Amy VanHoy

Acrylic vs Oil Paint: 5 Reasons Why Acrylics Are King

Acrylic vs Oil Paint: 5 Reasons Why Acrylics Are King

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Learn the differences between acrylic vs oil paint.

When you begin to learn how to paint, there are many choices you can make, and the most basic of them is the type of paint you’re going to use. Most beginners generally look at acrylic vs oil paint when deciding which medium to focus on. But what are the differences between oil and acrylic, and how to determine which medium is a better choice for a budding artist?

If you are new to painting, it’s a good idea to start by focusing on just one medium so you can master it before experimenting with others. By doing this, you are likely to improve naturally across all mediums.

Both oil and acrylics are fantastic mediums, but acrylics are the better choice for beginners due to some of their characteristics, including drying time, flexibility to use on multiple surfaces, and price.

What Are Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paints were invented in the mid-20th century as an alternative to slow-drying, pricey oils. While the first iterations of acrylics were chalky and matte and didn’t have lots of pigment in it, modern acrylics are vibrant and safe to use, and the colors boast saturated, bright hues.

Even though they are synthetic paints, acrylics mix and blend just like oils, but they come with the added advantage of drying extremely fast. There are a couple of drawbacks that come with fast-drying, such as the fact that the paints will dry on your palette if you don’t use them fast enough. The quick-drying characteristic is generally a pro for most artists because you don’t have to wait for days for a painting to dry like in the case of oils.

What Are Oil Paints?

As their name suggests, oil paints are made up of oil and pigment, which provides the color. To use oil paints, you need to use a combination of oil paint, medium (oil), and paint thinner, which makes the work quite complicated, especially if you’re a beginner.

The paint that you get in a tube is made up of the color pigment and a small amount of oil that acts as a binder. You can make the pain more fluid and thus easier to manage by adding a medium to the paint, usually in the form of more oil. To break down the oil and thin the paint, you need to use a solvent such as a paint thinner, which also speeds up the drying process.

Painting with oils generally involves finding the right balance between the amount of oil and solvent used. Most of the masterpieces you may be familiar with are oil paintings, but this is because acrylics didn’t exist during the golden age of painting.

5 Reasons Why Acrylics Are King

1) Drying Time

Drying time is the main difference between oils and acrylics. You can expect acrylic paint to dry within an hour, but in many cases, your work will be dry within 15 minutes. With oil paints, you need to wait for days or even weeks to dry completely, all depending on the temperature and humidity of your location.

This is the main reason most beginners choose to work with acrylics. By opting for this type of paint, you can get quick results and don’t have to find a place in your home to store a painting and tread carefully around it for days or weeks until it dries completely.

Because they dry quickly, acrylics allow you to layer colors quickly. Painting layers in oil is notoriously time-consuming because you need to wait for the first layer to dry completely before adding the second one, which could take days.

For some painters, the quick drying time of the acrylics can be a drawback, particularly if you’re a slow painter. If you find that acrylics dry before giving you the chance to experiment properly, you may look into adding a retarder that keeps the pain wet for longer, or use a stay-wet palette that keeps the paints moist.

When comparing acrylic vs oil paint, acrylics dry much quicker.

2) Versatility

With acrylic paints, you can paint on virtually anything, and that’s a major pro for many painters, whether they’re beginners or more experienced. Some popular painting surfaces for acrylics include canvas, paper, cardboard, and metal — you can virtually use these paints on just about any medium.

Canvas is a popular option because it is lightweight, portable, and highly absorbent. You can use stretched, unstretched, and commercially made canvas boards successfully with acrylic paints. If you’re a beginner who wants to take some time experimenting first, paper and cardboard are more economical choices.

Oil paints are a bit more complicated, and you generally need to use them on a properly prepared surface, which can be a prepared board or prepared canvas. The canvas needs to primed beforehand if you want to use oil paints, and this has an impact on the level of absorbency.

3) Price

Cost is a particularly important consideration when choosing oil vs acrylic paint, especially if you’re a beginner and you’re bound to waste some supplies as you’re experimenting. Oil painting supplies have a higher price tag than acrylics, so if you’re shopping for a kid or are a hobbyist, it’s cheaper to stick with acrylics.

Acrylic paints are more cost-effective in itself, but also when you consider that you don’t have to buy extra medium or paint thinner to use with the paint as you would have to do in the case of oils. Acrylic starter sets are an excellent solution for most beginners, as you can get 8 to 12 colors or even more at a very reasonable price.

Other costs that you need to consider when taking up painting with acrylics include retarders if you decide you want your paint to dry slower and synthetic hair brushes. Because you can clean your brushes and materials with just soapy water, you don’t have to spend extra money on cleaning supplies like oils.

4) Beginner Friendly

Acrylic paints have long been considered to be a beginner-friendly medium, mostly because you don’t need to combine multiple materials to obtain the results you want, and also because they are much less intrusive to the senses than oils.

To start painting with acrylic, all you need is acrylic paints, a canvas, paintbrushes, and water. There’s no need to use other mediums unless you want to increase the fluidity of the paint, and there’s no need to use paint solvents like in the case of oil.

If you’re a beginner or are looking to introduce a child to the world of painting, acrylic is definitely the best choice. Besides not needing lots of fiddling to get the right fluidity and being quick to dry, acrylics are also easier to clean, which can make a world of difference for beginners.

With oil paints and solvents, you need to look after your paintbrushes properly, because if you allow the paint to dry on the brushes may become unusable. To clean brushes and other accessories, you need special solvents that require some skill to handle and can also be quite intrusive to the senses.

On the other hand, when you use acrylic paints, all you need to clean your paintbrushes and materials is some soapy water. Acrylic paints are ideal if you don’t have a lot of space or a proper cleaning area, or simply if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning up after oil painting.

If you are in the market for a complete beginner painting kit then check out one of our new products.    

