Acrylic paint is a fast-drying water-based paint consisting of pigment particles (colour) dispersed in an acrylic polymer emulsion (binder). Water is used as the vehicle to carry the colour and binder. When water evaporates, the binder traps the pigment particles in a dried film. The dried film is extremely stable and adheres to almost any surface.


Acrylic paint is low-odour, flexible, non-yellowing, water-resistant, and non-flammable. Thin layers of paint dry to the touch within 10-12 minutes. When wet, the binder has a slightly milky appearance and turns transparent as it dries. Colours appear light when wet and become darker when dry. The extent of this wet-to-dry colour shift varies from pigment to pigment and sometimes poses a challenge when matching colours.


Acrylic paint can be mixed with water-based mediums for fluidity, texture, and special effects. The paint can be thinned by adding water up to 25%; however, excessive water may weaken adhesion to surfaces, causing peeling, flaking, and cracking. To create a wash, an airbrush medium may be used with acrylic paints.