Friday, January 22, 2010

TUTORIAL: Paint Medium (or... How to resurrect your paints!)

Hello. This time I'll blog about mediums. Specially, about matt medium, in order to know how to raise your colours back from the dead! (like this utterly separated-and-almost-dryed Fortress Grey)

Some time ago, I had a stupidness-lapsus, when I decided to add water to all my 100+ paint pots. The thing is, you should add water when painting, but you shouldn't add too much! And adding water straight to the pots it's an even worse idea. Yeah, I've done it to all my colours. Then, I shaked the pots like hell, only to see that the procedure was allright. As you read, allright, everything OK. The paint was OK and everything fine; that was when I thought about the paint and the long term effects of adding water to the paints.

The paint is a solution that consists in a solute (the pigments) and the solvent (acrylic solvent, in this case). When you add water indiscriminately you can "break" the solution, causing more trouble than you already had. That means the paint will separate even more than usual. As you should know, some paints tend to separate more than anothers. This is the case of colours like Bleached Bone, Blood Red, Sunburst Yellow, etc. That's normal, because the solvent slowly evaporates from the paint; but with the use (and the help of the crappy paint pots that GW uses to sell their paint) that happens faster and to every single colour.

After this long introduction, let me explain the bright side of this post. The thing is that you can revert this adverse effect with the help of a medium.
What's a paint medium? A paint medium has at least 3 meanings:
- synonymous to solvent
- category of painting or simply a type of paint, such as oil painting, acrylics, or watercolors.
- an auxiliary product to change the consistency/fluidity/brightness/etcof your paint
The third meaning is what I'll explain now.
After a little research and talking in the Warseer Forums Piotrov recommended me using a Liquitex Matt Medium in order to fix my paints. I've searched in my country and nobody sells Liquitex products, so, I decided to use a local brand (for just 2 bucks!).

I just added 0,5ml of the matt medium with a syringe.

At this step was when I thought "OMG OMG OMG I have totally ruined my paint!"

Mix vigorously.


The idea using matt medium (other than repair your paint) is to get completely matte, dull and flat effects and a non-reflecting finish. That's why Piotrov suggested me the matt medium and not any other (like glaze medium, gloss medium, ultra-matte medium, etc). When mixed with acrylic paint, it extends color, increases transparency, matte and film integrity, eases paint flow, and adds to the flexibility and adhesion of paint film. It is opaque when wet and translucent when dry.

Your paints will look like if you had recently shaken them, without doing a single wrist movement! And, they will look like a good paint, and act like a very good one, with a nice fluidity and normal transparency in the long therm, on the contrary when adding water to the pot. It won't alter the normal transparency of the colour; not as the "too-much-watered-down" paints!
Look at this pot of Bleached Bone. It looks even better than when it was new!

I hope this helps more people. Thanks to Piotrov and to every member of the WS comunity that colaborated with experiences and suggestions.

PS: Piotrov, I didn't forgot about trying with metallics!
Now I love Citadel Metallic Range even more than before! Seriously, metallic paints with medium rocks!
I'm seriously thinking about buying some other paints from brands I don't like (like Vallejo) because of it's consistency. With the medium, that problem should be fixed and my gamma of colours will grow even more!

In the other hand, I forgot the initial picture of the Burnished Gold pot, but I'm sure mine looked as bad as yours. Completely separated, with 2mm of solvent in the surface and lot of paint in the lid.
Now, I have even resurrected some paint from the pot lid!!!

Yeah! You're seeing it right! Absolutely raised from beyond! Even from the pot lid!


  1. I'm going to try it with one of mine, see how it holds vs time and how it looks. I have some Flow Aid, rather than Matte Medium, two very different products. I like how my paint looks after I paint it on, I know it... I fear any product that changes that. I like the sheens they have. That said, I use Liquitex Matte varnish, so maybe they'll be in a range I like, or using flow aid instead won't affect the way they look. Either way, worth trying.

  2. Good to hear you accepted my suggestion!

    Will be looking forward in your blog for a review when already tried it ;D
    I would say GO LIQUITEX MATT MEDIUM! The pics I saw were the reason which I tried with this "similar" local medium.


  3. I have thought about making a mix of stuff to add to my paints for a while now but this is kinda the kick in the ass as to what to do without having to use water. Matte Medium, Flow Aid, and Drying retarder in a single mix.

    If you have some time pop over to, we are a tutorials indexing website and your stuff is the bomb!

  4. Djinn, just saw the web. Amazing amount of tutorials and nice stuff! Great job!

    Feel free to add any of mine if you will; a link back to the original entry is all I ask.

    Glad you liked any of my tutorials ;D

  5. Minutes away from using water to re-invigorate paints again, when i came across you *again* Nesbet.

    Looks like i'm going shopping tomorrow!

  6. Did you know that you can shorten your links with AdFly and earn dollars for every click on your short urls.


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