Acrylic Mediums: What they Do and How To use Them?

Acrylic mediums are a wonderful choice for painting. It is a fast drying and water based, which means that it is easy to clean up.

You can accomplish great paintings in a smaller time frame than you would with oils.

If you make an error with acrylic mediums, it is easy to let the paint dry and repaint the image. To achieve different looks, you can add different mediums to the paint.

Applying too much water or too much medium to the paint can cause overthinning, this dilutes the acrylic binder and can leave an inadequate amount of binder for the pigment. To ensure you have the boldest colour finish always read the directions on the medium. This will ensure the best results and avoid oversaturation.

Top Tip:
Never oversaturate your paint, if you use less than 30% of water when mixing your paint. Then the binder in the acrylic will become stable. Once adding a medium into it.


acrylic mediums

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acrylic mediums gloss




Gloss acrylic mediums are handy if you want to enhance the natural sheen and luminosity of acrylic paint.

Gloss medium will also make paint thinner and more transparent, which is useful if you want to paint thin but brilliant glazes.



acrylic mediums matte






Acrylic mediums are naturally glossy. Use matte medium for a more subtle, non-reflective finish. You can also mix gloss and matte mediums together in equal parts to achieve a kind of semi-gloss/ satin effect.











The Glazing medium will make acrylic paint more transparent and enables subtle glazing techniques. Glazing medium has different sheens: gloss, satin and matte.

Once you have finished you art work you can apply an overall glaze to your painting. You can also try glazing your work throughout the painting process to produce delicate colour effects and depth.







Gel medium is a white, paste-like gel that will thicken your paint so that it retains brushstrokes ideal for impasto techniques.

It also enhances the adhesive properties of the paint, which makes it suitable for collage work. Gel mediums are available in different types, like gloss & matte, and also different textures.







Modelling paste or moulding paste, is like a gel medium but more dense and hard. You can create luscious sculpted brush marks that retain their 3d stroke.

You can paint three-dimensional works of art by building up a relief that can then be sculpted, sanded or carved once it’s dry. Modelling paste is also great for collage because you can embed all kinds of objects in the surface.







Texture gels come in a wide range of textures from, sand, ceramic stucco and beads. They can be applied before you paint to create textures back ground, in with your paint or on top of the paint. Like the moulding past then can be sculpted and sanded after they have thoroughly dried.







Retarding medium slows down the drying time of acrylic paint so that it works a lot more like oil paint.

This allows you to mix colours on the support and create smooth blending effects.








Flow improver thins acrylic mediums for use with wash techniques and painting over large areas. Applying too much water or too much medium to acrylic paint can cause overthinning, which dilutes the acrylic binder and can leave an insufficient remainder of binder for the pigment.

Flow improver works by breaking the surface tension of the water inside the paint which thins the paint without reducing colour strength or compromising the finish. Flow improver is sometimes referred to as flow aid, depending on the brand.











Suitable for a variety of surfaces and developed to provide pearlescent effects when added to colour. Most effective when used with transparent colours over dark under layers.

Colours increase in their iridescent quality and become much more reflective upon drying.



Now you know how, we hope you have lots of fun experimenting with your new acrylic mediums. And don’t forget to update your brush collection with some new acrylic brushes for the best effects!



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