Acrylics carry their own natural luster, but you can easily boost their brilliance by adding a little gloss medium. A good-quality gloss bonds nicely with paints, extending their drying time and allowing them to flow with ease as you blend and build colors to produce luminescent effects. Glosses are also handy to keep around for use as a varnish; simply slick on a thin layer to accentuate final colors with extra shine.
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1. Liquitex Professional Fluid Medium, Gloss, 8 oz.
Liquitex’s gloss medium excels at both extending your paint’s volume and finishing your artworks with a sleek protective coat. Liquid yet not too runny, this gloss enhances the flow of paint without compromising its stability. It provides a nice sheen to colors, bringing out brushwork and highlighting different tones. This gloss is available only in an 8-ounce bottle, but it will serve you well and go a long way.
2. Winsor & Newton Professional Acrylic Gloss Medium
Sometimes the mark of a good gloss medium is the fact that it goes undetected in a finished work. Winsor & Newton’s Professional Acrylic medium is our upgrade pick: a little pricier than Liquitex but worth the splurge if you want a sheen that looks natural. The formula dries clear without cracking and supplies paint with a subtle luminescence—like the original paint, only better. We also appreciate the precision nozzle that prevents you from squeezing out more than you need.
3. Golden Polymer Gloss Medium
Whether you’re applying it to dry surfaces or mixing it with wet acrylics, this gloss medium leaves your work with a velvety-smooth finish. Creamy in consistency—it’s just a little thicker than honey—it helps acrylics shine without causing them to get runny. Just a thin layer of this gloss will provide your works with a brilliant patina as it dries perfectly clear. Because Golden’s product doesn’t clump easily, it is also excellent for building up layers.
4. Pebeo Artist Acrylics Auxiliaries Gloss Bindex
Though designed as a binder to bond and seal mixed-media artworks, Pebeo’s gloss Bindex is versatile enough to use like any other gloss acrylic. It lends depth and brightness to colors and results in a protective layer that dries with minimal shrinkage and is non-yellowing. Though designed as an adhesive, it is very easy to blend and goes on smoothly. The gloss is brilliant without looking tacky. This one-liter tub is a smart economical pick for group settings like classrooms and workshops.
5. Grumbacher Gloss Medium and Varnish
Grumbacher’s high-quality gloss is thin but mighty. The multifaceted medium can be used to prime, glaze, or varnish and can even act as an effective collage adhesive. Apply sparingly to maintain some of the body of unadulterated paint, or use more for clean and even glazes. You’ll be left with a subtle yet profound level of shine that avoids the plastic or oily effect of some gloss mediums and varnishes.
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