Achieve the blending ability of oils and the ease of acrylics by adding paint extender to your repertoire. Paint extender is a must-have medium for painters of every level. It prolongs the drying time of acrylic paint so you get the most out of your material. It also smooths out paint texture so you can salvage clotted or dried paint. Painter’s alchemy is just within reach: browse our picks of the best paint extenders below.
1. Golden Acrylic Retarder
Golden’s acrylic paint extender slows the drying time of acrylic paint. It is useful for wet-on-wet techniques, for increasing the workability of the canvas, and for reducing skinning on the palette. A little of this high-quality medium will go a long way.
2. Jo Sonja’s Retarder Medium
Formulated especially for use with Jo Sonja’s acrylic colors and mediums, this product from Chroma extends the “open,” or drying, time of acrylics. It can be mixed directly into paints or used as a base for wet-into-wet painting. Note that paints containing this retarder may take up to five days to cure. Make sure they are completely dry before applying varnish.
3. Liquitex Professional Slow-Dri Fluid Retarder
Liquitex’s paint extender increases acrylic paint’s working time, making it easier to blend colors and perform detailed brushwork. It also reduces paint’s tendency to form a skin while resting on the palette. This medium is binder-free, so it excels at improving the flow of paint, but it shouldn’t make up more than 25 percent of your final mixture, since too much can alter the paint’s integrity.
4. Sax True Flow Drying Retarder
Sax’s crystal-clear retarder solution slows the drying time of acrylic paints. Useful for blending colors, saving palette paint, and increasing canvas workability, this medium is a necessary tool in any artist’s kit. This 16-ounce product can make drying time up to three times longer, so you can get the most out of your work session. It won’t alter paint color or texture.
5. Winsor & Newton Professional Slow Drying Medium
When mixed with acrylic paint, this paint extender won’t affect color or viscosity. Used in a 1-to-1 ratio, it will double your drying time and increase your composition’s workability. Unlike other media, which can make paint appear milky when dry, this one will never shift your paints’ colors or finish.