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Acrylic Medium Made Simple

acrylic medium

While you don’t need to add anything to your acrylic paint to use it, you can use an acrylic medium to change the paint’s effect. Don’t worry if you don’t know how to use an paint medium, we’re going to cover how to use it and what it’s for. 

If you’re just looking for the best acrylic medium, I recommend Liquiditex BASIC Acrylic Medium Starter Kit.

Acrylic Medium For Fabrics

An acrylic medium for fabric is designed to make your acrylic paint more flexible and it improves adhesion to unprimed fabrics. For example, if you wanted to paint with acrylic paint on a canvas bag, you’d want the paint to take to the fabric and adhere to it without flaking off and cracking later. A medium would allow you to paint directly onto the bag preserving your design. 

Without a medium, you’d have to rough up the fabric to improve the acrylic paints adhesion to the finished project. Additionally, the acrylic paint will dry incredibly stiff making the final project difficult to use. The medium improves the final project’s flexibility and helps the paint adhere to the fabric without having to rough it up. Lastly, the medium can help control color bleeding, unlike thinning the paint with water or mediums unintended for fabric.

Some mediums have additional uses. In particular, the Liquitex Professional Acrylic Fabric Medium can be used to create a watercolor effect by diluting the paint even further with the medium. You can even achieve a wet-on-wet technique just like you can with watercolor paint making acrylic medium for fabric a versatile tool. 

What Is Acrylic Pouring Medium?

Acrylic pouring medium is designed to make your acrylic paint more fluid and easy to work with for the purposes of acrylic pour style art. If you’ve ever seen videos of someone pouring paint on a canvas creating beautifully marbled art, you’ve likely seen pour art that was done with an acrylic pouring medium. 

The medium works by diluting the paint while also adding more binders so that the paint will stick to the canvas without flaking, cracking, or drying inconsistently. The binders are what allows the acrylic paint to stick to a surface or itself. Some people try to make their pour art with water as a medium, but the results are inconsistent and can degrade the artwork over time. 

The benefit to using an acrylic pouring medium is that your work will not only stick without flaking or cracking, but it will also remain archival. Additionally, to achieve that perfect marbled look you’ll want to use a medium that will help the paint retain its vibrancy and gloss. If you use a medium unsuited for acrylic paint or water, your final product will lose its shine and color vibrancy.

What Are The Best Acrylic Mediums?

Finding the best acrylic mediums can be daunting, but we’ve done the work for you. We have recommendations for the best acrylic pouring medium, the best acrylic fabric medium, and best medium starter set. 

Best Acrylic Pouring Medium

We highly recommend the Liquitex Professional Pouring Effects Medium as the best acrylic pouring medium due to its affordability and dependability. Liquitex always delivers high-quality products that are affordable for even beginner acrylic artists. 

liquitex acrylic pouring medium

Key Product Features

  • Creates even pours
  • Increases paint flow
  • High gloss finish

What We Like

  • Price point
  • Available in multiple sizes
  • High quality

What We Don’t Like

  • Hard to wash off of skin and surfaces
  • Unable to be poured down a sink drain for disposal

Customer Reviews

“I love this product. I’ve been using it to make acrylic pour paintings, and it’s great.”

Amanda H.

“Just got done with my first two paintings and I’m impressed.”

KVI

Best Acrylic Fabric Medium

We highly recommend the Liquitex Professional Effects Fabric Medium as the best acrylic fabric medium due to its ability to reduce fabric stiffness and cracking. Liquitex offers several mediums for different types of projects, but its fabric medium is specifically tailored for working on unprimed canvases and projects. 

liquitex professional effects acrylic fabric medium

Key Product Features

  • Improves blendability
  • Improves acrylic adhesion to fabric
  • Reduces dry paint stiffness

What We Like

  • Low price point
  • Heat setting is not required
  • Controls color bleeding

What We Don’t Like

  • Not available in multiple sizes
  • Bottle doesn’t contain clear instructions

Customer Reviews

“I was using this to make my regular acrylic paints more suitable for fabric and it worked very nicely.”

JBS

“This product did exactly what it says it does with the added bonus of not having to heat set!”

Gary L.

Best Acrylic Medium Starter Kit

We highly recommend the Liquitex Basics Acrylic Medium Starter Set due to the number of options available to play around with. For any new beginner that wants to try mediums, this set will give you a variety of options so that you can figure out what your favorites are. 

acrylic medium starter kit

Key Product Features

  • Includes 5 types of acrylic medium – iridescent, gloss gel, coarse texture, modeling paste, gesso
  • Alters texture, color, or thickness
  • Maintains or adds stability

What We Like

  • Multiple finishes
  • Artist-grade quality

What We Don’t Like

  • Tubes are only 2.5oz as opposed to the full size tubes you get when purchasing individually
  • Higher price point

Customer Reviews

“I love this set of mediums. There is enough in each tube to do several paintings as well as sample them to try it out.”

Rona G

“So glad I got these. I am a beginner at painting but enjoy changing things up.”

Abraham V

How To Paint On Fabric Using A Medium

To use an acrylic medium, you mix the medium with the paint at a ratio consistent with the manufacturer’s instructions. Some mediums can even create a watercolor wet-on-wet style effect. You’ll need to check the specific product that you purchase to see what type of effects it can create and how to create them. 

Be careful how you apply medium to your fabric. You have to be sure not to shake your medium, as it can make your final paint job look foggy rather than clear like you intended. If the medium looks like it has bubbles, let it sit until the bubbles disappear. 

After you’ve read the manufacturer’s instructions and prepared the paint to create the desired effect, apply the paint onto the fabric in a thin layer. You can use a brush, roller, or other desired application method as long as the paint doesn’t get too thick. Opt for several thin layers to blend rather than heavy layers to avoid cracking and extreme stiffness.

Determine whether heat is necessary and then dry the design as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Some mediums require heat to set the design, while others can just be left to air dry. Also, check the manufacturer’s instructions to determine whether your final project can be washed or dried while still maintaining your project’s original integrity.

Acrylic Pouring Medium FAQs

What can you use for acrylic pouring medium?

Some artists opt to use water as a basic, cost-effective pouring medium. While this can create some interesting effects, we recommend that you use a professional product meant specifically to thin paint, such as Liquitex Professional Pouring Effects Medium

Do you need a medium for acrylic pouring? 

You don’t need a medium for acrylic pouring for some paints. Some paints are already thin enough to pour straight from the bottle, while others are simply too thick. You will need to decide if your paint is thin enough to be poured directly from the bottle.

What is the right ratio for pouring medium to acrylic paint?

Different pouring mediums will have different ratios. It’s best to consult the manufacturer’s suggestions. In general, the heavier the acrylic, the more pouring medium is required to achieve a thin consistency.

What alternatives can be used as an acrylic pouring medium?

The best alternative to a pouring medium is actually Elmer’s Glue or Mod Podge. They dry clear and help increase adhesiveness. They shouldn’t change the paint color and are readily available at most craft stores.

Acrylic Art World

Annick's passion has been painting with acrylics since her youth. She has a lot of experience with all sorts of projects, from simple acrylic painting to advanced techniques like acrylic pouring.

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