How to Thicken Acrylic Paint

How to Thicken Acrylic Paint – Thickening and Texturing Tips

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Painting is one of the most effective means of expressing oneself. Through painting, one may convey one’s innermost thoughts and emotions, sometimes, you may find that the paint is just too runny. Therefore, you may wish to thicken the paint you are using to better your work by creating specific textures and patterns. If you’re working with acrylic paint, you may be perplexed as to how to make it thicker. This post will explain everything you need to know about acrylic paint including the tips on how to thicken acrylic paint.



What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a popular medium for expressing one’s uniqueness and creativity. It is widely used by a wide range of individuals, including professional painters and amateurs alike. One of the primary reasons why people prefer acrylic paint is due to its inexpensive cost and simplicity of application. This allows you to create great pieces of artwork.

Thick Acrylic Paint Strokes

Acrylic paint is made up of three components: a binder, also known as an acrylic polymer, water, and pigment. Water is often referred to as the vehicle, and the pigment is either a synthetic product or a mineral. Once you have finished painting, the water will evaporate, leaving just the binder and pigment to create a painting that is both water-resistant and non-toxic.

Consistency of Acrylic Paint


Why Thicken Acrylic Paint?

Knowing how to thicken acrylic paint may be quite useful in situations when you would want to use thickened acrylic paint in your artworks. It’s crucial to understand why you would want to thicken your paint before you start thickening it. This section describes the reasons you may want to consider thickening acrylic paint.

Mixing Acrylic Paint with Thickener


To Achieve Desired Effects in Your Artwork

Generally, acrylic paint has a cream consistency that makes it extremely easy to apply. It is also this consistency that makes blending colors with acrylic paint a breeze. One reason you may want to consider thickening your acrylic paint is if you want to utilize the impasto technique to create artworks, which involves smearing large clumps of paint over the surface of your canvas. To get a thicker consistency with acrylic paint, you will need to use an acrylic paint thickener, such as thickening gel for acrylic paint before you can attempt a DIY solution.

Acrylic Impasto Painting Techniques

Sometimes, you may purchase acrylic paint that is a bit thinner than you expected, and therefore, you may want to thicken the paint. This may happen because manufacturers will manufacture their acrylic mediums with their proportions of the materials, and the resulting product may be relatively thin in contrast to other kinds of acrylic medium.


What Causes Acrylic Paint to Be Watery or Thin?

There are a variety of reasons why you could discover that your acrylic paint has gotten too thin for your tastes. It’s possible that the pigment concentrations have decreased, or that there isn’t adequate binder in the mixture. The most common source of paint contamination is improper storage, which occurs when producers open up a fresh supply of paints and fail to adequately seal them thereafter.

Very Thin Acrylic Paint

Other reasons include the use of a very little amount of solvent like alcohol to aid accelerate the process and make it more convenient for the brushes to glide across surfaces once it is placed on top.

Unfortunately, the disadvantage of using this method is that after it has dried, any extra solvent in the paint evaporates and leaves trapped air inside its layers, which may cause cracks in your paintings later on, particularly if exposed to direct sunlight.

Acrylic with Solvent can Crack



How to Thicken Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint may be thickened through a variety of methods, each of which is described in this section. You may use modeling paste, acrylic gel medium, texture gels, as well as gesso to thicken your acrylic paint. You may consider trying each one out to see which method produces the best results for you.

Mediums for Thickening Paint


Modeling Paste

Adding modeling paste into your acrylic paint assists in boosting the thickness of your acrylic paints, which aids in the creation of textures that can be used to achieve intriguing effects in your artworks. Modeling paste may be used to create textures in your acrylic paints. Modeling paste is quite thick and may be used to create detailed texture in your artwork by modeling it into the desired shape. Using this paste, it is also possible to construct three-dimensional designs.

Modeling Paste for Thickening Acrylic

Pour the paste into your paint jar and then apply it to your canvas to thicken your paint. You may use a palette knife for manipulating the paint. Alternatively, you could just apply the modeling paste straight to the canvas and then draw the designs that you want to create. After that, once the paint is dry, you will be able to paint over the patterns you created.