5) Smell

There is a widespread belief that oil paints are more toxic than acrylic ones, and even though that’s not entirely true, some people are indeed sensitive to the smell of solvents given off by oil paint. In some cases, the odor can even cause headaches.

If you don’t have lots of space to set up a studio, the smell should be an important decision factor when choosing the type of paint. Oil paints require more room because confined spaces are really not suitable for the smells generated by the paints and solvents. In an ideal world, you should only use oil paints in large, well-ventilated studios.  Check out this article to get a few strategies for removing the oil-based paint fumes.

With acrylic paints, on the other hand, you don’t have to deal with these issues. Most acrylic paints don’t have a detectable odor, and even though they contain a small number of preservatives that may lead to a subtle odor, you can’t generally feel it unless you go close and smell the paint on purpose.

You should keep in mind, however, that mold can cause acrylic paints to go bad, so if you open up a tube only to be welcomed by an unpleasant strong smell, chances are the paint has gone bad.

Bottom Line - Acrylic vs Oil Paint

If you are completely new to painting or are a seasoned painter who wants a medium that dries fast and doesn’t release odors, then acrylic paint is king. There’s a lot to take in when choosing a medium to paint in, but the important thing is to just get on and start painting.

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Black Canvas Painting | 5 Easy Tips To Get You Started

5 Easy Tips For Black Canvas Painting

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5 easy steps to use a black canvas

Traditionally, canvases are off-white, which helps the painter use all different colors to unleash their expression and creativity. But now many painters are switching to black canvas painting as the basis of their artistic pursuits.

Many beginners are using a black canvas since it offers a new perspective to begin making art. And if you are one of those beginners, you might be looking forward to painting on a shiny black canvas.

If you are new to the black canvas painting concept or if you’ve been a long-time white canvas user, then you might be feeling like it’s out of your comfort zone. But that doesn’t have to be the story. Painting on a black canvas can be simple, straightforward, and a new basis of expression.

Black canvas allows the painter to skip background details, which makes it simpler and less time-consuming. As a matter of fact, when you paint on black canvas, creating a stellar contrast can be simple.

Black canvas painting is becoming popular, and many artists are now adopting the new dark setting to unleash their potential. And if you are looking forward to trying your hand at black canvas painting, here are five tips to get you started!

Black Canvas Painting Tips

1. Use acrylic, opaque paints

Two of the most commonly used paints for black canvas painting are acrylic and oil paint. We would recommend using acrylic paints. They are the all-time favorites and easy to source in any color. Acrylic paints are also easy to work with, and they dry quickly.

The next thing you want to consider in acrylic paints is the opacity level, or how transparent the paint is. Opacity levels closer to zero mean that there will be no transparency and the color remains strong on the canvas.

And that’s important as opaque acrylic paints will show up excellent, bright, and solid against a dark background. Whereas transparent or translucent colors will be see-through and will barely show up against the black background.

To find out the opacity level of your acrylic paints, stroke them on your black canvas and see how they show up. If you can see through the paints, their opacity levels aren’t up to the mark. Another way to check the opacity level is by looking at the tube of paint. There will be a symbol that will help you to identify the opacity level.

Acrylics show up great on a black canvas

2. Not sure about opacity of paints? Paint a white layer first

If you aren’t sure about the opacity level of the paints you are using, try painting a white layer on the black surface first. It will give you an idea of how your color will look with the black background and how its opacity will affect the bigger picture.

Allowing some black to leak through your paint might assist you in creating more depth and texture with the painting. Although it can also backfire and ruin what you are imagining, painting a white or colored layer will give you an idea of how things will turn out.

Experimenting is the key before you choose your preferred options. And painting a white or colored layer will help you to find out how well the black background will handle its opacity.

So before you start painting, get an idea of how your paints will work with the black canvas.

3. Pre-primed black canvas and painting a canvas black are equally great

Many beginners who are just starting to experiment in the world of black canvas painting are often confused about one thing. They think that pre-primed black canvases are somehow different than the ones artists paint themselves. Well, both are the same. You can buy a pre-primed black canvas online or from your nearest store, or paint your white canvas black.

Typically, manufacturers that sell black canvases use a black gesso instead of a white one to prime them. But if you don’t feel like buying an extra black canvas, you can turn your white canvas into a black one by simply using black gesso or matte black acrylic paint. Black acrylic paint that is specially labeled “matte” goes well with a white canvas and turns it into a new-looking black canvas.

4. Use chalk or white graphite paper for tracing

Working on a design that might require some tracing? Well, your good old gray graphite paper will not show up on the black canvas. You’ll need to buy white graphite paper or use chalk to draw your painting’s layout.

White graphite paper will allow you to transfer a traceable design on your black canvas easily. Moreover, if you are looking to just draw out the layout or sketch some boundaries right onto the canvas, chalk will help you accomplish the job efficiently. You can erase chalk with a bit of water or simply paint over it.

Chalk and white graphite paper can come in handy when you are tracing or sketching a layout on a black canvas. These tools will allow you to experiment more freely and bring your imagination to life!

Chalk shows up great on black canvas
5. Using paint pens

Bright and opaque colors look great on black backgrounds. And water or oil-based paint pens do exactly the same job. As a beginner, they will help you make most of the black background and express bright and robust ideas.

Since water or oil-based paint pens are opaque, you’ll be able to set up a nice contrast in your paintings using them and the black canvas. Moreover, when you have access to paint pens, you don’t have to get in the mess of picking paints, brushes, and other materials. All you need are just a couple of paint pens to put your imagination on the shiny black canvas.

Painting on a black canvas isn’t hard; it’s simple, straightforward, and fun! Black canvas painting helps you to discover the power of opacity and contrast. If you are still painting on a white canvas, do yourself a favor and buy a black canvas or paint your canvas black to start the journey of black canvas painting.

Check out our post on recommended acrylic paint pens for more information.

