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Old 03-27-2012, 11:37 PM
DeanDailypaintings DeanDailypaintings is offline
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How to thicken acrylic paint?

If I can't afford an artist grade acrylic gel medium , can I use spackling paste commonly used for repairing walls to thicken my acrylic paint and will it crack ? any other cheap alternatives out there? Desperately need answers to this question . Appreciate if anybody can help.
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Old 03-28-2012, 06:07 AM
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idylbrush idylbrush is offline
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Re: How to thicken acrylic paint?

Dean, welcome to the acrylics forum at wet canvas.

Gel medium and modeling paste (which is closer to spackling compound) are two different animals. Gel mediums generally dry clear and flexible while modeling paste (depending on the brand and style) can be less flexible and generally white.

I know of artists that use spackling compound, I am not sure of the ramifications. In short term it may work but the long term issues have yet to be decided.

If your interest is to create archival works, then it may not be the best choice. Sometimes the best choice is to paint within your means. In reality you need only a limited palette to create beautiful work. There have been several artists that have used a 5 color palette of cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and white. Is it ideal, for some yes.....for some no. Don't overlook the value of a split palette. It uses the basics of red, blue and yellow with a tube of each in warm and cool for a total of 6 tubes of paint plus white and black would be optional.

If you must use modeling paste, there is a paint company in California (I am going to have to research the name and webpage) that has very reasonable pricing on their acrylic products. Don't over look house brand products. Blick, Daniel Smith, and a few others, they have good products at reasonable prices. Always be on the look out for the sale. I know Blick has great sales once or twice a year on their house brand paints.

If you have a chance to go through the information kiosk there is a wealth of information there. There is a link in my signature line.


Found it, the company is Nova Color.
Click here to go to the information kiosk My You Tube Channel 48hlc48
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Last edited by idylbrush : 03-28-2012 at 06:21 AM.
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:11 AM
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Einion Einion is offline
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Hi Dean, welcome to WC and the forum.

To answer your question directly, yes you can use spackle to thicken your acrylic paints and yes there is a danger of them cracking if you do (as well as some other possible ageing effects). Since there aren't any Art Police you're completely free to experiment with this type of thing but one thing I would recommend if you do this much is not to work on stretched canvas - a rigid support of some kind would be preferable (safer).

Another option for thickening paints is to thicken them directly, rather than adding something thick to them in the same vein as modelling paste or spackle. Both Golden and Liquitex make thickeners of this type and although they aren't cheap only a very small amount is needed to thicken the paint.

Something like this has the advantage that it won't alter the colour of the paint and it remains pretty flexible when the paint has dried, but it won't bulk out the paint in the way that a thick medium does so you will end up using more of your paint at the end of the day.

More info and options in this old post.

Do you know if your colour is off in hue, value, chroma... or all three?

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Old 03-28-2012, 10:06 AM
old_hobbyist old_hobbyist is offline
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Re: How to thicken acrylic paint?

I've used Diatomaceous earth. It's chemically inert, inexpensive, and available at big boxes. A little goes a long way.
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Old 04-04-2012, 12:02 PM
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Termini. Termini. is offline
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Re: How to thicken acrylic paint?

Originally Posted by DeanDailypaintings
If I can't afford an artist grade acrylic gel medium , can I use spackling paste commonly used for repairing walls to thicken my acrylic paint and will it crack ? any other cheap alternatives out there? Desperately need answers to this question . Appreciate if anybody can help.

I would not even consider using spackling compound with acrylic paint.
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Old 04-04-2012, 03:01 PM
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Charlie's Mum Charlie's Mum is offline
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Re: How to thicken acrylic paint?

We tried an experiment here years ago using PVC Adhesive instead of a medium to add to the acrylics.
The painting I did is still very much OK!

Over here PVC is bought from hardware stores and widely used for many things - here's a link to explain what it is in case it's under another name in the US.

I found the thread I did - if it's any use!
Cheers, Maureen

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Last edited by Charlie's Mum : 04-04-2012 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 04-05-2012, 05:53 AM
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Sweet725 Sweet725 is offline
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Re: How to thicken acrylic paint?

If you have Michael near you they carry the golden and liquetex medium - find 40-50% of coupon and voila! Great way to get some supplies you need tight hut having to pay full price.
Professional Piddler of all that interest me! "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall" -Confucius

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