How to Thicken Acrylic Paint?

Thicken Acrylic Paint

By any standards, acrylic paint shouldn’t be too watery or too thick. But if you learn that your paint has become soggy, we’ve detailed the guide on making acrylic paint thicker. Modestly thick acrylic paints are excellent on various surfaces and materials, including leather and canvas. 

Sometimes it can be embarrassing having to see a flat, runny splotch of paint each time you try to add layers to your canvas. But there you are. The scene keeps becoming obscene, and you almost lose the urge to realize the gorgeous 3D texture paint you initially conceived and set out to achieve. 

But here’s the truth: only thick acrylic painting can guarantee more contour and finish for your art masterpieces. So, how will it happen that you can load your pain and add more layers to your brush? You’ll need to thicken the acrylic paint. How? Ok, then try any of the methods below. But just before then, you’ll need a few materials to get the job done, depending on the method you want to use.

What Do You Need?

  • Gel or Paste medium
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Cornstarch
  • Talcum power
  • Saucepan
  • Tablespoon

The Best Way to Thicken Acrylics

Adding gel or paste medium to your acrylic is one of the best surest ways to thicken your acrylic paint. Naturally, acrylic paints can dry to give a flat texture, but the paint thickness will be better for more projecting brush strokes if you add a medium.  The addition of a medium gives more flexibility, surface sheen, and luminosity in terms of how you want the finish of the acrylic paint to feel.

The artist can also experience increased transparent wash, watercolor, or matte finishes. You can either mold or pour the thickening medium, and it’s pretty convenient to use to thicken acrylic paint.

5 Ways to Thicken Acrylic Paint

Here are the methods you can use to thicken acrylic paint. The method you opt for; your acrylic paint will come out gorgeous, thick, and breath-taking. 

Using Gel Medium to thicken acrylic paint

The gel and modeling paste mediums are a solution that will help to thicken acrylic paint. The gel medium comes in the form of matte, gloss, and semi-gloss. If you are doing mixed media or collage work, gel medium is the best choice for concentrated acrylic paints because it has high-quality adhesion and more brilliance. The gel medium thickener is perfect for the impasto effect, which you cannot achieve with acrylic paint alone. The gel also helps you create integrated textured glazes. 

All you have to do is constantly and thoroughly mix a small amount of gel thickener with acrylic paint until you’re cool with the thickness. You can also make use of textured gels. The effect is the same.  

Using Modeling Paste Medium

On the flip side, the modeling paste comes as a 3D medium finish. You can do this on a preferred surface. Which requires a delicate palette and putty knife, and the paste will stain the paint. The paste medium also offers flexibility for the artist to carve, sand, or sculpt on the surface when the paint is dry.

Using the DIY Cornstarch Technique

The DIY cornstarch technique is another cheap option to thicken acrylic paint. The procedure is simple:

  • Add 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to 1.5 cups of water 
  • Place the mixture in a saucepan
  • Place the saucepan on a stove and heat until the solution thickens
  • Remove the saucepan and allow it to cool
  • Add a small amount of the cool solution to acrylic paint
  • Make sure you reach the thickness level

Using Talcum Powder and Joint Compound

Talcum powder and joint compounds are also great ways to thicken acrylic paint. With the joint compound option, you can quickly fill and seal joints by adding joint compound with acrylic paint and quickly drying it. The talcum powder offers consistent thickness and slight greasiness, usually semi-matte luminosity.

Using Impasto Technique

The impasto-style technique is one of the surest and best ways to get acrylic paint thickened. Although it requires some skills, the method is pretty easy, convenient, and cost-effective. You can either use broad brush strokes or palette knives. Thick acrylic paint also works well for impasto painting. By impasto, we mean that you can paint with unadulterated paint. The impasto style is perfect for pretty thick paint. 

Why Is My Acrylic Paint Runny and Watery?

There are a few reasons why your acrylic paint can become watery and runny. By watery paint, we mean that your acrylic paint is separated in a bottle or tube. 

One reason this may happen is if the paint has expired. Once opened, acrylic paint can only last between 3 to 5 years. On average, sealed acrylic paint has an approximate life range of 8-10 years. 

Secondly, the paint has to be stored inside an airtight container at a temperature of about 18-24oC. Once it’s exposed to a wet area, it can be watery.

Another reason your acrylic paint can become watery is the container that holds the paint. The perception is that paint inside a bottle is cheaper, thinner, and less quality than the type in the tube. Consequently, such paints are more likely to turn watery and thin over time. In addition, airbrushing acrylic paint also comes thinner than standard paint.

Here’s Our Final Take

Learning how to make acrylic paint thicker is not rocket science if you can apply the essential guide in this article. The good thing is that you have different methods that you can leverage to come with beautiful paint. Many artists also find it incredibly innovative to thicken acrylic paint with flour. The best thick acrylic paint comes in handy on Amazon with the following features: 

  • Waterproof and durable
  • Non-toxic and safe
  • ACMI-certified
  • Heavy texture and smooth finish
  • Comes in different shades of colors

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