How To Make Your Acrylic Paint Look Even

How To Make Your Acrylic Paint Look Even

Even though acrylic paints are relatively easy to work with, perfecting your technique can be challenging. For example, many people struggle to make their acrylic painting smooth, even, and free of brush streaks. So, how can you make your acrylic paint look even?

You can make your acrylic paint look even by using the right brush and adjusting the paint’s consistency. It’s also important to prep your working surface to ensure the paint can glide easily. Lastly, good techniques, such as fully loading your brush, will give you flawless results.

6 Tips on How To Make Your Acrylic Paint Look Even

Many factors can contribute to your acrylic paint appearing uneven and not smoothOpens in a new tab.. If your acrylic painting is marred with obvious streaks and brushstrokes, you should look closely at your materials and technique.

Here are some tips to help you achieve the smooth, even finish you’re looking for! 

One – Prepare Your Working Surface

Your painting will only be as good as your working surface. Make sure to prepare your working surface before you start painting. If the surface is not primed beforehand, it will quickly absorb the paint, thus making an even application harder to achieve.

The secret to preparing the perfect working surface is gesso. For acrylic paints, you need to apply a few layers of acrylic gessoOpens in a new tab. to improve the texture of your canvas.

This U.S. Art Supply White Gesso AcrylicOpens in a new tab. from is highly recommended for the task. This premium acrylic gesso is lightweight, non-toxic, and water-resistant. Aside from evening the texture of the canvas, this gesso can also prevent yellowing.

U.S. Art Supply White Gesso Acrylic Medium, 500ml Tub - 16.9 Ounces over a Pint Opens in a new tab.
  • Premium acrylic gesso is used to prepare painting surfaces for acrylic and oil paint
  • Lightweight, non toxic and dries to a water-resistant, non-yellowing surface
  • Gesso is water-based but permanent and flexible after drying

Last update on 2024-05-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

While typical store-bought canvases already come pre-primed, they may be covered with grease or dirt during shipping. This will make it harder for the paint to glide across the canvas. So, adding a coat or two of gesso is still recommended to give you an extra smooth working surface.

Two – Choose the Right Brush

The texture and qualityOpens in a new tab. of your brush play a huge role in determining the finish of your painting. 

For example, a stiff hog bristle brush will produce harsher streaks and more irregularities across your painting. If you want an even application, you should avoid using stiff brushes. On the other hand, brushes with soft bristlesOpens in a new tab. will produce equally delicate brushstrokes.

You should also avoid cheap brushes as they tend to shed. Loose bristles might get stuck in your paint and make the application uneven. This doesn’t mean you should always use high-end or expensive brushes. Just ensure the brush you’re working with doesn’t have a tendency to shed.

Different artists may handle their brushes differently. So, don’t be afraid to experiment to find the perfect brush that suits your style and technique. 

Three – Try Using Fluid Acrylics or Flow Improvers

Paints with thick consistencies are typically harder to blend, making it difficult to produce an even coat. While you can always thin your acrylics with water, doing so will dilute the paint and result in less intense colors. 

Try using fluid acrylicsOpens in a new tab.. They have thinner consistencies and, therefore easier to blend and work with. Moreover, fluid acrylics contain the same amount of pigment as heavy body paint. So, your painting will still look as vivid as you envision.

Don’t feel like buying a new set of acrylic paints? Don’t worry; you can use flow improverOpens in a new tab. instead. As the name suggests, this product will help improve the flow of your paint without compromising the color’s quality. A flow improver will be especially helpful if you work on large areas while minimizing the appearance of streaky and blotchy paint.

Four – Fully Load Your Brush

Swiping a brush that’s not fully loaded across wet paint will result in obvious streaks.

So you should always load your brush fully. This may seem very simple, but it’s a common mistake artists make, especially when making final touches. 

That said, you should avoid loading your brush up to the ferrule or the base of your brush. Otherwise, your bristles may separate and shed over time.

If your brush still produces small streaks or blotches of paint, try dampening the bristles with water. You can also swipe the loaded brush on your palette to smoothen the paint and eliminate any paint clumps.

Five – Don’t Let the Paint Dry Prematurely

Whatever you do, don’t let the paint dry before you’ve fully blended it. Otherwise, it would be difficult to fix and smooth out any streaks on the painting. And if you try to paint over those irregularities, you’ll only get a messy and uneven finish.

So, what can you do to prevent the paint from drying prematurely?

The first thing you should do is start small. Work on a small portion of the canvas and use just enough paint to cover that area. A thin layer is faster to paint and easier to fix. If you’re unsatisfied with the paint’s color depth or intensity, you can always paint more layers later.

Second, keep the paint moving. Acrylics dry fairly quickly. So, once you apply some paint onto your canvas, keep moving and blending it until you get the finish you want.

Additionally, you can always mist your working area with water to slow the drying process. A water mist will help the paint remain moist so you can continue blending it. Make sure to use a superfine mister and not a regular spray bottle to avoid getting huge water droplets on your painting.

Lastly, consider adding an acrylic retarder if the paint dries too quickly for your liking. A paint retarder will keep your paint wet for longer, thus giving you more time to blend it. That said, use this product sparingly; otherwise, it might take forever for your painting to dry fully.

Six – Don’t Apply Too Much Pressure

Lastly, pay attention to your technique if you wish to get an even paint application. Avoid using too much pressure when painting with acrylics.

While it may give you a lovely texture when working with oil paints, applying too much pressure will result in obvious streaks and ridges with acrylics. Furthermore, pressing too hard may also damage and disfigure your bristles. 

A light, constant stroke is the key to a smooth and even paint application. It will help the paint glide across the surface, making blending easier. 

Final Words

Learning to paint with acrylics can be a challenge, especially for beginners. Achieving that smooth and flawless finish you dream of will take lots of practice. However, once you get the hang of it, it won’t be hard to make your acrylic paintings look even. 

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Caraca's self-taught artist based in the UK, Ines explores unconventional materials and sustainability.

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