Homemade Acrylic Paint

Written by leah logan
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Homemade Acrylic Paint
Making homemade acrylic paints requires several testing techniques. (paint tubes image by Allyson Ricketts from Fotolia.com)

Artists can achieve the desired consistency of homemade acrylic paint by carefully testing pigment-binder mixes. Binders should be chosen based on the type of paint texture that is desired. The most common binders include impasto mediums, gel mediums and iridescent mediums. However, binder/modifiers can change homemade acrylic paint to create reactions such as spreading, de-foaming or glossing/matting. Foaming is a common problem when making acrylic paint. The de-foamer helps to reduce foam during the mixing process. Binders and a glass-muller tool can be purchased at local craft stores.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Pigment paste
  • A4 white bond paper
  • Painter's scraper
  • Binding agent
  • Bucket
  • Spatula
  • Mixing slab
  • Spray bottle
  • Grain alcohol
  • De-foamer
  • Retardant
  • Ammonia
  • Dropper
  • Glass muller
  • Safety Goggles
  • Gloves
  • Apron

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  1. 1

    Decide which binder will work best based on the type of paint texture and appearance that you want. This will depend on the type of rheology (thinness, thickness and stringiness of consistency) needed to make your homemade acrylic paint.

  2. 2

    Add any matting agents (substances that produce a non-glossy appearance) during the first stage of mixing. Test several small mixes to achieve the correct consistency. Use the drawdown technique by applying a layer of paint mix onto bond paper by using gentle then gradually harder pressure as you pull down the paint to test for equal dispersal.

  3. 3

    Mix mineral-based pigments by stirring them in a bucket with a spatula. Mix the mineral pigments with the binder, by first using a 50/50 consistency. Add additional binder as necessary, but do not exceed a 60 pigment/40 binder consistency.

  4. 4

    Write down the percentage of mixes in order to repeat the results. Mix the ingredients well, especially near the bottom-edges of the bucket. Add slightly less pigment with a 50/50 percentage mix to begin creating an organic acrylic paint (healthy and environmentally-friendly non-toxic paint).

  5. 5

    Add additional pigment paste as necessary. Check the dispersal (how well the ingredients are mixed) by using drawdowns. Pour a small amount of the organic-pigment mix onto the slab. Use the mulling technique (grinding a mixture in a circular motion using a glass muller) to disperse the ingredients.

  6. 6

    Continue mixing the pigment paste quickly. Spray the mix with grain alcohol occasionally to avoid dry-outs.

  7. 7

    Add de-foamer at no more than 1% of total-paint volume. Add retardant at no more than 15% of total-paint volume. Smell the paint to ensure it retains an ammonia-like smell.

  8. 8

    Use a small dropper to add ammonia to your homemade acrylic paint (about eight to nine drops). Store the homemade acrylic paint in appropriate tubes, plastic jars or cling film.

Tips and warnings

  • Wait until nighttime to begin making your homemade acrylic paint to utilise the added humidity in the air.
  • Spraying only the edges of the homemade acrylic paint mixture with grain alcohol will help maintain moisture, and keep the mixture from getting too wet.
  • Always mix the ingredients for homemade acrylic paint in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling toxic fumes. Use gloves and aprons to avoid damage to clothing and skin. Wear safety goggles for eye protection.

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