Acrylic Paint Markers for Rock Painting
Recommended Black Canvases

After these five tips, you should be ready to give it a go.  Check out our recommended canvases to get started!

* Please note this post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I’ll totally blow on my next trip to Chick-Fila!  I’ll take a number one on wheat with extra pickles please.

How Long Does it Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry?

How Long Does it Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry?

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Paint Drying on brushes

As they watch their children vigorously play with colors on a canvas, the one question many parents have is, how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry? Children don’t have the patience to let acrylic paint dry before they can start their next experiment. They want to immediately paint something new or paint on the same canvas. They also touch the painting to figure out if it has completely dried. Which leaves parents asking questions for which they need immediate answers.

As a seller of painting supplies for kids, our answer always has been that it all depends on what you are trying to achieve in your acrylic painting and the particular style you are aiming for. So, let’s try and address some of the most common questions in acrylic painting.

How long does it take to dry?

It depends on the concentration of the paint. If it’s a thin layer of acrylic paint, it will dry in a couple of minutes. If you have applied a thick layer, which is what usually happens in craft painting, it may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour for it to completely dry. If you want the paint to be thinner, all you have to do is add water to it using your brush. 

 

how long does it take paint to dry?

It also depends on environmental factors. If the weather isn’t dry enough, it may take longer than usual for acrylic paint to dry. Keep in mind that one of the advantages of using acrylic paint on canvas is that, when compared to gouache or watercolor, it dries pretty quickly.

How long should I wait between applying colors on a canvas?

It boils down to the effect you want to create. Acrylic paint offers immense possibilities to play with. You can create textures of varying hues and depths. If you don’t want the paint in the inner layer to mix with the outer layer, you should wait for it to dry. Depending on the thickness of the paint, it could take anywhere between 2 minutes and half an hour.

Can you paint over dried acrylic paint?

Whether or not you want to paint over dried acrylic paint depends on the kind of layering you want to achieve. If you want the inner layer not to be disturbed, you should wait for it to be dry to the touch. But if you are planning to generate glazes, you can add wet acrylic paint before the inner layer has had a chance to dry. This will lead to beautiful, and at times, totally unexpected results on canvas.

Plus, this is something kids love. They get to discover more interesting shades of colors as the painting progresses. Interestingly, this is also what professional artists seem to prefer.

How to paint over dried acrylics

If you need assistance removing dried acrylic paint from your brushes then check out this post.

How long should I wait to varnish an acrylic painting?

Varnishing is an excellent method to protect your acrylic paintings from aging, yellowing, and dust. If you want your kid’s artworks to have a long shelf life, you should give serious thought to applying varnish on their paintings. If you decide to get them varnished, first make sure that the painting is finished.

Then you should leave it untouched for a week for the acrylic paint to completely dry. Remember that even if it feels dry when you touch it, the inner layers could still be wet. Finally, you can go for varnishing to give the painting a matte, satin, or gloss effect.

How can I make acrylic paint dry faster?

Along with ‘how long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?’ another common question we are often asked is how can acrylic paint dry faster. Depending on the weather, it usually takes a couple of minutes for a thin layer to dry, and about half an hour for a thick layer to dry. But sometimes you could be in a hurry. In such cases, the easiest way is to use an air dryer. Make sure that it’s at a low setting and then gently hover it evenly over the paint. You could also keep the painting under a lamp to get it to dry faster.

Try using a hairdryer to speed up the process

How to stop it from drying fast?

Conversely, sometimes you may want acrylic paint to dry slower. This usually happens when you or the kids are painting outdoors in the sun. It can be irritating if the paint dries before you have had a chance to layer it with another shade. When you are painting outside, your palette may also dry fast, which is an even bigger problem. What you need in such situations is a water sprayer or atomizer.

Gently spray the palette with the atomizer regularly and the paint won’t dry fast when you are outdoors. If that’s too cumbersome, you could go for special palettes that stay wet even if the surrounding area is dry.

So, now you will be able to answer when your kids ask you if it’s okay to paint on the existing layer or should they wait a bit longer. As kids find their rhythm painting and experimenting with colors, you will be easily able to figure out how much they want to mix and match. The real magic with acrylic happens when they surprise you and themselves with what they achieve.

Ready to sling some acrylic paint around and give put these tactics to use?  Check out our complete acrylic painting kit to get started.

Acrylic Painting for Beginners: Ten Easy Steps to Get Started

Acrylic Painting for Beginners: Ten Easy Steps to Get Started

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Acrylic paints are water-based paints that are preferred by beginners and professionals for their easy setup, quick drying times and pliable nature. They’re made out of colorful pigments that are mixed into acrylic polymer. While it takes time and practice to master the nuances of painting with acrylics, it’s very simple to get together the things that you need and begin experimenting with the artistic process.  Here are 10 easy steps to acrylic painting for beginners.

What do I need to start painting acrylics?

Gather your supplies

You’ll need quality paint, brushes, a painting surface (like heavy paper or a canvas), an easel to place it on, and as a palette to mix up your paint colors. While you paint, you’ll also need a smock to protect your clothes, paper towels, a cup of water, and soap to clean your brushes.

As you get more sophisticated with your painting technique, you may want to add a few supplies to this list, such as varnish to seal your painting when you finish or various media to achieve different textures. Those are nice but to have, but you definitely don’t need them to get started.

Here’s what you need to know about beginning your acrylic painting journey:

1. Choose your paints. Aim to buy the best paints that you can because they will make a dramatic difference in your finished piece.  A typical starter kit will contain a basic set of colors that you can mix to achieve your desired paint colors. Some of these colors—usually standard blue and green—can be highly pigmented, so be sure to use them sparingly to prevent them from overpowering the other colors.

Choose a high quality paint

2. Choose your brushes. It’s important to have a variety of paintbrush sizes. Generally, you’ll use larger brushes to paint larger areas and smaller brushes to paint smaller, more detailed areas.

