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Painting with acrylics
A variety of uses
I love to paint. Wood and canvas are two of the most common mediums, but I have found that acrylic paints work on a variety of surfaces. Though semi-porous surfaces are best for adhesion, many developments by paint companies allow acrylics to act like other high quality paints. I've tried various paints over the years and acrylics are what I keep coming back to because they are easy to clean up (water-soluble!). They also give a layering optical effect similar to watercolors, but are permanent and solid like oils.
I would like to share with you my world of acrylics and colors.
How I've used acrylics on various mediums
I have found over the years that most any surface can be painted on using acrylics. There are enhancers for the craft paints that allow use on fabric, use as a stain, and use on glass though I usually use them directly, but it depends on the intended use of the item. If practical, an acrylic sealer is a must after the items are fully dried. See below for sealant tips.
- Wood - soft woods require more coats for full coverage, usually 2-3, because they are more porous and will absorb the paint. Pine needs 1-2 coats depending on the color and how thick it is applied. The various wood items I have painted are beads, boxes, plaques, large round wood chips, and even dresser murals.
- Glass - marbles, shotglasses, candle holders, christmas ornaments, plain glass pieces for see through box lids. The sealer will haze the unpainted areas so be sure to use medium enhancers and any glass paint sealer available at your local craft store if you don't want that to happen.
- Polymer clay - painting can be done after the item has been cured. If glazing, the painting should be done afterwards as the glaze tends to reactivate the paint and can cause problems. A sealer isn't always needed if it's a small painted area. However, the paint can also be mixed with glaze, at about 1:1 for an appearance like the heart pendant in the pictures below. Less paint will result in a more translucent coloring.
- Plastic - so many things are made of plastic that the list of possibilities could be endless, but I've stuck mainly to mask blanks available from wholesalers. Plastic is not porous so a sealant is necessary to keep the paint adhered, and a flexible mask should be painted in as few layers of paint as possible to prevent later cracking and peeling from the flexing of use and handling.
Examples of items painted with acrylicsClick thumbnail to view full-size
- Canvas -the traditional paint medium in art, preparation
techniques should be followed as usual (stretching and gesso), though
ready-to-paint canvases are now available from craft stores. Sealing is
optional, and many have offered their experience here.
- Paper - there are pads of thick painting paper available at craft stores, I made a paper wand shown above out of ordinary printer paper. 110# cardstock is also decent for acrylics. 65# may work too, though it doesn't handle watercolors well.
- Car interior - I have used acrylics to mix a color match and then added fabric medium to cover cigarette burn marks.
- use the fabric medium available for craft paints and test a small
area first to ensure the color is correct after being absorbed.
- old cans look better for storing pencils or crayons or paintbrushes
if spruced up with paint first! The same reasoning applies as for
plastics - use a sealant.
- Pinecones - Seriously...you can paint anything!
Using an acrylic sealer
I have used both polyurethane and spray acrylic sealant - I recommend the spray.
There are a number of reasons for this:
- The spray sealant goes on with a thinner layer
- There is less yellowing with the thinner layer and less optical dulling
- Painting on the sealant can spread the paint colors
Tips for using spray sealant:
- Lay down newspaper or something disposable under your item to prevent ruining the surface the item is setting on
- Use the spray outdoors or somewhere with good ventilation (beware of wind!)
- Spray the top of the item as directed by the manufacturer (for distance and layer thickness) and then let it dry for at least a half hour before turning it over to seal the other side.
- Don't touch the wet item - the sealant is stinky, sticky, and possibly toxic.
- Eclectic Wood
My handpainted wood items