acrylic medium

Acrylic Medium Review and How to Make Your Own Acrylic Medium

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There are so many advantages and wonders to utilizing acrylic mediums in your artwork this article will go into a bit more detail. You can add to your painting’s overall range and versatility by using paint mediums this will allow you to create different textures and effects. Similar to using oils, acrylics offer additives and mediums that have the same base formulas as acrylic paint. Acrylic paints are super easy to clean up and dry quickly. What follows is a look into which types of paint mediums are ideal for what purposes.



What Is a Paint Medium?

To alter the gloss, consistency, texture, and even color of the paints, artists turn to paint mediums. To achieve the best results when oil painting you can use chemical-based or oil-based mediums. You will have to use a water-based acrylic medium if you are working with acrylic paints. We will go into more details of the different forms below.

acrylic paint medium


Matte Acrylic Medium

In cases where you are looking to have a less glossy and subtle finish, you would use this type of medium. By adding a matte medium to your acrylic paints you can take away the paints natural shine. Other uses for a matte acrylic medium include:

  • Acrylic transfers
  • Remove any gloss
  • An alternative to decoupage glue
  • To dull the overall appearance of the colors

painting mediums


Acrylic Gloss Medium

If you are looking to thin out your acrylic paints and overall add enhancement to the finish and shine, while also making the paints more transparent and thinner then your go-to is gloss medium. This particular medium acts as a type of varnish and is ideal for glazing your piece. If you are looking to protect your art piece and increase the overall longevity by altering the binder-to-pigment ratio then you can use gloss medium which provides a form of sealant. Reasons to use a gloss medium include:

  • Prolong the longevity of your piece
  • Add shine
  • If you are doing acrylic transfers
  • If you wish to seal your painting

acrylic gloss medium


Acrylic Glazing Medium

This medium, similar to your gloss medium, provides a glossy effect ensuring your acrylics are softer and clearer. This medium can be purchased in different finishes including satin or gloss which offer you different effects. The medium is water-based and yet can enhance the texture of the paint as it is a thicker consistency. Reasons to use a glazing medium include:

  • Adding gloss
  • Should you wish to dull the color
  • Shading and toning
  • Blending


Acrylic Glazing Fluid

This is a liquid medium which means it will increase the fluidity when added to your acrylic paint. If you do not wish to sacrifice the color saturation of your art piece fluid mediums are ideal. To achieve glazing you can simply add water to your acrylic paint, but this can result in your colors becoming washed out and potentially weaken the overall binding agent in your acrylic paint. You can maintain your colors and ensure your paint sufficiently adheres to the surface by using glazing fluid mediums. Reasons to use a glazing fluid medium include:

  • Altering the colors
  • Underpainting
  • To add a glossy shine

diy acrylic medium


Gel Acrylic Medium

These particular mediums look similar to glue as they are a white paste and allow you to do bold brushstrokes and thicker textures. These gel mediums ensure your acrylic paint becomes stickier and creates an adhesive. You can make this particular paint medium and use it for an assortment of paper projects such as collages.

Depending on your preferences they come in a variety of different finishes and are also available in a variety of different consistencies. If you want your paint to be transparent and watery go for the liquid option (quite useful in glazing techniques), alternatively if you are looking to keep the thickness of your paint rather select the heavy body option. Reasons for using an acrylic gel medium include:

  • If you wish to thicken your paint
  • Crafts and decoupage
  • Bold textures
  • For its adhesive properties

liquitex acrylic mediums


Retarding Medium

A paint retarder can be used to slow down the speed at which the paint dries By adding this medium you can allow your acrylic paint to act in a similar way to oil paints. Paint retarders are great for color mixing and blending as it gives you additional time to work on your details and layers. Always consult the instructions when working with retarding mediums and your acrylic paints as some retarding mediums do not have binding agents and can potentially cause your paints to become messy and runny. Reasons to use paint retarders:

  • Color mixing and blending
  • Slow down the overall drying time
  • Add to the workability


Fluid Mediums

These are liquid options of the paste and gel paint mediums and should be poured which means they make your paints more fluid and thinner. Offering the same benefits of gel mediums, they ensure even more transparency and workability when you are painting. They are available in an assortment of finishes such as glaze, matte and gloss. Reasons to use a fluid medium include:

  • To further enhance add-ons or colors
  • If you require your paint to be more fluid
  • Increasing the transparency
  • Thinning your paints

We have described the assortment of acrylic paint mediums available, next we will provide details on some of our brand recommendations.

acrylic medium



LIQUITEX Acrylic Mediums

Liquitex manufactures and supplies an assortment of paint mediums such as gel, fluid, gloss, and matte. This brand is particularly popular thanks to its vast range of high-quality acrylic painting tools and acrylic painting mediums. They have three categories being finish, paint, and prep. We will take a look into their three most popular acrylic paint mediums and each option’s benefits.


