How To Make Acrylic Paint More Vibrant And Brighter (2023)

The colors in acrylic paintings are often flat and dull. Adding more paint is not the solution for creating vibrant colors with acrylics. Some artists might think they could make bright colors by mixing white paint with other colors. Doing so can make light colors, but adding too much white could make the color look faded.

Here are some tricks that will help you achieve vibrant acrylic paintings. The good news is that there are ways to make your acrylic paintings more vibrant, and in this post, we will share tips on making acrylic paintings bright and vibrant. So no matter of what acrylic painting techniques you use, your canvas painting colors will be bold.

How To Make Acrylic Paint More Vibrant And Brighter (1)

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Why Are Acrylic Paintings Dull?

When acrylic paint is wet, it reflects light. However, once dried, the reflection of light from your painting lessens, causing the color to look dull.

Matte paints like acrylic are duller and less vibrant than oils and other mediums. Oil paints are richer because oils have a higher oil to pigment ratio, making them more luminous.

Here are some quick tips that will make your acrylic painting more lively.

Add A Gloss Medium To Your Paint

Using gloss medium in your acrylic paint can help brighten up the colors of your paintings. However, a glossy finish can add a glare to the painting when light hits the shiny paint.

Popular Gloss Medium For Acrylics:

Golden Acrylic Glazing Liquid is a slow-drying acrylic medium designed for artist acrylic paints and indoor interior paints to create a fantastic mixture of color glazes.

Gloss Gell Medium by Artist Loft is a quick-drying gloss gel that mixes well with Golden Acrylic paints and mediums. Add gloss, transparency, and texture to your paintings by adding this gell to your acrylic paints.

Liquitex Gloss Gell Medium increases the brilliance of acrylic paints without changing the thickness of the paint when used with high-quality acrylics.

Use Artist Grade Acrylics

Use the highest quality acrylic paint possible for your painting. Most artist-grade acrylic paints come with a higher pigment to binder ratio than student-grade paints, making them brighter and more vibrant.

Student grade acrylics are good for practice but will not give you the same results as artist grades. Student-grade acrylics are less expensive because they do not contain as much pigment or lower quality pigment to lower the cost of production.

For the best results, the highest quality brand of paint for your artwork.

(Video) How to Make Acrylic Paint Vibrant, Opaque & Brighter

Good paint brands for art:

How To Make Acrylic Paint More Vibrant And Brighter (2)

Liquitex Heavey Body Artist Acrylics is an artist-grade acrylic with a higher pigment to binder ratio than student grades, making it brighter and more vibrant.

Golden Heavey Body Acrylic Paints is a favorite among artists for its high pigment to binder ratio. They offer a wide range of different colors suitable for most projects.

Galeria Acrylic paint from Winsor & Newton is a high-quality acrylic that produces professional results and is perfect for painters on a budget. The Galeria acrylic collection has various colors, ranging from subtle rosy undertones to vibrant punchy primary colors. The paint’s fluidity and consistency allow the artist to use and combine it easily while maintaining its shape and brush strokes.


There are two types of pigments used for acrylics.

Traditional pigments like burnt umber, yellow oxide, red oxide, burnt sienna, and cadmium red light are made from minerals from the earth. The quality of the minerals will determine the color vibrance.

Organic pigments are manufactured in a lab and are more brilliant than traditional pigments. Examples of organic pigments are phthalo blue, phthalo green, Hansa yellow medium, and dioxazine purple.

Experiment with both pigments to see what works best for your painting.


A technique used by many artists is to create an underpainting before adding the final layers of color to their paintings. An underpainting is a monochrome painting of the entire composition. Depending on your desired effect, underpainting can be done in light or dark tones.

An underpainting can make your acrylic painting brighter and more vibrant. However, this technique is not for everyone and should only be used by artists who know how to do it properly.

A good practice would be to start with a white background. Cover the entire canvas with titanium white and let dry before painting your subject matter.

Mixing White Paint

Mixing white paint with other colors will lighten the tone of the color. However, if you use too much white paint, it will lessen the vibrance of the color.

Mixing Black Paint

Adding black to a different color will darken the value but adding too much black will also lessen the vibrance of the original color. Use black and white paint sparingly if you want to create a painting with vibrant colors. Remember that when you mix black or white paint with a different color, there will be less pigment, so the color will not be as vibrant.

