Can You Mix Acrylic Paint with Water?

by Charlie
Can You Mix Acrylic Paint with Water

If you are painting any surface, it’s important to know how to mix your paint, what to thin it with, and how it will behave. Understanding these things ensures that your project goes smoothly and maximizes the chances of your paint looking the way you want it to.

With that in mind, it’s particularly important to understand things like whether you can mix acrylic paint with water. Acrylic paints are popular for a whole range of reasons, both for craft projects and for use around your home in DIY projects – but is it okay to combine them with water, or should you avoid doing this?

Can you mix acrylic paint with water? You can mix acrylic paint with water, because acrylics are water-based paints. Adding more water to them will thin the pigments and make the paint runnier, which can be useful in some situations. How much water you can add and how it will affect the paint depends heavily on the project, and whether you’re painting a porous or non-porous surface.

Is It Okay to Mix Acrylic Paints with Water?

You can mix acrylic paints with water, yes. Acrylic paints already contain some water, so adding more to the paint is a good way to thin it and make it more workable. However, you should be aware that adding too much water can be a problem in some situations – so this needs to be avoided.

If you are thinking of adding acrylic paints to your walls, being able to thin them with water is a major asset, because it lets you move away from solvents and harmful chemicals. Cleanup is much easier with water-based paints than with oils, and it’s cheaper too, because you don’t need to buy chemicals that will assist in the cleanup.

However, it’s important to be aware that adding water to acrylic paints does thin them, and this has its limits. Many sources recommend that you add no more than 50 percent water to your acrylics, because more than this could cause the polymer in the paint to break down. This will increase the risk of the paint flaking off the walls.

In many cases, you’ll want to add significantly less water than this. Manufacturers often recommend that you only add around 30 percent water at the most if you are working on a non-porous surface. You should therefore think carefully about how much water you are adding to your paint, and what the effects might be.

What Advantage Does Mixing Acrylics with Water Have?

Mixing your paint with water makes it thinner, and this comes with several benefits. The first is that it makes it significantly easier to apply the paint to the wall, getting it into all the pores, and ensuring it adheres well. Acrylic can be thick, which makes it hard to apply well, so thinning it helps a lot.

You won’t end up with bare flecks of wall beneath the thick paint, because the thinned acrylic will run into the gaps.

Secondly, thinning the acrylic will let you add multiple layers to the surface you are applying it to. You can allow the first coat to dry and then add a second, and possibly even a third. This will ensure good adhesion and a much better appearance, so it’s well worth doing.

Another advantage of mixing your acrylic paint with water is that it will go further, and its color will be less intense. If you want a softer look and you want to use less paint on every stroke, water is the way to go.

Furthermore, you will probably find you have more control with thin acrylic paint. Thick paint may be harder to brush into the right places, while thin acrylic should flow. It’s often much easier to paint when you have added a little water to your palette.

To add water to your acrylic paint, simply measure out an appropriate amount for the quantity of paint you are using, tip it into the paint, and stir well with a paintbrush until fully combined. If you’re only using a small amount of acrylic paint, add a few drops of water, rather than measuring it.

Does Watery Acrylic Take Longer to Dry?

It’s important to bear in mind that if you add a lot of water to your acrylic paints, they will take significantly longer to dry. The water will need to evaporate out of the paint – and that includes the water that you have added, as well as the water that already existed in the paint.

The more water you add, the longer it will take for the paint to dry. Bear this in mind if you need to add multiple coats, because you will be constantly increasing the drying time when you add more moisture.

Is Dry Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

Although acrylic paint is water-based, one of its big advantages is that it is water-resistant once dry. It forms a dense layer that will repel water and should stand up reasonably well to getting wet. It isn’t completely waterproof, but it won’t be immediately ruined by contact with water.

For this reason, many people choose to use acrylic paint inside their homes. It can even be used as an exterior paint, but you should be aware that it will eventually break down when it is exposed to the elements. This may happen more quickly if you have added a lot of water to the acrylic paint when applying it, weakening the paint’s bonds.

If you are going to use acrylic paint in your home or on its exterior, it’s a good idea to add a coat of sealant to the paint. This will protect it from UV rays and other wear and tear, and should help it last longer.

Final Thoughts

Adding water to acrylic paints is a great way to make them thinner, and this can make it easier to apply them evenly and smoothly to a surface. However, adding too much water could make the paint less robust, and will massively increase the drying time, so be careful about this.

You may also like