Differences between Oil and Acrylic Paint

In the previous article, I’ve discussed about the definition of oil and acrylic paint, now I am going to go deeper to explain the differences of these two paints. This is aimed to broaden your knowledge about painting, so that reader can understand each paint characteristics and apply it better whether by airless spray gun or brush. These differences primarily reflect traditional acrylic and oil paint rather than alternative versions of each (such as water-soluble oil paint or sticks).

  • Solubility

Acrylic paint is water soluble, while traditional oil paint demands a paint-thinning solution to mix, such as linseed oil.

  • Cleaning Brushes

One of the advantages of acrylic paint brush is that it can be cleaned with water. Brushes used for oil paint, however, will repel water, making this an ineffective mode of cleaning while a paint-thinning solution such as turpentine is used to clean brushes.

  • Speed of Drying

Most portions of a painting will dry in minutes, but acrylic paint dries quickly and the thickest portions of or applied acrylic will dry in an hour or so. In the other side, oil paint usually dries very slowly. Depending on the thickness of the paint, it can take days for a portion of the painting to dry completely.

  • Quality of Dried Paint

When it comes to dried paint, acrylic paint is the one that is permanent and cannot be altered while oil paint can be remoistened with a medium and added to or altered.

  • Color of Dried Paint

If you prefer to have a darker color of paint after it is dry, then acrylic paint is the perfect choice for you. However if you prefer to have a slightly lighter color, you may need to mix a color that is slightly lighter than you’d like. On the other hand, oil paint will dry pretty much the same color as it is applied.

  • Prepping your Work Surface

Acrylic is the best choice for people who like to paint it directly on a work surface since oil paint absolutely requires a prepped work surface. This is because you always have to prime a canvas, board, or even paper before painting to prevent corrode.


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