How to Thicken Acrylic Paint for More Texture

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Add sand to acrylic paint for an interesting texture.
Add sand to acrylic paint for an interesting texture. (Image: sand image by kw-on from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Acrylic paint can be used to create works of art that are widely varied in general appearance and texture. The paint can be thinned to the consistency of watercolors as well as thickened to create paintings that have a three-dimensional appearance--a technique known as impasto. Artists have developed many ways to create texture as well as additional thickness, or body. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different techniques to get the effect you desire.

Things You'll Need

  • Acrylic paint
  • Acrylic medium
  • Palette
  • Palette knife

Purchase an acrylic medium. Buy a thick gel medium or texture paste. The gel produces a thicker paint while adding a degree of transparency. Texture paste can be found in either transparent or opaque form.

Squeeze the paint onto a plastic palette. Add the amount of medium that you need to obtain the effect you want. You can add a small amount of medium or add significantly more medium than there is paint on the palette.

Use a palette knife to mix the acrylic medium with the paint. Blend well to prevent variations in texture and color.

Use alternative mediums to get different effects. Try using sawdust, flour or sand to thicken your acrylic paint.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that acrylic paints themselves are available in varying degrees of thickness. Purchase paints that are labeled as having a “full body.”
  • Create texture underneath your painting by strategically applying modeling paste to the canvas before applying paint. Add even more texture by gluing paper, cloth and other items to the canvas and painting over them.
  • Keep in mind that the some mediums may lessen the intensity of the color.

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