Painting with Acrylics

Acrylic paints are the BOMB! And if you haven’t introduced yourself to them, do so.  I am not talking about the acrylic paint in the tubes used for fine art, but the paint in the 4 oz “pots.”  There are a number of brands, Folk Art, Delta, Anita’s, Martha Stewart…and there are a number of different types.  Some are treated for outdoor, some for plastic, wood, glass etc.  Today, I will try and help you wade through the ins and outs of acrylic paint with an eye ultimately on using it to color fabric.

Unique characteristics of acrylic paint

1.            Will not blend.  Although you can combine two colors with some success, anything more tends to just turn grey.  This is why there are so many colors to select from.

2.            It is non-toxic so children can paint with it, so long as you get the regular pots (glass paint, outdoor, and a few others are exceptions to the rule).

3.            The liquid consistency is suitable for stamping, painting with paint brushes, dipping, flicking, it lends itself to a number of techniques and crafts without alteration.

4.            The density is great, I have rarely needed more than two coats for any project and often times one is sufficient.

5.            The paint goes on light and dries dark.

6.            Completely washes out if cleaned in warm soapy water within 5 to 10 minutes of use.  Therefore, to keep your brushes and stamps etc. clean, after each use, rinse them out.  Even if you are not finished using them. There aren’t too many things you can use to get the acrylic out once it is set in. In fact, I don’t know of anything.  Mineral spirits and turpentine have not worked for me. 

7.            If you are using the same brush for different paints, make sure you thoroughly rinse out the brush between each use.  You will not get exciting new colors, so much as grey streaks.

8.            You cannot paint wet on top of acrylic, you have to wait for one color to dry before moving on to the next.

9.            Acrylic paint dries very quickly.  It's great for those of us with attention deficit.  Most of the time you can get your project painted and finished the same day.

10.          Color will not fade.  I have a wooden coat rack I painted 15 years ago, and it still looks the same.  Because I didn’t varnish the rack and left it with a matte finish, there has been some wear, but no fading. 

11.          Paint dries to a matte finish.  I have found it better to get the paint with the matte finish and then apply a gloss finish.  Gloss acrylic paint doesn’t seem to be as durable.

Acrylic paints are sold by a number of companies.
True artists would cringe at the use of sable brushes or natural hair brushes for acrylics, because the water dries then out. But these brushes allow you to work with a fine tip, and create smooth lines.
Think outside the box, you can have your own zebra print skirt, in colors and aligned in a pattern flattering to you.
Stamping is also an option with some great ideas and products available.
For purposes of painting fabric, I have found Apple Barrow or Anita's to be a good value.
Nylon brushes go even wider. They are very good for covering space and release more paint.
Stencils and stenciling can be used for everything from walls to, yes, you guessed it, clothes.
There are sponges that can be cut to any shape and when introduced to water will expand to a permanent depth.
Use of acrylic paints for fabric.

My experience with acrylic paints and fabric came through a misreading of the bottle.  Unconcerned because the paint was washable, I painted in good casual clothes.  Before I go on I should observe an employer, who owned a print shop, he'd rant on about how there were only two types of printers, one type at the end of the day, had everything neat, and not one smudge on his or her clothes.  The other was covered from head to toe in ink. I fall into the second category.  I have not truly created until there is as much paint on me as what I am working on.  After about 45 minutes I went to get the paint off my clothes only to discover, it would not come off.  And in fact, twenty years later, although the design on the shirt has faded, the cotton has thinned from the cotton polyester blend, that paint is still there.  

Thank you for your notes, they mean a lot.  

Next week I will walk you through painting one of the pictures printed last week.  A little Andy Warhol anyone?  Until then, I hope you have a great week, and God Bless.


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