Lighter Colors Next To Darker Colors

Using a lighter color next to a darker color will make the lighter color appear brighter. The same applies to using dark colors next to lighter colors. The darker shade will appear darker. Artists’ most significant problem is not learning how to accent their detailed work with different shades.

(Video) How to Create Vibrant Acrylic Color (Avoid this Error)

Warm Colors And Cool Colors

Adding cool colors next to warm colors will make the warmer colors more vibrant.

For example, the background of a landscape painting is often softer and mutated. Artists use cooler colors in the background and warmer colors for the focal point to create depth.

The Color Wheel

Selecting color opposites on the color wheel can make your colors more vibrant. Using analogous colors (colors next to each other on the color wheel) will mute and tone down your palette.

Examples of color opposites:

Red – green

blue – orange

yellow – purple

Acrylic Paint Colors That Go Together

There are a variety of colors you can use when crafting with acrylic paint. To select colors that complement each other, consider using a color wheel.

Traditional color schemes like monochromatic, analogous, and complementary colors are all excellent choices for working with acrylic paint. You can also use a triadic color scheme, which uses three evenly spaced colors on the color wheel.

If you’re looking for specific colors, try matching your paint colors to the seasons. For example, warm tones like orange and yellow are perfect for autumn, while cool tones like blue and green evoke the feelings of winter.

No matter what colors you choose, have fun creating something beautiful.

How To Make Acrylic Paint Transparent

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that can be used to create a variety of effects. One popular technique is to make the paint transparent, achieving a striking ethereal look.

To do this, you will need to use a medium known as a flow improver. Flow improver is a clear liquid that helps to thin the paint and make it more fluid. Simply add a few drops of flow improver to your paint and mix well with a palette knife. You may need to experiment with the ratio of paint to flow improver until you achieve the desired consistency.

Once you have mixed the paint, apply it to your surface in thin layers, and build up the opacity gradually to avoid any stark color changes.

Acrylic Paints Dry Darker

Acrylic paint is a versatile and widely used medium, but it can be tricky to work with. One common issue is that acrylic dries darker than it appears when wet. This can be frustrating for artists trying to achieve a specific color.

(Video) How To Make Your Acrylic Paintings POP! (Bright and Saturated Colour)

There are a few things that can cause this problem.

First, remember that all paint will appear lighter when wet. This is because the water creates a reflective surface, which makes the color seem brighter.

Second, acrylics contain a white pigment called titanium dioxide. This pigment can cause the paint to dry slightly darker than expected.

Finally, consider the type of surface you are painting on. A dark surface will absorb light, making the paint appear darker.

To avoid these issues, it is essential to test your colors before you begin painting. Make sure to allow the wet paint to dry before making judgments about the final color.

With a bit of practice, you can get accurate colors with acrylic paint.

Acrylic Paint Brushes

Acrylic paint is popular for artists of all levels thanks to its vibrant colors and versatile consistency. But to get the most out of this medium, you must have the right tools. Regarding acrylic paint brushes, a few different types can be used, each with its own advantages.

One type of brush that works well with acrylics is the filbert brush. This brush has a rounded tip perfect for smooth, even strokes. Another type of brush that is commonly used for acrylic painting is the flat brush. Flat brushes create broad strokes and fine lines, making them ideal for detailed work. Finally, round brushes are often used for painting tight areas or small details.

With so many different types of brushes available, it can be hard to choose the right one for your needs. However, by understanding the different strengths of each type of brush, you can select the perfect tool for your next acrylic painting project.

What’s The Best Acrylic Paint

Choosing the right acrylic paint can be a daunting task, as there are countless brands and types on the market. Some factors to consider are opacity, drying time, and color selection.

One highly rated option is Liquitex Basics, which offers a wide range of pigments with good coverage at an affordable price.

Another popular choice is Golden High Flow, known for its vibrant colors and fluid consistency, which lend itself well to pouring and glazing techniques.

At the higher end of the spectrum is Golden Heavy Body, praised for its thick texture and excellent color retention. Ultimately, the best acrylic paint will vary depending on the project and personal preference.

