How do you achieve different textures with acrylic paint?

How do you achieve different textures with acrylic paint featured

Playing with texture: how to achieve different effects with acrylic paint

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that offers a lot of possibilities in terms of color, transparency, and consistency. Another aspect that makes it for a great choice for artists of all levels is its capacity to create different textures, depending on how it’s applied and what materials are used in conjunction with it. From thick and impasto surfaces to thin and drippy washes, acrylic paint is a tool that can help you express your creativity in multiple ways. In this article, we’ll explore some techniques and tips for achieving different textures with acrylic paint.

Impasto painting

Impasto refers to the technique of applying thick layers of paint on a surface, creating a relief effect that can be felt with the touch of the finger. To achieve an impasto texture with acrylic paint, you can use a palette knife or a brush with stiff bristles to pile up the pigment. Mixing a medium like gel or paste with the paint can make it even more malleable, allowing you to build up the layers gradually. Keep in mind that impasto painting takes longer to dry than other techniques, so you should allow enough time for it to dry completely before adding more layers or working over it.


Glazing is the opposite of impasto, as it involves applying thin, transparent layers of paint over a dried base color. The goal is to create depth and luminosity, as light can travel through the translucent layers and reflect off the surface below, creating a shimmering effect. To glaze with acrylic paint, you can mix the pigment with a medium like glazing liquid or satin varnish to make it more transparent and fluid. Use a soft brush or a sponge to apply the glaze, layer by layer, until you achieve the desired hue and saturation.

Mixing materials

One way to experiment with texture is to mix different materials with acrylic paint, such as sand, grit, fibers, or modeling paste. Adding these substances to the paint can create a rough or grainy surface, reminiscent of concrete or stucco. For instance, you can mix sand with a thick gel medium to create a granulated texture, or combine fibers with liquid paint to create a textile-like surface. Modeling paste is a versatile material that can also be used as a base for collage, as it provides a sturdy ground for gluing paper or other flat materials.


Speaking of collage, it’s another way to add texture to your paintings with acrylics. Collage involves incorporating different pieces of paper, fabric, or any other material onto a surface, creating a layered and tactile effect. To do collage with acrylics, you can use a medium like gel or matte medium to adhere the pieces to the canvas or board. You can also use acrylic paint to paint over the collage elements, creating a unified look or a contrast between the flat and textured areas. Collage is a fun and experimental technique that can inspire new ideas and approaches to painting.

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