Common acrylic paint questions and answers: part 2

When it comes to acrylic paint, there are many unexpected things you will face. Knowing the answers to obstacles you face while doing acrylic painting, as well as learning answers to other possible acrylic painting questions will spread up the learning process.

I have answered many acrylic paint questions in the ‘common acrylic paint questions and answers: part 1‘ article. You will find answers to questions such as why your acrylic painting looks chalky and ways to fix it.

Why is acrylic paint better than normal paint?

Acrylic paint is better than normal paint because it offers both durability and flexibility. Durability refers to the properties such as cleanability, washability, and stain resistance in the context of wall paints. Flexibility refers to the ability to withstand cracking and flaking of the paint film.

What is referred to as normal paint in the context of wall painting is usually latex paint. The main difference between latex and acrylic paint is its binder. Both of these paints are water-based. The binder used in acrylic paint is an acrylic polymer. Acrylic polymers are flexible and also durable. They dry quickly into a water resistance paint film or a plastic film as the acrylic polymer is plastic.

I have written a whole article about the pros and cons of acrylic house paint. It will help you to know better about acrylic paint for your paint project. Following is the link to the article: Pros and cons of acrylic house paint (and how to choose)

Acrylic paint has many benefits compared to other artist paints. Acrylic paints are non-toxic, fast-drying, and easy to clean up while oil paints take weeks and months to dry, emit toxic fumes, and need mineral spirits to clean up. Acrylic paints are used by professional artists on canvases.

Other water-based paints such as watercolor, gouache, tempera paint, and poster colors are usually painted on paper and cardboard. But acrylic paints can be painted on any surface, it can stick from paper to canvas to glass to metal when the surface is prepared well.

I have written an article about why acrylic paint is good for everyone. You can discover many things about acrylic paint as an art medium. Following is the link to the article: 13 Reasons why acrylic painting is good for everyone

I have also written an article comparing the differences between other water-based paint and acrylic paint. You will also get a handy chart that summarizes the differences in that article.

Why do artists not choose acrylic?

Artists may be reluctant to choose acrylics because acrylics were introduced in 1955 and haven’t been around like oil paints. Some artists may not like the vibrancy of colors in acrylic paint and less working time as it dries faster. However, many professional artists use acrylic paint.

Acrylic paint is a recent invention in art history. It was first developed as fast drying nontoxic solution to oil paint. It was quickly accepted by artists after the introduction. Ever since then acrylic paint has been one of the best art mediums for beginners as well as professional artists.

Many professional artists such as Cher Anderson, April M. Rimpo, Randy L. Honerlah, Michael Wagner, and Yelena York have used acrylic paint to create modern art that is both vibrant and in-depth. However, being a safe and fast-drying art medium, acrylic paint is very beginner-friendly.

Acrylics are mostly used in modern arts and abstract work. The vibrant vivid colors also differentiate acrylics from oil paintings.

I have written a whole article about ‘Do professional artists use acrylic paint?‘. You will find interesting facts about artists in the past who have used acrylic paint and their artworks in that article.

There are different qualities of acrylic paint. The lowest quality acrylics are made for craft purposes. They are the lowest in price as well. They have less pigment concentration and more fillers. The middle-quality acrylics are student-grade acrylics. They are best for beginners and students.

The highest quality acrylics are artist-grade acrylics. Artists grade acrylics are what is used by professional artists and the most expensive. If you happen to love acrylic paint and continue to work with this medium, then starting with artist-grade acrylics will be the best choice. They have the highest pigment concentration and lead to the best paint expression.

You can read my article ‘13 Reasons why acrylic painting is good for everyone‘ You will find out why it is used by beginner to professional artists.

How to fix acrylic paintbrushes?

Taking proper care of your acrylic brushes is a real struggle. Often time you are tempted to wash the brush with a few swirls in the water jar and keep them until the next use. The chances are, that acrylic paint is not being removed very well and the remaining acrylic paint is being hardened on the bristles causing clumps.

Usually, the remainder of acrylic paint will be sitting inside the brush ferrule. Some bristles may even come off by mishandling the brush. However, there are a few tactics you can do to save your already ruined brush. Also learning how to better care for your brushes is equally important.

Damaged acrylic paint brushes can be fixed by removing the acrylic paint remaining in the brush bristles or ferrule and shaping the bristles to their original shape. Acrylic paint can be removed using rubbing alcohol, acetone, and dish soap. Then use hot water and soap to reshape the bristles.

Paint clogged inside a brush ferrule

There are plenty of ways to recover your damaged brushes and if you search on youtube, you will find dozens. Here I will lay out some of the best methods you can recover the damaged acrylic paint brushes.

Removing dried acrylic paint

Method 1: Dried acrylic paint can be removed with chemicals such as acetone or nail polish remover, rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, and hand sanitizer. Add one of these chemicals to your brush bristles and rub onto a paper towel or a rug until the paint come off. You can also use a metal wire brush or a toothbrush with hard bristles to get the paint out of your brush.

Method 2: To remove any paint that is inside the ferrule, dip the brushes up to the ferrule part in one of the above chemicals for a few minutes. This will loosen up the paint inside the ferrule. Use a paper towel or a rag to remove the paint then.

Method 3: Another method is dipping your paintbrushes in some liquid soap or dish soap for 1 to 3 days. One or few days after you will see acrylic paint has dissolved in the liquid soap by the color change of the soap. You can use Murphy Oil Soap Liquid for this technique.

Reshaping the brush bristles

Misshapen and strayed bristle brushes

If you have some misshapen or strayed bristles of the brush, shaping them to their original shape is important. Otherwise, there will be some unexpected streaky lines when painting. There are a few ways of fixing strayed or misshapen bristles.

