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Acrylic medium is a versatile product for use with acrylic paint and in mixed-media projects. A liquid that’s milky when wet and translucent when dry, it can be added to acrylic to increase fluidity; the more you add, the thinner and more transparent the color will become. This makes it particularly handy for glazes and blending. It can also be used to create a clear ground on canvas or paper in place of gesso, and it works as an adhesive for use in collage and image transfers. Most acrylic mediums come in two finishes: glossy and matte. Since acrylics tend to have a glossy finish to begin with, choosing a matte medium to mix in with your paints can make a significant difference in your work’s final appearance. Whether you simply want a matte finish or are looking to play around with several effects, we have recommendations for some of the top acrylic matte mediums (and one matte varnish). Read on.
Golden Fluid Matte Medium
Golden’s matte medium is extra smooth, which makes it easy to mix with any acrylic. It creates a paint that flows on your surface and self-levels for seamless glazes and dissolved edges. It also extends the drying time of your paints, so blending of colors is easier. Once dry, your paint will have a soft matte finish. Although Golden’s matte medium is higher priced than average, a little goes a long way. It is available in 8-, 16-, 32-, and 128-ounce jars.
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Liquitex Professional Acrylic Matte Medium
One advantage of Liquitex’s medium is that, unlike additives like retardants, the binder within them means that you can add as much medium to your paint as you’d like without affecting the paint’s adhesion or structural integrity. It can also be mixed with some water for an even more fluid painting experience. This multiuse product not only gives matte qualities to any acrylic paint but can be used to fix hard media like pastel, graphite, and chalk, and it works well as an adhesive in collage work. It comes in a variety of sizes, from 4 ounces to 1 gallon.
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Golden Open Acrylic Matte Medium
The “Open” in the name of this acrylic medium refers to Golden’s Open line of acrylic paints, which are specially formulated to remain wet and workable for up to 10 times longer than standard acrylics. This is helpful for artists who do a lot of blending, or want to use oil paint techniques, or those who paint en plein air. While this matte medium is specifically made for use with Open acrylics—extending their working time even longer—they can work to slow the drying time of any acrylic while producing a matte effect. Choose from 4-, 8-, 16-, 32-, or 128-ounce containers.
Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Mediums Matt UV Varnish
For an easy way to get a matte finish on your acrylic paints, look for a matte varnish. Varnishing is generally recommended to protect acrylics from dust and pollutants, so choosing a matte varnish can kill two birds with one stone. Winsor & Newton’s entry gives a satiny finish with one coat, or it can be layered to create your desired effect. It also offers UV protection, which is especially helpful when photosensitive materials are used, as in collage work.
Utrecht Acrylic Matte Medium
For those on a budget, Utrecht offers a consistent, reliable product at an entry-level price. Some artists even prefer this product to more expensive brands due to its consistency: It’s more viscous than other matte mediums and can hold brushstrokes if used sparingly. The gallon tub is the best deal, though there are 5-, 16-, and 32-ounce sizes as well.