Closeup of brushes included

3. Pick a painting surface. You can paint with acrylic paints on a lot of different surfaces. Canvas pads, stretched canvases, linen canvases, Gesso boards or heavy paper are all suitable for acrylic painting. If you decide to go with a canvas, just make sure that it isn’t primed for oil painting. Acrylic paints won’t stick to oily surfaces and will eventually peel off! An easel will hold your painting surface at an angle in front of you, making it easier to paint. Note that acrylics stain fabric once they’ve dried, so consider wearing an old t-shirt or an apron to protect your clothes from the paint.

4. Mix your paints. Using a palette, you can combine your acrylic paints to make any shade that you desire. Ideally, a palette is a flat plastic or waterproof tray with sections to hold the colors that you blend and intend to keep using.

Use a paint palette to mix your paints

5. Set up your studio. Keep cups or jars of water nearby to clean your brushes after painting. It’s best if you have two—one to clean the brushes and another to dilute the paint and moisten the brushes when you need to. Rags or paper towels are nice to have close by after you rinse your brushes. They also help you fix mistakes and keep your hands clean while you paint.

You’ll want to pay attention to the light in the room that you paint with. Natural light from a window during the day is great, but use a neutral light scope if you must paint when it’s dark.

6. Tint your canvas. Most canvases are primed and ready for paint. You can start painting right away on your white or occasionally black surface. Or you can tint it with a background color that you are planning to use throughout your painting across the entire surface. Pick a color that works well with what you plan to paint. This is a great way to get your creative juices flowing, too.

What should a beginner paint?

7. Plan out your painting. Start with something simple to get a feel for how the paints appear—how they layer over each other and what kind of texture you can create on your canvas. Still, life objects, like a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit, or a simple landscape are simple enough to take on but will still challenge you to learn about the medium in order to progress.

Before you dive right in with the paint, consider your composition—where certain objects will go, like the focal point of your painting. If necessary, lightly sketch out your plan so that you know what goes where.

If you’re needing help in this area, then check out the ‘How to Start a Painting Guide’ in our My Art Adventure eBook.  In this guide you will discover 5 recommended steps for generating painting ideas and kicking off your masterpiece. 

How do I paint with acrylic paints?

8. Start painting. Once you’re pleased with your sketch, start by filling out the basic shape of your painting and move on from there. Block out objects from the middle and worry about shadows and details later on. Feel free to evaluate your colors and tweak them as necessary. Use paint sparingly and add on to keep your painting smooth. You can drag out a brushstroke to spread the paint nearby without adding too much texture.

 

Acrylic paints are water-based, which gives the artist a lot of flexibility while painting. You can thin out acrylic paint with water and clean your brushes with it as you switch colors, but you do not need to wet your brush to begin. Acrylic paints dry quickly, depending on how thick you’ve painted your surface, and they are water-resistant when they dry. Adding water to acrylics can help you achieve a watercolor technique, but unlike with watercolors, you won’t be able to manipulate the paint again once it’s dry. Feel free to mist the paints on your palette with water to keep them moist while you paint.

Once you have everything setup and planned out it's time to fire up the brushes

The Final Tweaks

9. Add the shadows and highlights at the very end of your painting. Making adjustments at this stage help you to guide the direction of your painting and bring it all together.

10. Let it dry! Once it’s dry, you can enjoy your painting. You have the option to seal it with a varnish for additional protection. Otherwise, it’s ready to display. Now that you know what to do, keep having fun and paint something else.

Let's Get To Work - Acrylic Painting For Beginners

Thanks for reading this article!  Now it’s time to put these tips into practice and get to work on that next masterpiece.  If you are interested in a one-stop-shop to get all the supplies you need in one go, then check out our set of acrylic paint supplies.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes – 3 Easy Ways to Save Your Brushes

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes – 3 Easy Ways to Save Your Brushes

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A blog post describing how to clean up your old acrylic paint brushes

One of the biggest downsides of enjoying painting comes at the end.

When your little ones (or not so little ones) have tired out their creative spirit, you can often be left wondering how to clean acrylic paint brushes.

Well, wonder no more. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to walk you through how to clean acrylic paint brushes.

And because we’ve been there too, we’ve even added in a section on the best way to clean dried out acrylic paint brushes.

So before you worry you’re going to have to spend more of your hard-earned on new brushes for the next artistic endeavor, panic not! Just scroll past the general cleaning tips onto our complete dried acrylic paint guide.

How to look after acyrlic paint brushes

Like many things in life, prevention is better than cure. So we’d recommend making sure that your kids know how to look after their paint brushes by giving them some tips on the best ways to stop paint from drying out.

The good news is that following these tips will also help them create a cleaner workspace that’s easier to tidy up afterwards. It’s a win-win all round!

Water Water Everywhere

Liquid acrylic dissolves in water, so whenever it’s time to play with the paints it’s a good idea to have a water jar handy.

This is helpful for many reasons. Firstly, it helps give your kids a different technique on their paint, as water can thin out acrylic paint to get a new effect.

Presumably they’ll be painting with more than one color. In that case, rinsing the paintbrush between paints can stop any smudging or mixing of colors (unintentionally).

After a good old painting session, it’s a great idea to teach your kids to wash their brushes as they wash their hands. That way it’ll become second nature to them.

Hand Sanitizing gel has a lot of uses besides just cleaning your hands

Make It Fun

Setting up their workspace and tidying up after themselves can be a lot of fun for kids to do.

Teaching them to put down plastic or old newspapers is a great way to save your table or playroom from being accidentally covered in paint.

But it also means at the end of their painting you can encourage them to clean their acrylic paint brushes and washing down their utensils. Warm soapy water can get rid of most non-caked on acrylic, so washing up can be a lot of fun for everyone.

This doesn’t have to be a challenge or a chore, but can instead just be made a natural part of their painting process.

