How to Create a Wash with Acrylic PaintThe wash technique is an easy way to create a watercolor effect for your painting’s background. Not only does an acrylic wash make your painting look like watercolor, it also somewhat mimics the behavior of watercolor if the paint-to-water ratio is right. Acrylic and watercolor paint will never, ever behave the same way, but a wash can do wonders make acrylic paint more watercolor-like.
If you’re used to working more with watercolors, you’ll probably enjoy working with acrylic washes. The big difference to remember is that the acrylic paint wash will set permanently – and quickly!
Washes, like other painting techniques, help create a specific texture on the canvas. The purpose may be to help create the effect of a misty sky, to give the painting a more abstract feel, or to quickly cover the canvas with a base layer of color.
Check out the video for the down ‘dirty on how to create an acrylic wash. We’ve broken down each step for you below:
• You’ll need a canvas, cup of water, palette (paper plate is fine), a large paintbrush, and one color of acrylic paint.
• Put a generous scoop of paint on your palette. Dip your brush into the water and dribble water into the paint. Stir. Keep going until the water/paint mixture is runny.
• Brush the watery paint onto the canvas, covering the whole surface if you are doing a background.
• You should end up with a light, nearly-transparent layer of color. (If you end up with pools of watery paint running off the canvas, you’ve over-diluted. No worries! Just add some more paint to the mixture and try again.)
• Work quickly. Acrylic paint dries fast in general, but when you thin it with water, it REALLY dries in a hurry.
• Apply multiple layers on the top of the canvas and fewer as you move down for an ombre effect, or combine different brush strokes to create texture. Use your imagination!
Now you’ve got a beautiful background that’s ready for anything.