A Guide to Acrylic

Acrylic paint is highly pigmented, water-based acrylic colours especially formulated for use in model making, up cycling and general hobby use. The paint is suitable to use on paper, card, wood, plastic, metal and plaster. They are also faster drying than oils, and can easily be manipulated. 


Artist Quality or Student Quality

Artists’ (professional) quality paint is made from a high concentration of finely ground pigments, therefore making it more expensive to purchase. These paints are often more vibrant and have a much smoother consistency, making them easier to layer and blend together. Student quality paints are cheaper, as they have lower pigment levels. The colours tend to be weaker, due to the possible use of fillers been added to the paints. 

For beginners, it might be a good idea to go with the student quality paint to start off with as it is cheaper and is excellent quality. However, once you have gained more experience and can afford it, we fully recommend using artist quality acrylic paint to enhance and develop your work. 


Factors to consider when choosing Acrylic paint

Drying Times

Acrylic is a very fast drying medium, which is one of the reasons why it is so popular. Normally, acrylic paint would stay wet on a surface for around about 15-20 minutes. The quick drying time can be very useful if you are painting outdoors or if you are wanting to paint layers onto your surface in a short period of time. However, this can be a hassle if the paint dries out on the palette or the brush, making it harder to paint and more time consuming. The ‘open’ time of the acrylics can be extended by using acrylic gel or other retarders. These can be mixed into the acrylics once you have applied the paint to your palette. 


This refers to the amount of resistance a pigment has to exposure to light. Artists’ quality paint will either use pigments that have a very good or an excellent lightfastness rating, as much as possible. Also, acrylics in general have much higher lightfastness (permanence) ratings than oils and watercolours do. 

The most well known scales for measuring the lightfastness is the Blue Wool Scale rating. The highest level level of lightfastness on the scale is 8 and the lower level is 1. This measures how the pigments behave in sunlight when mixed with either a little bit of white or a lot of white. Another scale for measuring lightfastness is ASTM Permanence Standard (American Society for Testing and Materials). 

  • ATSM I = Excellent Lightfastness
  • ATSM II = Very Good Lightfastness
  • ATSM III = Not Sufficiently Lightfastness


The consistency can differ among some of the acrylics, for example, student acrylic paints tend to have a ‘medium’ consistency, whereas, artist acrylics have a ‘high’ consistency. Also, heavy body acrylics tend to be thicker, and have a buttery consistency, which is ideal for mixing and blending colours. Whereas, fluid acrylics are a lot thinner, and are ideal for more detailed work.  The choice of acrylics will depend on the style of your painting and also personal preference. 


Advantages & Disadvantages of Acrylic


  • It is more affordable than some mediums. 
  • It has a quick drying time, allowing you to paint outdoors or finish your project faster. 
  • It is very versatile. You can use it on any surface that is not oiled, including: canvas, board, paper etc. 
  • It is extremely flexible and durable. You can mix acrylics with many different mediums and it will not crack, peel or turn yellow.


  • Due to the paint being fast-drying, it means you have to work quickly. If not, your brush and palette may dry up. 
  • Once the paint has dried, it can be hard to remove from brushes, clothing etc. It is important to keep your brushes in water whilst not in use. 
  • Often, the colours can turn darker once they have dried.

We are excited to announce that our paint ranges are growing. Recently, we have launched our Loxley Hobby Acrylic Collection, which is a range of highly pigmented, water-based acrylic colours especially formulated for use in model making, up cycling and general hobby use.

Loxley Hobby Acrylic Paint