Designated Cloths

It can be a good idea to repurpose an old washcloth for your kids to use while they’re painting. This works for several reasons – they’ll be able to play with color and technique, but also you can’t overestimate the time-saving of having a cloth to clean acrylic paint brushes.

Wiping a wet paintbrush on an old cloth is a great way to get the paint out of the bristles, as well as giving you a secondary use for those old cloths!

Keep Regularly Checking

While it might not be the most fun for you, it’ll save a lot of time (and potential tears) if you double check the paintbrushes after every cleaning session.

The longer acrylic paint stays on paintbrushes, the harder it’s going to be to remove. Eventually you’ll be left with no option but to buy some more.

The same goes for checking pots of paint. If you double-check that bristles are clean and lids are on, you’ll find yourself saving a fortune on art supplies!

You can also check out our recent post on how long it takes for acrylic paint to dry.

How to Clean Dried Acrylic Paint Brushes

As a general rule, liquid acrylic paint should wash out of brushes with water easily. Some dried acrylic paint will wash out with water, but it might take a little longer – but only if it’s been a day or so.

Any longer than that and you’re going to have to bring out the big guns to clean dried acrylic paint brushes.

One thing to remember about cleaning dried acrylic paint brushes is that you don’t want your brushes to stay in these solutions for too long – you might find that the strong solutions cause all your bristles to break or fall out!

Steps for cleaning dried acrylic paint brushes

1.   Nail Polish Remover (Acetone)

In most nail polish removers, acetone is the main ingredient. Double check if you have some, and if you do? Rejoice.

Acetone is an excellent chemical to clean dried acrylic paint brushes. The acetone seeps into the bristles and can dissolve the acrylic in the same way that it breaks down nail polish.

The smell might not be the best thing you’ve experienced, but it can be a quick and easy fix for clogged up paint brushes.

2.   Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol)

If you’re all out of nail polish, rubbing alcohol is another strong contender for our dried acrylic paint cleaning superhero.

Isopropyl alcohol, the main ingredient of rubbing alcohol, is a solvent that dissolves paint quickly and easily.

In fact, a lot of acrylic paint remover kits that you find online are just repurposed and repackaged rubbing alcohol. This is a popular choice because not only is it great for cleaning acrylic paint brushes, but it doesn’t have the same pungent smell as acetone.

How to Use Nail Polish Remover or Rubbing Alcohol to Clean Dried Acrylic Paint Brushes

To clean dried acrylic paint brushes, you’ll need a small jar and your dissolver of choice. It’s best not to let your kids do this as spilled alcohol can be a nightmare on carpets or varnished surfaces.

  1. Pour a little of the solution into a jar.
  2. Put the paintbrush into the liquid and let it soak for a few minutes.
  3. Rinse with warm, soapy water.

You might find that you have to repeat this a few times (depending on how much paint is stuck on the brushes), but it should easily do the trick!

Help, I Have to Clean Dried Paint Brushes but I Don't Have Any Solutions!

When it comes to being smart with what you’ve got, we know it can be frustrating to find solutions that work oh so well – if only you had the right thing.

 

Well, here’s another easy way to clean your acrylic paint brush.

How to Clean Acrylic Paint Brushes With Hand Sanitizing Gel

Yep, that’s right! And we’re guessing that you’ve probably got some hand sanitizer lying around.

Hand sanitizer works as well as nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol because the base ingredient is ethyl alcohol.

You might prefer this method if you’re trying to clean some paintbrushes and also want to make sure that your kids are sanitizing their hands properly.

All you need to do is squeeze a small amount of gel into the palm of your hand and then rub the brush into the gel. You’ll see the clumps of paint dissolve as you rub.

While this is a satisfying process, we have to warn you: it can get messy. So make sure you wash your hands (and your kids) with warm soapy water afterwards so you don’t experience acrylic handprints all over your home! 

Hand Sanitizing gel has a lot of uses besides just cleaning your hands
Final Words

If you’ve made it this far and you’re still unable to get the paint out of the bristles, it’s probably worth investing in a new set of paintbrushes – and one of the prevention tactics we mentioned up top.  

  • Start by rinsing brushes in cold water to get the paint out.
  • If that doesn’t work, try warm, soapy water (dish detergent is great here).
  • If that doesn’t work, try acetone, isopropyl alcohol, or ethyl alcohol.

Feel free to check out our complete acrylic paint kit for all the paint and brushes you need for a beginner set.

It might seem like a trivial thing, but teaching your kids the best way to look after their paint supplies is a fantastic way to encourage them in their artistic endeavors – without making you pull your hair out!

Good luck, and enjoy.

* Please note this post contains affiliate links.  I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my links, which I’ll totally blow on my next trip to Chick-Fila! 

The Color Wheel Explained

The Color Wheel Explained
Plus FREE Color Wheel Worksheet

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Learn about how to properly use the color wheel

Hello, friends! And welcome to our latest exciting post. This week’s topic is something you’ve probably all seen or heard of but may not have explored in detail: the color wheel worksheet.

We’ll go over a few key components of the color wheel for kids, and how to use it, including:

        What is a color wheel?

        Primary colors

        Secondary colors

        Complementary colors

        Tertiary colors

        Warm/cool colors

        Analogous color scheme

So, let’s jump right in with our first topic. 

What is a Color Wheel?

For all types of artists of any age, using a color wheel and having basic understanding of color theory is always a good idea.

In most color wheels that incorporate primary, secondary, and tertiary colors, there are twelve colors (three primary, three secondary/complimentary, and six tertiary).

Refer to each color as a simple, hyphenated name so you can tell what the exact combinations are in order to achieve each color. By name, each color is as follows: red, red-purple, purple, blue-purple, blue, blue-green, green, yellow-green, yellow, yellow-orange, and orange.

Sometimes, colors have more common names like “turquoise” for blue-green, and “magenta” for red-violent. 