Experimenting with different brands and types may lead you to discover your new favorite.

Acrylic Paint Ideas

If you’re starting with acrylic paint, one idea is to begin with, still-life subjects. These include fruits, flowers, and household objects like vases or teacups. This allows for easy reference and practice with blending and layering colors.

(Video) FAQ: How to make acrylic paint more vibrant

Another idea is to create textures using tools like brushes, palette knives, and even different materials such as tissue paper or foil. You can also try copying a favorite image or photo for practice with color mixing and composition.

Overall, the possibilities with acrylic paint are endless – have fun trying out new ideas and techniques.

Acrylic Painting Tutorials

Countless tutorials are available online if you want to improve your acrylic painting skills. However, not all of them are created equal.

One highly-recommended resource is “Virtual Art Academy,” which offers free video lessons and in-depth courses for a fee. Their lessons go beyond just teaching techniques – they also cover composition, color theory, and other principles of art.

Another popular option is Skillshare. If you’ve always wanted to try painting but never knew where to start, Skillshare’s online acrylic painting classes may be just what you need. In addition to learning about color mixing and brush techniques, students also have the opportunity to receive feedback and guidance from experienced artists. And with classes ranging from beginner to advanced levels, there is something for everyone.

No matter which tutorial you choose, practicing regularly will be vital in developing your skills as an acrylic painter.

Final Thoughts On Making Acrylic Paintings More Vibrant

Acrylics are not as vibrant as oils or watercolors. The key to painting with acrylics is experimenting and looking at the results under various lighting.

The best way to achieve vibrant acrylic paintings is by using professional artist quality paint and color theory for your compositions.

How To Make Acrylic Paint More Vibrant And Brighter (3)

Adding a gloss varnish or glaze will make your acrylic paintings more vibrant but experiment with them before using them with your finished artwork.

Be careful when mixing colors can create muddy or beautiful colors.

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How To Make Acrylic Paint More Vibrant And Brighter (4)


How can I make acrylic paint more vibrant? ›

The best way to achieve vibrant acrylic paintings is by using professional artist quality paint and color theory for your compositions. Adding a gloss varnish or glaze will make your acrylic paintings more vibrant but experiment with them before using them with your finished artwork.

How do you make a paint color brighter? ›

Some knowledge of which colours are complementary (opposite) and which are harmonious (similar) in painting will help create dazzling effects in paint. As can be seen, placing red against blue or any similar cool colour will make both colours appear more brighter than if the two colours are similar in hue.

How do I make my colors vibrant? ›

You can keep adding dark colors or you can dip paint brush back into the white paint to create a new tint. It helps to mix from light to dark. Light colors are easily blended with the dark so less muddy colors result in the efforts. – Use a styrofoam egg carton to create a colorful palette.

What does baking soda do to acrylic paint? ›

So when you add baking soda to your paint it doesn't react with the paint in any way. It just adds texture, the grains of baking soda in the paint create the texture. Baking powder however reacts with the paint and changes it. As you'll see in pictures below the paint bubbles up, making it thicker.

What to mix with acrylic paint to make it better? ›

7 Acrylic Paint Mixing Tips and Tricks Worth Trying Out
  1. Add White Paint to Colors for More Opacity and Complexity. ...
  2. Add Brown or Dark Blue to Darken Paints (But Avoid Mixing With Black) ...
  3. Use Primary Colors to Create Different Skin Tones. ...
  4. Add Red to Make Darker, Deeper Blues.
19 Nov 2021

Why do my acrylic paintings look dull? ›

Acrylic paintings can often look dull when they're dry, and some manufacturers such as Old Holland and Winsor & Newton have started to add a glossy acrylic binder to give the paints a more satin appearance.

Does adding water to paint lighten the color? ›

Adding water to paint dilutes the paint and thus lightens its color, so additional coats may be necessary to improve the color quality.

How can I make cheap acrylic paint pigmented? ›

Mixing the paint with white

So mixing a little bit of it with acrylic colors is the simplest way and a most highly suggested method of increasing the opacity of the acrylic paint.

What ingredient makes paint glow? ›

Phosphorescent paint is commonly called "glow-in-the-dark" paint. It is made from phosphors such as silver-activated zinc sulfide or doped strontium aluminate, and typically glows a pale green to greenish-blue color.