LIQUITEX Professional Ultra Matte Medium

This is a fluid all-purpose pouring medium that gives a matte finish when added to your acrylic paint. It is safe to use the medium as it is non-toxic. When you apply the medium, it is opaque but becomes translucent when it has dried and adds intensity and depth to your color’s pigmentation. This medium offers dirt resistance to your art piece when completed. The consistency of this medium is cream-like and adds to the workability and fluidity of your colors. You can combine this medium with varnish or gloss to create a shine to your finished artwork.

LIQUITEX Professional Ultra Matte Medium
  • Create brilliant jewel-like glazes with acrylics, excellent brushing and leveling
  • Lightweight, non-toxic and dries to a water-resistant, non-yellowing surface
  • Intermixable with Liquitex Professional Acrylic Paint Colors and Mediums
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  • Can be purchased in different sizes
  • Allows your paint to be wet and workable for a longer period
  • Can be used in conjunction with varnish or gloss
  • Non-toxic and safe
  • Offers a protective transparent layer
  • Adds to the colors


  • The design of the container is bottlenecked making pouring and decanting hard
  • Using too much can cause a glossy shine
  • Can not be used with oil-based paints

acrylic paint mediums


LIQUITEX Professional Acrylic Gloss Medium

This is the ideal medium to extend your colors and thicken your paints. A gloss medium with a creamy, satin finish this product allows you to mix colors and blend them with ease. if you have thinner paints this medium is great to thicken them and add body. This medium also lengthens the drying time allowing you more time to paint freely. Liquitex acrylic gel medium does contain some resins that add to the adhesion qualities of the acrylic paints and add durability. The medium will ensure your work has a glossy and smooth finish.

LIQUITEX Professional Gloss Medium
  • All-purpose Medium, improves adhesion of the paint film
  • Increases the depth of color, transparency and shine
  • Protects the surface, non removable
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  • Affordable
  • Gloss finish
  • Makes your acrylic paint creamy and thick
  • Extends your colors
  • Lengthens drying time
  • Adds thickness to watered down acrylic paints


  • You will have to mix it with your paints as it is too thick to simply use as a finishing coat
  • Can take several hours to dry


LIQUITEX Professional Effects Glazing Medium

This medium has acrylic polymers included in it that have been combined with minuscule pearlescent pigments that provide an iridescent sheen. If you wish to add a varnish that creates shimmer and sparkle you can use this medium. The medium will also aid you in thinning out your paints while at the same time ensuring they do not become too watery. You can even apply this medium over dried paints to reactivate them and add a pearly finish.

LIQUITEX Professional Glazing Medium
  • Create brilliant jewel-like glazes with acrylic, non-yellowing surface
  • Excellent brushing and leveling qualities
  • Lightweight, non-toxic and dries to a water-resistant
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  • Ideal for glazed layers
  • Affordable
  • Can be used to reactivate paint that had previously dried
  • Pearly iridescent sheen
  • Can be mixed with paints or be used as a varnish


  • This medium in no way slows down the drying time of the paint


Next, we will take a look at the Golden range a brand with is well known for its high-end, artist-quality, vast range of products.

what is paint medium



GOLDEN Acrylic Painting Mediums

Established by Sam Golden and his family Golden Paints formulated the first usable acrylic paint using resin in the 1940s. They are a well know art brand the world over. They offer an assortment of acrylic mediums including fluid and gel mediums and paints and pastes. You have five options to choose from when it comes to their gel range including heavy gel and soft gel mediums.


GOLDEN Molding Textured or Paste Medium

This paste is ideal when working with water-based and acrylic paints. You can use this medium to build up surfaces and layers within your piece, offering you better use of textures. It can also be used to add to the sheen or alter the sheen of your artwork. Should you wish to add realistic elements to your piece (like petals, flames and tree bark) then this is the perfect medium. It gives your work life as elements stand off the canvas.

GOLDEN Molding Paste, semi opaque Acrylic Texture Medium
  • Ideal for building surfaces, texture and shine, setting and changing body
  • Package contains 8 ounces of molding paste
  • Cleans with soap and water
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  • Increases the workability and drying time of your acrylics
  • Affordable
  • Builds layers
  • A well-known brand
  • Perfect for creating textures


  • Can take a while to dry sufficiently
  • Thick in texture

paint mediums


GOLDEN Artist Colors Soft Gel Gloss for Acrylics

The soft gel is just one of five options in the Golden Artist gel medium range. The medium offers a silky and smooth finish to your piece whilst also protecting your artwork from dust and dirt. Through using this type of medium you can enhance the pigment’s colors and when dried it will give off a natural shine. This medium dries clear so you can, if you choose, use it as a separation layer before you add a sealant or varnish. You can use the Golden’s soft gel to blend wet color or as an adhesive for fabric and paper projects.

