Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Paper?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Paper

Artists work with different types of paper, and one thing they are conscious of is the quality of painting on paper. Can one use acrylic on paper? If you are concerned about detail, you would want to avoid making mistakes on paper. Some artists have had issues using acrylic on paper, and you probably would hear most people saying to avoid using paper to paint.

It is better to learn how to work with paper than avoid it. You can get better with practice and especially after you master how to go about it successfully. In this article, we will be looking at some of the problems people encounter with painting on paper and how you can avoid them. You can learn how to use acrylic paint on paper to understand how this paint type interacts with different surfaces.

What Is a Good Paper For Painting?

Before you use your paint on paper, you need to understand how acrylic reacts to them to avoid any frustrations. Most times, the results will end in cracked paint or buckled paper. If the paper is too thin or not absorbent, it will cause any of these problems. You will also notice that when acrylic paint dries up generally, it shrinks, and for this reason, it is better to use it on heavier papers.

It uses thick or heavy paper works because it is more absorbent because of its thicker texture and sturdier. On the other hand, thin paper tends to tear easily and will rip apart when you apply paint. That is why using notebook paper or printer paper for painting isn’t always recommended. They are not absorbent like heavy paper, and besides, the thick paper won’t crease easily.

What Is The Best Paper For Acrylic Paint?

Artists want the best results and will usually go for the best drawing paper type. However, there are several things to consider that will depend on the results you will get. For one, the size and weight of the paper will determine how well the color sits. Some artists prefer acrylic linen paper because they are used to working with it and won’t need priming. Are you looking for good painting paper? Why not get the Strathmore 400 Series Acrylic Pad with its textured linen surface perfect for acrylic.

Types of Paper Used For Acrylic Paint

Now that you know the likely problems that will arise working with paper, we will be looking at the best painting paper for acrylic paint. There are many paper types, and artists have many options to choose from. However, some papers work better with paint than others.

Acrylic Linen Paper

This paper uses linen, its name suggests, and compared to other paper types, it is long-lasting. Acrylic linen paper is water absorbent and will keep your colors from mixing. It works well for thick colors and is specially designed for acrylic paint.

Watercolor Paper

Watercolor paper is standard among artists and especially as most people appreciate watercolor art. Acrylic paint on watercolor paper works despite its lightweight nature, setting it apart from other paper types. Watercolor paper is delicate and seems to be the lightest compared to other paper types. The best part about this paper is that it works for ant water-soluble paint, giving a watercolor effect.

Canvas Paper

Canvas paper doesn’t bear any semblance with the canvas board. The texture of the paper is the same as with canvases, but instead, it has a regular paper thickness. The canvas paper is paint-friendly and will work for thick paints like acrylic.

Mixed Media Paper

You can also use acrylic paint on mixed media paper. Artists use this paper type on a budget. It does not have the same effect as acrylic paper, but you can still get good results. The only problem with using mixed media paper is its corners which tend to either curl or curve. You can use weights to press it down when drying the paper to avoid this problem.

How to Use Acrylic Paints on Paper?

Like we mentioned earlier, you can learn to work with paper for your painting. We will give you some tips to help you avoid any terrible outcomes when painting on paper. Here are three things to consider:


One way you can avoid the issue of buckling paper is by stretching the paper. The stretching method can be done by dampening using a brush or wet cloth. Remember not to apply too much water during the dampening process. After doing this, you can then attach the paper to another surface, preferably by pinning it to a foam board or placing it on a flat surface.


Priming paper is not always necessary, and in most cases, an unprimed paper will have a rougher texture and be more absorbent. You will only need to prime your paper to work on a smoother texture surface and want your paint to sit closer to the paper surface. You can prime paper using a few coats of gesso, gels, and binding agents.

If you are working with paper that already contains a high acid content, priming will help seal the paint, lasting longer. This way, when the paint dries up, it will prevent it from buckling. You can apply one or two coats of your primer on the paper or even more, depending on what works for you. It is also good to prime paper on both sides, especially if you notice it is curving or curling. Priming the two sides will even the paper out. However, ensure that the cost is very thin to avoid the issue of buckling. The only way you can be sure that priming will work for your paper is by testing it out on a small strip of paper. Then you prime with several coats to see the result.


If you already work with canvas, it might take some getting used to when you switch to regular paper.  Using your usual painting technique might work, but it would still take some tries to get the perfect effect on paper. Unlike canvas, the texture and the porous nature of the paper will affect your results. Most times, the paint won’t easily glide as smoothly on the surface as with canvas. Working with un-primed paper can sometimes be frustrating in this instance. When you apply paint on paper, it won’t be easy to lift it or even thin it out compared to painting on canvas.

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