How To Thicken Acrylic Paint With Simple Ingredients You Can Find At Home

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acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is one the most used types of paint due to its versatility.

It can be used on almost any surface; it becomes permanent after drying and it is water-resistant in most cases.

If you are thinking of using acrylic paint on fabric, you can see our article ‘Can you use acrylic paint on fabric?’ and clear all your doubts.

It’s easy to use as it was water-based and doesn’t need to be mixed with any synthetic thinner or activator.

You simply put a drop out of the tube and onto a palette and pick it up with a brush.

You can use it on paper, cardboard, and even fabric, as it has a flexible finish that will allow you to wear your clothes as usual after decorating them with some designs.

But you can also use it on a canvas to create decorative pieces of art for your house. Besides the beautiful images you can create, you can also provide your artwork with some texture.

With it, you can perform a technique called “impasto” (dough or paste) where you can add 3D look to the abstract art, almost sculptural quality, or create unique textures.

Here you can find some tips and inspirations to make your Impasto technique.

For that, you will need to change the consistency of your paint. So, how to thicken acrylic paint?

how to thicken acrylic paint

Read below to see how to make thick paint using:

  • acrylic gel medium
  • cornstarch
  • talc
  • Gesso
  • Modelling clay
  • sand

Get store-bought acrylic gel medium

Artists have been creating textured paintings ever since the Renaissance, or even earlier. If you’ve ever gone to a museum, you may have seen that paintings are not flat like a picture.

Instead, you can clearly see the different layers of paint and the strokes of brushes. Some artists even started using this feature as another element in their works.

Because of this, paint manufacturers have created a complementary product you add to make your paint thicker.

How to thicken acrylic paint like a pro?

Acrylic gel medium will give you a smooth finish, as this product creates soft shapes when applied on the canvas.

One of the benefits this has is there are different varieties of mediums: you can find gels with glossy, matte or semi-matte finish.

Besides, as this product is made just for this purpose, it will ensure a good final result, with vibrant colors and a long-lasting piece of art.

Gel medium is not only used to create texture by making thick paint, but you can also apply it directly on the canvas and later cover it with the acrylic paint.

You should only be careful with the product shrinking after drying, as some users say the volume was lower after painting.

how to thicken acrylic paint

Homemade solutions to thicken your paint

If you are working hands on with a painting and suddenly realized one of the colors you bought is not thick enough and you cannot go to the hardware store, here you have some ingredients you can find at home to thicken your acrylic paint.

Most of them can be found among your crafting materials, but some others are probably in your kitchen cupboards. Let’s have a look!

Make eco-friendly paint medium with cornstarch

how to thicken acrylic paint with cornstarch

One of the arguments some painters have not to use store-bought medium is that it is a synthetic compound that could affect the environment.

If this is your case, you’ll be happy to hear that there is a homemade replacement for it. Get flour or cornstarch and a saucepan, and let’s get cooking.

Mix either the flour or the cornstarch with a bit of water and pour it into the saucepan on low fire. Cook while stirring until it gets a gelatinous consistency.

Let it dry and you will be left with a substance very similar to the store-bought gel. Mix it with the acrylic paint and it will be thicker.

These two solutions are great because they won’t change the color’s vibrancy. They will as bright as in the tube.

However, the only downside cornstarch or flour have is that, being natural products, they can get rotten over time and ruin your painting.

To avoid this, it’s recommended to paint your artwork with a final layer of gloss paint.

Mix acrylic paint with modelling clay or Gesso

how to thicken acrylic paint with gesso

If these previous options do not create a paint that is thick enough for your project, you can buy modelling clay or Gesso. Mix them with the paint or apply directly on the canvas before painting to create a bumpy surface.

However, you need to know that if you mix it with the paint directly, it may dampen the colors a bit, so they will not be as vibrant.

This mixture is the best ones if you want to create a piece with sharp shapes. Its consistency is harder and denser, so it should be handled with a painting knife or a firm-bristled brush instead of a regular one.

Besides, as it is not as sticky as other options, this mixture should be used on boards or directly on walls, instead of a fabric-covered canvas.

Create a granulated effect with sand

How to thicken acrylic paint in a way that it turns out to have a great texture?

The most unexpected compound is made with sand! Put a few drops of paint on a palette and pour sand on it.

Add as much as you want depending on how granulated you want it to be.Sand is made up of coarse particles that will make paint thicker but also textured.

The more sand you add, the more consistent the paint will get. If your mix ends up too lumpy, next time you can try adding glue to the mix, which will make it smoother.

Talcum powder will do the trick

But what if you want to make a thick acrylic painting without really changing the paint’s texture?

The best option might probably be talcum powder, as it will provide dryness without creating lumps or a powdery effect.

It’s the perfect solution to make thick paint and only add volume on the canvas.

To conclude, we can say there is a whole variety of products you can use to thicken acrylic paint, but it is up to you to decide which one to use based on the desired result you want to achieve.

We hope this compilation helps you decide and make your art thrive!

You can also see this article about the Best tip on how to remove acrylic paint from wood.

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