How to Thin Acrylic Enamel Paint

If you’re a professional painter or just someone who likes to paint as a hobby, some tricks will help thin your acrylic enamel paint. This post will focus on how to thin acrylic enamel paint and glycerin as additives to make the paint less thick and easier for you to apply. 

Acrylic Enamel Paint is a type of oil-based paint combined with an acrylic medium, making it more durable against wear and tear. It’s typically used in commercial settings such as restaurants, schools, theaters, etc. Acrylic Enamel paints come in gloss or matte finish depending on what look you want for your project.

How to Thin Acrylic Enamel Paint

10 Reasons Why You Need to Thin Acrylic Enamel Paint:

1. Even though you’re an experienced acrylic painter, some paints can become thick and hard to use as you use up the contents thoroughly.

2. Your color intensity will become muted if your paint has been sitting around for a long time; thinning out the paint will revitalize the pigment and allow you to recreate your original vision.

3. When working with a small amount of Water, thin the acrylic paint to help the pigment and binder stay in suspension over time; this allows for more reworkings without losing color intensity or clarity in the paint film.

4. Experiment with different amounts of Water to see how it changes the appearance and opacity of your paint film.

5. Water allows for a more efficient way to thin paint without sacrificing color intensity, thus creating less waste.

6. Mixing acrylic mediums into your paint can extend its working life while adding new qualities such as increased resistance to UV light, the ability to hold more detail (when using heavy body paints), and increased film strength (wet or dry).

7. Water-based paint dries too quickly for many artists; adding Water can slow down this process.

8. A few drops of liquid acrylic medium mixed into your paint will give it a texture more like oil paint, making it easier to work with and allowing you to achieve certain effects that would be difficult otherwise.

9. Water-soluble oil paint is ideal for making washes as it can easily change from wet to dry without mixing with any medium.

10. Using a proper amount of Water can help keep your acrylic paint from drying out as fast, thus preserving the quality of your paints and increasing their shelf life.

12 Methods on How to Thin Acrylic Enamel Paint:

Acrylic enamel paint is the fastest drying type of water-based paint. However, the main disadvantage of using this paint is that it tends to dry very fast, thus making it hard to work with. To make this paintless viscous, and easier to work with, you can use one or all of these twelve methods on how to thin acrylic enamel paint.

1. Add Water:

Add Water to Thin Acrylic Enamel Paint

This is the most basic and standard method to thin acrylic enamel paint. You can add water to it in varying ratios, depending on how much you need to thin the color and how viscous you want the resultant mixture to be. For example, if you wish to have a 2:1 ratio of paint to water, you can pour 2 cups of paint into 1 cup of Water.

2. Add White Glue:

Another easy way to thin acrylic enamel paint is by adding about one part of white glue (PVA) to four or five parts of paint; the resultant mixture will be less viscous than that created with Water and also preserve brush strokes.

3. Add Fabric Medium:

Fabric medium is a synthetic polymer that makes the paint thicker or easier to work with. It also helps slow down the evaporation rate of solvents from the paint, thus helping prolong its life and providing a protective varnish coating by sealing it from dirt and pollutants.

To add fabric medium to acrylic enamel paint, you need equal parts of both. You can also add a little water and the fabric medium if you want a thinner mixture.

4. Add Acrylic Glazing Liquid:

Acrylic glazing liquid is another synthetic polymer used for making acrylic paints glossier and more transparent. You can add a few drops of it to acrylic enamel paint to make the mixture less viscous and easier to work with. But beware, adding too much of this liquid will produce very thin, runny paint, which will dry more quickly than usual.

5. Add Naphtha:

Naphtha is a petroleum distillate available in hardware stores. It is mainly used to remove oil-based paint stains from hard surfaces, but it can also be used with acrylic enamel paint to achieve various effects. For example, if you want the resultant mixture to dry more quickly, add less Naphtha; on the other hand, add more Naphtha if you want the resulting mixture to dry more Naphtha

6. Add Turpentine:

Turpentine is a volatile solvent used to thin oil paint and clean brushes. It can also be used to thin acrylic enamel paint. It’s one of the best ways to do so, especially if you want the resultant mixture to dry quickly. But make sure you use turpentine only when the paint is still runny, as adding too much of this solvent can cause your paint to become very thin and transparent.

7. Add Liquin:

Liquin is a modified alkyd resin used for making oil paints more fluid or viscous without affecting their permanency. It can also make acrylic enamel paint more fluid and viscous, but it will dry very slowly. So if you want your paint to retain its viscosity for an extended period, this is the best method for how thin acrylic enamel paint.

8. Add Glazing Liquid:

Glazing liquid is a mixture of glycol ether and alkyd resin used to produce transparent, lustrous effects when mixed with paint. For example, you can add it to acrylic enamel paint to make the resultant mixture less viscous. But remember that this method will also cause your paint to dry slowly, so only use it if you have the time for it.

9. Add Odorless Mineral Spirits:

Odorless mineral spirits are made from petroleum distillates used to thin oil paints and clean brushes. You can also use them to thin acrylic enamel paint, but only in very small amounts since this solvent is also slightly toxic. Plus, adding too much of it will make the paint dry very quickly.

10. Add Turpenoid Natural:

This petroleum distillate is available in art supply stores, used for thinning oil paints and preserving their quality when they’re not used. Adding just a small amount of this solvent to acrylic enamel paint will reduce its viscosity without significantly changing the drying time.

However, adding too much of this solvent can cause your paint to dry very quickly, so only add a few drops at a time.

11. Add lacquer Thinner:

Lacquer thinner is mainly used for cleaning lacquer-based products and degreasing surfaces to prepare them for painting. But it can also be added to acrylic enamel paint to reduce its viscosity and increase the drying time. However, adding too much of this solvent can cause your texture paste to become thinner than usual.

12. Add Turpentine Substitute:

Turpentine substitutes are petroleum distillates used for thinning oil paints and cleaning brushes, but they’re also highly toxic as well. So, like with odorless mineral spirits, only add a few drops of this solvent to acrylic enamel paint to reduce viscosity and slow drying time.

8 Benefits of Using Acrylic Enamel Paint:

8 Benefits of Using Acrylic Enamel Paint

1. Acrylic enamel paint is a fast-drying paint with a challenging adhesion level. However, it doesn’t crack easily and is easy to clean and mar-resistant once dried.

2. It has very few fumes so that you can work indoors without any discomfort or damage to your lungs or head.

3. Acrylic enamel paint is ideal for most surfaces such as wood, metal, plastic, and glass.

4. It can be applied in thin layers when working with fine details and looks best when used with a brush or spatula. It takes around an hour to dry but will stay wet longer than oil paint, so you have more time to work on the piece.

5. It thickens up quickly when you use too much, so it can be easily remedied by adding more of the thinner (or Water if you’re working with water-based acrylic enamel).

6. You can paint over acrylic enamel with oil or tempera without affecting the surface below it.

7. Acrylic enamel can be easily removed if you mistake simply by wiping it with a rag dampened in paint thinner.

8. Acrylic enamel is affordable so that you can experiment without feeling guilty or hesitant about making mistakes.


You can thin acrylic enamel paint by mixing it with water. There are many reasons why artists may use this technique, but the most common one is to control how much gloss and texture they want in their work. The next time you need to thin acrylic enamel paint, try these easy steps. You’ll have a good result in no time flat!

We hope you’ve found this blog post on how to thin acrylic enamel paint helpful! If you’re interested in learning more about other painting tips or tricks, be sure to stick with us for future posts that will provide even more great information, just like this one.

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