Best Acrylic Paint: You Can be an Artist Too

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Best Overall
Winsor & Newton 2190517 Galeria Acrylic Paint 10 Tube Set,
Sax True Flow Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set, Pints, Assorted Colors, Set of 12 - 439304
Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Classic Set, 12 Colors, 8 Fl Oz
Best For Beginners
Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set - 48 Vibrant Colors with LARGE 22ml Tubes for Extra Value. A Stunning Paint Set full of Quality Paint that You’ll Love to Work With!
Best For The Money
Grumbacher Academy Acrylic Paint, 90ml/3 oz Metal Tube, 6-Color Mixing Set (C1026)
TPA's Score
95
92
88
95
90
MSRP
$29.70
$50.43
$74.99
$44.99
$33.00
Number of Paints
10
12
12
48
6
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Made In
London, England
China
China
China
United States
Best Overall
Winsor & Newton 2190517 Galeria Acrylic Paint 10 Tube Set,
TPA's Score
95
MSRP
$29.70
Number of Paints
10
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Made In
London, England
Sax True Flow Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set, Pints, Assorted Colors, Set of 12 - 439304
TPA's Score
92
MSRP
$50.43
Number of Paints
12
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
Made In
China
Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Classic Set, 12 Colors, 8 Fl Oz
TPA's Score
88
MSRP
$74.99
Number of Paints
12
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Made In
China
Best For Beginners
Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set - 48 Vibrant Colors with LARGE 22ml Tubes for Extra Value. A Stunning Paint Set full of Quality Paint that You’ll Love to Work With!
TPA's Score
95
MSRP
$44.99
Number of Paints
48
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Made In
China
Best For The Money
Grumbacher Academy Acrylic Paint, 90ml/3 oz Metal Tube, 6-Color Mixing Set (C1026)
TPA's Score
90
MSRP
$33.00
Number of Paints
6
ASTM Rating
Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints​
Made In
United States

Whether you’re a long-time veteran of painting or looking to get your feet wet, the best acrylic paint on the market is here to lend a helping hand. 

Most of the results will come from your carefully crafted and honed talent, but the materials in the paints, tools, and surfaces also matter. 

Let’s start with oil paints, which are arguably the most versatile paints on the market with a wide range of colors, applications, and applicable surfaces. 

The sky’s the limit with these paints, so let’s take a look at these 5 painting sets.

#1 Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint Set

Winsor & Newton simply made the best acrylic paint set for all levels of skills, across every painting type and color spectrum.

With these ultra strong acrylic paints, you don’t get a highly glossy finish, but you do get the opportunity to dilute them if you wish.

That stretches your set a bit further for maximum painting power.

On top of that, Winsor & Newton pride themselves on being true to color, meaning that all of the tube colors and marketing materials actually show the real color inside the tube; no photoshopping, no souping it up. 

What you see is what you get, and it’s breath-taking.

The Galeria set includes bolder versions of some of Winsor & Newton’s classic selections, so if you’re after a slightly darker or more brooding end result, you can simply continue without diluting the paint. 

Everything comes in airtight metal tubes to preserve your paint for years to come.

  • Number of Paints: 10
  • ASTM Rating: Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
  • Made In: London, England

#2 Sax True Flow Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set

Sax provides the best acrylic paint for canvas painting, regardless of what canvas size you’re using. 

If you haven’t already noticed, you get a massive volume of acrylic paint without having to hemorrhage your wallet to acquire it. 

These heavy bodied acrylic paints come in color coded bottles, and resemble the true color almost to a tee.

The tight-locking caps prevent oxidation from ruining your paints as well, freeing you up to paint without worrying. 

The consistency of Sax’s true flow acrylic paint is excellent, and doesn’t require any dilution to get started. 

If you are going to cut the paint to increase volume or decrease contrast, only do it a very little bit at a time so you don’t mess with the colors too much.

Acrylic paint is notoriously quick-drying, but until it’s on the canvas, Sax takes ages to dry on your palette. 

With twelve different colors in your kit, you’ll have a wide color spectrum to mix and match. 

If you get this acrylic paint anywhere that it’s not supposed to be (carpet, table, etc.), don’t worry: Sax makes this easy to wash off of unwanted surfaces, so you can prop up your easel anywhere in the house without worrying.

  • Number of Paints: 12
  • ASTM Rating: Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
  • Made In: China

#3 Liquitex Professional Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set

Liquitex Professionals

The word “classic” gets thrown around a lot in painting. 

