Type of medium Variations Color Adhesive? Uses/Best For Gesso

Type of medium Variations Color Adhesive? Uses/Best For Gesso
Type of medium
Variations
Gesso
Comes in bottles, tubes and White
jars, can be thin to very
Black
thick. Think with water
Clear
Digital ground also available
for printing. Basically a
flat/matte primer.
no
Soft Gel
Regular Gel
Heavy Gel (AKA Impasto
Gel)
Gloss gel (gloss medium)
Matte Gel (matte medium)
Mod Podge
yes
Gel Mediums
Color
clear
Adhesive? Uses/Best For
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Priming canvas or
paper so Acrylics
can be used on top.
Adding “Tooth”
Can be tinted.
Extends paint
Increases flow (soft
gel, gloss medium)
Heavy gel slows for
building thick
“peaks” in the paint
without diluting the
color.
Adhesive for
collage (gloss &
matte medium or
soft gel)
Blending Mediums Blending Gel
clear
Slow Dry Blending Medium
Slow Drying Gel
Screen-printing Medium
Glazing medium
no
Much like soft gel medium
these are mixed with paint
so the paint drys slower and
you can get oil like
properties.
Retarders &
Extenders
(Additives)
clear
no
Usually you dilute these
with water, if the extender
is watery. Follow the
directions on the bottle
because using too much
will weaken the paint film.
*Use as directed.
Leveling &
Clear Tar Gel
Pouring
Pouring Medium
Mediums/Thinners Self Leveling Medium
Airbrush Medium
clear
no
Iridescent
Mediums
Iridescent Medium
Interference medium
*DIY with gel medium and
mica powers
reflective no
Mix with paint or use alone
as a graze for metallic
effects.
Special Surfaces
Candle Medium
Fabric/Textile Medium
Digital ground
clear
This mediums allows the
paint to stick and be
durable on unusual
surfaces. Sometimes you
add it to the paint (textile
Flow Medium
Acrylic Retarder (gloss or
matte)
Acrylic Extender (gloss or
matte)
Palette Wetting spray
Glycerin (Add to mixing
water)
medium) and sometimes
you paint it on first (candle
medium, digital ground)
Crackle Medium
Texture Mediums
Varnish
clear
Light Molding Paste
Embossing Paste
Flexible Modeling Paste
Texture Paste
Glass Bead Gel (clear)
Pumice gel
Mortars and Sand mediums
Homemade: Acrylic Latex
*DIY caulking, heavy gel
medium plus sand or sawdust
etc.
no
Apply a layer of crackle
medium and let it get tacky
then apply the color you
wish to be crackled.
Semino
transpare
nt to
opaque.
*use
heavy
gel
medium
if you
want
clear
Available in matte, gloss and clear
semi gloss.
My favorite is Minwax
Polycrylic although it is not
an artist varnish.
Some mediums can be used
as varnish and will say so on
the label BUT if you used it
throughout the piece you
may damage the art by
removing the varnish.
yes
•
•
•
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Use to add
interesting texture
to your paintings.
Build thick reliefs
Can be carved when
dry
Helps you conserve
paint if you use the
medium to build
texture then paint
over it.
Provides a
protective film on
your painting
Evens out sheen
Can be removed in
the future for
cleaning if needed.
Oil based varnish
can be used as a last
layer on an acrylic
painting.
FAQ
1. Can I just use water to think my Acrylic paint? Yes and no, you can thin acrylic paint with up to
30% water without weakening the paint film on canvas. If you are painting on paper or another
absorbent surface you can thin it more and it will be fine.
2. Can mediums be thinned with water? Yes but remember the 30% rule.
3. What is the difference between an additive and a medium? An additive does not contain acrylic
polymer so if used in excess it can weaken the structure of the paint. Just read the label and you
will be fine.
4. Can I use oil mediums with acrylics or acrylic mediums with oils? No, because of the “Fat Over
Lean Rule” Oil mediums would dry slower and resist the acrylic paint BUT you can varnish an
acrylic painting with oil based varnish (acrylic is lean, oil is fat so it can be on top) and you can
use acrylic gesso and paints to prime and do an under-painting of an oil painting because
acrylics are lean and they are on the bottom layer.
Copyright Lindsay Weirich/TheFrugalCrafter 2015
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