The Perfect Glazing Medium Substitute – 14 Secrets Every Artist Should Know

Glazing mediums come in two types: oil-based and water-based.

Oil-based mediums like linseed oil and alkyd glazes are durable and shiny, and they don’t yellow easily.

Water-based mediums like acrylic and casein glazes are less durable but also less shiny and less likely to yellow.

There are substitutes for both types, but remember that each medium has unique properties that affect your painting’s look.

Let’s explore 14 glazing secrets every artist should know.

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
  • Honey
  • 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.

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