You may not have known, but acrylic paints contain the same type of pigments found in watercolors or oil paints, only that they are added to a thickening substance based on acrylic acid. The result is a water-soluble tint – matte or glossy – that resists oxidation well and dries quickly.
Acrylic colors are the result of the artistic dynamism of the twentieth century and perfectly match the new industrial ideology of the here and now. Pollock and Warhol are two excellent examples of this movement. In this guide, we will try to tell you everything you need to know about acrylic colors. Fasten your seat belts and let’s go!
Here we had listed out the best quality acrylic paints that are present below.
Everything You Need to Know About Acrylic Paints
The versatility and the drying speed of acrylic colors gave new ideas to the artists of the last century: finally, it was possible to speed up the process that led to an idea from the finished product, a feature that Warhol, among others, managed to exploit at the maximum. Below we will try to answer the most frequently asked questions regarding acrylic colors.
What Exactly Are Acrylic Colors and What Advantages Do They Offer?
Unlike oil paints, acrylic paints need to be treated with a thickening, water-resistant, and highly adhesive synthetic resin. This type of thickener is odorless and can be diluted with water to obtain a tint similar to that of watercolors.
It also ensures rapid drying and leads to the formation of a very resistant elastic film. Thanks to their adhesive properties, acrylic colors can be used not only on canvas but also on many different bases: plastic, wood, fabrics, metal, and glass. But that’s not the only advantage:
- Quick Drying. We can save time and work on multiple projects.
- Odorless. We can therefore also work inside without problems.
- Adheres to Many Different Materials. Acrylic paints can also be used on concrete, plasterboard, and plastics (although sometimes further preparation may be required).
- Resistance. The color maintains its intensity and brilliance for a long time, even if exposed to direct sunlight.
- Elasticity. Thanks to their flexibility and elasticity, acrylic colors rarely create unsightly wrinkles or creases.
- Breathability. Another big plus!
- Versatility. Acrylic paints can be used alone or to create works with a mixed technique, mixing them with spatulas, ceramics, or rollers.
What Is the Biggest Disadvantage of Acrylic Paints?
Sometimes strength can turn into a weakness. We are talking about quick-drying, which can be a handicap if brushes, rollers and other tools have to be continuously managed and cleaned. Acrylic paints can also dry out and flake if applied poorly or dry too quickly.
What Pictorial Techniques Can Be Realized with Acrylic Colors?
Lots! In fact, acrylic colors can be mixed with other types of paints and materials or, if you want a watercolor-like effect, with water. Below you will find a series of painting techniques that you can experiment with your acrylic colors, also perfect for beginners:
- Sponging. The color is applied gently using a sponge.
- Dry Brush. Apply the color using a dry brush, with open bristles. This technique gives dynamism and consistency.
- Watercolored. The acrylic colors are diluted in water and the effect obtained has a translucent and delicate appearance.
How Do You Clean a Painting Made with Acrylic Colors?
Like all paintings, acrylic paintings also tend to accumulate dust and dirt over time. For this reason, we advise you to clean them periodically with delicacy, following the procedure that we will illustrate below:
Check that the colors are dry. To ensure that the paint has dried completely, allow at least 24 hours to pass since the last coloring session.
Remove the dust with a brush.
Choose a brush with soft bristles or a light duvet, and pass it gently on the painting by moving it from the other side downwards. You can also use soap and water. But only using the utmost delicacy and after consulting a restorer if in doubt. Use a mild soap diluted in plenty of water.
Dip a cloth in the solution. And pass it slowly and without forcing over the whole painting. The cloth should be only slightly damp, as too much water would risk diluting the colors.
When buying a set of acrylic paints, especially if it’s your first time, there are a few important factors to consider. Remember also that you need a whole series of accessories: brushes, mixing paddle, and drying retarder. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Compatible Surfaces and Bases
- User Reviews
The choice of format depends a lot on your level of experience: if you are a professional you will go without fail by choosing specific shades and brands, if instead, you paint as a hobby you will only need a basic case with the main colors. We are not talking about very cheap products, so it is important not to buy randomly!
Technically, it would be enough to have a basic color palette (blue, red, yellow) plus white and black to be able to recreate any color. In reality, it is not so simple, especially to make particular types of nuances. Therefore, if you are not very experienced you can always choose a kit with more shades available.
When buying, the best thing is to stop for a moment and consider your needs and requirements: if you are really demanding, know that there are also packs of 24 tubes that will avoid you wasting time in mixtures and poultices.
Compatible Surfaces and Bases
You don’t have to use your acrylic paints on canvas, you can indulge yourself also experimenting with wood, metal, plastic or glass. Obviously some surfaces will need a specific type of acrylic paint, however, most products specify it on the packaging (as you can see in our list of proposals).
The consistency of acrylic colors is another factor that should be taken into account. Basically a quality product has an oily consistency when opened. A higher density corresponds to a greater quantity of pigments, which you can still adjust by diluting the color with a little water. Usually, tips and methods for dilution or thickening are shown on the package.
Of course, the quality factor is crucial, especially for those who make professional use of these products. The products we have chosen are all of excellent quality and guarantee your paintings a long life. The best thing you can do is buy a product that is worth using: remember, get what you pay for.
User reviews are usually a mine of extra product information, especially of those that are not normally advertised by sellers. Not to mention that it is often possible to read the opinion of professionals and experts, so it is certainly worth a look before buying.