Method 1: One of the ways is first dampening the bristles with dish soap. Then boil some water. Pour the boiled water into a cup. Pour a gulp of vinegar into the boiled water and mix. Vinegar makes it easier to get rid of any remaining unwanted acrylic paint in bristles. Dip the brush in the boiling hot water. Then swirl it in the water. Now you will see the bristles come together.

Take out the brush in around one minute. Then a dab of the excess water onto a paper towel. Now you have a perfect brush with the original bristle shape. You can take a step further by applying some hair clay onto the bristle to make the brush come together in shape. Do not use greasy hair products.

Method 2: The next method is very similar to the previous one. Boil some water. Then dip the bristles of the brush into the water. Swirl the brush in the water. You will see the bristles are already coming to their original shape. Do this for a few minutes and take out the brush.

Now take a soap bar and rub the brush on the soap bar in circles until the bristle comes together. Now keep the brushes aside in an undisturbed place for 3 days. Now you will have a perfectly shaped brush. Rinse the soap from the brush and it is ready to use.

How to take care of the brushes?

Taking care of your brushes is always easier than fixing them later. Below I have included the important points when taking care of your brushes.

  • Never leave the brush in water up to the ferrule height: it will damage the bristles as well as the gum holding the bristles. When switching between colors wash the brush with water and dab excess water onto a paper towel. Then keep the brush aside or use it to mix the next color.
  • After the paint session, clean the brushes with water, then soap, and again water. Dab the excess water onto a paper towel. Never leave your paintbrushes with paint. It will be harder to remove and will damage the bristles
  • Do not keep the brushes downward where the brustles touch any surface. It will curve and misshapen the bristles which are harder to fix. Store the brushes upside in a container or keep them flat on a surface.
  • Do not let the ferrule of the brush be in contact with water for a long time. This will loosen the gum holding up the bristles.

How to fix acrylic paint mistakes on canvas?

Acrylic painting mistakes can be fixed when dry or wet. When the paint is still wet add some water onto the paint with a brush and then mix the paint and water with the brush. Lift the paint with a tissue. When the paint is dry, simply paint over with an opaque color over the mistake, and when dry paint over.

When fixing acrylic paint mistakes while the paint is still wet, make sure the paint layer underneath is fully dry. Also, the paint layer underneath should not be very thin. Otherwise, the paint will lift off.

You can use opaque acrylic paint like titanium white, or cadmium colors to paint over the mistake. The opacity of the paint is indicated on the paint tube label.

It is very easy to fix acrylic paint mistakes as described above. That is the reason why acrylic paint is very beginner-friendly, unlike watercolor where fixing mistakes is almost impossible.

The following video will demonstrate to you how to fix acrylic painting mistakes on canvas.

How to fix acrylic painting mistakes

How to fix acrylic paint mistakes on wood?

Acrylic paint on wood can be fixed as same as on canvas. When the paint is wet, mix acrylic paint with water from the brush and rub it with a paintbrush until the paint is removed. Dab off with a paper towel to lift the paint. When the paint is dry, paint over with an opaque color and then with the actual paint.

The same with fixing acrylic paint mistakes on canvas., make sure the paint layer underneath is dry before removing the wet paint layer above. Also, the paint layer shouldn’t be very thin.

If you are painting on unprimed wood, there is another way to remove acrylic paint. First, wipe away any wet acrylic paint with a rag. Then add a little vegetable oil onto the tissue paper and rub it on the paint. It will help to soften the acrylic paint. Then use a scraper to scrape away any paint.

To remove any acrylic paint remaining, rub some denatured alcohol onto the remaining acrylic paint. Then clean the area of denatured alcohol with some dish soap and water. (note: you need to test if denatured alcohol damages wood in a small area before doing the actual paint removal.)

I have written an article titled; 17 Pros and cons of acrylic paint: All you need to know. You can find all the important aspects of acrylic paint there. Also, it will make learning about acrylic paint much easier.

How to remove acrylic paint from the paper?

Acrylic paint can be removed from the paper when it is still wet. Add some water to the paint and rub until the paint is removed. Then dab off with a paper towel. Make sure the below paint layer is fully dry and not very thin. If the paint is dry, simply paint over with an opaque color like titanium white.

Be careful when rubbing on the paper, as it is more prone to damage. However, if you use high-quality watercolor paper, rubbing paint will be easier. Painting over-dried acrylic paint mistakes will be the easiest. Do not use transparent acrylic colors to cover the paint layer as it will not cover well and the paint will be see-through.

Will hairspray seal acrylic paint?

Hairspray will not seal acrylic paintings like acrylic varnish or sealer because hair spray does not contain acrylic as the polymer. Rather hairspray has PVA as polymer and propellents, plasticizers and fragrances being the other ingredients. Acrylic varnishes have acrylic polymer for better protection.

Creating an art piece is hard enough. It would be a failure if you happen to destroy the painting when sealing. Applying a sealer is supposed to protect the art piece. The best way to do that is through acrylic varnishes and fixatives. Hair spray does not use acrylic polymer and there is no protection to your work.

In some cases hair, the spray is used on acrylic paint to remove it. So it is not the choice for paintings you want to keep.

There are many affordable and best options for acrylic paint sealing. I highly recommend you choose one of them. Krylon satin finish (link to view on Blick Art Material) is one of the best sealers to use on your paintings.

This is the end of the common acrylic paint questions: part 2. Hope to meet you again with more valuable information and questions in the future.

About Dilini

Dilini Tharaka is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to answering painting questions and providing helpful resources.Painting has always been Dilini's hobby. She has created dozens of paintings that she is proud of. She loves to share her painting experience with you.