There are approximately 16.8 million different colors in the world (partially thanks to computers), so how do you pinpoint what is truly classic in just a dozen tubes? 

Liquitex has seem to done it properly by including even-toned and heavy bodies color selections, each of which can be minorly diluted (up to about 30%) to create the perfect picture.

To us, classic means emulating some of the old-world paintings that still inspire us today by adopting similar color schemes. 

If you could call something classic, it’s because it was original, set the trend, and Liquitex’s allow you to be the next original artist. 

These paints are 100% UV resistant, so if you end up having it in direct sunlight, it isn’t going to deteriorate or bleach for a very long time.

  • Number of Paints: 12
  • ASTM Rating: Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
  • Made In: China

#4 Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set

Best For The Beginners

Castle Art Supplies Acrylic Paint Set Review

If you’re looking for the best acrylic paint for beginners, look no further than Castle Art Supplies. 

The whole point of this kit is to introduce the painter to a wide array of colors, all of which can be diluted a bit and mixed around to create fantastic colors.

Castle gave immense value in this kit, so even on a budget, you’ll be able to get more than your money’s worth and have plenty of paint for a long time to come. 

There’s thirty-six ounces of paint in this kit in total, each fitted in airtight metal tubes to preserve the colors and prevent oxidation.

Blend these together to create thousands of color combinations, while the low-gloss finish quite literally makes your art piece shine as it deserves to. 

From consistency to finished texture, you get a similar feeling to high-cost and high-class paints that might be out of reach at the moment.

  • Number of Paints: 48
  • ASTM Rating: Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
  • Made In: China

#5 Grumbacher Academy Acrylic Paint Mixing Set

Best For The Money

GRUMBACHER Academy Acrylic Paint Review

If you’re looking for the best acrylic paint for beginners, look no further than Castle Art Supplies. 

The whole point of this kit is to introduce the painter to a wide array of colors, all of which can be diluted a bit and mixed around to create fantastic colors.

Castle gave immense value in this kit, so even on a budget, you’ll be able to get more than your money’s worth and have plenty of paint for a long time to come. 

There’s thirty-six ounces of paint in this kit in total, each fitted in airtight metal tubes to preserve the colors and prevent oxidation.

Blend these together to create thousands of color combinations, while the low-gloss finish quite literally makes your art piece shine as it deserves to. 

From consistency to finished texture, you get a similar feeling to high-cost and high-class paints that might be out of reach at the moment.

  • Number of Paints: 6
  • ASTM Rating: Standard Specification for Artists’ Acrylic Dispersion Paints
  • Made In: United States

Introduction to Acrylic Painting

Acrylic painting is wildly versatile, inexpensive compared to other paint types, and offers a wide array of easily mixable colors.

Acrylics aren’t just for beginners, either; loads of artists and hobbyists use acrylic paint almost exclusively, because it offers one of the most fun experiences possible.

Mixing is fairly simple, and it dries quickly.

Because the exterior of the painted surface oxidizes rapidly, your acrylics are basically dried enough to continue working after an hour or so.

It still takes about ten days for the remaining 10% of the paint (closest to the canvas or surface) to fully harden, but it takes far less time than oil paint to dry.

Acrylic painting is also extremely safe, whereas oils might have a harsher body and give you more skin reactions.

For this reason, older children (usually three and up) that arnen’t going to eat the paint can use acrylics right alongside you.

Even if they get some on their hands, it’s not the end of the world.

Acrylics also age beautifully, so you don’t have to worry about rapid fading with time.

If you work with non-diluted paints, the luster of your final draft can be preserved for decades to come before any fading occurs.

They’ll look nearly as good as the day you painted them.

Acrylic Paint FAQ

Most often asked questions about acrylic paints:

How to Mix up Acrylic Paint?

mix up acrylic

Acrylic paint brands all choose their own color specifications to roll with, but you might like one brand’s consistency while you like another brand’s colors. 

Well, between mixing up your acrylic paints, there’s also a way for you to mess with the colors. 

Let’s look at some of the best mixing hacks to make this an easier task.

