Opus Resource Library
Acrylic Compatibility: Formats That Work Together
Opus Resource Library

Acrylic Heavy Body, Soft Body, Acrylic Ink, Basics... all acrylic, all very different, all 100% compatible.

Liquitex Acrylic collections are designed so you can work with complete freedom. In this article, we learn more about the compatibility of acrylic paints from our friends at Liquitex.

What’s the big deal? Surely all paints can be mixed together?


Compatibility is the key word; all parts of the formulation need to work together. This can be relatively easily done within similar types of acrylic paint, when the values are roughly the same, but when you're crossing formats, consistencies and delivery systems, 100% compatibility is not easy to achieve.

Spraying Liquitex Acrylic Spray overtop other paint marks.

Surely other acrylic brands offer the same level of compatibility?


The difference is the width and scope of the Liquitex collection - no one else makes such a diverse range of acrylic formats and consistencies. Liquitex is always looking to provide new ways to work with acrylics. Imagine how easy it would be to make two fluid paints that work together. But then imagine the complexities of ensuring that an ink and a spray paint work together. Each Liquitex range delivers 100% compatibility across formulation chemistry – from the ultra-fluidity of Acrylic Ink to the deftness of Spray Paint.

What do you mean by 100% compatible?


It’s about guaranteeing you a stable mix when you're painting with any Liquitex acrylics. And achieving an archival result so that your work remains as you intended it for now and in the future under normal gallery conditions, no matter which of their paints you used.

How do you make something compatible?


When developing a new Liquitex formula, their chemists have a lot to think about... pigment, consistency, delivery system, finish and stability. But if it doesn’t work with all of their mediums or paints, then it does not meet their standards. Every element of the formula is chosen with extreme care, with an inherent knowledge of acrylic chemistry. Each of the raw materials – from wetting agent to pigment – will affect compatibility. The elements are chosen, mixed and tested at each stage in the lab, and combined with each of the other products in the range – both Professional and Basics - to ensure they don’t fight each other. Successful formulas have binder systems that are compatible but not necessarily the same.

The team at Liquitex at work checking over their products.

What happens if I use acrylic paints from different sources?

The results can be unpredictable. Problems you might see include incompatibility, of the acrylic emulsion or flocculation of the pigments. In non-scientific terms, this means your paint might not have the usual flexibility you'd expect from acrylics and it might stay tacky, even when dry. It also might not adhere to your supports like it should, so you may find your color flakes or peels over time. Also, different qualities of pigments used from other sources may mean that you have unpredictable or poor lightfastness, so the color will change over time.

Thank you from our friends at Liquitex for this article.