Can You Mix Acrylic and Latex Paint? (How-To)

One common hack to getting detailed finishes is mixing different paint types. But can you mix acrylic and latex paints? Here is the answer to that.

You can mix acrylic and latex paints since both paints are water-based. In a broad sense, they are both latex paints which make them have similar features.

Except for that, you can also mix interior latex paint with interior acrylic paint. However, acrylic paints usually come in tubes which makes it a bit difficult to mix the paint with latex without a few steps that would be discussed later in this article.

So what happens when you mix acrylic paint with latex? Let’s find out.

What Happens When You Mix Acrylic Paint with Latex Paint?

In one sentence, you get a thicker acrylic paint. When you mix acrylic paint and latex paint, the acrylic paint will add more color to the latex paint resulting in a more colorful finish. This is because acrylic paint is designed to show more color than latex paint since it is designed for arts and crafts.

Latex paints and acrylic paints are both water-based paints. This means both paints use water as the solvent (or vehicle) in the paint particles. The water-based natures of both paints give them similar features like fast-drying paint coating, easy application, and the likes. However, they also have different features.

For starters, latex paints are usually lighter than acrylic paints. This is because latex paints are designed for painting buildings and furniture directly. Acrylic paints are thicker and need to be mixed before use. This means acrylic paint can’t be used directly.

Acrylic paints are also chemical-based. Though acrylic paints use water as the solvent, there are still chemicals in the paint. These chemicals are added to improve the elasticity of acrylic paint since it is commonly used for artwork.

Also, acrylic paints are more colorful than latex paints. This is because acrylic paints are designed for artwork. Designs, murals; that’s acrylic paint.

So when you mix latex and acrylic paints together, their water-based nature will make them compatible but the result will produce a thicker and more colorful paint. Painters use this trick every time to get detailed and brighter finishes.

Does Acrylic Paint Stick to Latex Paint?

Acrylic paint when applied over latex paint will stick and adhere properly. This is because latex paints when dry have a textured finish that makes successive paint coatings adhere. Also, both paints have the same solvent which makes paint bonding easier. Latex paint will also stick to acrylic paint if required.

Acrylic paints are popular for arts and crafts. This means the paint is used on different types of surfaces and as such is designed to stick regardless of the material used. Not surprisingly, acrylic paint is commonly used over latex-painted walls and surfaces.

Usually, after applying latex paint on material or wall, acrylic paint will be applied over the latex to give extra detail or color to some areas.

Also, latex paints when dry give a textured and chalky finish that makes paint bonding easier.

How to Mix Acrylic Paint With Latex Paint?

Mixing acrylic and latex paints is an easy task that you can take on yourself.

To mix both paints, you’ll need a few tools:

  • A Paint Bucket
  • A Can of Latex Paint
  • Tube(s) of Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Mixer
  • Measuring Cup
  • A Bottle of Water

Here is a rundown of how to mix acrylic and latex paint:

  1. Pour Both Paints into a Container
  2. Thin The Acrylic Paint
  3. Mix & Stir for 10 minutes
  4. Test The Mixture

Now, let’s get to work.

1. Pour Both Paints into a Container

Pour Both Paints into a Container

The first step is to pour out both paints.

Tip: before you pour both paints, check if the paints are still in good condition.

The latex paint can be left in the container but it is better to pour it out into an empty paint bucket first. Ensure the paint bucket is clean and has no paint residue particularly, oil paints in it.

For the acrylic paint, squeeze the required amount into a measuring cup or empty bowl. As explained earlier, acrylic paints come in tubes so you need to squeeze out the required amount of acrylic paint into an empty container.

However, that’s not the only different feature of acrylic paints. Acrylic paints are also thicker than latex paints so to mix both paints, you have to first…

2. Thin The Acrylic Paint

Thin The Acrylic Paint

Thinning paint isn’t tough. It means making the paint lighter so it can be easily applied. Thick paints are usually thinned because they can’t be applied in their thick nature.

