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18 Awesome Acrylic Painting Techniques on Canvas

18 Awesome Acrylic Painting Techniques on Canvas
acrylic painting techniques

Acrylic paint is a great way to make some truly amazing paintings and using the best acrylic painting techniques on canvas is fundamental to the process.

Since all paint types are different, you might be wondering what to paint with acrylics.

This is why I made an effort to compile some awesome acrylic painting techniques for you to enjoy.

You don’t have to love every option, but you should try them all once just to see what you can make.

Remember to have fun with these cool acrylic painting techniques!

Wet Your Brush

acrylic painting - wet your brushPhoto by Donovan Valdivia

—One of the more classic and cool painting techniques is to wet your brush.

You might not think that this can make a huge difference, but it really can.

You don’t want the brush to be dripping. Instead, get the brush wet without leaving any excess water and paint a solid stroke.

It is apparent immediately just how great a wet brush is for making smooth and even strokes.

This makes it simple for you to make softer edges in your artwork.

Many people find this to be a great technique, particularly for certain styles of art.

This simple technique is also a great way how to paint with acrylic.

There is something fascinating about seeing the wet look, that makes it fulfilling to keep doing.

As you keep doing it, you’ll master how to paint acrylics on canvas in no time.

Leave Your Brush Dry

dry brush painting

—Maybe you don’t want to smooth the edges of a wet paintbrush.

If that is the case, go on ahead and let your paintbrush dry.

This will make it easy for you to enjoy sharper and more complex strokes.

Using a dry brush changes the overall look because it drags the pigment rather than smoothly spreading it.

You will notice that this can lead to some seriously cool effects depending on what kind of brush you use.

Every brush will bring a completely unique look when it is dry.

This makes it possible for you to really experiment with textures and styles.

Painting with a dry brush will give you an amazing textured painting technique.

One of the Many Acrylic Painting Ideas to Help you Spread the Love—And Pigment!

—One completely fun way to get the most out of your awesome acrylic painting techniques is to spread the pigment.

For this technique, you will use a small amount of paint and a small amount of water.

You will then take any tool and spread the paint around within the water, allowing for some amazing looks.

These fun options are great for helping you to get a little more silly with your art.

If you are looking for an experimental way to let loose, look no further.

Using basic painting techniques like this, will not only serve you well with acrylic paint styles but also with other painting mediums like watercolor and gouache.

Make Splatter Art

splatter painting

—Splatter art is a completely fun style of art that is great for relieving stress.

It is one of the many unique acrylic painting techniques and can be done with almost any kind of paint, which is why I added it to this list of acrylic painting techniques.

You will love taking your paint and making a complete mess of it.

All you have to do is put some paint on a brush, pull your arm back, and let it loose.

I will be the first to tell you that this is an incredibly fun but messy technique to play with.

Make sure that you put down some covers for your room, then let the paint fly!

If you want the ultimate way to relieve stress, making splatter art is one of the best painting techniques for walls.

Let loose, go crazy, and use a wall as a giant canvas to paint splatter.

No of course only do it on a wall that you have permission to paint on.

Paint in Layers

acrylic paintingPhoto by Steve Johnson

—Sometimes you want to bring something special to your artwork.

Using texture is a great way to go about that.

Some acrylic painting techniques advise against layers, but I disagree with that.

If you want to see what you can do with layers, I’m all for it.

This is a fun way to add an interesting look and feel to your art in no time at all.

Since acrylic paint dries quickly, it is actually really great for creating layers.

Experiment with different techniques to see what you can create.

Break Out the Sponges

—When it comes to cool painting techniques, there is more to it than using a paintbrush.

Painting is an exciting craft that allows you to really experiment and see what you can create.

Some of the more fun acrylic painting techniques use other tools entirely.

A great way to make fun pictures with great texture is to use a sponge.

Sponges have a very particular look to them that you can have a great time experimenting with.

You can dab the sponge or even smear paint with it for fun and unique effects.

You can even smear the paint first then dab it on top of it to make a great new look!

What I love about this texture painting technique is that not only is it easy but also almost everyone has a sponge in their home.

If you don’t, go to a dollar store and buy one.

You can throw out acrylic painting instructions and just use the sponge to dab some acrylic on canvas.

Use A Blade

acrylic painting with knife

—One great way to get some truly unique and awesome acrylic painting techniques is to use a blade.

There are so many different ways to go about using this approach.

You can use the blade to scrape or mix paints.

You can use it to make lines where you don’t want the paint to go.

It is even possible to use a blade to create a specific edge as you paint.

Just remember that any time you use a blade, you want to be careful.

Even if it doesn’t look that sharp, you won’t want your fingers anywhere near it.

This will make it easy for you to have fun and protect yourself too!

Give the Gift of Glaze

—Acrylic paints come in a variety of exciting colors, but sometimes you want more shine.

Depending on what kinds of paints you are using, the general shininess of your paints may vary.

Don’t be surprised to find that you want a little more glitz and glamor.

This can easily be achieved by adding a glaze on top of your paint when it is done.

This makes it possible for you to take that final picture and make it really pop.

Make A Matte Look Instead

acrylic paintingPhoto by Steve Johnson

—Sometimes you don’t want the shine.

