Important Facts About Acrylic Paint

Written by lisa proulx
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Important Facts About Acrylic Paint
The versatility of acrylic paints give painters many different options. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Acrylic paint -- like all paint -- is made of a combination of pigment and binder. The paint's colour comes from the pigment and the binder helps give the paint consistency and other characteristics to make it work. Acrylic paint is very versatile since it can be used as an outdoor or an indoor paint and is a popular choice for both artists and housepainters. It is easy to work with and a wonderful medium for many painting projects and clean up is typically a breeze.

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Easy Clean Up

Acrylic paint is water-soluble and can be rinsed with water as opposed to an oil-based paint which will need paint thinner. When cleaning acrylic paint from hands and brushes, you simply use soap and water. If the paint has dried on the brush, use acetone or an equivalent product. Take care when using these products since they are toxic. If the paint gets on your clothing and is still wet, clean with window cleaner or plain water, though if the paint has dried on your clothes it becomes permanent so be careful. Cleaning up acrylic paint from other painting surfaces is easy. If the paint is still wet, wipe with a damp cloth and clean the area with water. If dry, just paint over the spot with another colour.

Dries Quickly

Compared to oil paints which can take days or sometimes weeks to dry completely, acrylic paints can be dry in a matter of hours. This is very helpful if you are creating a quick painting or wishing to paint over an area of the painting. The air-drying is done by evaporation. A thin paint film will dry in 10 to 20 minutes and a thick paint film in 1 hour to three days.

Can Easily Mix with Other Mediums

When mixing with other media such as pastels, charcoal, pen and chalk, use only other acrylic emulsion paints or mediums. Never mix with oils or turpentine. If thinning is required, water may be used to help make adjustments in consistency. Remember that if too much water is added, you will break down the "bond" between the binder and pigment, thus washing the binder out of the paint. This is called "slimeing" and when it occurs a blank area will be created in the middle of your brush strokes while the paint pigment pools on the outside.

Comes in Many Consistencies and Colors

Acrylic paint is comprised of a synthetic polymer resin and these come in a variety of consistencies. Some are thick, thin, watery, jellylike, or sticky. This is especially appealing to artists, who can spend less time mixing their paints since so many consistencies are available. In addition to the wide choice of consistencies, acrylic paint is offered in multiple colours, and is synthetic which means the colours can be manipulated more easily.

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