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Stenciling With Acrylic Paints

Stencil Paints Part 1: Stenciling with acrylic paints

Many people still find it a little confusing when deciding which paint to use for their stenciling projects. In this article I will explore the properties of some common and readily available paints that can be used for a variety of stenciling applications.

All paints have three things in common. Pigments, binders and a solvent. The amount, quality and quantity of these three components will give a paint its specific characteristic and determine its suitability for a particular use.

Aside from these three ingredients, a variety of additives and fillers are also present in paint that effect factors such as drying time, curing, coverage, chip resistance and flexibility.

Keep in mind is that good quality paint will generally contain high amounts of pigment and a high amount of quality binders. Poor quality paint will contain less pigment and less binding agents.

When choosing a paint for your project, you don't really need to purchase the most expensive paint you can find. At the same time try and avoid the really cheap ones. There is a middle ground that will make your stenciling experience enjoyable and smooth flowing.

Properties and Atributes

Artist acrylics are your first stop for most of your stenciling projects when decorating walls or using wall stencils for furniture and even fabrics.

Acrylic paints contain the purest pigments and have higher pigment strength than regular interior house paints such as latex emulsion paints. There are many brands of quality artist acrylics on the market.

Acrylic paints are capable of producing brilliant colors, have broad handling properties and give excellent coverage. You can purchase artist acrylics in small quantities from your local craft shop or art supply in a wide gamut of mixable colors.

Acrylic paints are basically a mixture of water, acrylic resins and pigments just like "Latex paints". The color of the paint is determined by the pigments it contains. Binders hold the pigments together and adhere them to the painted surface.. In acrylic paint the binder is acrylic polymer.

When acrylic paint dries it actually forms a plastic film that is both impervious to
water and permanent.

The solvent is the part that keeps it fluid and is also what you use to clean or dilute the paint. in acrylic paints the solvent is water. The big difference is that artist acrylics contain a much higher amount of pure pigment and 100% acrylic binders.

Acrylic paints are water soluble when wet, and become water-resistant when dry.

When acrylic paint dries it actually forms a plastic film that is impervious to water and permanent. Dried acrylic paint is also permanent when applied to fabrics.

Another big plus for acrylic paints is the quick drying time. Acrylics be touch dry in around 15 minutes and this is a great advantage when moving through a complex mural.

Many acrylics such as liquitex come in different viscosities such as light body , medium body and heavy body.
In plain language this means the paint is formulated to be anything from creamy to soft and buttery. What this means to you is the paint will cling to your brush or sponge and be less likely to seep in behind your stencils.

If you are planning on using an airbrush to apply paint through a stencil, you can use thin body or heavy body paints diluted with a little water. Many brands of Artist acrylics also stock a range of specialty colors and effects such as iridescent and fluorescent and metallic colors such as gold and silver.

Cleaning Up Acrylic Paints

Wet brushes and sponges can be cleaned with soap & water. Do not let the paint dry on your brushes or seep into the ferrule ( the metal sleeve that holds the bristles).

If You have brushes where the paint has dried, you can remove the dried paint carefully with denatured alcohol, acetone or a similar product.

Some of these cleaning products are flammable and toxic so take appropriate care when using these products. To remove wet paint from your wall or surface use a damp rag or cloth moistened with water.

Advantages of artist acrylics

Water soluble when wet
Dries quickly to a water-resistant surface
Suitable for indoor and outside applications
Good adhesion to most painting surfaces such as wood, canvas, walls surfaces and cotton fabrics
Air-dry by evaporation
No toxic solvents or cleaners necessary
Available in small quantities
Wide range of intense colors
No fumes or odor
Nonflammable
Surface of a dry acrylic painting can be cleaned by gently washing with soap and water
Can be used with an airbrush

Popular Brands of Artist Acrylics

Liquitex, Golden, Chroma, Atelier, Holbien, M Graham, Old Holland, Wyland, Winsor and Newton, Da Vinci
Nova, Chroma, Matisse, Joe Sonjay

Stenciling with acrylic paints
Stenciling with acrylic paints
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