View Full Version : mix acrylics with bleach?

02-09-2001, 01:25 AM
yes, I've done it, and while I'm not sure of the archival qualities, I can tell you that it doubles the time it takes for the acrylic to dry (hmmm, helpful) and does not bleach any of the paint ...

so my query - have you ever mixed your acrylics with anything else?

I've also used (in various ways) watercolor, india ink, pastel, soap and charcoal to mix with the acrylics ...

I'd love to get some more ideas to mix if you've got 'em or tried 'em ...


" 'The love of art makes one lose real love.(said Richepin)'. I think that is terribly true, but on the other hand real love makes you disgusted with art." Vincent van Gogh

02-09-2001, 01:43 AM
Jeanette, all I can really tell you is that bleach weakens fabric, so I would probably not want to try this on a painting on canvas. I once spilled drops of full-strength bleach on a pair of jeans, and holes eventually appeared right where the bleach had been. Maybe it would be okay if the painting were on masonite or some sort of board.


02-09-2001, 09:25 AM
I would think that the effect on the GROUND and not the canvas itself would be the main consideration, at least in the short run of months or years. Is there a chemist in the house?


02-12-2001, 01:18 AM
Adding bleach to paint of any kind strikes me as not a very good idea. That said, I've done it with some old latex house paint to break down some fungus that had grown in it. I used it for some interior striping at my old school. I checked the results after 10 years, and it seems to be okay.

for extending drying time in acrylics, the usual additive is propylene glycol. This is the main ingredient of most commercial acrylic drying retarders, usually with some acrylic gel added to maintain film integrity. Ethylene glycol has similar properties and is found in automotive anti-freeze/coolant fluid, but it is highly toxic. I mention it only for refrence purposes.

I'm not a chemist, but I play one on the net.

02-12-2001, 06:42 PM
For texture, you can add white sand. I haven't tried a lot of additives with my acrylics...but I have tried several of the textural mediums. I've heard of using "tar" on paintings...yes, you have to melt it to keep it fluid. There is a medium that is supposed to immulate this stringy texture, but I didn't like it.

"Everything is not art and Art is not everything, but it comes close."....carly

Keith Russell
02-25-2001, 01:16 AM

I clean my brushes and airbrushes using a mixture of 3 parts distilled water to one part clear ammonia. I have occasionally thinned my paints with this same 'cleaner', with good results.

I have also mixed my paints with various media; texture gels of varying coarseness, and thicker body gels, for creating heavy impasto-type effects.

There are acrylic retarders out there that aren't that expensive; I would certainly recommend those, before I resorted to using bleach in connection with artwork.


Keith Russell
Synthetic Sky Studios
Science Fiction Fine Art
[email protected]

Kevin M
02-26-2001, 06:08 PM
For extending drying times when working, for example, wet into wet, I have found that aiming a mist from a hand sprayer works very well. However, I do mean a mist, and not a squirt of water droplets.

I would be deeply suspicious regarding altering the chemical composition of the paint.


02-27-2001, 12:54 PM
Liquitex Acrylic Slow-dry Medium works for me. $1.50 for 8 ounces and a little goes a long way. Think it might be propolyn glycol. I've seen ammonia and bleach both mentioned in this thread. Hope everyone knows never to mix those two like using one and cleaning brushes with the other. Mixed they emit a lethal gas. I almost died mixing the two while cleaning house.


02-27-2001, 05:47 PM
acrylics are alkaline by nature and have a pH above 8.0 normally. They are thickened by adding an "alkali-swellable" thickener. This thickener relies on free ammonia in the acrylic, which means adding ammonia to acrylic isn't that bad. However, as stated above, chlorox and ammonia are not a great combo. Hope you have good ventilation.

02-27-2001, 08:29 PM
mstownsend and pray-

your warnings are well heeded and thank you for them ...


"I get tired of either sense or nonsense if I am kept very continuously to either and like my mind to undulate between the two as it likes best." --Bagehot to his fiance