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Thinning Water Based Acrylics
41 replies to this topic
Posted 01 March 2008 - 08:12 PM
Every week we see posts “How do I thin ‘X brand water based acrylics”? I generally use a combination of Tamia, Liquitex and JoSonja w/based acrylic paints (in layers). I have about 10 colors and mix any ‘specials’ from these.
Basically water based acrylics are colored pigments mixed with a binder, you can make your own paints if you like, just go down to the paint store, buy the pigment color you want, and mix it with PVA glue (white) and water, probably not the best paint but it will work. If you thinned this paint with excess water, you dilute the binder (PVA glue) in the base paint and it will not stick too well, in fact it usually ‘beads’ into tiny dots and will not form a solid color (see pictures). This is caused by capillary action (lack of), where the water/pigment, maintains its meniscus, instead of spreading across a surface giving a ‘full’ coat. The same will happen, if thinned, with whichever acrylic you use, it does not matter how much you pay or how good the sales pitch is, acrylics are acrylics, the variables are the grade of pigment and binders (mediums) used, any surfactant, and
how fine all this is ground, so if you can afford it, buy good quality paints, which usually have good solid pigment/colors- you get what you pay for – until you start paying for the advertising, where the quality probably has to go the other way to pay for the adds.
What’s a surfactant?
“A substance that, when dissolved in water, lowers the surface tension of the water and increases the solubility of organic compounds. Surfactants are used in inks/paints to increase the effects of capillary action; detergents are surfactants that help remove organic compounds from a substance by making them dissolve more readily in the water in which the substance is washed.”
Windex has been mentioned as a thinner and brush cleaner here, many times before, don’t be scared to use it. Windex is a mix of Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (Methylated Spirit, here and U.K), some ammonia, mostly water, a nice blue tint and a surfactant (probably detergent), which makes this brew stick to glass; I’m sure we could make our own and it would probably cost about 10c a bottle.
Glass is super glossy ‘Windex’ has a surfactant in it, so when you clean a window, the spray covers the whole window, and does not just bead on the glass like water spray would. So instead of thinning your paints with water try some ‘Windex’ and you will find the thinned paint will mist on without beading. If you don’t have Windex, try a drop of dish washing detergent (the purer the detergent the better) or liquid soap - If you are into firefighting, or know someone who is, get some firefighting foam (a pint would last for years), its made by “3M” and is pretty well pure detergent ,which makes foam/water ‘stick’ to vertical surfaces. We use it here (and there too) mixed in water (3%) for bush fires, it allows water to coat Gum Leaves or any oily/glossy shrubbery and really helps extinguish the fire. See the logic here, ‘surfactants’ and ‘binders’ (matte mediums) are the key.
This is black paint diluted 10:1 with water, sprayed onto Lexan sheet: notice how the paint has beaded.
This is black paint diluted 10:1 with Windex, sprayed onto Lexan sheet: (dots etc are marks in the sheet)
When I want to paint fine detail or add just a hint of color, I sometimes thin colors to about 8 or 10:1, so there is barely any color pigment or binders left in the mix. This is a good way to lighten colors without losing the hue, which happens if you lighten with white etc, spray more coats, and get deeper color. For this I use Windex, and because the paint is so diluted, I add just a drop of acrylic matte medium (any good brand) to hold it all together when it dries, mediums are not cheap, but a small tub will last for ever. This Windex/medium mix is handy when screening, especially when using ‘Pearls’, where the color will stick to the lure and not lift off and pool, when you remove the screen.
If you use ‘Tamiya’ clear colors, which they say are water based, but if you thin excessively with water the colors just fall to bits. Again try some Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol (Methylated Spirit, here and U.K), when I buy a new jar of ‘Tamiya’, I immediately fill the jar with alcohol and shake it up and usually find it is still too thick, this stuff has good color pigments and takes heaps of dilution, and the thinner it is the less it gums up your brush tip. As a bonus ethyl alcohol is very cheap and is an excellent stripper for cleaning your brush and it readily mixes with water.
Try this out, you may be amazed at the colors you get. pete
Posted 01 March 2008 - 11:48 PM
That was intense. I really hadn't thought much of using Windex even though I have read a lot about it here. I'll have to give it a try.
Posted 02 March 2008 - 10:49 AM
Brill brill brill !!!!! You have today answered questions I have been asking myself since I started using Createx, at least I can experiment now with confidence.
