How To Preserve Acrylic Paint?

When painting with acrylics, one of the most tedious tasks is preserving your paint. You have probably already experienced this if you ever painted with oil paints!

Acrylics are very difficult to preserve because they can be easily scratched or contaminated. If these things happen, the quality of the paint will suffer and it will not work properly.

This could be disastrous if you want to keep practicing your craft! Luckily, there are several ways to restore the integrity of your paints. In this article, we will discuss some easy ways to maintain and even improve the longevity of your acrylics.

Reminder: We’ll only be discussing how to conserve the paint itself here. These tips do not affect the underlying canvas or frame.

Let it dry

The best way to preserve your painted objects is by letting them air-dry. This will depend on how you want to keep the painting, as well as the length of time you want the preservation to last.

Acrylic paint can be completely preserved by using either an acetone or alcohol wash or oil medium. Both of these work by removing some of the acrylic layers so that the next layer can adhere properly!

A wash uses water as a solvent which removes all of the top coats of the paint, whereas an oil medium uses another liquid as a solvent to soak up some of the thinner parts of the paint.

Both are very effective ways to restore lost texture and quality of the paint! If you choose to do both, start with only doing one then add the other later.

Use a plastic bag

One of the most common ways to preserve acrylic paint is by using a plastic bag. When painting, make sure to wash your brush frequently and put it into the preserving agent as soon as you can!

Never let the painted surface touch anything else before putting it in the protecting agent, otherwise the other material will pick up some of the paint and this will never be cleaned off.

The protecting agent should always be totally mixed together and then you should roll up the mixture and place it in the bag. Make sure to close the top of the bag completely or some of the protectant may seep out.

Now, leave the protected item somewhere dry for at least an hour to let all the protection take effect. After this time, you can wash the item to remove the protective layer if necessary.

Use an airtight container

There are two main reasons why people have trouble preserving their acrylic paintings. The first is that they do not use proper protective equipment.

Acrylic paint can easily be contaminated by oil or water, both of which should always be avoided as they could damage or even destroy your painting.

Regular glass containers may also dry out over time, making it difficult to work with the material. This is especially important if you want to transfer layers onto another surface.

Tear-resistant plastic bags are usually the best bet as they will keep moisture away from the art and preserve the texture of the canvas. Make sure to wash these down properly!

The second reason people get stuck is because they do not know how to effectively clean their brushes.

Just like working with acrylics, using good quality bristles helps create smooth, well-painted strokes. But, when left unattended, dried up brush hairs can cause chunks in the paint layer, ruining the design.

Use sealing tape

One of the most common ways to preserve acrylic paint is by using sealing tapes or glues. These are usually made of plastic that can easily be peeled off later.

Some people use spray gels which also work well. Just make sure you don’t wash your painting with water as this will remove the gel and start to break down the colors!

Sealing taping or spraying your painted surface will help prevent cracks, flaking, and bubbling. Once it has dried, try rubbing it away to see how long it takes to come off and what kind of residue remains.

Keep in a cool, dark place

All acrylic paints will eventually dry or cure into a solid state. When this happens, they can no longer be used for new projects, but you can preserve them so that you do not have to throw them away!

Acrylic paint is mixed together with another material called medium. The medium acts as a carrier for the paint when it is painted onto a surface and also helps create different effects for the finished product.

The most common type of medium used with acrylic painting is water. When wet, the mixture does not easily flow and therefore stays put better than if it were spread across too much space. This is why there are some tips here about how to preserve your leftover brushes!

However, alcohol and olive oil are two other common types of media used to mix acrylics. Both of these liquids can completely remove the plasticizer from the acrylic particles which then go back to being a liquid instead of a solid. If left out too long, the paint can become runny and lose its strength.

General rules of thumb say that leaving the paint alone until it is totally cured is the best way to keep it working well.

Test for odors

The best way to preserve your painted objects is by testing them for odor first!

Acrylic paint can develop strong chemical reactions with other chemicals in the air, so it is important to test your pieces for strength.

If you notice an unpleasant smell when you open the container or apply the paint onto a new surface, then chances are the paint has reacted with something else and deteriorated.

You should also check out whether the color has faded or disappeared due to this reaction.

Shake the bottle

While this may sound very basic, many people forget it! When your paint is almost run down, you can never get enough of it, it always seems like there are one or two extra drops at the end, so most people just leave it and add more as they go along.

But, that cannot be good for the paint! As we know, acrylics will slowly oxidize as they dry, which will cause them to lose some of their shine and possibly even damage the plastic barrel in which they’re stored.

To preserve the paint, you must work quickly before all the acid has time to gel into the plastic. Plus, if left too long, the water could take away from the color intensity.

So, how do you prevent waste? Simply shake the bottle! Acrylic paints will mix and blend with each other and themselves easily due to their relatively low viscosity.

Shaking the bottle will eventually thin out the paint until it’s completely gone.

Replace the paint

All too often, people will throw out their brush or dip it in water and then go to use it somewhere else! This is not good as that used up paint can be wasted.

If you are trying to save some money by using cheaper paints, do not underestimate the importance of protecting your painted surface from being touched or dipped in water. Most expensive brands have specific tools and products designed for this purpose.

Some materials such as canvas already have an adhesive layer built into them so there is no need to apply additional glue unless you want to re-coat the surface. For other surfaces like wood, try our tips for protecting your painting surface here.

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