GOLDEN Gel Mediums Soft Gel Gloss
  • Excellent as a base for wet blending of color
  • Ideal for extending color, changing shine, changing body, increasing translucency, made in the USA
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  • Can be utilized as an adhesive
  • Is versatile
  • When used acrylic colors are enhanced
  • Provides a glossy shine
  • Simple to work with


  • Should you wish to create thick textures this might not be the correct product
  • Consistency is relatively thin in comparison to heavy gel mediums


GOLDEN Acrylic Retarder Additive and Medium

If you are hoping to slow down the overall drying time of your acrylic paints then this is a great option. The medium doesn’t wash out the color pigments when blended with paints. Using it will allow you the benefit of painting longer and using wet mixing techniques before the acrylic paint begins to dry.

GOLDEN Acrylic Retarder Additive Medium
  • Additives used to increase drying time of acrylic paint
  • Useful for wet techniques and reduces skin formation on the palette
  • 8oz Bottle
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You do not need to use a lot of this product as just a small amount when added to the paint causes it to firm up, and you can simply use a little spritz of water. This will ensure the moisture is retained in both your paints and the paint medium. Try not to mix these high-quality mediums with other brands of acrylics as lower-end paint can have a negative impact on your work due to the potential for the paint to react badly to the paint retarder.


  • Great quality
  • Will not impact the paint’s color or texture
  • Well priced
  • Lasts long


  • Cannot be used with other brands of paint
  • Takes a long time to dry


GOLDEN Acrylic Wetting Agent

You would use a flow improver if you wish to increase the fluidity in your acrylic painting. This product decreases the surface tension of the moisture in your acrylic paint medium. Your paint will glide easily over the canvas when you use this medium as it increases workability factors and smoothness. The flow medium also ensures the adhesion of the paint to the canvas is much better. The medium will also ensure your paint remains wetter for longer meaning an increased painting time.


  • Long-lasting
  • The flow of the paint is better
  • Great quality
  • Ensures the paint is absorbed better into the surface or canvas
  • Good coverage


  • Not safe to be used by children


Now that we have given you some great medium options from both Golden and Liquitex we will give you a few options you can make yourself!

glazing medium



Making Your Acrylic Medium

There are many great reasons to use an acrylic paint medium. When you think of making your medium a lot of times people assume just water is sufficient but it is not the best option as it can make your paint thinner and runnier and overall a lot messier. Rather look to use a substance that can act as a binder or has a thicker texture.

You can use products you can find at home to make pouring mediums which are great if you are looking to save some money. When creating a pouring medium, you are looking at a liquid medium that does not dilute the colors yet still adds to the fluidity of your acrylic paints. It is recommended you only use products for their intended use, otherwise, you might not get the results you are looking for.

how to make your own acrylic medium


Using Glue for an Easy DIY Acrylic Medium

Glue is the perfect base to use for a DIY pouring medium such as Elmer’s or PVA glue which is not too thick and will ensure an opaque effect. To begin take 100 grams of water and combine with 300 grams of glue and then slowly add paint a little at a time until you get the consistency you desire.

Note: Glue when used as a pouring medium will cause your paint to dry quicker. To ensure your paints are workable and are kept wet you will have to keep adding the medium.

acrylic painting mediums


Using Floetrol as an Acrylic Medium

Floetrol is a building supply and is normally available in large quantities, at an affordable price, as its primary use is for painting homes. Normally it is applied through spraying and produces a glossy, smooth finish similar to an acrylic medium.

This is a great option for mixing colors as it allows the acrylics’ consistency to be maintained and lengthens the drying time. If you are just a beginner this is a great, cheap option when you are simply beginning to explore working with acrylic paints and mediums. It can also help with enhancing your colors and the binding of the paints.

We hope the above has helped give you some insight into acrylic paint mediums and how you can use them.

acrylic pour art



Frequently Asked Questions


Best Acrylic Paint Medium Which are They?

The best know brands thanks to their high-quality products are the Golden Artist Colors range and Liquitex acrylic mediums.


Paint Medium, What is it?

A paint medium comes in either a gel or liquid consistency and is used to enhance the paint’s color quality and texture. You can achieve an assortment of different effects depending on which paint medium you choose to use. You can purchase paint mediums in an assortment of finishes such as matte, gloss, or satin.


Oil Paint Mediums and Acrylic Paint Mediums, are They the Same?

Acrylic paint mediums like acrylic paints are water-based so they will not work in conjunction with oil-based paints and mediums.

painting medium

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