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How to Make Acrylic Paint With 3 Easy Components [No Glue]

Did you know that it is quite easy to make your own paints? Pack it in tubes and enjoy painting without paying for brands or marketing?

To make acrylic paint, you will basically need 3 components: Acrylic medium or binder, Pigment and Water with a bit of alcohol.

I teach you in this article how to make acrylic paint – REAL acrylic paint, and not something that is labeled with acrylic but contains glue – with just a few easy components.

How to Make Acrylic Paint tutorial
My experimetns on making acrylic paint

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Supplies You need to make acrylic paint:

Read also: What is Acrylic Paint? Ultimate Acrylics 101

how to make acrylic paint supplies
Some supplies I used to make homemade acrylic paints

What is acrylic made of?

Commercial paints are non toxic and mostly use 4 main ingredients:

  1. Pigment: This is the colorant that gives the paint its hue. Pigments can be made from a variety of materials, such as minerals, synthetic chemicals, or even natural sources like plants.
  2. Acrylic polymer emulsion or binder: This is the glue-like substance that holds the pigment particles together and binds them to the surface being painted. Acrylic polymer emulsion is made from a blend of acrylic monomers and polymers that are dissolved in water.
  3. Water: This is used to thin the paint and adjust its consistency. Water also helps to keep the paint workable and prevents it from drying out too quickly.
  4. the 4th ingredient is also present in manufactured acrylics – additives. It can be preservatives, color enhancers, extenders, etc. Cheap paints will contain fillers that help the brand save money on pigments and use less of them for the same volume tubes.

Making your own paint is fast and easy

Making acrylic paint is a straightforward process that involves mixing acrylic polymer emulsion with pigments.

The entire process is actually easier than you think!

To make acrylic paint you need to add water and a bit of alcohol to powder pigment, then gradually add the acrylic polymer emulsion while stirring until you achieve the desired consistency and color intensity. And mull it thoroughly for 5 minutes.

Remember, the more pigment you add, the stronger the color.

This DIY acrylic paint can be used on various surfaces same as store bought acrylics, and it has the same water-resistance and opacity, but won’t last as long as manufactured one as we don’t add any preservatives.

Notes on pigments

I used de goya pigments and Loved it! Smooth mixing and beautiful DIY acrylic paint.

How to Make Acrylic Paint

Good pigments, smooth

How to Make Acrylic Paint
Chalky pigments, not grinded well enough for making paints.

I also used no name pigments ordered online and they came too silica-like.
And they made chalky paint that I won’t use and it doesn’t look professional.

In general there are 4 groups of pigments:

  • Organic, for ex., Phthalocyanine (Phthalo gree or blue), Prussian, Crimson, etc.
    • Lake pigments (also organic) contain some mordant like metallic salt in it. Mostly used for cosmetics and non-permanent paints.
  • Inorganic like Cadmium, Cobalt, Lead, Titanium Oxide etc. They contain metals and sometimes are a bit usafe in large amounts,
  • Natural organic pigments are not quite permanent. Ex., Indian Yellow, Indigo, Sepia, Bone Black, and Sap Green. Some pigments are still made of shells, flowers, bones etc. Colors like ochres, umbers, and siennas are really produced from earth in good brands. Natural pigments made of vegetable or animal extracts are used for food coloring as well.
  • Synthetic pigments today are produced in labs, for ex., Zinc White.

How to Make Acrylic Paint At Home

how to make acrylic paint

To make acrylic paint you need to add water and a bit of alcohol to powder pigment, mulling it for 3-5 minutes and then gradually add the acrylic polymer emulsion until you achieve the desired consistency and color intensity.

And mull it thoroughly again for 5 minutes.

Total Time: 30 minutes

1. Start by choosing your pigment

how to make acrylic paint pigments

You can use any pigment you like, but it’s important to choose a high-quality pigment for the best results.
If you watched my video on making acrylic paint you know that the quality of the pigment will determine the outcome.
Choose powder pigments with very fine particles.

2. Add solvent to the pigment

how to make acrylic paint step 2

Mix the pigment with a small amount of water and alcohol to form a paste.

I was very reluctant to use alcohol but it is true (I tested) that a touch of alcohol does help to mix the pigments in a paste faster and makes it easier to mull.

Regarding is ok to use tap water, but if you are not sure your tap water is good (where I currently stay you can’t drink tap water) you better opt for distilled water as it has no impurities that will affect paint quality.

Mull for 3-5 minutes moving the muller in circular or 8-shape movements.
At this point it is not yet a paint, it will look more like a homogeneous paste.

3. Add the acrylic medium or binder to the pigment paste.

how to make acrylic paint step 3

The amount of medium you use will depend on the consistency you want for your paint.
If you want a thicker paint, use less medium.

If you want a thinner paint, use more medium.
Through my tests I like how acrylic gel works better than liquid acrylic medium. The gel makes nice soft body acrylic paint.

You can use (and I tested):
Golden GAC100
Acrylic medium in gloss or matte
Acrylic medium gels

Mix the pigment and medium together thoroughly. You can use a palette knife to quickly mix them and then mull again for another 3-5 minutes.

If the paint is too thick, you can add a little water to thin it out. Be careful not to add too much water, as this can affect the quality of the paint.