What can I add to acrylic paint to make it glow in the dark? ›

You can turn your favorite paint color into a glow in the dark paint with a home DIY project. All you need is phosphorescent powder, available online or at a home improvement store.

How do you make acrylic paint look realistic? ›

The 8 Key Factors for Painting Realism
  1. Precision - accurate drawing from observation.
  2. Values - brightness values.
  3. Contrast - contrast range in brightness values.
  4. Edges - sharp or soft.
  5. Transitions - in brightness values, colors, texture, edges, and temperature.
  6. Temperature - warm and cool colors.

What colors are considered vibrant? ›

Vivid brights represent excitement and optimism. Red, orange, pink, bright green, blue and purple have become the key colors of web and mobile app design projects in many industries.

What happens when you mix vinegar with acrylic paint? ›

As vinegar is an acid, it is the absolute opposite of where the acrylic system likes to be and adding even a small amount will likely cause it to react negatively, and we would not recommend it.

What happens if you add flour to acrylic paint? ›

Using cornstarch or flour as a thickener is yet another popular DIY trick for thickening acrylic paint available on the Internet. The method is the ideal option for those who are needing a fast solution for thickening the acrylic medium.

What does adding water to acrylic paint do? ›

Water breaks down the binder in acrylic, thinning the paint so that it looks like watercolor and allows it to sink into the surface, resulting in a matte finish. Acrylic medium minimizes the need for the addition of water and allows the paint to sit on top of the surface, maintaining a rich, glossy appearance.

How do you paint acrylic like a pro? ›

These Quick Tips Can Save Your Paint and Help You Get Better Painting with Acrylics
  1. 5 Pro Tips for Beginning Acrylic Artists Painting With Acrylics.
  2. Work quickly. ...
  3. Don't put too much paint on your palette. ...
  4. Be careful blending. ...
  5. Acrylics wash off your brushes with soap and water. ...
  6. Create opaque colors without mediums.

What do you put on acrylic paintings to make them shiny? ›

In general, acrylic resin varnishes are glossier, stronger and clearer than acrylic polymer varnishes. Therefore, if you want a high-gloss finish, you should go for an acrylic resin varnish such as Golden MSA Varnish. Before applying the final varnish, you'll need to apply an "isolation coat" over the entire painting.

Can you make acrylic paint shiny? ›

Acrylics carry their own natural luster, but you can easily boost their brilliance by adding a little gloss medium. A good-quality gloss bonds nicely with paints, extending their drying time and allowing them to flow with ease as you blend and build colors to produce luminescent effects.

How do you revitalize acrylic paint? ›

Add water.

Dip your paintbrush in a cup of clean water and then gently tap the water from your brush onto the paint. Carefully work the water into the paint using your brush, adding more water if necessary, until the paint becomes more liquid. Add a product like Flow-Aid Fluid Additive or Acrylic Flow Improver.

Do professional painters add water to paint? ›

In contrast to watering down paint, “thinning” paint is a regular practice for all painters and is recommended by the paint manufacturer. To “thin” paint, an exterior painter will add water to the paint bucket, increasing the paint's workability and slowing down the speed with which it dries.

How do you lighten dry acrylic paint? ›

To lighten (tint) watercolors, you add water and with acrylics you add white paint. Adding white paint for darker colors not only lightens them, it can easily change them into an almost electric, gaudy or unrealistic tone.

How much medium do you add to acrylic paint? ›

A typical rule of thumb for medium body acrylics is 1 part paint to 3 parts pouring medium, meaning you're using more pouring medium than you are actual acrylic paint.

How do I make acrylic paint bolder? ›

Gel Mediums Can Get Your Acrylic Paint Thicker

One of the simplest ways to thicken acrylic paint is through the use of a professional paint medium, such as a gel medium which are readily available at a local art store or online.

Why do artists choose not to use acrylic paint? ›

Disadvantages: because acrylic paints dry quickly they cannot be easily blended to create the 'wet in wet' technique that is popular with oil paints. For this reason, a finished acrylic painting can look harsh compared to a finished oil painting.

