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How to Thicken Acrylic Paint for More Texture

Updated April 17, 2017

Acrylic paint can be used to create works of art that are widely varied in general appearance and texture. The paint can be thinned to the consistency of watercolours as well as thickened to create paintings that have a three-dimensional appearance--a technique known as impasto. Artists have developed many ways to create texture as well as additional thickness, or body. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques to get the effect you desire.

Purchase an acrylic medium. Buy a thick gel medium or texture paste. The gel produces a thicker paint while adding a degree of transparency. Texture paste can be found in either transparent or opaque form.

Squeeze the paint onto a plastic palette. Add the amount of medium that you need to obtain the effect you want. You can add a small amount of medium or add significantly more medium than there is paint on the palette.

Use a palette knife to mix the acrylic medium with the paint. Blend well to prevent variations in texture and colour.

Use alternative mediums to get different effects. Try using sawdust, flour or sand to thicken your acrylic paint.

Tip

Keep in mind that acrylic paints themselves are available in varying degrees of thickness. Purchase paints that are labelled as having a “full body.” Create texture underneath your painting by strategically applying modelling paste to the canvas before applying paint. Add even more texture by gluing paper, cloth and other items to the canvas and painting over them.

Warning

Keep in mind that the some mediums may lessen the intensity of the colour.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Acrylic medium
  • Palette
  • Palette knife
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About the Author

Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.