So to use or mix acrylic paint, you usually need to thin or mix the required amount first. Since acrylic paint is water-based, you can thin it with water.

Add a few drops of water to the acrylic paint you previously poured out. You can use the lid on the bottle of water to measure just one cap into the acrylic paint. Then stir the acrylic paint with the water so it has a more liquid form.

Tip: Latex paint doesn’t need to be thinned because it is designed to be used directly.

3. Mix & Stir for 10 Minutes

Mix & Stir for 10 Minutes

After thinning, pour the thinned acrylic paint into the bucket containing the latex paint. When you have mixed both paints, the next thing is to stir. This will take some elbow grease since you have to stir both paints till they have a uniform color and paint consistency. This means till both paints flow and look the same.

On average, this will take you about 10 minutes of vigorous stirring. It’s usually best to leave this task for a paint mixer.

With a paint mixer, you can mix the paint quicker and better. If you mix the paint manually, you might notice some lumps in the paint coating. This is usually the result when you don’t stir the paint at the base of the container.

Tip: To stir correctly, ensure to use a stick that can reach the base of the container and one that wouldn’t snap while stirring.

4. Test The Mixture

Test The Mixture

Test out the mixture on a wall or cardboard. Usually, after mixing latex and acrylic paint, the mixture will go on fine on a material. So if you find out that the mixture is hard to apply, that’s usually a sign of improper paint stirring. If the paint is tough to apply, it might also be due to lumps in the paint coating or maybe one of the paints has gone bad.

If the paint goes on fine, that’s progress. Next, you need to wait till the paint coating dries. This is where most DIYers encounter a problem. After mixing latex and acrylic paints, the finish might not have a uniform color. Also, the acrylic paint will most times dry quicker than the latex paint which will affect proper paint curing and adhesion.

Tip: Latex and acrylic paint dries in less than 2 hours.

If you notice any of these signs, then you shouldn’t use the mixture yet. You probably need to increase the concentration of one paint type in the mixture or stir better.

When you have completed all these steps, you have successfully mixed latex and acrylic paint.

Can You Paint Latex Over Acrylic?

You can paint latex paint over acrylic just the same way you can paint acrylic paint over latex. Latex paint will adhere well to acrylic paint because both paints have the same solvent.

Also, acrylic paint when dry doesn’t form a glossy sheen or wax that can prevent paint adhesion. The acrylic finish is usually textured and chalky. This textured nature will allow the latex paint to sit and adhere properly.

Should I Use Acrylic Paint or Latex Paint?

Acrylic and latex paints are both great choices. Both paints are also easy to apply and they dry quickly but the choice of which to use depends on the material to be painted and the type of finish you want.

Acrylic paints though water-based still have some chemicals in them. These chemicals give the paint advanced features over interior latex paint. Acrylic paint is more elastic than latex paint.

The paint is designed to expand and contract in response to the temperature. This gives acrylic paint increased durability and makes the paint more ideal for outdoor or exterior use.

Acrylic paints are also thicker which means you will get a more colorful finish than latex paint. So if colorful is what you are looking for, acrylic paint is your pick.

Latex paint on the other hand is thinner than acrylic paint. This means that the paint is easier to apply and control than ordinary acrylic paint. So if you aren’t a pro yet, you might want to dazzle with some latex paint first.

Latex paint is ideal for painting buildings. Asides from being easier to apply, latex paints have a more subtle look. Though acrylic paints are more colorful, no one wants a building to look like a rainbow or be too bright. So for painting building interiors or exteriors, you can use interior or exterior latex paint.

Ultimately, it’s your call. Other factors that can influence your decision include accessibility and cost. Though both paints have a similar price range.

Final Words

Overall, you can mix acrylic and latex paints easily. You just have to measure the required amount. Then stir for enough time so both paints can become one. After, you can use the paint mixture.

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