How To Paint Acrylic Over Watercolor Paintings!

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With more and more people turning to both acrylic painting and water color painting as a way to pass the time, we have noticed more and more people reaching out with a wide range of questions about the paint types. One of the questions that we have noticed people asking more and more is if you can paint acrylic over water color in the same painting.

Due to so many people asking about using acrylic and water color paint in the same piece of artwork as well as both paint types being very popular options, we have decided to publish this article. Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are considering using the two types of paint together get the best possible results out of their artwork.

Due to covering a number of similar questions about using water color and acrylic at the same time, we have decided to add out table of contents below. This should make it much easier for any of our readers to skim directly to the section of the article that they are interested in.

Can You Put Acrylic Paint On Top Of Watercolor Paint?

Due to acrylic and water color paints both being water based, you can use them in the same piece of artwork to great effect without having any major problems. This offers some unique colors and opacity that can be difficult to get without mixing to two together helping create some really unique artwork.

The best part about mixing the two paints is that you can use an decent, cheap water color paint set and a decent, cheap acrylic paint set and still get great results. We often see people presume that you have to be using professional level paints for the best results but this is not the case at all.

In our opinion, applying the water color paint to your canvas or paper first and then leaving it to dry before applying your acrylic paint is the best option to take. This minimises the chances of the higher water quantity in the water color paint will cause you problems with your acrylic paints.

Can You Put Watercolor Paint On Top Of Acrylic Paint?

You are able to apply water color paint on top of acrylic paint but we would recommend that you minimise the amount of water that is in your water color paint. This will prevent it from causing your acrylic paint to run and potentially spoil your artwork.

That said though, restricting the amount of water that you use with your water color paints can end up causing issues with the spread ability of the paint when applied to your canvas or paper. This is why we usually recommend that you try to apply your water color paints first, leave them to dry, and then apply your acrylic paints on top of them.

In some very niche cases, you are able to apply your acrylic paint first, leave it to dry and then apply your water color paint on top of it without having any issues though. Just keep in mind that both acrylic paint and water color paint are water based so re-hydrating acrylic paint can cause it to run but the lower water content of acrylic paint is unlikely to re-hydrate a dry water color.

Can You Apply Watercolor Paint And Acrylic Paint At The Same Time?

Although you can technically apply water color and acrylic paint to your canvas at the same time, we don’t recommend it. The higher water concentration in your water color paints can cause consistency issues with your acrylic paint and potentially cause it to run.

As you can probably imagine, this can cause a wide range of problems for your artwork ranging from the acrylic paint running to it fading and having a much weaker color than it should have. In addition to this, it can often cause the acrylic and water color paints to mix on the canvas spoiling the colors of both.

It is much easier to apply your initial layer of water color to your canvas and then wait for it to dry so the larger amount of water in the paint evaporates. You can then usually apply your acrylic paint on top of the water color paint without having any issues with the water color running or fading.

Can You Mix Acrylic With Watercolor Paint?

You are able to mix acrylic paint and water color paint with each other with relative ease to create some unique colors and opacity levels. This is a very common practise with many artists using the technique to great effect in their artwork.

It is relatively easy to mix your acrylic paint with your water color paint but we do recommend that you add minimal water to the water color to get it onto your palette. Once on the palette, try to use the water from the acrylic paint as much as possible before adding any additional water.

This will help to keep the consistency of the acrylic paint correct while allowing you to mix the water color paint in with it. If you do have to add small amounts of water during the mixing process, add it in stages and in small amounts for the best possible results.

Should You Apply Your Acrylic Paint Or Watercolor Paint First?

Adding your water color paint to your canvas or paper first and then letting it dry prior to applying the acrylic paint is usually the best option. This is due to the amount of loose water used for water color being much higher than the loose water in acrylic pain.

Getting the paint with the largest amount of loose water onto your canvas or paper first and letting that high water concentration evaporate removes the risks that we touched on above for your acrylic paint. These include the acrylic paint running, suffering from color fade or accidentally mixing with the color of the water color paint.

Although some people do apply their acrylic paint first and then add their water color on top of it with a lower water concentration, this is harder than it sounds. You have to get the amount of water that you use for your water colors perfect so that the pigment will spread correctly while also ensuring that it is not so much to cause problems with your acrylic.

Does The Colors Of The Paints That You Use Matter?

Just because you can use your acrylic paint on top of your water color paint does not mean that you should and the color of the paints will come into play. A dark water color may show through a pale acrylic paint and potentially cause issues with your painting so keep this in mind.

This is one of the main reasons that some people will choose to mix their water color and acrylic paints prior to applying them to their canvas as we covered earlier in the article. It just makes it easier to make custom colors in an attempt to reduce the chances of this happening.

Another technique is to layer through the color range so have a navy blue, a regular blue, and a pale blue all layered on top of each other. The regular blue essentially acts as a barrier for the navy blue so it is unable to spoil the look of the pale blue and can really help.


That brings our article going over if you can paint acrylic over water color paint to an end. We hope that we have been able to help you get a better understanding of how you should be going about applying acrylic paints on top of water color paints to help you get the best possible end result for your artwork.