What does glycerin do to acrylic paint? ›

However, if you have some glycerol lying around, this can be substituted for an acrylic medium and it works extremely well. Glycerol is already an ingredient in acrylic paints; essentially, it extends the drying time and makes the paint more viscous.

How do you make paint glowing effect? ›

Add white acrylic paint from the top of the wick portion of the flame to the tip of the flame. Use a light touch with only the very tip of your brush and blend the white paint down into the raw umber color around the wick. Don't cover the wick. Leave a slight raw umber outline around the flame to highlight it.

What colors glow in the dark? ›

The brighter the neon color the greater the chance that the item will glow. Fluorescent green, pink, yellow, and orange are the safest bets. You can get lucky with some purple, red and blue colors though these colors tend to be a little more hit and miss.

Can I mix glow powder with acrylic paint? ›

You can mix it into a plethora of mediums such as nail acrylic, wax, paint, caulking, ceramic glaze, plastics, glue, epoxy etc.

What to mix with acrylic paint to make it translucent? ›

Acrylics, because they are water-based, can be thinned with water to create transparent washes.

How do you make paint look spackled? ›

Just mix equal parts satin latex—choose a color that contrasts with the base coat—and clear acrylic glaze, which gives the specks shine and dimension. Then lightly load a spatter brush, and tap it against a stick about 6 inches above the surface to create a hail of paint flecks.

What to add to acrylic paint to make it textured? ›

Light Modeling Paste - Both lightweight and thick, Light Modeling Paste creates a fun textured surface to paint over because it's so absorbent. Ceramic Stucco Texture Gel - This is also another one of my favorites to paint over because I love the absorbent texture it creates.

How do you make white paint brighter? ›

Adding extra white pigment to white paint actually DOES make it whiter! It's perfectly acceptable to add more white tint to white undercoat or primer for example to get better coverage. A bright glossy white finish naturally looks 'whiter' than a matt finish, shiny surfaces reflect light, duller surfaces absorb light.

What color shines the brightest? ›

By another definition pure yellow is the brightest, in that it most closely resembles white. Blue is perceived as closest to black. This illustrates how there can be several definitions of perceived brightness.

What color makes everyone happy? ›

Yellow is widely recognized as the happiest color in the world and comes with a scientific pedigree to back up this esteemed honor. Research has suggested two main reasons why yellow is considered the happiest color.

What color is the most powerful color? ›

Red is the most powerful color amongst all. It has a tendency to stimulate mind and attract attention.

What color makes you feel the happiest? ›

Yellow is usually the color of happy, joyful emotions.

What is the difference between bright and vibrant? ›

Vibrant colors are bright. Vibrant sounds are loud and resonant. Vibrant people are ones you remember — they're bright and full of personality.

How can I make cheap acrylic paint look better? ›

One of the simplest ways to thicken acrylic paint is through the use of a professional paint medium, such as a gel medium which are readily available at a local art store or online. There are a few types of gel mediums such as gloss, matte, and semi-gloss, which give you the ability to achieve the look you are seeking.

How do you increase pigment in acrylic paint? ›

Mixing the paint with white

So mixing a little bit of it with acrylic colors is the simplest way and a most highly suggested method of increasing the opacity of the acrylic paint.

Can I mix oil with acrylic paint? ›

Generally, it is not a good idea to mix oil paints and acrylic paints together on your palette before applying them to the canvas. Acrylics are water-based, and oils are oil-based, so they each have different properties and different needs (in terms of drying time, type of varnish, etc).

What happens if you add glycerin to acrylic paint? ›

However, if you have some glycerol lying around, this can be substituted for an acrylic medium and it works extremely well. Glycerol is already an ingredient in acrylic paints; essentially, it extends the drying time and makes the paint more viscous.

How do you increase the intensity of color in art? ›

Intensity is adjusted by adding additional colors to the pure hue. A color can be made less intense by adding gray to the color. In some ways, intensity can be measured by the amount of gray in the hue.

Does adding water to acrylic paint change the color? ›

When you add water to acrylic paint, it changes the consistency of the paint. It becomes lighter in color and thinner. Acrylic paint is water-based paint, so it naturally dilutes when you add water. This will help you paint on different surfaces without making a mess.


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