How To Refresh Your Paints

How To Refresh Your Paints

September 13, 2020 2 Comments

Many of you have asked a fantastic question:

how do you keep acrylic paints from drying out while you work?

Depending on the climate where you live, the time of year, and your individual painting style, you will find that your paints dry out at different rates. In some cases this may work in your favor, but what about when you've mixed the perfect color and it's drying out faster than you can use it? 

There are a few hacks for that.

Read on for some tips to keep your paints fresh and workable.

1. Sta-Wet Palette

Do you have to squeeze time to paint into your busy life? (relatable!) Building your palette can be time-consuming, and when you find that perfect color, you want to keep it going!

These handy, resealable palettes are perfect for any water-based painter with a busy schedule.

Sta-wet palettes come with a sponge layer that you moisten and keep in the bottom of the tray so that your colors stay fresh even with the lid off. Add a layer of disposable palette paper on top to keep working until you're ready to change out your colors.

I use two trays: one for warm colors and one for cool tones. This helps me easily reach for a the right temperature when mixing new colors, or when I feel my painting needs more warmth or cooling.⁠

I cannot recommend these enough!

2. Misting

A simple spray bottle full of water works wonders for keeping your paints wet just long enough to work back into your painting. You can spray your palette and directly on to the painting itself. Just keep in mind when applying water to your painting - if you spray at close range you may get some drips. I personally love this effect, and as Bob Ross would say, embrace these "happy accidents".

3. Mediums

Slow-drying mediums can be added to acrylic paint to increase the time you have working with all of those beautiful colors you just mixed. These mediums come in liquid and gel form and matte or glossy finish, so be sure to select the right medium for the desired effect of your project.

4. Open acrylics

Some paint companies have begun manufacturing acrylic paints that behave like oil paints in that they stay wet and malleable longer than traditional acrylic paints. You may like these ultra-soft paints called OPEN Acrylics if you want a water-soluble option and enjoy the extra time to work.


These are all great options to experiment with until you find the perfect combination that works for you.

Leave a comment and let this community know your favorite way to keep your paints fresh!


2 Responses

Marijean McKeon
Marijean McKeon

February 28, 2021

Thank you for sharing these tips. I happen to have one of the Stay-wet
palettes from my classes a few years ago.
I’d like to try the slow-drying mediums too, and see how well they work for me.


October 06, 2020

Very informative information concerning keeping paints fresh. I was wondering about the two trays that you use…now I know! I love your paintings, and the techniques you use!

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