A big thanks
Posted 02 March 2008 - 11:58 PM
Hazmail you been drinking on the weekends with DAVE!!! (VODKAMAN)
Posted 03 March 2008 - 01:03 AM
Thanks guys, sorry if I rambled on a bit (just re-read it), but I'm a typical Aussie skeptic. I can't stand these people who put some perfume and vinegar in a fancy bottle, call it 'shower cleaner', and add 1000% to the price. pete
Posted 03 March 2008 - 01:18 AM
I have tried adding some methylated spirits to my Createx paints which are supposedly a water based acrylic paint. The effect was quite dramatic with the paint 'curdling'. It broke down into tiny solid bits and definately would not mix with the meths any ideas ?? I also tried isopropyl alcohol and that had exactly the same effect.
I have just ordered some matte medium as well.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 01:43 AM
Phil - what have I done??? released a monster!!!!
Mix 'Windex', or detergent/water with acrylics.
Use Methylated Spirit to dilute Tamiya, as I think I said, methylated spirits is a good stripper/cleaner for acrylics, not a thinner.
I hope you did not ruin anything other than the paint. I had better read that post again and sort it. pete
Posted 03 March 2008 - 03:00 PM
You did say that, yes you did, meths with tamiya acrylics, I just got totaly confused:whistle:.
To every cloud there is a silver lining, at least now I know you cant mix pure meths or alcohol with createx . However you can add some to water 1:10 and then mix with the paint without too much trouble. I dont really understand 'Acrylics' at all, they seem a very complex paint. If you look at Tamiya acrylics and createx acrylics they are miles apart in look, smell and composition also Tamiya have a 'thinner' which looks and smells just like turpentine and costs more than Moet champagne.
I'm beggining to think acrylics are really weird.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 05:17 PM
I'm still back in the stone ages using Apple Barrle craft acrylics. I thin them with windsheild wiper fluid (.99 cent per gallon). They are not the best performing paints on the market, but the allure of the 40 cent pricetag (2 ounces) is more than I can stand.
Posted 03 March 2008 - 07:46 PM
I just painted a new lure today using some Createx paints and I thinned them with an off-brand Windex. It worked amazingly well! The color was much finer and easier to spray with the spihon brush. I was worried about the blue tint messing with the colors but it didn't seem to effect it much. Just make sure you don't add too much! Thanks again Pete!
Posted 03 March 2008 - 10:09 PM
Kevin70- the windsheild wiper fluid would have some detergent in it and some spirit to stop it freezing, this is why it works. Imagine if someone asked you to pay $3 for something called "One pint of water and 3 drops of detergent", you would tell them where to stick it. pete
Posted 03 March 2008 - 11:06 PM
That's okay, I just found out I should read the entire thread instead just scanning down the page looking for booze references... I just mixed pure meths and alcohol with createx and drank it with a beer chaser; my eyes are still crossed.
Posted 04 March 2008 - 04:43 PM
Spike, you ain't right. But you sure make people smile.
Pete, great post on thinning acrylics and how it works. Even though I have read several different post about using windex, I've been using pure water and sometimes I have not been happy with the results. Thanks, I am going to start experimenting with the Windex.
By the way, I copied your post to a folder on my computer so I won't have to look for it when I want to refresh my failing memory.
Posted 04 March 2008 - 05:00 PM
Like I said in previous post, using Windex is nothing new, I just thought people should know why !! Which should give us a bit more confidence to experiment with things. pete
Posted 16 November 2008 - 09:36 PM
There's no detergent in winshield wiper fluid. Having made 10's of 1000's of gallons of different brands, I can tell you that it is about 93% water, 7% alcohol(usually methanol), and a fraction of a percent of surfactant to make it wet out the glass, and another fraction of blue dye to keep you from drinking it. Windex is pretty much the same, but with a different alcohol than methanol, because it is poisonous.
Watch what you thin acrylics with. Being that there's probaly 1000+ different types, and not all thin the same. They may spray and look nice, but they film will have no integrity and be like a chalk coating and lead to premature paint failure. Many are Ph dependent and that's one reason why you see them curdle and get chalky. The PROPER universal thinner for acrylics is 80% water: 20% glycol ether, sometimes butyl alcohol also. Windex will work for some paints, but don't expect it to work for all. It's a "ghetto" thinner. LOL
Nothing personal to anyone, but I find it funny how people will spend all that time carving a bait, getting all detailed, charging someone $30-70 for the lure, but skimp on the $0.01-0.03/lure it takes to follow the paint manufacturers directions and use the proper materials. LOL
Edited by Downriver Tackle, 16 November 2008 - 10:16 PM.
Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:08 AM
Funny you should say curdling. I use Auto Aire Aluminum paint, and Auto Aire "thinner", which they say to use, and I still get curdling on the first thin coat. It disappears after a few coats, but the first time I did it I freaked. And it doesn't seem to affect the finished product.