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Can You Use Acrylic Paint Over Watercolor?

Some people enjoy mixing different paint types in order to create new and awesome pieces of artwork. Of course, acrylic and watercolor paints are among the most popular and affordable that money can buy. Both are going to be water-based paints too.

So, can you use acrylic paint over watercolor? Yes, you definitely can! You may want to have the watercolor dry out beforehand, so you do not mess up your artwork. Generally speaking, you will be able to use acrylic paints on watercolors without any issues.

When people are using acrylic paint over the watercolors, they tend to really thin out the acrylic paint with some water beforehand. This will give it a consistency that is pretty close to that of the watercolor paint. Although, you don’t have to do this. You can just paint is straight on out of the tube if you really want.

For all my acrylic paint projects, I always use and recommend Arteza Acrylic Paints. They’re artists grade quality’s and they come in so many different colors! 

It may be wise to experiment with how the acrylic paint will interact with the watercolor beforehand. The colors of both will change a little bit, so you don’t want to be painting straight onto your artwork unless you know 100% for sure what is going to be happening!

You could probably experiment with it a little bit. However, using watercolor over acrylic never really does end up well unless you are looking for something that is incredibly unique, and quite often the combination is not going to be all that pleasing to the eye. 

What Happens When You Mix Acrylic Paint With Watercolor?

It depends on how you mix it, and you may need to experiment a little bit to get a look that is pleasing to you. We have a couple of tips that should, hopefully, help you out, though!

Let’s say that you want a color that looks very solid, and you want the color to have little in the way of ‘texture’. I recommend mixing mostly watercolors with a small amount of acrylic into it. The less acrylic you have, the more ‘solid’ the color will look.

On the other hand, if you want a textured look, perhaps because you are looking to shade certain areas and you need a little bit of opacity, then mix mostly acrylic with a dash of watercolor into it. 

If you’re looking for good quality watercolors, I highly recommend this Arteza Watercolor Set. It comes with 12 super vibrant colors, and a cool brush pen. 

As I mentioned earlier, you will probably have to experiment a little bit in order to get a color that you like. Obviously, try to keep your experimentation away from your artwork.

Use a separate piece of paper or canvas to see what will happen. You will be surprised at just how much the look of the paint changes with even the most subtle of changes in the mixture of the materials.

How Do You Make Acrylic Paint Look Like Watercolor on Canvas?

Now, before we give you instructions on how to make acrylic paints look like watercolors, I do want to point out that you may never get it to be just right. If you want the actual watercolor look, I recommend opting for watercolors.

The only reason why you will want to be using acrylic paints is so that you can get something similar, but not quite. It creates a more interesting texture. This texture may not work for everybody.

How to make your acrylic paint look like watercolors will begin with the actual selection of the acrylic paint. Not all acrylic paints can look like a watercolor. You will need to choose a paint that is quite thin and transparent as it is. Any paint listed as one of the following should be fine.

The more transparent the color that you have selected is, the easier it is going to be to get it looking similar to that of watercolor. 

You can use other acrylic paints if you wish. However, you will likely have to water them down quite a bit if you want to create that watercolor look to them. Another great option for acrylic paints is this Apple Barrel Set

After all, most watercolor paintings are famed for the more wispy approach that they have, and you are only going to get this if your selected paint comes close to that of water.

If you can do this, although we realize it is not always going to be possible with some artwork, you will want to have a wet canvas to paint on. This will make it a little bit easier to get that watercolor look. In fact, if you see a quality piece of artwork created with acrylic paint that has tried to achieve the watercolor look, then we are virtually certain that they would have used a wet canvas. 

After this, a lot of the look is going to be about painting technique. As you probably know, watercolor paintings look different from acrylic paintings. While the type of paint is going to play a role here, it is not the only factor at play. The way in which a painting is actually painted will matter.

By studying the various pieces of watercolor artwork, you can start to get a feel for how various artists create their pieces. For example, watercolor artwork often uses more subtle mixes of color to create something amazing. The brush strokes will often be a bit more delicate too. This is to help create a look that really focuses on the transparency of the paint.

Another thing that really helps, is having the right paintbrushes. This set is great for mixing both acrylic paints, as well as watercolors. They even work great for gouache paint too! 

Over time, you will learn the techniques that you need to make acrylic paint look like watercolor. It isn’t something that you can just pick up overnight, so just practice and practice! It is a tricky painting style to nail, so don’t worry if you do not get it right the first time. 

Final Thoughts 

Acrylic paints and watercolor paints work incredibly well together. With a bit of experimentation, you can create some awesome artwork with the combination of paints. Although, do bear in mind that some color combinations don’t work quite so well with one another. 

With a bit of practice, you will be able to get your acrylic paintings looking like watercolors! Don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting! 

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