6 Best Liquid Clear Acrylic Substitutes That Are Cheap For Artists To Get

Liquid clear acrylic is a versatile medium used by artists to create smooth, translucent layers in paintings, particularly in landscape art.

Also known as Magic White in oil painting which was made famous by Bob Ross.

The problem is, it can be difficult to find and I had to look for some substitutes.,

There are many options for liquid clear acrylic substitutes, including acrylic gel, liquid clear acrylic paint, water, gloss medium, silicone and slow-dri medium.

Making magic white is also a great option for those who want to recreate Bob Ross’s wet-on-wet painting technique using acrylic paint.

Let’s explore the different options for liquid clear acrylic substitutes and the benefits and drawbacks of each option, so that artists can choose the right one for their needs.

What is liquid clear made of

Liquid clear is usually made of a mixture of acrylic polymer paint, slow drying medium, and other proprietary ingredients.

The acrylic polymer emulsion helps to bind the paint particles together, while the slow drying medium act as a thinner to help spread out the paint.

The other proprietary ingredients may vary depending on the manufacturer and are often added to improve the texture, drying time, and overall performance of the medium.

So as you can see the ingredients are pretty simple and based on this we could easily substitute the medium component to make a liquid clear acrylic substitute using one of these alternative mediums.

6 Liquid Clear Acrylic Substitutes

Slow-Dri Medium (Liquitex)

Slow-Dri Medium by Liquitex is a popular alternative to liquid clear acrylic medium.

It’s a transparent, slow-drying medium that can be added to acrylic paint to increase its working time and allow for more blending and manipulation on the canvas.

Slow-Dri Medium is made up of an acrylic polymer emulsion, water, and additives that slow down the drying time of the paint.

One of the benefits of using Slow-Dri Medium as a substitute for liquid clear is that it allows for greater control over the painting process.

Because it slows down the drying time, artists have more time to work with the paint and make adjustments before it sets.

This can be especially useful in creating smooth transitions between colors or blending different shades together.

Another benefit of Slow-Dri Medium is that it’s versatile and can be used for different techniques, such as glazing, impasto, and wet-on-wet painting.

It can also be used to create a glossy or matte finish, depending on the artist’s preference.

To use Slow-Dri Medium, simply mix it with acrylic paint on a palette or directly on the canvas.

The amount of medium used will depend on the desired effect and the thickness of the paint. Generally, a ratio of 1:2 (medium to paint) is recommended for most techniques.

Overall, Liquitex Slow-Dri Medium is a versatile and effective substitute for liquid clear that can help artists achieve a variety of painting effects while allowing for greater control over the painting process.

Slow Dri Medium Liquitex
Slow Dri Medium

Acrylic Gel

Acrylic gel is another popular substitute for liquid clear acrylic medium.

It’s a versatile medium that can be added to acrylic paint to create a thicker, more textured consistency.

Acrylic gel is made up of an acrylic polymer emulsion, water, and additives that give it a thicker, gel-like texture.

It comes in gloss and matte and you can choose which one you need based on your personal preference, they behave the same way.

One of the benefits of using acrylic gel as a substitute for liquid clear is that it adds body and texture to the paint, which can be useful in creating impasto or other textured effects in a painting.

Additionally, it can be used to create three-dimensional effects, such as sculpting or adding relief to a painting.

Another benefit of acrylic gel is that it can be used as a ground or primer for a painting.

It can be applied to the canvas before adding paint to create a textured surface for the paint to adhere to, which can help to create a more interesting and dynamic painting.

To use acrylic gel, simply mix it with acrylic paint on a palette or directly on the canvas.

The amount of gel used will depend on the desired effect and the thickness of the paint. Generally, a ratio of 1:1 (gel to paint) is recommended for most techniques.

Overall, acrylic gel is a versatile and effective substitute for liquid clear that can help artists achieve a variety of painting effects while adding texture and body to the paint.

Acrylic Gel
Acrylic Gel

Acrylic Glaze Liquid Gloss

Acrylic glaze liquid gloss is another alternative to liquid clear acrylic medium.

It’s a medium that can be added to acrylic paint to create a glossy, translucent finish.

Acrylic glaze liquid gloss is made up of an acrylic polymer emulsion, water, and additives that create a glossy, transparent finish.

One of the benefits of using acrylic glaze liquid gloss as a substitute for liquid clear is that it creates a glossy finish that can enhance the vibrancy and depth of colors in a painting.

It can be especially useful in creating a transparent, stained-glass effect in paintings or adding a final gloss finish to a piece.

Another benefit of acrylic glaze liquid gloss is that it’s easy to use and can be mixed with acrylic paint on a palette or directly on the canvas.

The amount of medium used will depend on the desired effect, but generally, a ratio of 1:1 (glaze to paint) is recommended for most techniques.

Acrylic glaze liquid gloss can also be used as a protective layer over a finished painting. It can help to protect the paint from fading, cracking, or peeling over time, and can also be easily removed if necessary.

Overall, acrylic glaze liquid gloss is a versatile and effective substitute for liquid clear that can help artists achieve a glossy, transparent finish in their paintings.

It’s easy to use, can be mixed with paint, and can also be used as a protective layer over a finished piece.

Acrylic Glazing Liquid
Acrylic Glazing Liquid

Acrylic Gloss Medium

Acrylic gloss medium is another substitute for liquid clear acrylic medium.

It’s another acrylic gloss medium that can be added to acrylic paint to create a glossy, translucent finish.

