5 Handy Tricks for Painting With Acrylic Matte Medium

Posted by on Jul 30, 2014 in Painting | Comments


If you’ve ever used acrylic paints, you might be familiar with the myriad of mediums that are available. Beginner to acrylic painting and unsure of what that is? Think of it like an add-on for your acrylic paint. You mix different mediums into the pigment to give your acrylic paintings a special effect. Some give you the ability to sculpt, while others make it possible to paint on fabric. Today, I’m going to talk to about my go-to medium: matte.

Get acquainted with acrylic matte medium + learn 5 helpful ways to use it!

Golden Matte Medium on Craftsy

So, what is matte medium? It’s a transparent liquid that increases the fluidity and reduces sheen in your acrylic paint. The medium has a lot of practical uses, and it’s something I always keep around. There are a lot of different companies that make it, but I prefer Golden Matte Medium or Liquitex. It’s all personal preference, though! Today we’ll briefly cover the following uses: glazing, pre-painting, decoupage, sealing and image transfer.

1. Mix it with paint and use it in glazing.

Matte medium with glazing

Glazing is a painting technique where thin layers of paint are applied on top of each other, usually over an opaque base layer. To successfully complete this technique, you’ll have to somehow thin the pigment. This can be done with water, but you’ll find that you get a richer, easier to control pigment when you combine your medium with paint.

2. Use matte medium before to prepare surfaces for painting.

Painting with matte medium

Painting with matte medium

This is how I like to use matte medium. I enjoy collage and painting my own papers, and to do that I have to make sure the paper can handle the paint. Using a brush or a sponge, cover the paper (or other surface) with even layers of the medium. Once it dries you’ll be able to paint on it without the paper deteriorating or curling.

3. It’s handy for decoupage.

Collage with matte medium

Using matte medium for a collage

Collage with matte medium

Matte medium can be used as glue when you’re collaging, and it’ll also allow you to paint or draw on top of it later. You can refer to my mixed media flower tutorial for more details on collaging techniques. To use it this way, paint on both the image you’re gluing and the surface you want to adhere it to.

4. Seal your image with matte medium.

If you’re creating a mixed media piece, then you probably have different colors and textures. Apply a thin coat of the medium over your piece to create the same effect varnish with one solid sheen. Of course, because it’s a matte finish, it won’t appear shine but will be a subtle and unified surface.

5. Transfer any image onto paper.

Image transfer 1

Transferring an image with matte medium

Using matte medium to transfer an image

Image transfer

Until recently, I didn’t realize you could use this material to transfer images. But, you can! It’s a fairly easy process that involves matte medium, distilled water and a picture printed with a laser printer.

To transfer an image, first use distilled water to wet the paper you printed. Don’t use regular tap water because it’ll cause the image to bleed. Then, apply matte medium to both the transfer image and to the surface it’s going to adhere to. Lay the image face down and seal it the medium. A sponge brush works best for this. Wait for everything to dry, and then peel back the paper. Voila! Your picture appears. You might need to rub it away.

So now you know some tips for how to use matte medium. It’s a great, versatile tool that will make painting with acrylics easier!

Kick-start your journey into acrylics and broaden your painting skills with the online fine art class Acrylic Painting: Basics & Beyond. You’ll join expert artist and instructor Michael Lynne to learn essential acrylic techniques, like how to create depth and add warmth, for stand-out, gallery-worthy paintings!

Which tip are you going to try first?