This color wheel worksheet shows all 12 colors on the wheel.

Primary Colors - Color Wheel Worksheet

We wouldn’t have any sort of color combinations if it weren’t for the primary colors. Here on our color wheel worksheet we can see that these are the most basic colors on the wheel.

You know them as red, yellow, and blue.

 

This color wheel worksheet displays the primary colors of a color wheel.

Fun fact: did you know that you can achieve ANY color you need from mixing red, yellow, or blue oil paint?

Because of this fact, the primary colors on our color wheel worksheet are the most powerful colors. Yellow is the brightest color on the wheel while red and blue have been known as “power colors”. That’s why fast food restaurants like McDonald’s use red and yellow in their logo ─ so you can see it from far away!

See the primary colors being utilized in the mcdonalds logo

Secondary Colors

Moving on, if you mix any two of the primary colors together (like red and blue, blue and yellow, or yellow and red) you will achieve the next set of hues: secondary colors.

The secondary colors on the color wheel worksheet are purple (red + blue), green (blue + yellow), and orange (yellow + red).

Secondary colors are also Complementary colors of the primary colors.

This worksheet shows the 3 secondary colors of a color wheel

Complementary Colors

Complementary colors are especially interesting because there are more scientific requirements for this category!

To easily remember which secondary color complements each primary color, just look for color that is opposite to each primary color on the color wheel.

Now we know that green is complimentary to red, orange is complementary to blue, and purple is complementary to yellow.

 

Complementary also means that these colors, in their complementary pairs (like blue and orange) appear brighter and more vivid than they do when they are on their own. 

This diagram shows the

Applying a complementary color in your artwork will help draw attention to that area of the art.

 

Which brings us to the next section of the color wheel worksheet…

Tertiary Colors

Now, don’t forget the tertiary (or intermediate) colors.

In this section of the wheel, there are six colors that bridge the gaps between primary and secondary colors. These tertiary colors are made by mixing one primary color with one secondary color (remember, they were referred to as red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green etc.)

And if the subject that you’re painting is one from nature, like a nice ocean scene, an animal, or a landscape, chances are that you’ll be using mixes of primary and secondary colors to achieve blends of these intermediate or tertiary colors.

Remember, when using acrylic paints you can achieve any color you need by mixing the primary colors!

However, the rule of complementary colors still applies here (but will be less dramatic than when using only primary and secondary colors).

This chart shows the 6 tertiary colors on a color wheel

Now that our color wheel worksheet is completed, let’s look at our next set. 

Warm/Cool Colors

Warm and cool colors can be used in your artwork to give different effects and perceptions of the story you’re trying to tell through the painting.

Warm colors span from yellow to red on the color wheel. Use these colors if you want your artwork to come forward visually, towards the viewer.

Even if you’re capturing a seemingly “dull” subject full of neutrals like various browns, you can apply a warm hue through use of warm colors (think of how everything sparkles warmly at “golden hour” when the sun is setting on a hot summer day).

And of course, opposite to warm colors you have their cool color counterparts.

These colors appear in nature on objects or scenes that are not touched by the sun. Maybe in the winter when a blue sky is reflecting its cold light. Or a forest scene where light peeking through the canopy of leaves is tinted green.

However, it’s important to remember that not all colors are absolutely warm or absolutely cool. Some can go into either category, like greens (often cool, but appear warm when against a blue background) or red-violet (“magenta”) can switch between a cool and warm color. This makes sense when you consider that red is warm and violet is often cool!

To play with depth and space within your artwork, practice using warm and cool colors to explore the effects they provide

An Analogous Color Scheme

Finally, now that you have an understanding of all twelve colors through our color wheel worksheet, you can learn about analogous colors (adjacent colors).

These colors go together because they are right beside each other on the color wheel! It’s as simple as that.

 

This chart shows 3 analogous colors

An analogous color scheme is made of three colors that “match” or go well together because they appear adjacent to each other. This may also be called a harmonious color scheme. The colors exist in harmony with one another and are like varied tones or steps to a color.

You can see harmonious colors in the wild in jobs like design, interior decorating, and fashion, because combining an analogous color scheme with an opposite or complementary color is quite pleasing to the eye!

It’s easy to do the same in art and painting. If you learn to paint in similar harmonious colors that people prefer in interior decorating, you might just sell some of your art while you’re at it!

To see a few examples of an analogous color scheme painting, check out some of Vincent van Gogh’s paintings.

Free Color Wheel Worksheet

As promised, use the link below to access our free color wheel worksheet.  

Color Wheel Worksheet

This packet included a high-level summary of what we covered in this article, along with an exercise at the end to check your understanding.  

You can also check out our complete eBook for a color wheel scavenger hunt, coloring pages and so much more.

Conclusion

The next time you pick up your paintbrush, consider starting with a theme or goal in mind for the painting. For example, to achieve a harmonious warm color scheme to illustrate the effects of “golden hour” on your favorite lake or city cape.

If you want to test out your skills of creating a complete color wheel, then check out our complete acrylic painting kit.  It has everything you need to get started building out your color wheel.

And don’t be afraid to refer to this color wheel worksheet for kids from time to time in order to truly grasp the concept of the color wheel and how it applies to color theory.

For more resources like this one, check out our blog here or send us a message. We always love to hear from you!

Rock Painting Supplies – Where Do I Begin?

Let’s get creative on our next painting project and venture outside to find some rocks! If you are wondering how to start a rock art project, we have put together some easy rock painting ideas for you.

There are two common ways to get started in rock painting (using a rock painting kit or paint pens). 

We have tested out the competition to supply you with two high-quality options at an affordable price.  Check out the summarizes below to learn more about each option and the supplies we recommend. 

Creative and Fun Rock Painting Kit for Kids of All Ages

Give the gift of creativity with this all-inclusive rock painting kit for kids. This extensive kit includes everything you need to start painting rocks.

