View Full Version : Really Dumb Newbie Questions

04-19-2018, 04:20 PM
I have a small set of Golden Fluid I'd like to try out, but new to acrylics. Have a couple of questions, if someone would be kind enough to help me out, I'd appreciate it:

1. How do I keep the paints from drying out on my pallet? I spritz with water, but then the paint comes out too watery.

2. When you're done with your painting session - do you just toss out the pallet? Is there a way to preserve the paint that's left on the pallet?

3. I know I'm not supposed to let my brush dry out - how do you keep your brushes from drying out when you paint? I can't imagine keeping it in water?

As the title says, some really dumb questions - but, oh well, we all got to start somewhere :angel:

Tanya B
04-19-2018, 04:57 PM
Maybe one of those stay wet palettes would work for you? I've never tried one myself.

A fine mist sprayer (like a Flairosol) will help with too much water being sprayed on the palette. This is what I use.

Since fluid acrylics are thin, they spread out more than heavy body acrylics on the palette and thus dry faster than them due to their greater surface area, so you can have problems if you lay out all of your colors on the palette before painting. Instead, I lay out colors only as I need them.

I know I'm not supposed to let my brush dry out - how do you keep your brushes from drying out when you paint? I can't imagine keeping it in water?

I use a water-filled mason jar and a clothespin. I clip the clothespin to the brush handle and then set the brush in the water so that just the hair portion is in the water. Move the clothespin up or down the brush handle to achieve this. To avoid damaging it, be sure not to get any portion of the brush handle in the water.

04-19-2018, 05:22 PM
Thanks Tanya

Charlie's Mum
04-19-2018, 05:34 PM
In the Information Kiosk (su forum here) you'll find a 'Tips' thread with info about stay-wet palettes.
I don't use Golden fluids but I do use Acrylic inks - I put out only enough for what I'm painting in a short while, and renew as necessary.
I rinse the brush well as soon as I need change brushes or colour, so a brush is always damp after use .......... in oils, painters often have a number of different brushes in hand, with diff. colours on each ..... not in acrylics ........... same brush, diff colour, wash before changing ... similarly if needing a different brush.
I also use short-handled brushes rather than long ones and I often lay a used (clean) brush in the base of the stay-wet palette until needed again.

04-19-2018, 06:33 PM
I made a glass palette and spritz every 5 minutes or so. It's easy to clean with a straight razor. To preserve the paint I spritz again and cover the palette in saran wrap when I'm done. You have to keep the brushes damp. They sell a coiled brush holder (looks like a coil spring) that allows me to suspend the brushes upside down in a coffee can full of water, like the clothes pin idea mentioned above. Her is a link. I removed the spring bar part and wedged it in a coffee can. https://www.amazon.com/Chinatera-Washer-Screen-Holder-Stainless/dp/B00R93M3LA

There are threads out there for home made stay wet palettes too.

Ellis Ammons
04-19-2018, 09:27 PM
I use Golden Fluid as well. Glass pallettes don't work for this type of acrylic. The paint will change almost as soon as you start to mix. Misting water causes little bits of dried paint to get in your paint piles. And it really sucks to mist every few minutes.

Long story short the best thing I've found is to mix the paint in little disposable shot cups and then pour each color into a tupaware for deviled eggs. If you fill the indentations with about half paint it should stay useable for a few days without misting with water. The trick is to not stir it around much as it will make the paint dry very quick. Just dip a little off the top. There is something about keeping the Fluid paint in small cups that makes it dry slowly. This works well enough that I can mix a range of values and paint with it for a few days. To save paint longer than that I use oral sryinges with the caps not needles.

I try not to add water to the paint at all. Just to clean brushes. But to bring paint back that has started to dry I'll add a little to get the consistency back. But keep it in my mind that it will dry a completely different color than what I'm putting down.

04-20-2018, 08:14 AM
Thanks everyone

04-20-2018, 09:16 AM
I break the rules and leave my brushes in the rinse bucket.

I put my paints on a sheet of wax paper that is on wet paper towels. Helps a bit but I still struggle with paint drying up while I'm using it. I have a lidded palette but a Rubbermaid container has worked well for keeping paint wet between sessions.

04-20-2018, 09:56 AM
I use a lot of Golden High Flow acrylic, which is a bit more fluid than the regular fluid acrylics, so this may or may not help. But I found what works best for small amounts of fluid paint are small pill containers like these:


They're about 1.5" (4 cm) in diameter and are pretty cheap, if you look for them at a dollar store. They snap shut tightly, so the paint doesn't dry out, and you don't have to worry about spilling. When you're done, they rinse easily, or if you let them dry out, most colours will just peel off.

Because I use a lot of them, and because they aren't all that easy to see through, I put a bit of masking tape with a dab of colour on the top, which makes it easy to find the ones with colours you've already mixed.

For heavier body paints, I use the Masterson Sta-Wet palettes. Rinse the underlying sponge everyday, otherwise mold develops (yuch). On those I'll probably change the paper every few days. As for brushes, I do pretty much what Tanya B does, except I use largish plastic pots of the sort yogurt comes in.


04-20-2018, 07:24 PM

1. How do I keep the paints from drying out on my pallet? I spritz with water, but then the paint comes out too watery.

2. When you're done with your painting session - do you just toss out the pallet? Is there a way to preserve the paint that's left on the pallet?

