Acrylic paint is versatile, affordable, and easy to clean from brushes and other applicators. Check out six types of acrylic mediums and see how they create different effects.
Why We Use Acrylic Paint
We love acrylic paints for their versatility—acrylic can be applied to look like oil, watercolor, or yes, acrylic—and the way they layer. We appreciate how acrylics can be thinned without spirits and the ease with which paint is removed from brushes and other applicators.
The fact that the inherent properties of acrylic paint, like consistency, finish, and drying time, can be altered with various mediums makes us love them even more.
The Five Different Acrylic Mediums
Read on for an introduction to the various types of acrylic mediums and the different effects they create.
Gloss mediums increase the shine and brightness of your paint. Gloss mediums also allow more light to pass through your acrylic paint, so you can see through your color, making them useful for transparent glazing.
Platinum mediums have a high pigmentation, giving you a reflective effect. Add this type of medium to your acrylic paints to create custom, high-shine colors or use it by itself to add serious shine to specific areas of your work.
Glitter mediums amp up your artwork by giving it a dazzling iridescent finish. Often containing tiny, reflective pieces, these mediums can be used on seascapes and other subjects that include sparkling water elements.
Matte mediums are perfect if you want to tone down the natural shine of acrylic paints. Simply mix it in for a flatter, less reflective finish. You can also mix matte and gloss mediums to achieve a desired level of shine.
Gel mediums range in effects from increasing the fluidity of the paint (without affecting its ability to stick to the canvas) to thickening paint in order to paint impasto style (capturing brush strokes and peaks). No matter the consistency, gel mediums make acrylic paint stickier, so it’s a great medium for collaging projects.
Retarder mediums are a blessing in the world of quick-drying acrylics. Adding a retarder medium to your paint will slow your drying time, enabling you to mix and blend acrylic colors like you can with oils.
Do you have tips on how to use acrylic mediums? Do you use acrylic mediums in non-traditional ways? Let us know in the comments below.
More Art Project Ideas and Tips
Looking for lesson plans, projects, and more inspiration for you and your students? Check out the rest of the blogs on the Arts & Crafts category page of our blog. Explore the collection of blogs and find how-to’s to get your students creativity flowing.