Created by the dynamic duo of Dan and Darci, this product is high-quality and sure to provide hours of creative entertainment for kids and adults alike.

If you’re looking for a fun and educational gift for children, look no further than this rock painting kit.

Not only will your kids love it and feel inspired to be creative and innovative, but it’s the perfect activity for the whole family to enjoy!

 

What's Included In This Rock Painting Kit?

Cover for the complete rock painting kit
Recommended Kit

Get everything you need to learn how to create a stone painting in one compact kit. You won’t have to shop around for countless decorative items because you’ll get them all with this product! Let’s take a closer look at what’s included in this kit:

All the supplies that are included in this rock painting kit
  • 10 rocks

  • 6 paint colors (blue, yellow, red, green, white, and purple)

  • 6 metallic paint colors

  • 2 rock paint brushes (one large, one small)

  • Transfer stickers

  • Googley eyes

  • Gems

  • Glitter glue (silver and a bonus gold)

  • Sponge

  • Instructional guide

With the diverse offerings included in this kit, the design opportunities are truly endless! Kids can create wildly different types of rocks for a really cool painted rock collection.  We found it’s best to add a base layer with the acrylic paint followed by the stickers, gems, glitter, or sharpie oil.

An Educational and Creative Gift for Boys and Girls

Unleash your kid’s creative potential with the gift of this rock paint kit.

Instead of spending hours in front of a television or tablet, get your kid involved in creative activities that help them develop and learn.

This extensive kit is the perfect STEM project for summer break or weekend activities to keep the creative juices flowing. The assembly of the rocks is a blast, and the final product will leave you and your kid immensely satisfied with the time you spent on the bonding activity.

Frequently Asked Questions

This rock kit is best for those rock painters from the beginner to intermediate skill level. It offers good quality supplies at an exceptional price. And yes, this product is for children 6+ so it should be a great gift for your granddaughter.

There’s no need to find your masks to pickup that curbside order! This product is sold through Amazon and can be delivered to your door within a few business days for all buyers in the United States. Amazon is able to provide insanely fast free shipping and offers delivers within 1 to 5 business days. Prime members are eligible for free 2-day shipping.

We are confident that you will love this painting kit, but if for any reason this kit doesn’t meet your buyer’s expectation you can take advantage of the 30-day money-back guarantee. Kit returns will not result in any buyer’s losses as Amazon also offer free shipping back to the supplier.

We were extremely disappointed trying out other rock painting kits because they did not contain ANY actual rocks. This kit is perfect because it has all the supplies needed for a rock art project. The rocks provided had looked awesome and had a smooth surface that reminded me of natural river rocks.

If you would like to store your finished artwork outside, I would recommend protecting it with a sealer. We prefer the Mod Podge spray sealer since it is easy to apply and provides a nice matte finish.

Buy a Rock Painting Kit Today!

Whether you want to get a fun, creative, and educational gift for a child or you want a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy, this product is a perfect choice.  It is also very simple to create, so you don’t have to be Martha Stewart to be an encouragement to your kid’s creativity.

It’s all-inclusive so you won’t have to go out and buy countless products to design your rock art. Everything you need is right here in this kit!

Spend free time with your child doing an activity that encourages creativity, artistic ability, and innovation. Spending time painting and designing rocks helps children learn and feel a sense of accomplishment once they have the finished product. They can display their awesome rocks in their room, around the house, or give them as gifts to their friends! The options are endless but one thing’s for certain: you and your kid will have a blast the entire time.

Purchase your extensive and high-quality rock painting kit today and lock in the 35% off coupon being offered!

A closeup shot of rock painting

Acrylic Paint Pens Designed For Versatility

Another option to create that perfect rock art is to pull out a few paint pens and get to work.   We love using acrylic paint markers because they are so easy to use and cleanup is a breeze. 

 

There’s no more gathering up a ton of supplies like brushes and canvas.  With these acrylic paint markers, you can grab a few markers and create your next rock art masterpiece anywhere, even at your local park. 

 

These markers blend easily which allows you to create a variety of bright colors.  Since these pens use acrylic paint, it will dry quickly which allows you to build different layers on your rocks.  

When painting with acrylic markers, it’s recommended to have different size tips.  By having different sizes so you cover the majority of base coat with a larger tip and switch to a fine tip to focus on the small details.  One of the things that we LOVE about the Chalky Crown’s markers is the fact that each pen comes with a reversible tip.  This eliminates the need to buy multiple packs of markers as you can simply flip it over to switch back and forth. 

What's Included In the Marker Set?

Chalky Crown acrylic paint markers

Unlike the rock painting kit, these acrylic paint pens do not come with any rocks.  If you cannot find any rocks outside with a smooth surface, you can order the best rocks on amazon.  Let’s take a closer look at why we recommend this set:

Key Stats

  • 12 acrylic markers – contains a variety of bold and vivid colors (red, yellow, orange, green, blue, pink, purple, black, white, brown, gold and silver)

  • Reversible Tips –  These versatile paint markers offer two tip options for each color.   Use the acrylic fine point for drawing or fine line work.

  • Great for Kids – This high-quality marker set is perfect for beginners as it’s easy to use and the acrylic paint dries very quickly.  It’s a good idea for a gift that keeps the kids entertained for a long time.  

  • 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed – We’re confident that your child will absolutely love this set.  If there’s anything wrong with the set or it’s not what you expected, then you can take advantage of the 100% money-back guarantee. 

There’s an endless amount of ways to utilize this set.  It’s the perfect gift to get you starting on The Kindness Rocks Project or any other personalized stones.

Acrylic Paint Markers for Rock Painting

Frequently Asked Questions

Acrylic paints are water-based that can be cleaned off with soap and water while wet. Unlike oil paints that can take a long time to dry, acrylics are the best paint for rock painting because it dries extremely fast making it easy to create layers on your rock art.

