I love acrylic craft paints, and I’m pretty sure the 52+ bottles of it in my craft stash are living proof! All the different colors and finishes and textures make them perfect for DIY projects. And you really can’t beat the cost! You can typically get a 2 oz. bottle for $1-2. Because they’re so cheap, you can easily buy new paint colors for every project without breaking the bank (hence why my craft room is full of them).
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Acrylic paints are so versatile and there are so many options to choose from, which makes them the perfect paint to use for craft projects. In fact, I use acrylic paints for almost all of my craft projects. They’re among my top 10 essential craft tools! Feel free to take a peek at some of the recent projects I’ve done with acrylic paints:
The truth of the matter is, though, there are often SO many options available that it can be difficult to choose the right acrylic paint for your project. When you go to the paint section of the craft store, there are often hundreds, if not thousands, of rows of paint bottles in every color of the rainbow. Talk about overwhelming!
While it will ultimately come down to your tastes and project, there are a few steps you can take that will help you narrow down your choices and choose the right acrylic paint for your project. So the next time you’re shopping for acrylic paint at the craft store, keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to choose the perfect paint in no time!
How to Choose the Right Acrylic Paint for Your Craft Project
1. Go to the store with a vision of the project in your head. If possible, bring a photo of what you’ll be painting so you can refer to it when you’re selecting your acrylic paint. This will make it much easier to visualize the item painted with the color you select.
2. If there are other paint colors you’ll be using for the project that you already have, bring a swatch of them to the store so you can match up your colors and ensure you choose the right acrylic paint for your project. This will help you see the true colors side by side rather than relying on memory or a photo, where colors can easily be distorted.
3. When you’re looking at paint colors, don’t just go by the color on the label. Shake up the paint and look at the bottom of the bottle or open the top to see the true color. The color that is printed on the label is not always an exact match to what is actually in the bottle, and you want to know what the color really looks like before selecting it for your project. Since the color is what everyone will see, you definitely want to get it right the first time!
4. If you shop at the same craft store, you’ll start to notice a pattern with how they organize their paints. Some stores organize their paints by brand then color and specialty, while others organize by solely by color or specialty. Once you recognize the pattern, this will make it easier to find what you’re looking for.
5. Narrow down your choices by ensuring that the paint you select is right for your project. It should meet all of the criteria for your project:
• Purpose: Most acrylic paints are multipurpose and suitable for the majority of surfaces, but some work better than others depending on whether you’re painting paper, wood, glass, ceramic, plastic, fabric, metal, etc. Read the back of the label to see what that particular paint is best for before purchasing it so that you won’t have problems with the paint bonding to the surface of your project.
• Finish: Some acrylic paints include a finish, which you’ll be able to tell by reading the bottle. A glossy paint will give your project a shiny surface, while a satin or matte finish won’t have as much of a sheen to it. If your paint doesn’t have a finish or your project will be getting a lot of use, you’ll want to seal it when it’s complete. Sealing it with Mod Podge or an acrylic spray will protect your paint job and ensure it lasts a long time.
• Durability: You want your project to last, so if you know it’s going to be put to the test, make sure you choose an acrylic paint that is right for the project. If you’re planning on using the item outside, you’ll want to choose a paint and sealer that specifies it can be used outdoors. Likewise, if you’re painting glasses or dishware, it’s important to make sure the paint is dishwasher safe. You’ll be able to find this information on the label of the paint bottle.
• Specialty: Think acrylic paint is one size fits all? Think again! There are a large amount of specialty options when it comes to acrylic paints: metallic, enamel, antique, glitter, crackle, and the list goes on. These types of paint will cost a little more than the standard acrylic paint, but they really give you a lot of possibilities for all kinds of fun projects! So if you want to get a little fancier than standard acrylic paint, specialty acrylic paints will help you do that.
6. If you can’t find the exact shade of a color you’re looking for, consider mixing paints. I like to keep white and black acrylic paint on hand just for this purpose. If there’s a color I like but it’s slightly too light or dark, I just mix some paint to change the color a bit. This is also helpful for creating variations in your projects if you like to use the same colors a lot.
7. Don’t forget the most important part of choosing your acrylic paint… enjoy the process! I can’t tell you how many fun colors and fun paints I’ve discovered that I never even knew existed until I explored the acrylic paint section of the craft store, like this gorgeous metallic blue topaz paint. Tell me that’s not drool worthy? There was no way that wasn’t coming home with me when I saw it!
Sometimes we’re so set on a particular color for our project that we get tunnel vision and forget to even consider the other possibilities. And other times the exact color we’re looking for isn’t even available. Don’t forget to go with the flow and look at all of the many options the store offers, because there are so many of them!
Changing the color or finish might make your project turn out even better than you had imagined, so be sure to keep your mind open to all of the possibilities! Ultimately, as long as you choose a paint color that you love and will work with the medium you’re crafting with, your project will look amazing and be a big success!
What’s your favorite acrylic paint to craft with? Do you have a huge collection of acrylic paints? I’d love to hear about it in the comments! And if you enjoyed this post, you’ll love my newsletter. Sign up below for weekly craft, DIY, and home projects and tips!
As a person who’s not the craftiest, this was so informative Celeste. Pinning for future reference!
Thanks, Linda! I hope this helps you get crafty! It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can make! 😉
This post was just for me. I love my acrylic paints they are such a pleasure to work with, they go on easy and help us to create and lose ourselves in crafting. I am also big on mixing colors just to see what I’ll end up with. I remember going to Michael’s a few years ago and being blown away by the selection. Here is Greece they have a very small selection and they are way overpriced. So everytime I come up I make sure to buy lots of these cute little bottles.
Me too, Mary. If my craft room is any indicator, I have a serious problem with those cute little paint bottles! You’re definitely roughing it in the boondocks… no Mod Podge or tiny paint bottles. It’s a good thing those mountains and beaches are so pretty! 😉
I had no idea there were acrylic paints for exteriors!
I pinned this post, it’s a great reference. 🙂
To be honest, I much prefer painting with wall paint samples. More bang for my buck and acrylic paints give me hell to work on wood (like 4-5 coats to cover).
That is not to say that I don’t have my own small army of those. Besides that they look cute, my daughter likes them and there are always paintings to be made with them. 🙂
So glad you found this helpful! Those paint samples are quite fun and useful, too! If you’re going to be using a lot of the paint, the sample will give you more bang for your buck. I’ve found that I don’t really save money with paint samples, though, because I tend to use a different color for every project, and only use a little bit of it! There are so many fun projects you can do with them!
I need to refresh a outdoor plastic manger scene. Would any of these paints be weatherproof and appropriate for plastic?