water.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Write them in the comments!

More articles on the series »Acrylic Pouring«

techniques

  • How does acylic pouring work?
  • Acrylic Pouring Techniques: Creating Cells
  • Acrylic Pouring Techniques: Puddle Pour
  • Acrylic Pouring Techniques: Dirty Pour
  • Acrylic Pouring Techniques: Flip Cup
  • Sealing of acrylic pourings

materials

  • Materials for Acrylic Pouring
  • Basic materials for acrylic pouring: paints, pouring media, containers, alternatives, accessories
  • Alternative materials for acrylic pouring: distilled water, oils, spatulas, hair dryers, ...

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