Like Acrylic Glaze Liquid Gloss, Acrylic gloss medium is made up of an acrylic polymer emulsion, water, and additives that create a glossy, transparent finish.

One of the benefits of using acrylic gloss medium as a substitute for liquid clear is that it creates a glossy finish that can enhance the vibrancy and depth of colors in a painting.

It can be especially useful in creating a transparent, stained-glass effect in paintings or adding a final gloss finish to a piece.

Another benefit of acrylic gloss medium is that it’s easy to use and can be mixed with acrylic paint on a palette or directly on the canvas.

The amount of medium used will depend on the desired effect, but generally, a ratio of 1:1 (medium to paint) is recommended for most techniques.

Acrylic gloss medium can also be used to create a variety of textures and effects in a painting, depending on the application method.

It can be brushed on thickly to create a 3D effect or thinned with water for a more subtle effect.

Overall, acrylic gloss medium is a versatile and effective substitute for liquid clear that can help artists achieve a glossy, transparent finish in their paintings.

It’s easy to use, can be mixed with paint, and can also be used to create a variety of textures and effects.

Gloss Medium
Gloss Medium

Silicone Pouring Oil

Silicone pouring oil is an unconventional substitute for liquid clear acrylic medium.

It’s a type of oil that can be added to acrylic paint to create a smooth, glossy finish and prevent cracking or drying too quickly.

Silicone pouring oil is made up of various types of silicones and other additives that give it a unique texture and performance.

One of the benefits of using silicone pouring oil as a substitute for liquid clear is that it creates a smooth, glossy finish that can enhance the vibrancy and depth of colors in a painting.

Additionally, it can be useful in creating abstract art or poured paintings, where the paint is poured onto the canvas and allowed to flow and mix.

Another benefit of silicone pouring oil is that it helps to prevent cracking and drying too quickly, which can be especially useful in creating large, poured paintings or in hot and dry environments.

To use silicone pouring oil, simply add a small amount (usually a few drops) to acrylic paint and mix well.

The amount of oil used will depend on the desired effect, but it’s important not to add too much, as it can cause the paint to separate or create an unwanted sheen.

Overall, silicone pouring oil is an unconventional but effective substitute for liquid clear that can help artists achieve a smooth, glossy finish in their paintings and prevent cracking or drying too quickly.

However, it’s important to experiment with the amount used and be cautious when adding it to paint, as it can have unexpected effects on the final result.

Silicone Pouring Oil
Silicone Pouring Oil

Water

A simple and easy option, but it can make the paint too thin and watery and because it will do nothing to slow the drying process it is the least ideal medium for wet on wet unless you work quickly.

How to make homemade liquid clear

My Liquid Clear Recipe – Using Acrylic Gel or Slow-Dri medium as a Substitute

Acrylic gel and Slow-Dri mediums are versatile mediums that can be used as an acrylic substitute for liquid clear acrylic. Acrylic Gel is thicker than liquid clear acrylic, so it creates more texture and body in paintings.

It can be used on nails to prevent chipping.

On the other hand if you want a liquid clear substitute that provides more coverage then use Liquitex Slow-Dri medium as it is a light body and more runny medium.

Here are the steps to use acrylic gel or Slow-Dri as a substitute:

  1. Mix the medium (according to manufacturer instructions) with a small amount of white paint to thin it out to a desired consistency.
  2. Use a brush or palette knife to apply the mixture to the canvas.
  3. Blend the mixture with more acrylic paint on the canvas to create a smooth wet on wet transition between colors.

Buying Liquid Clear Paint Online

Liquid clear does not exist in a pre-made form as it does for oil paints.

There is a Bob Ross branded Liquid Clear for sale (see below) but this is only suitable for oil paints and should never be used with acrylic paints.

Which is why your only real option is to go down the DIY route.

So before we make a liquid clear acrylic substitute using Liquitex Slow-Dri medium let’s learn how it is made for oil paints so that you can see how simple it is to make.

Bob Ross branded Liquid Clear
Bob Ross branded Liquid Clear

Magic White – Bob Ross Liquid Clear

Making Magic White for Oil Paint

Magic White is a medium invented by William Alexander and popularized by Bob Ross. Bob used magic white in his paintings and you only need 2 ingredients.

Magic White creates a wet surface that allows for easier blending and creates a smooth transition between colors.

It can also be used as a substitute for liquid clear acrylic. Here are the materials needed and steps to make magic white:

  • Titanium White paint
  • Linseed Oil

Mix equal parts of Titanium White and Linseed Oil in a jar.

Keep adding a small amount of Linseed Oil to the mixture and stir until it reaches a creamy consistency.

So now that we know the recipe for magic white in oil, let’s replicate it in acrylics with the following liquid clear recipe.

Making Magic White for Acrylic Paint

Based on the recipe for oil paint based magic white, the formula I came up with for magic white for acrylic paint is to mix equal amounts of titanium white acrylic paint and Liquitex Slow-Dri Gel medium.

  • Titanium White Soft Body Acrylic Paint (Liquitex) as it flows better than the heavy body
  • Liquitex Slow-Dri medium

Mix until it is a paste and add medium as needed. You will find with the Slow-Dri gel that you will get a lot of coverage so make a small batch to start with or you may end up throwing much of it away.

This recipe will mimic the oil paint version of magic white and the slow-dri medium will make the acrylic paint behave like the oil paint version where it will not dry quickly allowing you to paint wet on wet.

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