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Looking for a way to add a little extra luster to your acrylic paintings? Rather than purchasing a new set of paints, try spicing up your existing materials with an iridescent medium. Mix it with your acrylic base color, and your paint will not only have an iridescent shimmer but will also become slightly more transparent on the canvas. What’s more, the mix-in will slow the drying of your acrylics so you’ll have more working time, but it won’t compromise the stability of your pigments. Each product offers different levels of sparkle, drying time, and mixing ease. Ahead, find our favorite iridescent media for acrylic paints.
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Utrecht Iridescent Tinting Medium
Utrecht’s iridescent medium is our favorite for all kinds of acrylic paint applications. The medium-bodied formula can be used straight out of the jar, mixes effortlessly with paint, and spreads well without any need of dilution. You can certainly thin it if you want to increase flow, and this won’t compromise the shine. The pearly pigments are fine and uniformly distributed so the effect is less glittery than pearlescent—ideal for creating realistic lighting effects or adding subtle depth, brightness, and liveliness to your paintings. This medium is also easy to build up in multiple layers, and it doesn’t alter the color of your paints. Finally, we like that it is available in four sizes, from a 5-ounce tube to a massive, 128-ounce bucket.
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Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Iridescent Medium
Winsor & Newton’s iridescent medium is heavier than Utrecht’s, which makes it especially great for use with heavy-bodied paints and for painting with a knife. The paste-like formula dilutes very well, however, and mixes into paint with little fuss. It provides a noticeable but natural-looking sheen. Available in only an 8.4-ounce bottle, this medium is one of the less expensive on the market. Be aware, however, that the flexible container is hard to open and very easily spilled; proceed with care, or this medium’s beautiful luminance could wind up on the floor.
Buy: Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Iridescent Medium $11.26
ANOTHER GOOD CHOICE
Pebeo Vitrea Iridescent Medium
If you want to put a pearlized sheen on glass, porcelain, metal, or the like, consider using this medium instead of other, similar choices. This product, part of Pebeo’s line of thermo-hardening and nontoxic paints and media, has a runny but easy-to-manage consistency that makes it ideal for applying to glass. It adds a metallic look even to already glossy surfaces. If you want to paint china or dishware, this medium is both dishwasher safe and nontoxic and will retain the initial look of the painted pigment, even when it’s baked into your pieces.
Liquitex Basics Iridescent Medium
Priced for students or hobbyists, this medium has a low viscosity, which makes it very malleable, mixable, and ideal for paint pours. It does have a glittery effect, as the pearlescent particles are more conspicuous than those of other formulas, so it’s a great option if you’re seeking tons of sparkle. Because of its fluidity, this is also a good medium to use as a topcoat. It is designed to maintain the integrity of your paint pigments so that the original opacity is preserved even as the paint itself becomes thinner. Sold in an 8.45-ounce tube, the medium does have an odor, so be sure to use it in a well-ventilated area.
Buy: Liquitex Basics Iridescent Medium $8.99
TOP OF THE LINE
Old Holland New Masters Acrylic Pearlescent Tinting Gel Medium
If you’re using top-of-the-line paints, consider picking up a top-of-the-line medium. Carefully formulated by the paint masters at Old Holland, this option showcases the most natural sheen and mixes smoothly with paints to create a totally even paste. Like Utrecht’s product, it has a medium body, and it can be thinned for greater spreadability without compromising on shine. Use this pro-grade medium to give your works infinite dimensions. While pricey, the 17-ounce tub goes a long way and will last you a very long time.