Once you have the consistency you want, your acrylic paint is ready to use!

At this step you can also add acrulic retarted to make a slower-drying acrylic paint, any other agents you think would be great.

Note: It’s important to use caution when working with pigments, as some can be toxic. Always wear gloves and a mask when handling pigments, and work in a well-ventilated area.

4. Store the paint mixture properly

To store homemade paint use airtight containers but best option is to buy special metal tubes.
Label it with a sticker, add a date, pigments used and roughly the ratio for future reference

If you’re serious about making paints, I would suggest keeping a notebook where you write down all brands of binders and additives you tried and what worked best.

DIY Acrylic Paints Results

When using less grinded pigments you get chalky paint.

I don’t know how they made it, it just said powder pigment on description but when you look at it you see it’s not really powder, it looks closer to fine sand. And it is not what we need. I think it had some fillers to it.

And the results were a bit better if using alcohol to dilute it, and with heavy acrylic gel, but still, like you mixed paint with baking soda.

No matter how long I’ll mull it. Not professional quality I’m after:

how to make acrylic paint swatches
how to make acrylic paint swatches

Fine grinded paint pigments powder (like it was supposed to be!) works like magic and creates stunning homemade acrylics with all the needed characteristics.

how to make acrylic paint swatches

What acrylic medium to use?

Acrylic medium acts like acrylic paint base.

Most mediums are made of 100% acrylic polymer emulsions and they are widely available in stores.

I’ve tested a few acrylic-based mediums and you can also use vinyl acrylic emulsion.

how much paint I get?

It is very hard to measure accurately diy paints process, but I can tell that I used 12 gr of pigment for the first experiment and even with binder it won’t be enough even for a small diy cups used for painting date nights kits.

You need much more than that to fill a 20 or 60 ml tube.

Can you make your own acrylic paint without acrylic binder? Ex., with glue or flour?

No, it is not possible to make professional, high-quality acrylic paint without an acrylic binder.

The acrylic binder is what allows the paint to adhere to surfaces and dry to a water-resistant finish. The acrylic binder is what makes the paint acrylic.

Without the binder, the pigment particles would not stick together and would not adhere to the surface being painted.

Additionally, the binder also helps to protect the pigment from fading or deteriorating over time.

Water-based paints recipes labeled as acrylic and calling for white glue or starch or flour are simply misleading. It makes a DIY craft poster-like paint but not acrylics.

I saw a lot of videos on Youtube with titles like Homemade acrylic paint with no powder etc, but they simply have nothing to do with reality – they are making some sort of paint, not acrylic, not archival, not professional.

Please be aware of it.

At the same time, using household items you can easily make a DIY gesso for acrylic painting.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Without Powder

I haven’t seen recipes to make acrylic paints with liquid pigments, but I was curious to test it.

You can make acrylic paint without powder pigments: mix liquid water-based pigments with acrylic medium.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Without Powder

Spoiler: I loved the result!


  • Water-based liquid pigment
  • Jar
  • Acrylic medium gel or liquid.

The process is much easier than when we use powdered pigments!

You just need to mix a bit of pigment with larger amount of binder thoroughly and your paint is done! I did roughly 2 parts medium to 1 part pigment but I recommend testing.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Without Powder

To adjust the value of the color, you can always add white.

The outcome was such a nice acrylic paint! Soft, with no lumps or issues we can face if we use powder pigments.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Without Powder
My test acrylic paint with liquid pigment

It covers the painting surface nicely and dries fast.


What is the formula for making acrylic paint?

There is no exact formula for making acrylic paint, you have to test. Roughly I use 1 part of pigment with 1/2 part water (with a bit of alcohol) and 1/2 to 2 parts binder depending on the pigment and desired consistency.

What are the three ingredients of acrylic paint?

The three main ingredients of acrylic paint are pigments, acrylic binder and water. But there is also 4th ingredient which is all sort of additives.

How acrylic paint is made?

Acrylic paint is made in factories using large-scale manufacturing processes.
Raw materials such as pigments, acrylic polymers, solvents, and additives are received and stored in the factory.

The pigments are ground into a fine powder using large grinding machines. And then mixed with acrylic polymers.

Additives such as surfactants, defoamers, and thickeners may be added to the paint base to achieve desired properties such as flow, leveling, and viscosity.
Then they filter the paint to remove any impurities and to ensure a smooth, consistent texture and package it.

The paint also passes all quality and safety tests before it makes its way to stores.

Can you make homemade acrylic paint?

Yes, it is possible to make homemade acrylic paint. Just get some acrylic polymer emulsion, water and the color pigment you like.

Put the pigment on a palette and slowly mix in the emulsion while stirring until it’s the color you want. If you want a thicker paint, add less emulsion, and for a thinner paint, add more. You can also adjust the texture with water or an acrylic medium.

Final Thoughts

I personally think that making your own acrylic paint at home is an accessible and creative endeavor for progressing painters.

By blending acrylic polymer emulsion with pigments, you can craft custom colors and textures tailored to your artistic vision.

This DIY approach not only offers me and you a cost-effective alternative but also empowers you to experiment with different consistencies and hues!

Somehowit also feelsvery traditional and satisfying working with hands to create something.