For several hundred years, oil colors occupied the leading place among the materials for art. Industrialization and the development of modern technology from the middle of the 20th century brought a lot of changes to the world of art, including the manufacture of synthetic colors. This is how acrylic paint appeared, which quickly became one of the most popular painting mediums in the world.
How Much Does Acrylic Paint Cost?
The cost of acrylic paint is anywhere between $3 and $10 for a two to eight-ounce piece, depending on the retailer you buy it from, the quantity, colors, brand, and the amount of paint in a set. For instance, at Michael’s Craft Stores, you would have to pay around $3 for a small two-ounce tube. Eight-ounce bottles are sold for $7 to $18 at Walmart.
Expect to pay $15 to $80 for a set of six to twelve colors of paint, that may contain 12ml to 90ml of paint per tube. For example, a very popular 48 item set on Amazon costs around $54.
If you were to purchase by the gallon, it may cost anywhere between $30 and $55.
Acrylic paint products – short presentation
Acrylic colors are basically pigments “suspended” in an acrylic medium (polymeric resin), soluble in water. Because acrylic paint is water-based, you don’t need toxic solvents to clean or dilute them. It is easy to clean with soap and water, being ideal both for professionals and amateurs or children during school activities.
You can apply acrylic paint on almost any type of surface (paper, canvas, wood, stone, leather, glass, plastic, fabric, ceramic). After drying, the acrylic colors become permanent and water resistant (waterproof), and the painted surface is durable and flexible.
Acrylics are extremely versatile, in the sense that you have many working possibilities: you can apply them with almost any tool: brushes, painting knives, sponges, airbrushes, or other unconventional tools, including your fingers. You can change the appearance of the colors (texture, consistency, opacity) once you mix them with a variety of mediums, pastes, or gels.
Moreover, the painting techniques you can use with acrylics are limitless, from working in thick layers of color similar to oil colors, to applying very fluid colors, used in a way similar to watercolor. You can experiment with mixed-media techniques, in which you combine compatible materials: ink, markers, spray based on acrylic paint, acrylic pastes, and gels, or you can incorporate various decorative materials (glitter, sand, feathers, shells, etc.).
What are the additional expenses?
You should budget for some painting accessories such as an easel, which is around $7, a palette, which would cost almost $6, and brushes, which are around $17.
In case the set does not contain all the colors you need, you will have to buy some individual tubes.
Important things to consider
Based on the consistency, acrylic paints can be heavy body or soft body.
Heavy body acrylic colors, as the name suggests, are the most dense and viscous. With a consistency similar to butter, they are the closest to oil colors. It is easy to apply and precisely preserves the marks and patterns created by the brush or the painting knife. They can also be applied to thicker or more abrasive surfaces.
Soft-body acrylic colors have a lower viscosity and are more fluid. With a consistency similar to honey, they leave smoother marks and do not retain brush marks.
From the point of view of quality, like any other painting colors, acrylics are divided into two categories depending on the needs of the customer: professional and beginner.
Professional acrylic colors are of superior quality, with better ratings, highly concentrated, and durable. In their manufacture, pigments are used in very high concentrations; it has a high quantitative ratio of pigment and a low one of binder, which makes it extremely intense and vibrant.
Acrylic colors for beginners or for study have a lower amount of pigment, which makes the covering power and color intensity lower than in the case of professional acrylics.
The ideal brushes for acrylic painting are those made of synthetic thread. Their hair must be quite hard, but flexible, but this can vary depending on the viscosity of the paint.
Be careful where you store acrylic colors, because the resin in their composition freezes at very low temperatures, which leads to a change in their consistency (they become “cheesy”).
Advantages of acrylic paint over the oil paint
The main difference between oil paint and acrylic paint is the drying time. If for traditional oil painting the colors can dry in 2-5 days, to the touch, and between 6-12 months in-depth, for acrylic paint, this period is much shorter.
More specifically, as a beginner artist, you can purchase acrylic colors for painting at the best price, because it will help you that they have a drying time on the canvas of only a few minutes and a maximum of an hour.
Oil paints require turpentine for washing and cleaning the brushes. When painting with acrylics it is important to clean the brushes quickly after use, before the paint dries to the base of the threads, but they can be washed only with soap and water.
Therefore, acrylic colors have many advantages: they are extremely easy to use; they are water-based, so they dry much faster than oil colors; they can be applied to almost any surface or fabric` and are much more affordable.
What makes them so beloved is the fact that they lend themselves to so many painting techniques, that the artistic possibilities are practically unlimited.
Can I mix acrylic paint brands with oil ones?
Not. Even if they have a slightly similar texture, they are chemically incompatible. Because acrylic is water-based, it cannot be mixed with oil-based colors because they are not soluble. Because of this, the mixture may take on an unsightly appearance or may crack/separate from the work.
Tips for saving money
It would cost you much less to purchase a set instead of purchasing individual tubes. Also, if you are just starting out in this art as a hobby, this is a good starting point as you will not have to worry about all the necessary supplies.
It is recommended to buy acrylic paint in gallons if you need large quantities, to take advantage of a bulk discount.
Before making your purchase, make sure to look for special promotions or coupons at craft paint stores. Keep in mind that if you buy acrylic paint online, you will also have to consider shipping costs if you don’t meet the minimum order requirement of the shop for free shipping.