Creative Acrylic Painting Techniques: Flat Paint, Scraping, Rubbing, Texturing, and More!

If you have read my first page about acrylic painting techniques you have learned about the basic techniques.

Acrylic is such a versatile medium, however, that one web page cannot hope to cover all the options. So, on this page, I will show you four more acrylic painting techniques.

  • Flat Paint: This particular technique is characteristic of acrylics. By layering enough paint down, you create a flat, poster-like look, without tonal changes in the areas of colors.

    Acrylics allow each area of color to be contained with well defined outlines and filled in with a flat, even color. They also allow for better layering, because a new layer of acrylic does not soften the lower layers of paint, and the dried layers are completely resistant to water.

  • Spattering and spraying: One of the acrylic painting techniques I find most interesting is splashing the paint onto the surface. With this technique, you allow the acrylic paint to drip and splatter to enhance the atmosphere of the painting.

    It is very effective for suggesting grainy textures and provides some texture for flat areas of color. Other mediums, like oil paints and watercolors, do not lend themselves well to this painting technique, but acrylics are great for it.

  • Scraping and rubbing: This technique is used for many different mediums. As an acrylic painting technique, scraping produces very interesting results. It is ideal for creating paintings with broken colors. You will need something to scrape with such as a flat spatula or a metal rasp. I use an old credit card for this purpose and it works great.

    With scraping, you don't need to apply the color evenly. You can contrast areas of flat paint with other areas that are very textured and thick. It lets you mix the fresh paint directly on the surface of the painting, creating an interesting striated effect.

  • Texturing: You can't talk about acrylic painting techniques without talking about creating textures—especially if you like the experimental aspect of acrylics.

    I don't endorse Liquitex products. However, you can learn a variety of ways for texturing by viewing the following video.

    Since acrylic paints function like glue and dry rapidly, they can be mixed with other materials, like sand, sawdust,or simply combined with a medium and the result can be used for creating textures. The additions to the paint lets you form various surfaces.

    You can choose from a wide range of modeling pastes or gels that contain sand, marble, or alabaster dust. You use modeling pastes on a hard surface before you start to paint (so it will not crack). You can apply the paste with a spatula and form straight or wavy lines. You can also comb the surface.

    You can find gels and modeling pastes here...get some, and start to experiment. Get hooked!

    For best results, apply the texture before painting and then apply paints with a glaze later. Opaque paint over texture loses its power.

    Caution : when using pastes, you must apply it in layers with a thickness of ¼ inch (7 mm) or less. Each layer must dry before you apply another layer. If layers are applied too heavily, the outer coat dries faster than the lower layer. As a result, the surface will crack.

  • Stenciling: Stenciling is one of the popular experimental acrylic painting techniques. You simply cut out a shape from cardboard, acetate, or waxed stencil paper, and place it over the support. You then apply the paint inside or around it. When the paint is dry, you can remove the stencil and save it for future use. It is almost like stamping, but with a flat piece of paper.

It pays off to make your own stencils.

For stenciling, it is a good idea to use thicker paint (medium consistency) with a sponge or a stenciling brush. If the paint is too thin, you can mix it with a special medium that will increase the volume for better texture. You can find this type of medium here.

Remove the stencils carefully when working with thick paint as it will form a hard layer.

Mastering Color - click here for more info.

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