Thickened Acrylic Paint

After that, once the paint is dry, you will be able to paint over the patterns you created. However, since the color of the paste is white, it will affect the vibrancy of your acrylic paint by making it dim. You can maintain the vibrancy of the colors by molding the paste on the canvas and then painting over it. This will help to guarantee that your vibrancy remains the same. A good example of molding paste you may consider buying is Golden Artist Colors Molding Paste.


Acrylic Gel Medium

Acrylic gel medium has a creamy texture. When this is added to your paint, it will thicken the paint significantly. Acrylic gel medium, in contrast to modeling paste, does not alter the vibrancy of your acrylic paint when it is used for thickening the paint. Even so, you’ll want to double-check that the gel medium doesn’t include any fillers that might interfere with the color of your acrylic paint. Furthermore, acrylic gel mediums are available in a variety of finishes, including gloss, transparent, matte, and opaque.

  1. To begin, start by adding small quantities of the thickening gel for acrylic paint.
  2. Keep adding gel in small quantities at a time, until you achieve the appropriate thickness.
  3. Once you have achieved the proper thickness, you may start painting with acrylic paint.

Acrylic Thickening Gel Medium

With an acrylic gel medium, it is possible to use a substantial amount of gel without encountering any difficulties. Although it is not mandatory, it is nevertheless a good idea to read the following the manufacturer’s instructions just to make sure you are on the safe side. You may consider purchasing Liquitex acrylic gel mediums which include a variety of compounds that improve the durability and adherence of your acrylic paints.


Texture Gel

It is possible to include your texture materials, like sand or sawdust, into any acrylic medium; however, certain gel media are created with textural components already included in their composition. These goods have undergone extensive testing, allowing you to be certain that they’ll be resilient and long-lasting. A few components are used to create texture gels including pumice, sand, fibers, and glass beads. Several brands manufacture texture gels, and one popular brand you may get your texture gels from is Liquitex.

Textured Acrylic Paint for Impasto



Gesso is a thickening agent that may be used to thicken acrylic paint. When working with gesso, it is important to make certain that the Gesso is quite thick. Super heavy gesso works much better in thickening your paint. Using a gesso that is not thin enough may result in your paint becoming thinner. Additionally, Gesso changes the color of your paint and gives it a matte texture when it dries completely. Therefore, if this does not bother you, you may consider this as your other option.

Gesso for Thickening Acrylic Paint

If you want to use gesso to thicken your acrylic paint, make sure to start by adding small amounts of Gesso to your paint and mix well. Continue to do so until you are pleased with the thickness of the mixture. To obtain the texture you like, you may want to experiment with various tools and approaches until you find one that works for you.



How to Thicken Acrylic Paint Using DIY Techniques

There are a variety of different ways for thickening acrylic paint than the ones described above. Talcum powder, PVA, and flour, among other items that are commonly accessible in your home, are used in the process of thickening your acrylic paint. Listed below are several homemade acrylic paint thickeners that you may make at home.

Using Thickened Acrylic Paint


Acrylic Joint Compound Thickener

This is an excellent acrylic paint thickener that you can readily get from your local hardware store or paint supply store. If you use this to thicken your paint, the biggest downside is that it becomes hard and brittle after it has dried, increasing the likelihood of acrylic paint breaking as a result of the thickness.


DIY Acrylic Paint Thickener Made With PVA and Talcum Powder

This is a popular DIY technique for thickening acrylic paint, and it is easy to do. It is quite inexpensive, and it provides a very quick method of thickening acrylic paint. However, using this approach will almost certainly result in a reduction in the brilliance of your acrylic paint. Furthermore, it has the potential to make the paint clumpy when it dries, which is undesirable. To begin preparing this mixture, follow the steps outlined below.

  1. Prepare the container for the components to be mixed in.
  2. Add some PVA glue to the container
  3. Add the talcum powder to the PVA glue in the container and stir until a paste is formed.

Talcum Powder for Thickening Acrylic

How much talcum powder you use in the paste will be determined by the thickness you want to achieve. Before you begin painting, check to see that the powder and the paint are properly mixed. Using the paint before it is properly mixed will lead to undesirable outcomes.


Acrylic Thickener Made from Corn Starch and Flour

Using flour or cornstarch as a thickener for acrylic paint is an alternative method of thickening the paint. Those who desire to thicken their acrylic paint in a short time may find this to be a perfect solution. It is comparable to the results you obtain when you use a thickening gel for acrylic paint. Even though flour and cornstarch may effectively thicken acrylic paint, there are certain drawbacks to using these ingredients.