Sometimes your picture needs to be a little less glossy and a lot more serious.

A quick application of a matte finish can work wonders here.

You can either use it to make all of your paint a matte color or apply it as needed.

Some artists like to experiment with a combination of the two finishes.

It can end up looking incredibly cool.

Smoosh Your Brush into the Canvas

—This acrylic painting technique is one that you won’t want to do with expensive brushes.

It’s one of the painting techniques for canvas you don’t have to be so determined about using a particular tool in hopes to achieve amazing results.

However, buying some cheap brushes for this approach can be a ton of fun.

You might remember doing this as a kid, and now you can do it again.

All you have to do is cover your brush in paint and then literally smoosh it down onto the canvas.

You will go tip-first while you do this, and it can also be fun to give it a swirl.

Depending on how quickly you do it, you can get some seriously cool textures with this approach.

Try Your Hand at Finger Painting

finger painting with acrylics

—If you are doing this with young ones, be sure to get non-toxic paint.

However, for all of your adult finger painting needs, I trust you not to eat the paint.

You can take this approach by doing exactly what you would have as a kid.

Focus on picking your colors and use your fingers to push around paint all over.

Though this might seem childish, you can actually use this approach to get some very cool effects.

In fact, many artists use subtle finger painting techniques for certain elements of a painting.

I also recommend this and the painting artistic dots technique below as great acrylic abstract painting techniques for beginners.

Both are great acrylic abstract painting techniques that anyone of any age can do and master quickly.

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Use Your Paintbrush to Make Artistic Dots

—These unique acrylic painting techniques are actually called stippling and it is a pretty common way to paint.

You will love this approach once you get it done.

It is absolutely amazing for creating stunning backgrounds or for bringing more to a subject.

To do this, you will rely on the tips of the bristles on your paintbrush.

In order to create the perfect look, you will gently touch the bristles to the page and then pull back.

The goal is to make sure that the tips barely touch the canvas, leaving behind a ton of dots.

It not only looks great but can be used to make some seriously cool images.

Partially Mix Your Colors for Fun

acrylic paintingPhoto by Steve Johnson

—Acrylic paint has a great texture for a variety of mixing options.

While you can certainly mix your paints until they become a new color, there are other options.

One fun approach to take when you mix your paint is to not mix them too much.

Instead, put your two colors together and lightly mix them once.

A quick twirl with your paintbrush is all that you need.

When you leave the paint partially unmixed, you can enjoy some seriously cool effects on the canvas.

It allows you to get some truly unique looks with swirls of color.

Make A Gradient

—When it comes to fun acrylic painting techniques, this is one that always looks cool.

You will want to do this over and over once you learn how.

This is great because it is easy enough for beginners, but the end result looks pretty fancy.

To make a gradient, you will start with white paint and a color of your choosing.

Though you can do this without white paint, the white paint approach does make it easier.

Simply apply your color and begin blending, moving the brush back and forth as you move up.

The colored paint will thin over time as you move it away from the primary color source.

Draw In Your Paint

—Now, you won’t want to grab your favorite pen for this approach, but it is so much fun.

Since acrylic paint dries so quickly, you can do a lot with the texture of it if you are quick.

All you have to do is put down a thick layer of paint and wait for it to begin drying.

As it gets drier but is still wet enough to be malleable, use some sort of pin or writing utensil to draw in the paint.

The goal is to use a sharp object to scratch in cool textures.

The final impact can be pretty amazing.

Many people also find it satisfying to draw in their paint.

Vary Your Brush Types

—A great way to experiment with acrylic paint is to use different brushes.

You might think that your painting is a one-brush-fits-all scenario, but it doesn’t have to be.

Using different brushes can bring so much life to a painting.

You will love seeing how much more detail and texture you can add by using different brushes.

When it comes to adding a little something extra to your work, different brushes can help you out.

Continuously Moisten to Maintain Control of Your Paint

—Though the fast-drying elements can be one of the more beneficial aspects of acrylic paint, it can also be a pain.

Some people struggle to get what they want out of their painting when the paint dries too quickly.

A great technique to use when you want to buy more time with your paint is to use a mister.

A simple spray bottle that has a misting option will do the trick.

Just use it to keep your paint moist while you work, and you can experiment with that much more.

Make It Rain

acrylic paintingPhoto by Paweł Czerwiński

—Another one of the unique acrylic painting techniques to run with acrylic paint is to add water after it has dried.

Since the paint dries so quickly, this can be incredibly easy.

All you have to do is either dripping water on it or spray the painting.

It will leave you with interesting artwork and some very cool effects.

It can change the texture or alter the overall pattern of the pain.

This is definitely one of the fun painting techniques you can embrace an amazing amount of creative freedom.


Acrylic paints are a ton of fun to make artwork with.

This versatile and exciting paint type makes it so easy for you to create amazing things.

You will absolutely love all of the amazing things that you can do here.

As always, feel free to experiment with these cool painting techniques and see what feels right for you.

There are so many different opportunities for you to explore this medium, so focus on having fun!

Do you enjoy painting with acrylics? What do you paint?

George Vithoulkas

Wednesday 24th of March 2021

This is awesome advice. Thank you

Jae Johns

Thursday 25th of March 2021

You're welcome!

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