As an artist, you are always searching for the best way to create your work. You have run out of your favorite glazing medium and need something right now or you just want to try something different. And while glazing is often seen as a necessary part of the process, there is no need to stick to tradition if you don’t want to. In fact, there is more than one glazing medium substitute that you can use for various painting mediums can produce equally great results – you just need to know what they are. So read on for some secret glazing medium substitutes for oil paints, acrylic paints, watercolor paints and gouache paints.
Types of glazing mediums and their properties
Glazing mediums are often divided into two categories: oil-based and water-based. Each has its own properties that can affect the final result of your painting.
Oil-based glazing mediums tend to be more durable and have a higher level of sheen. They are also less likely to yellow over time. Water-based glazing mediums are less durable, but they have a lower level of sheen and are less likely to yellow.
Some common oil-based glazing mediums include linseed oil, stand oil, and alkyd glazes. Some common water-based glazing mediums include acrylic glazes, casein glazes, and glazing mediums made with gum arabic.
There are also some glazing medium substitutes that you can use for various painting mediums that can produce equally great results. Just remember to take into account the different properties of each glazing medium before making your final decision.
Glazing mediums for acrylics & alternatives
You do not need to purchase specialty glazing mediums for acrylic paint unless you want to retard the drying process and make the acrylic paint more workable.
Acrylic glazes are usually thinned with water and have a glossy finish. They can be used to add transparency, depth, and luminosity to your paintings. You can also use them to create glazing effects or as a varnish.
To create glazing effects, you will need to apply multiple thin layers of glaze. This will allow light to bounce off the different layers, creating a luminous effect.
What are some substitute glazing mediums for acrylic mediums?
- Water is also the best glazing medium substitute for acrylic paint, just add a little to the acrylic paint until the desired transparency is achieved.
- Honey is also a great glazing medium substitute for acrylic paint.
- Hair gel has some water in it so it will also work as a glazing medium substitute for acrylic paint.
- A purchased glazing medium substitute for acrylic glazes is Golden Open Acrylics Gel. These are water-based gels that provide a slower drying time (drying retarder), giving you more time to work with the paint. They also provide a high level of transparency without diluting the pigment, making them ideal for glazing.
- Another glazing medium substitute for acrylics is Liquitex Pouring Medium. This is a clear medium that you can add to your paint to create glazes. It dries quickly and has a high level of transparency, making it perfect for glazing. To use either of these glazing medium substitutes, simply mix them with your paint until you achieve the desired consistency.
Glazing mediums for watercolors and gouache paints & alternatives
Glazing mediums for watercolors and gouache paints are typically made from gum arabic, glycerin, or honey. These glazing mediums will help to make the paint more transparent and increase the luminosity of your colors.
What are some substitute glazing mediums for acrylic watercolors and gouache paints?
- Gum arabic – found in low fat ice cream if you can’t find some in the art store
- Glycerin, hand cream, vaseline, petroleum jelly like Vaseline
- Hair gel
Watercolor glazing medium substitutes
To create glazes with watercolors using one of these glazing medium substitutes, you can mix the paint with gum arabic, glycerin, or honey. These glazing medium substitutes will help to make the paint more transparent and increase the luminosity of your colors.
You can also glaze with watercolors by using a colorless glaze medium such as distilled water or clear glycerin.
Gouache glazing medium substitutes
To create glazes with gouache paints using one of these glazing medium substitutes, you can mix the paint with gum arabic, glycerin, or honey. These glazing medium substitutes will help to make the paint more transparent and increase the luminosity of your colors.
You can use an acrylic matte medium with gouache. Remember, once you add an acrylic medium to gouache you can not re-activate the paint with water. It will give the gouache paint a plastic coating.
Glazing mediums for oil paints & alternatives
There are a few glazing mediums that you can use for oil paints, such as linseed oil, stand oil, or copal resin. These glazing mediums will make the paint more transparent and increase the depth of your colors.
What are some substitute glazing mediums for oil paints?
- Linseed oil, stand oil, and copal resin are all glazing medium substitutes for oil paints. These glazing mediums make the paint more transparent and increase the depth of your colors. But what if you don’t just happen to have these laying around the house?
- If you get really desperate you can use refined cooking oils, preferably cold pressed oils such as olive oil or canola oil.
- You can also use mineral spirits or turpentine.
- Just remember that each glazing medium will produce different results, so experiment until you find the one that works best for you.
- Liquid Varnishes – You can also use varnishes as a glazing medium substitute. Varnishes are typically made from resin and oil, and they will give your painting a high-gloss finish. Do not use a spray varnish.
Don’t use hand sanitizer, yes it has alcohol in it and it can be used to dilute the oil paint but most sanitizers also have a perfume or hand lotion in it to make it feel and smell nice. This will make the oil in the oil paints unstable and you will not be able to guarantee how long the paint will last.
Can you use a glazing medium for oils on acrylics and vice versa?
No, glazing mediums are specific to each type of paint. So you’ll need to find the right glazing medium for your project.
Best Glazing Medium Substitute – Wrap up!
There are many glazing medium substitutes that can give you great results. Just remember to experiment until you find the one that works best for you. And if you’re ever unsure, just ask a professional artist or art supply store employee for help.
Alternatively, if you have found a great glazing medium substitute that I have not mentioned, feel free to shoot me an email via the Contact Us page and I will test it out if it works I will be more than happy to update my post with your information!
Cover image “Old Bottles” by Glen Bledsoe is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
- Gesso on Watercolor Paper: Easily Done (Explained How)
- Value vs Tone: Comparing Artistic Elements To Make Better Art
- How Do Painting Inks Differ from Drawing Inks: A Complete Guide
- How To Make Acrylic Paint Matte DIY: A Quick, Easy Guide
- Paper Showdown: Strathmore 300 vs 400 Series – Which Is Best For Your Art?