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What are the Ingredients in Acrylic Paint?

By October 10, 2012

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At the most basic level, acrylic paint consists of pigment, which gives it color, and a synthetic resin binder, which holds the particles of pigment together in the buttery consistency we expect when we squeeze some paint from a tube.

Where it gets more complicated is in what exactly a manufacturer has in its binder and what else they might include, sometimes to cut costs. Surfactants are used to disperse pigments, and anti-foaming agents to stop the paint frothing as you use it. (Golden has a detailed article on foaming in acrylics.) Cheaper paints may contain fillers, opacifiers, or dyes, things that cost less than pigment.

Brands also contain different proportions of pigment, known as the pigment loading. If you've tried various brands, you'll have encountered ones with colors that are more intense than others.

See Also: Acrylic Problems: Separated Binder

Image Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Comments

October 10, 2012 at 4:08 am
(1) Yover says:

I have tried acrylics paint from Daler Rowney, system 3 ” heavy body” or “original”. It is exactly what I personally expected: buttery consistency, slow drying on the palette ( no add of retardater), glossy even after the colors have dried on the canvas: very close to oil colors features. I just dilute the colors with water… just warm (lukewarm)..

December 22, 2012 at 9:33 am
(2) katie says:

How do I find out if the” binder” in the paint contains wheat , in any form?

December 23, 2012 at 1:19 am
(3) Marion BE says:

@Katie Look up the manufacturer’s datasheet.

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