When I use Golden Fluid Acrylics, I put them in porcelain palette dishes that come in various sizes and shapes. Some of the most common are shaped like flowers with rounded wells in them to hold your paints. Because the wells are recessed they help keep the paints from drying out. I do spritz them occasionally with a very fine mister filled with distilled water. It takes a little practice but you get to know how much and how frequently to spritz the paints without them getting watered down. NOTE: the porcelain is very smooth and hard so it's easy to clean off any dried acrylic paint from these dishes. There are plastic versions of these but they are best used for water colors because dried acrylics will stick to the plastic and be very difficult to remove once dried.

If I'm using heavy body acrylics, I can still put them in the little porcelain palette dishes but I usually make up a stack of my own "stay wet" palettes by using a stack of several paper plates with wet paper towels in between each one. The moisture from the wet paper towels is just enough to seep through the paper plate on top that I have my paint colors moist after they have been squeezed out onto the top paper plate. I can use a second paper plate (with wet paper towel under it) to mix the colors on. I also give these paints a light spritz with distilled water as needed. If you have a large zip-loc plastic bag that is big enough to slip the stack of paper plates and wet towels into, you can seal it up and keep the paints moist until you need them the next day. I find those little plastic tri-pod things that they include in pizza boxes (to keep the lid from sticking to the cheese) to be very handy for placing on the center of your paint "palette" plate to keep the bag from making contact with the paints. I save these little gizmos when we get a pizza, wash them up and use them as described above with my paints.

Another method (if using heavy body acrylics) is to fold up a strip of paper towels and soak it in water. Squeeze out the excess water and then squeeze out your paints on this wet strip of paper towel. If you have an air-tight container that you can store these strips in, you can seal up your paints overnight and keep them moist and workable for days. Always be on the lookout for any mold growth on the paper towel. Once that shows up, it's time to discard those strips and start with new ones.

There are lots of great suggestions for keeping your paints moist and workable to be found on this forum. You can pick the one that works best for you.

3. I know I'm not supposed to let my brush dry out - how do you keep your brushes from drying out when you paint? I can't imagine keeping it in water?

You are correct that it's not a good idea to keep your brushes soaking in water when not in use during a painting session. They can eventually become so waterlogged that the glue inside the ferrule will deteriorate and the ferrule becomes loose. The brush hair may even start to fall out if this gets too bad.

I'll see if I can pull in a picture of the brush tray I made up to keep my brushes wet during a painting session. Oops, the picture uploader says the file size is too big. I'll have to edit it and try posting it later.

I'll try to describe it for now. I use a shallow tray that is about 8 inches long by 6 inches wide. It is roughly 1 1/4 inches deep. I cut a flat sponge to fit in one end of the tray. The sponge should be not quite as high as the sides of the tray so the brushes will not roll out. I wet the sponge with water and place it in one end of the tray. When I need to keep a brush moist and ready while not using it, I lay the brush down with the brush hairs/fibers resting on the sponge. The handle of the brush rests on the other end of the tray edge. This keeps the brush hairs from being bent. They stay perfectly flat and moist until needed.

Sorry I don't have the photo ready to post just yet. I hope these suggestions help.

As the title says, some really dumb questions - but, oh well, we all got to start somewhere :angel:

There are no dumb questions. We've all been there when we started out with acrylics. This is a great place to find help.


Lady Carol
04-20-2018, 09:55 PM
I get a zip lock baggie. Everyone has one of those and put my palette in it with a piece of damp paper towel. It keeps for a week or so.

04-21-2018, 09:58 AM
Thank you all so much for your help - lots of good ideas to try. I will post my first acrylic (good, bad or ugly) when I'm done. I don't get lots of time to paint (I'm self employed, so I either get no time, intermittent time or waaaay too much time) - so generally, a painting can take a week or more, even if the painting itself takes a couple of hours

Thanks again - I really appreciate the help :)

04-21-2018, 11:32 AM
Here is a photo of the brush tray I use to keep my brushes moist during a painting session.


This works well to keep my brushes from drying out without letting them get waterlogged.


04-21-2018, 01:20 PM
The loose ferrule happens because the wooden handle gets into the water. The wood absorbs water and swells. It swells with enough force to stretch the metal ferrule. When the wood dries it shrinks and the brush comes down with a case of DWF, also known as Dreaded Wobbly Ferrule.

Not such a big deal - the brushes still work.

04-21-2018, 01:54 PM
Great idea Beverly - thanks!

04-21-2018, 03:38 PM
I lay my brushes on a wet paper towel and mist them from time to time. If I l am going to stop for lunch or something I just fold up the end of the paper towel over the brush but not the handles.

04-24-2018, 02:37 PM
I use food grade Propylene Glycol to retard the drying of my acrylics especially when painting outdoors. 85% water 15% propylene glycol (Similar to Car anti-freeze). It Works as well as the art store acrylic retarders, at a fraction of the price. Available on Amazon for around $10-$16/Qt, which will last for years at the rate I use it. I Keep the mix in a spritzing/spray bottle. I use an "Acryl A Miser" Air Tight Palette System from Jerrys artarama that keeps my acrylics moist for weeks as long as I keep the seals clean. I've used the same one for close to 8 years. Any dried acrylics comes off with a palette knife and a coarse rag.

Don Dattler