We love the versatility of the tip sizes and product performance. Being able to switch to the fine point allows you to nail the detailed designs and fine details. Also, these paint markers are of the highest quality and will work on a variety of surfaces (both smooth surfaces and dark surfaces). Kids also love the product packaging as it combines several bright colors with festive logos.

While these pens are made for outdoor use, the acrylic paint we start to ruin if exposed to the elements. We recommend using a spray sealer such as Mod Podge to lock in your artwork.

 

The Mod Podge spray sealer is a great sealant to keep in mind, as it is quick-drying and dries clear without staining.

This product is sold through Amazon and can be delivered to your door within a few business days for all buyers in the United States. Amazon is able to provide insanely fast free shipping and offers delivers within 1 to 5 business days. Prime members are eligible for free 2-day shipping.

Round and Flat Tips Options

Rounded Tip to a green acrylic paint pen
Flat Head shot of acrylic paint pen for detailed drawings

Order Your Acrylic Markers Today!

If you would like to do a fun creative project with your kids, then go grab some river rocks and order these paint pens today.  These markers make the perfect hide & seek rock painting kit as you can easily grab a few markers on the go and add an extra challenge to the finders.

If you order soon you can take advantage of the 20% off coupon that is currently being offered.

* Please note this post contains affiliate links for Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.  I receive a small amount of compensation when you purchase from my affiliate advertising program links, which I’ll totally blow on my next trip to Chick-Fila!  My pick-up order is a number one on wheat with extra pickles, please.  

I’d love to hear what you think about these products so send me a message at my email address (amy@paintloose.com) or message me on my Instagram page

5 Art Projects Your Third-Grader Will Love

Whether you’re stuck at home with the kids or looking for new classroom activities, don’t despair! It’s easier than you think to grab the glue, paint, and crayons and let your third graders’ creativity shine.

These fun projects for 3rd graders are easy, DIY, and can be done with everyday items that you already have around the house. The best part? None of these art projects require an electronic device or an app, so you won’t have to worry about too much screen time.

Art teacher instructing kids on how to create a painting

Abstract Oil Pastel Drawing

Oil pastels are a great way to give children of all grade levels mini art lessons on the basic elements of color theory. The results of an abstract art project can be stunning, and each project is completely unique.

With a few common art supplies you probably already have in your home, your third grader can create a beautiful work of art. To get started, gather the materials:

  • Oil pastels

  • Cotton swabs

  • Watercolor paper

  • Pencil

  • Baby oil

To start, invite your third grader to use a pencil to lightly sketch shapes or trace objects onto paper so the lines are overlapping. Encourage your child to use a mix of warm and cool tones in their artwork.

To blend the colors, use cotton swabs dipped in a bit of baby oil. For the best results, blend lighter tones first, then blend the darker tones.

One great project for 3rd graders is making an abstract oil drawing

DIY Paper Mache Bowl

Between gooey paste, sculpting, and decorating, paper mache is a fun way for 3rd graders to create their own long-lasting DIY project. To help your 3rd grader make their own paper mache bowl, start by grabbing a small bowl—plastic is best. If you don’t have any plastic bowls, a metal or ceramic bowl will work fine, but make sure to wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap before getting started.

Next, tear a newspaper into strips, and make the paper mache paste by combining a 1:1 ratio of flour to water. Dip the torn pieces of newspaper into the paper mache mix and layer them over the bowl.

Keep in mind that you’ll want a few layers of newspaper—the more the better. For the best results, use at least five layers of newspaper and leave the art project to dry overnight.

In the morning, gently press out the bow and finish up the project by painting and decorating. Your third grader might choose to decorate with tissue paper, glitter, or crayons. To make your third grader’s art project last even longer, coat it with a layer of varnish after the project is complete.

Learn the steps to create a DIY Paper mache

Sidewalk Chalk Paint

Making homemade paints is a great way to ensure that your paints are safe and nontoxic. As one of the most simple recipes for homemade paint, sidewalk chalk paint only requires three ingredients (water, cornstarch, and food coloring) and a couple of minutes of prep time.

To make sidewalk chalk paint, fill a small container halfway with cornstarch and add your choice of colors. Add water to the colored cornstarch and stir. For the best results, stick to a 1:1.5 ratio of water to cornstarch.

Sidewalk chalk paint can be messy, but it rinses away without much effort. If you’re worried about staining, start by testing a small portion of your driveway.

Have fun outside by making this sidewalk chalk paint

Paper Scrap Collage

Third graders don’t like using broken crayons as much as they don’t like using pre-used pieces of construction paper. Every third grader likes to cut from the middle of a brand new sheet of paper, and saving the scrap pieces can help you set up free, fun projects with old paper scraps.

Using a pair of scissors, cut up old paper scraps to make new shapes. For a one-of-a-kind collage, throw in your own paper scraps—whether you have old promotional postcards, brochures, or magazines, designate a box for old paper scraps.

Once the scraps build-up, give your third grader a glue stick, scissors, and a piece of paper, and let them create their own paper scrap collage.

A fun and easy paper scrap collage project

Homemade Stickers

The only thing more fun than collecting stickers is making your own sticker collection. Ask your third grader to choose images from wrapping paper, magazines, decorative papers, or create their own drawings to turn into stickers for notebooks, lunch bags, or stationary.

To create the stickers, mix a 1:1 ratio of white Elmer’s Washable School Glue and white vinegar in a bowl until you have a thin and milky liquid. Next, use a small paintbrush to smear the back of the paper with the mixture.

Allow the stickers to try, apply a second coat, and leave them to dry again. While the glue is non-toxic, it doesn’t taste very good. If your third grader is creating a lot of stickers, use a dampened sponge to moisten the back of the stickers.

Create homemade stickers with your kids

Whether you’re stuck indoors or want to head outside for a few hours, these fun projects are a great way to keep third graders entertained while fostering creativity.

 
 

#diyprojects #coolartprojects #artprojects

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