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I'm interested in using acrylic paints, but having problems with it. I use Windex for a thinner but it still wants to run. I'm using an airbrush. WalMart has bunches of colors that I would like to use and it's super cheap. Is there a trick with acrylic paints I need to know?

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Most people I know who insist on using those cheap acrylic craft paints from Wally World and elsewhere are cutting them with windshield washer fluid. A multitude of tutorials about them exist on YouTube.  But even using actual hobby acrylics such as Testors Acryl line or Tamiya Acrylics you have to spray them at a low psi around 15-18.

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I'll disagree with the windshield washer fluid. I've tried it and can't get the hang of it. I recommend Liquitex Flow Aid mixed with craft acrylics.

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Though I haven't tried Windex or windshield washer fluid, I have experimented with a few thinning agents for craft acrylics (specifically, the Craft Smart brand) and found by far the best results with plain old tap water.

Edited by Bainford

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14 hours ago, niteowl7710 said:

Most people I know who insist on using those cheap acrylic craft paints from Wally World and elsewhere are cutting them with windshield washer fluid. A multitude of tutorials about them exist on YouTube.  But even using actual hobby acrylics such as Testors Acryl line or Tamiya Acrylics you have to spray them at a low psi around 15-18.

It's the variety of colors I like. Hundreds of colors. Know of any other place with that many choices and shades?

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3 hours ago, Super28 said:

It's the variety of colors I like. Hundreds of colors. Know of any other place with that many choices and shades?

To me it comes down to the effort. I can mix existing hobby paint to match any shade I want, without having to involve even more toxic chemicals to thin it out. There are also people who get pretty decent results, and a lot more who have endless trouble with them. 

I'm paying for ease of use and expected performance. Because at some point the low cost option costs more in lost time and stripped paint jobs - which makes it more expensive than the existing product - your mileage may vary :P

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Get a small bottle of the Liquitex Flow Aid and try it. Michaels has it,

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7 hours ago, Miatatom said:

Get a small bottle of the Liquitex Flow Aid and try it. Michaels has it,

x2. Works great for me.

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7 hours ago, Miatatom said:

Get a small bottle of the Liquitex Flow Aid and try it. Michaels has it,

Yep

Works great

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I've been playing around with these recently. Last week I bought a bottle of Folk Art metallic blue at Walmart and am pretty happy with how it looks (just brushed on scrap styrene). Looking forward to trying to airbrush it on something. I think it will require a clear lacquer or enamel topcoat, though.

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I use various brands of acrylic paints. My advice is always use the thinner made for the paint. It is a small increase in cost, but you don't end up making mistakes on your model or in your airbrush, resulting in stripping a piant job or hours cleaning gunk out of an airbrush. Remember, not all "acrylic" paints are made the same way.

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Thank you for the replies. Cost is not the problem, it's the vast variety  of colors at Walmart I like.

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Something to remember with the "low cost" acrylics, rule of thumb is the lower the price the less pigment in the paint.  Less pigment = less coverage.  Something you can tell right off when you try to brush the acrylic paint over a primed surface.  The better brands of model specific acrylics often will cover with one coat, something I've never done with the cheaper Wally World brands.  I still use them but realize that they will need multiple coats to cover; something I really notice when using an airbrush with thinned paint.  I've used both windshield washer fluid and acrylic specific reducers, each have their place; wouldn't topcoat a body or other large surface with washer fluid as a reducer though.

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