Why Is My Acrylic Paint Watery?

Due to its low price, easy of use, and ease of accessibility, the popularity of acrylic paint has sky rocketed over the last year or two as people realise it is a great way to pass the time and express themselves. The sudden influx of beginners to the acrylic painting space has resulted in a surge of people reaching out to ask various questions to try improve their acrylic painting sessions.

A commonly asked question that we see people asking time and time again is “why is my acrylic paint watery?” So we wanted to make this dedicated article as it is a very common problem that we see. Thankfully, it is usually very easy to fix with it sometimes being down to easy to avoid mistakes that the painter makes.

Our goal is that this article will be able to help as many of our readers as possible to void making their acrylic paint watery and ensure you get the best results possible from your painting sessions. Although there are some acrylic paint techniques that do need watery paint, these are for more experiences users so we doubt many of the people reaching out for assistance will be intentionally using watery acrylic paint.

Why Is My Acrylic Paint Watery?

The most common reasons your acrylic paint may be watery is due to using a low quality paint product, adding additional water prior to use, and using wet brushes with your paints. Beginners constantly make these three mistakes time and time again with all three of them being easy to avoid once you are aware of them.

The most common of the three problems is definitely people using wet or damp brushes with their paints. So many beginners fault to clean their brushes or let them dry off with many not wicking the water away between washing their brushes while painting to remove old colors causing their acrylic paint to be watery.

The vast majority of acrylic paint formulas do not need you to add any additional water to them once pouring them out of the tub. We often see people who watch videos on YouTube of water color artists getting confused between water color and acrylic paints and then add water to acrylic paints making them watery.

Can The Acrylic Paint Formula Make It Watery?

Low quality, cheap acrylic paint formulas can also be a very common reason that your acrylic paint may be watery and cause problems. This is often due to the formula having low quality ingredients in it of having too much water in the actual paint mix when you purchase it.

Thankfully, a decent acrylic paint set is usually only around $10 more than the cheaper, low quality ones that have watery paint in them. This can be a quick and easy way to avoid water acrylic paint while also getting a better product that should not flake, crack while also offering much better color retention.

Please keep in mind that even these better acrylic paint formulas can still turn watery if you do not pay attention to how much water is on your brush after washing it mid paint. Just because you spend that additional $10 on your paint set does not mean that you can overlook the other common causes that your paint may be watery so keep that in mind.

How Do You Thicken Watery Acrylic Paint?

You can thicken watery acrylic paint by adding a thickening gel to it but common household items such as cornstarch or flour can also work well. You usually only have to add a small amount to your acrylic paint to thicken them up and stop them being so watery.

Although a product such as Liquithick Thickening Gel is usually the quickest and easiest option to thicken watery acrylic paint, it is rare that you will already have it around your house. If you have cornstarch or flour at home then you are able to take advantage of them to start thickening your watery acrylic paint right now.

Please note that the correct ratios for cornstarch or flour will depend on a number of things so there is no set amount to add. We usually recommend that you start with a very small amount, usually 1/20th of your acrylic paint volume, mix it and then adjust from there. You may have to add more cornstart or flour to the paint but it is better to gradually build it up rather than add too much and end up with clogging, tacky paint.

The Down Sides Of Watery Acrylic Paint!

There are a number of downsides of watery acrylic paint including the paint running, bleeding, and ghosting on your paper or canvas. On top of this, the color of the acrylic paint will usually be very pale once dry if the paint is too watery when applied.

We have a dedicated article going over why your acrylic paint may not be drying as well as an article going over how to make acrylic paint dry faster too. If for whatever reason, you have to use watery acrylic paint then those articles may be worth reading to help improve the end results of your painting sessions.

Although avoiding watery acrylic paint will always be the best option, they can help if you are stuck using watery acrylic paint due to your budget or the equipment you have access too. If you are a beginner to using acrylic paints then this is all part of the learning process and a large number of established acrylic paint users had these same issues when starting out too.


That brings our article going over why your acrylic paint maybe watery to an end. We hope that you have found this article helpful and that we have been able to help you prevent you acrylic paints from becoming watery during use. The main issue that we see time and time again is people having way too much water on their brush but thankfully, this is a very easy issue to fix in the majority of cases.

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