  • Use White: Blending in some of the titanium white, as is found in most of these kits, will allow you to softly lighten up darker colors. This won’t have a negative impact on your overall painting, and might even stretch your colored paint a bit further.
  • Don’t Use Black to Darken Colors: Use a darker version of that color, or use an undiluted form. In this case, mixing should only be done if the dried color doesn’t darken as you expected. You can also apply a second coat to certain areas to help out.
  • Mix a Bit Lighter: Your paint should look the same as the outside of the packaging dictates. If so, that’s good, but no company can guarantee that it will dry the same as it came out of the tube. If you have the absolute perfect color coming out of the tube, it’s going to dry a bit darker. Add some white, or paint it thinly so that the white background of the canvas can help you out.
  • Be Mindful of Your Space: Some tubes come with 2 oz or less of paint, so you need to make sure you have a small, confined space to keep all of your paints. If you don’t have an artists’ palette, that’s okay, you just need to keep them close together. When you’re done, you want as little residue left behind as possible. Use the end of your brush to mix them together, or a toothpick (this reduces waste, and allows you to mix methodically).

What is the Best Canvas for Acrylic Paint?

There are two types of canvases that will work well for you. 

One is a stretched canvas, which is pulled over the thin birch wooden frame. 

These are the most common types, and they offer great natural resistance against acrylic paint. 

It won’t fully absorb into it, leaving a bit of white as a background if you’re looking to take a bit of artistic freedom with a landscape, for example.

Then there are canvas panels, which have full backings. 

These can actually be cheaper to buy, since they’re easier to manufacture. 

You don’t get quite the same feeling while painting on them, but everyone likes saving money. These are a great option if you’re just starting out and want to get a few practice paintings out before you work up to a big canvas.

Panels can also come in convenient 8 x 10 sizes, similar to printer paper, further mitigating the costs.

What Temperature Can Acrylic Paint Withstand?

Acrylic Paint temperatures

High quality acrylic paint will do you better than dollar store paint here, as it will be harder to destroy through increased temperatures. 

You’d better hope your air conditioner doesn’t run out in the middle of July either way, because even good acrylic paint is only going to withstand temperatures of about 80 F before it starts being a problem.

Over 80 F, you start encountering problems with the paint actually staying put. 

This is especially true if you’ve recently painted the picture (in the last ten or so days), and you’re still technically waiting for the acrylic paint to finish the last 10% of its drying process.

For lower temperatures, you don’t want anything in the freezing range at all. 

Even though the paint is dried, there’s still the chance that a big of moisture or humidity is trapped inside the cotton canvas or the paint. 

This freezes and causes the paint to split. 

Even if that’s not a problem, frost forming on the front of your painting is, because it’s not fully waterproof.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

Artist grade acrylic paint is waterproof, but student grade paint isn’t.

You’ll also see some, such as our pick for Sax, that are washable to an extent.

If you spill it on the carpet, then you’ll be able to clean it out.

Truly waterproof acrylic paint is usually toxic for a few reasons.

There are old additives that were included in acrylic paint, such as lead (which we all know is bad), manganese, cobalt, and a few others.

These were prime picks for paint because they solidify like nothing else, keeping the paint on the canvas or other surface.

With safe acrylic paints, most will be water resistant, but not fully waterproof.

Does Acrylic Paint Smell?

Acrylic Paint smell

Yes, acrylic paint does have a bit of an odor to it, but nowhere near as bad as oil paints. 

As you might imagine, oil in general has a strong aroma, whether it’s motor oil or olive oil. 

Oil paints, especially when you have a lot of them on your palette, are going to create a narcotizing aroma. However, acrylic paints in comparison are not that bad. 

You can smell them, but it’s nothing that’s going to make you turn up your nose.

You can mitigate the smell, if it bothers you that much, by purchasing and wearing a simple contractor’s disposable white face mask.

It is always important to paint in a well ventilated area anyway, and if you do that well (open windows, possibly a fan blowing towards them), then you won’t even notice it. 

The fumes of acrylic paint dissipate about thirty-or-so seconds after you close the tube.

What is an ASTM Rating?

Astm rating

ASTM International is a designed to test numerous products that are used in homes all across America, some of which include artists’ paints. 

These ratings, while not commonly known, identify and disclose toxicity levels or the lack thereof in these products, such as in acrylic paint.

These ratings also work for oil paints and other artists’ tools. 

Depending on what paint you’re purchasing, there might be a long history of usage with harmful materials, such as manganese, cobalt, and lead.

An ASTM rating is designed to disclose everything, and if you have a guide handy, you can immediately know if the product you are planning on purchasing contains any of these harmful ingredients. 

You can find a full guide here.

Time to Take up a Canvas

Now you have the best acrylic paint set in your online cart, and it’s time to get started. 

You can’t improve your painting skill until you pull up a canvas or a sheet of glass and get to work. 

Acrylic paints are some of the most versatile and offer numerous applications, giving you a near-endless list of creative uses and fantastic painting methods you can use. 

Get to it; great art is waiting to be made.

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