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Can I slow down the drying time of acrylic paint?

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Acrylic paint dries very fast and forces me to work fast.  Is there a way to slow down how fast it dries?  If I use a lot of water it thins the paint too much and the gel mediums I use seem to dry just as fast.
asked Oct 6, 2013 in Acrylic Painting by questions (730 points)
edited Oct 6, 2013 by questions

1 Answer

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There are 3 ways to slow down acrylic paint from drying too quickly.

The first way is a studio approach, to always keep moisture on the surface of the paint on your pallette.  For example, keep a misting spray bottle nearby filled with pure water and occasionally spray your pallete.

The second way is to mix more water into your oil paints.  This will work to keep the painting surface itself from drying to quickly but also dilutes the paint.  If you add too much water, the paint may become so diluted as to act more like a glaze for tinting.

The third way is mixing drying retardent mediums into your paint.  There are many different brands, but specifically look for medums that specify they are a drying retarder made explicitly for acrylic paints.  Depending on how much is added to the paint, it can extend the drying time anywhere from 30 minutes to 12 hours, allowing decent reworkability.  However, too much retarder will thin the paint out too much or make it too runny and difficult to paint on an upright surface (like a canvas on an easel).
answered Oct 7, 2013 by artist (2,620 points)
selected Oct 7, 2013 by questions