Which Painting Medium is the Best?


Which painting medium should you use and which is the best one? A painting medium is a good idea to use with acrylics as it can aid in the flow of the paint and create more textural effects, and it can help the retard the drying process a little so you can focus on building up layers.

When I first started working with acrylics I didn’t use these much or rely on them but when I took the time to learn about them, I was glad I did. They did help, not to mention make the colors pop a little.

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which painting medium

Painting mediums are sometimes confused with gesso – but there’s a distinction. Gesso is a primer substance used to prepare your substrate before you get started. A medium is a substance that you add to your paint that acts as an extender – it will improve the viscosity and do the things mentioned in the first paragraph.

floetrol for pour paintingFloetrol

One product is Floetrol. It’s actually carried at hardware stores, not art suppliers, to aid with home painting projects, but it’s become very popular in the paint pour niche. You shake up the bottle well, and add small parts of it to your paint mixtures to help it to flow better.

I think it is a great product on a budget, it is also water based and easy to find if you’re going to your local Lowes or Home Depot, or if you don’t have an art supplier nearby. I also like that it comes in a largeĀ bottle so it will last a while.

This one I use is a quart size, and it also comes in a half gallon or gallon too. DependingĀ  on how much you’re planning to carry out, this can be a good thing. To dispense it, it’s better to pour a small amount into a jar and use a tool like an eyedropper for your paint mixture to determine how much you need for the ideal consistency.

Can You Use Mod Podge as a Painting Medium?

Oh boy, and now we circle back to good ol’ Mod Podge again. One thing I do want to point out before I go any further….Don’t use a substance like Mod Podge as a pre-painting medium. This is an easy mistake to make, but if I haven’t stressed this before, Mod Podge is more of a glue-based product, intended for use with paper crafts like decoupage to protect them and give them a glossy look, but it doesn’t constitute an authentic medium.

It is a common perception to make, and I do know of people who have used thinned-down Mod Podge as a painting medium when they first try their hand at a paint pour – it can work for something like that but the only problem is that it won’t produce an “archival” piece….eventually it may show discoloration or yellowing. So it’s a no bueno as far as a painting medium goes.

Proprietary Mediums

You can also look into a proprietary product such as this one carried by Liquitex. It’s a little more expensive than Floetrol ( a little) but it does come in different sizes and finishes. Matte and Gloss. You could even blend a little of both to get more of a satin finish which is what I always prefer.

Liquitex Gloss Medium 4ozLiquitex Gloss Medium 4ozLiquitex matte Medium 4ozLiquitex matte Medium 4ozLiquitex Satin Medium, 8ozLiquitex Satin Medium, 8oz

Winsor and Newton -Flow Improver

Another brand of art materials I use and enjoy, Winsor and Newton, has a similar product called “Flow Improver”. It has very good ratings and reviews backing up what it is supposed to do. Only downside as I see, is that it only comes in one finish. You also have only a 4 oz size bottle, that too may not last long, or it might be just fine depending on how much activity you’re normally doing. Good product and recommend.

Gel Textures

Gel textures are similar to paint mediums, but with a thicker texture, they can add an even greater layer of dimension to work, especially for those of you who do mixed media. It can be good for impasto and working with a knife. As far as the level of dimension goes, i t can depend – to get shapes like peaks ad valleys the use of modelling paste, also carried by Liquitex, is encouraged. There are similar extenders that can produce grainy or beaded effects, too.

Well there you have it, all of the different paint mediums available, and the rundown on them. You now have all the tools available to you to choose the best one for your needs.


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