Thicken Acrylic with Flour


How to Make Acrylic Paint Thicker With Flour

As previously said, using flour to thicken your paint is a cost-effective method of thickening paint. However, one disadvantage of adopting this approach is that it may not be a long-term remedy since mildew may develop on the paintings where the thick-textured paint was applied. If you want to prevent this from occurring, you might consider applying a transparent sealer to the surface of the painting.

Flour as Thickener Can Cause Mold

Another disadvantage is that the flour gives the paint a mushy appearance, which makes it difficult to mix colors. Certain acrylic paints are also recognized for their water-resistance capabilities, which may be harmed by the use of these homemade thickening mixtures. Therefore, if you want to use cornstarch or flour as acrylic thickeners, you just do so at your own risk.


How to Make Acrylic Paint Thicker With Cornstarch

Before you begin, make sure you have thoroughly read the directions and that you have gathered all of the essential equipment around your work area.

  • First, pour water into a pot, then add some cornstarch to the water.
  • Cook over medium heat until the mixture thickens into a paste
  • Constantly mix the contents until it reaches the consistency you want. If necessary, add a little more cornstarch to the mixture.
  • Once you are pleased with the thickness of the paste, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool fully before using it.
  • You may then add small quantities of the mixture to a paintbrush, stirring well with each application.
  • Once the mixture has set, you can begin painting. If you have any leftovers, store them in a sealed jar out of direct sunlight until you are ready to use them.



Every painter wants to work with paint that has the consistency and thickness that is appropriate for their project to create the greatest possible piece of artwork. When working with acrylic paints, raising the thickness is simple and can be accomplished via the use of a variety of media as well as home cures. Consider using modeling paste into your acrylic paintings to give them a more realistic appearance. You may also consider using acrylic gel mediums and other home DIY thickeners to help in giving you thick-textured paint.



Frequently Asked Questions


Is It Necessary to Use Thick Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is available in a variety of various consistency options. For each consistency, there is a certain set of applications for which it is most appropriate. If you have paint that is meant to be thick but is instead runny, make sure to check the expiration date on the can or ask the manufacturer for assistance.


Why Is my Acrylic Paint so Runny?

Acrylic paints are available in a variety of consistencies. However, if the acrylic paint looks to be too fluid for the purpose for which it was intended, it may have expired. Paint that has expired may thin out or split. Additionally, if the container has not been securely closed, or maintained in the right manner, acrylic paint may become runny.


What Should I Do if My Paint Becomes too Thin?

Your paint may easily become thin or runny when left for a long time because a significant amount of the paint components end up sinking to the bottom of the container. Therefore, you should give their jar or container a swirl or shake. If that does not work, you may use the methods explained above to get thick-textured paint.


What Is the Most Effective Method of Thickening Acrylic Paint?

The acrylic mediums that are specifically intended for thickening acrylic paint are the most effective method of thickening acrylic paint. There are a variety of mediums available that may be used in conjunction with acrylic paints, including gel mediums, texture gels, and modeling paste.


What Is the Difference Between Modeling Paste and Gel Medium?

In acrylic painting, gel medium is a non-pourable creamy media that may be used to increase the thickness of acrylic paint without affecting the vibrancy of the color it contains. On the other hand, a modeling paste is a very thick, opaque paste that is exceedingly viscous and enhances the thickness of the acrylic paint, while also having the capacity to alter its vibrancy.


How Can I Make Acrylic Paint Dry Quickly?

You may want to experiment with decreasing the humidity while increasing the temperature of a room. The use of several thin layers, instead of a single thick one, is another alternative to painting in a single thick coat. Furthermore, try top opening a window or installing a fan inside the room, you may ensure that the space is well aired and comfortable.


What Is a Paint Medium?

A paint medium can be a liquid, paste, or gel that is used to improve the texture properties of your paint by blending it with it. It is possible to generate varied effects based on the medium you are working with. Painting mediums are available in a variety of finishes, including gloss, satin, and matte.


How Can You Keep Your Thickened Paints From Drying Out?

The answer to this may vary depending on the precise type of acrylic paint you are using. Therefore, make sure to keep an eye on your paint. If you see any difficulties with your paint, consider adding some water or gloss varnish depending on the impression you are attempting to create.

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