View Full Version : Reconstituting acrylic paint

11-29-2011, 09:04 PM
I am new to Wet Canvas and new to painting -- just retired after 40 years in transportation and anxious to start. Began buying paint products the last two years and now see I have a problem with some acrylic paint that I purchased.
The paint is Liquitex super heavy body paint in jars. When I bought them, I opened each to make sure they were ok. Then I sealed them all back up. Now that I am ready to use them, many of the jars have paint that is very thick, almost like putty. Is there any way to reconstitute this paint. Hope someone can suggest something.

11-29-2011, 09:25 PM
You might consider mixing water into the paint, if you can. I would use distilled water. If it hasn't set up to much you might be able to resurrect them. If gone to far not much will help. Good luck.

11-29-2011, 10:31 PM
Tried water, but no luck. I was afraid that these jars were probably headed to the trash, but thought I would see if anyone had any miracles up their sleeves.

11-29-2011, 11:12 PM
Sounds like it is time to make up some paint skins to use on Collage paintings and abstracts. I would certainly try that before I would toss them out. Might make for an interesting use.
Just an idea! Sandy

11-30-2011, 04:46 AM
Hi Dennis, for future reference if you're adding water to jars of paint it's best to use distilled water because tap water may introduce contaminants that can make the paint go off.

There's a possibility the seal on the jars wasn't 100% and they've dried out a little during storage. But these Liquitex paints are chemically thickened to make them the viscosity they are, and over time this may lead to them sort of congealing.

The paint is probably usable as it is, just really difficult to work with. You should be able to get it back to a more user-friendly consistency though, but it'll take a bit of work. If it hasn't gone too far simply working the paint over briskly with a palette knife could smooth it out somewhat, I've had some success with this for paints that were this way when I got them. But beyond a certain point this won't do it so you'd need to try adding in some water* to see if you can restore it to something like its original consistency. Before decanting the entire contents of a tub and trying this I'd do a small test with a 1/2 teaspoon of paint, see if it seems to do the trick!

A glazed ceramic tile or a sheet of glass would make good surfaces for this task if you want to take it on, as they're easy to clean thoroughly between colours.

*Or ammonia and water (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=614903&page=2).


11-30-2011, 10:44 AM
Einion has pointed you in the right direction. Chemically speaking, ammonia is added to adjust the viscosity in production. That is why some tubes will have a heavier amine smell than others. The batch goes a bit awry, they tuck in a wee bit of ammonia, and get the viscosity back.

A little will go a looooooong way. A few millilitres per 4 or 5 litres of water should be fine. If the polymer isn't too far gone, drizzle in a little of the solution into the paint and mix vigorously with a palette knife or paint stirring stick and you may be back in business.


11-30-2011, 11:09 AM
Thanks to all for the suggestions. I will buy some distilled water and mix a very small amount of ammonia into a large volume of water and try that. I do have a couple of ceramic tiles that I have set up for use with painting and will try working the paint on that with the water/ammonia mixture.