How do I make acrylic paints shine

Paint acrylic paints like oil paints


Oil paints have had competition from acrylic paints. The color effects can be compared with each other, but the handling of acrylic paints is much easier. So practically all painting techniques of oil painting can be implemented with acrylic paints, even with very thick layers there are no cracks to fear and acrylic paints hardly make any demands on the painting surface, which basically does not even have to be primed.

Nevertheless, there are of course a few differences and it is these differences that lead some artists and hobby painters to prefer oil paints after all. On the other hand, the decisive differences can be largely canceled out with tools and a few tricks. This in turn allows acrylic paints to be painted like oil paints.

The drying time

One of the biggest differences between oil and acrylic paints is that oil paints dry very slowly, while acrylic paints take a very short time to dry. This leaves the artist who paints with acrylic paints much less time and color gradients are more difficult to design.

Since the long drying time of oil paints is an advantage on the one hand, but can also be disadvantageous on the other hand, some artists resort to a siccative. A siccative is a medium that allows oil paints to dry faster. The counterpart to this is the drying retarder in acrylic painting.

Also available as an acrylic retarder or retarder in art supplies, this painting medium ensures that the acrylic paints dry around 20 to 50 percent more slowly. To achieve this effect, the acrylic paint is mixed with the drying retarder before application. The mixing ratio is indicated on the packaging, whereby the behavior of the color can be controlled if the amount is varied accordingly. Drying retarders are made up of alcohols, humectants and additives.

Since the composition is similar to glycerin, some artists also work with pure glycerin instead, which is available in pharmacies. All manufacturers of acrylic paints also have drying retarders in their range, whereby the paints from one manufacturer can in principle also be mixed with the drying retarder from another manufacturer.

How quickly acrylic paints dry depends on the painting surface, the thickness of the paint layer, the room temperature and the humidity. Therefore it is not always necessary to use a drying retarder.

Instead, the artist can use the following tricks:

· The cooler the room and the higher the humidity, the slower the acrylic paints dry. In a strongly heated room with dry air, the colors are dry after a few minutes. If, on the other hand, the acrylic paints are processed in a room where the humidity is over 70 percent and the temperature is around 15 degrees, the drying time is extended to around two to five hours.

In a room that is only five degrees cold, the acrylic paints even need several days to dry. If the artist wants to paint acrylic paints like oil paints, he should work in a cool and rather damp room.


· The drying time can be extended by moistening the painting surface. To do this, a little water is applied to the painting surface with a brush before the paint is applied. If you paint on such a very thin, damp film, the drying time is extended by up to half an hour.

While painting, the artist can also repeatedly spray the still damp acrylic paint with water in order to delay the drying time even further. It is important, however, to spray the water sparingly so that the colors do not run.

Color gradients

In oil painting it is easily possible to let colors run into each other and to create smooth color transitions. In acrylic painting, on the other hand, it is very difficult to create color gradients because of the very short drying time. However, it is still possible with water as an aid.

The best way to do this is to create a transparent color gradient, which is also known as a wash or wash. To do this, the painting ground is first slightly moistened with water, then the paint is applied. Finally, the brush is dipped in water, dried slightly and pulled flat over the edge of the color surface with little pressure. After one or two repetitions, the brush is immersed in water again and drawn over the newly created, paler edge of the paint.

The same principle is used to continue painting until the color surface is almost transparent. Finally, a large, flat brush is rubbed over the color surface at a right angle to the previous direction in order to connect the brushstrokes that are still visible to form an even color gradient.

However, the acrylic paint must still be damp. To prevent it from drying out in between and staining, the entire surface can be sprayed with clean water. Gradients with two or more colors can be designed according to the same scheme, but they actually require a little practice.

Color gloss and structure

Some artists criticize the fact that although acrylic paints look similar to oil paints, they still cannot keep up in terms of color gloss and luminosity. First of all, it is important to ensure that acrylic paints are of good quality. The lightfastness of the color pigments plays a role here, because the higher the lightfastness, the more intensely the colors shine and the longer the luminosity of the color pigments is retained.

In order to additionally increase the luminosity of acrylic paints, it is possible to apply a final varnish and possibly also one or more intermediate varnishes in between. The acrylic paints shine more intensely, the surface is given an even shine and the picture is also protected from dust, dirt and yellowing. However, a high degree of gloss can also result in unsightly reflections and annoying highlights. It is therefore advisable to use varnishes with a medium gloss level.

Another difference between oil and acrylic paints, which is also often a point of criticism, is that in principle no visible structures remain with acrylic paints. This is because acrylic paints decrease in volume as they dry. In the case of oil paints, on the other hand, the volume of paint increases and thus they not only cover well, but also the brushstrokes remain visible.

In order to achieve this effect with acrylic paints, a structure paste or a structure gel can be added to the colors. The look is not identical, but it comes very close to the characteristic appearance of oil paints.

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Subject: painting acrylic paints like oil paints

Internet media owner Ferya Gülcan
The two artists and painters RZA & Feryal, alias Christian Gülcan and Ferya Gülcan, write here. Both built in 1974, with partly different beginnings (grafitti, drawing & design) in acrylic painting and oil painting. We are the brand owner of the art blacksmith kooZal and mainly paint modern and abstract acrylic and oil paintings in large format.

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The two artists and painters RZA & Feryal, alias Christian Gülcan and Ferya Gülcan, write here. Both built in 1974, with partly different beginnings (grafitti, drawing & design) in acrylic painting and oil painting. We are the brand owner of the art blacksmith kooZal and mainly paint modern and abstract acrylic and oil paintings in large format. Show all contributions by editors

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