View Full Version : Straight from the tube????

04-04-2015, 02:37 PM

I am not an artist, but I do oil and acrylic Theorem stenciling, so I guess that makes me a craft person. I use mostly Winsor & Newton acrylics, because when I first learned Theorem stenciling they only used oils, and W&N was the required brand. When I switched to acrylics for other projects, I naturally went with what I knew.

Question: I do use artist's grade, not student or craft grades. Can these be used without additives? To get more transparency for the stencil, using it on wood painted with acrylics, do I thin with water or one of the mediums??? I also use a slight amount of retarder.

I have tried it both ways and I seem to ruin the paint--even after drying a week, it will rub off. Have I added too much of something, not enough??? Or is that normal and I just need to varnish to avoid the rubbing off?

I have read so many articles here and elsewhere, but none answer the specific question of "Do I need additives, or can they used straight out of the tube?"

Thank you for listening,

Lady Carol
04-04-2015, 02:59 PM
Hi Kimmer,
This answer will not be a straight answer unfortunately. To thin paint, I have used water and mediums. I have used paint straight from the tube even to the extent of putting the tube end up to the canvas and controlling the amount that comes out the end. Impasto I guess that is called. It is not overtly obvious as to why you have this issue.

I am not familiar with Theorem stenciling (had to google it) but I wonder if your issue comes down to wood preparation. Has the wood been sanded so much that the paint cannot adhere properly to it?

04-04-2015, 03:14 PM
Depending on the wood you are using, some lumber leach or bleed natural oils and makes a barrier under the paint. I would prime the wood with a gesso or Kilz or something. Sealing it with a varnish is just coating it over. If the paint won't stick it's not going to stick with varnish on it either. If the surface is to slick paint wont stick. If you sanded the wood, make sure you did not leave any sanding dust on it.

04-04-2015, 05:06 PM
What species wood and how do you prep it?

Is the acrylic actually dry?

Are you using the same tools for oil and acrylics?

Lady Carol
04-04-2015, 06:23 PM
Is the acrylic actually dry?
I would think it would be after a week.

04-06-2015, 12:15 PM
Hi All,

Thank you for all the kind answers, however, I did not explain well---this is very old, a cabinet about 150 years old. I have already put an acrylic layer on it, a couple in fact. I did a faux marble on the treated surface (sanding, washing, dust removal), it does not come off at all. These layers sat for about 3 weeks before I started the stenciling, and that is when the problem started.

I have thinned all the colors, some with water and some with a gloss acrylic medium, all ratios according to one of my furniture painting books.

The really big question is Do I need to thin the paint from the tubes or can it be used as is? Then, if I thin for a transparent effect, would water or a medium be best?

I have read that all acrylics need some form of medium to "stick", so do the good grades of acrylics already have a medium or do I need to add one?

And if any of the original oil paint was left on the surface, the marbling layers would have rubbed off, wouldn't they?


04-07-2015, 05:49 AM
Golden Acrylic paints have a wonderful 'technical service' department....they would be the 'experts' who can give you sound advice....google them...
good luck....

Charlie's Mum
04-07-2015, 06:33 AM
Follow Bluefish's advice!:)

But, what did you use for the marbling technique onto which you're addling the acrylic stencil?
If it's acrylic, there really should be no problem.

Adding too much water can make it less stable and rub off but if using an acrylic medium, being the same base, it should work.

Yes, you can use straight from the tube - it will be thicker and denser so might not be as transparent as you wish.

If there is any 'oil' or 'wax' at all from the marbling, acrylic won't adhere.

You can buy clear acrylic gesso - might be worth a try?

04-07-2015, 07:03 AM
This all sounds very technical blimey.

04-10-2015, 05:43 PM

Thank you again for the responses. I am curious about the "clear acrylic Gesso" What would I use it for and how????

I used artist's acrylics the whole way. None of the background comes off.

There is no oil paint anywhere.

I have been to Golden's site, but they do not address my specific problem.

"Charlie's Mum"--thank you so much for the answer about straight from the tube. I do understand about the lack of transparency, and I thought it could be used this way.

Maybe the answer is I just used too much water, not enough medium, but I will use less of these in the future.

Thank again,

04-10-2015, 06:29 PM
If you have a piece of wood you can use as a test panel, what about slightly abrading the surface a little? I know polished surfaces can give adhesion problems and it may be this that you are encountering. Just throwing an idea out there.