How to Use Acrylic Paints on Canvas. Painting is fun, fast and easy with acrylic paints. Acrylic paint was developed in the 1940s for exterior use but quickly made its way into the art world because of its versatility and durability. Acrylic paint works very well on stretched canvas and with a few tips and tools you can paint your own acrylic masterpiece in no time.
Things You'll Need
Synthetic paintbrushes in varying sizes
Decide what your composition will be and what style you'd like to paint in. If you'd like a watercolor effect, thin the acrylic with a thinning medium, or create a thick, "impasto" look with a thickening medium. You can even use an oil medium to create the look of oil paint with less mess and in far less time.
Use thicker, artist quality acrylics with a heavier concentration of pigment to get the best results. Every craft store or art supply store offers a larger variety of acrylic mediums and colors and you can even look at a technique book for project ideas. Acrylic is best suited to synthetic brushes and cleans up easily with soap and water before it dries.
Prepare a palette with the colors you'll need first and any medium you need to mix in to the paint. Note that acrylic does dry quickly so use less paint rather than more at first and just reload the palette often and mix in the medium in small amounts. Keep a paper towel handy to catch drips and wipe brushes.
Paint in layers with thinned acrylic or color block the composition in bold, opaque sections and then work in thick layers to create depth. The beauty of acrylic is that it can be turned into whatever you need it to be quite easily.
Consider adding textiles and other media to the composition for an arts and crafts effect.