Acrylic Paint

I was looking around for a new and exciting way to paint my canvas when I remembered someone telling me how they mixed PVA glue with acrylic paint. Unsure if this would work, I did a bit of research, and as I went on, I found something I didn’t expect, something absolutely magical! I call it an expressionists’ dream!

Yes, you can definitely mix PVA glue with acrylic paint, and because both of these mediums are water-based, mixing the two is a breeze. There are other pouring mediums such as Floetrol and Liquitex that you can use, but PVA glue is an effective and inexpensive alternative to use.

PVA glue also extends your paint, which is great if you work on a budget and need to stretch your materials. So if you want to try something a little different for a change, this is such a lovely way to play with color and create fantasy-level results. And don’t worry if you think you aren’t artistic enough, this is a fun process, and it is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

What Are Different Types Of PVA Glues Used For?

There are various kinds of PVA glue on the market, some more expensive than others; however, the results are almost the same. Depending on the results you are looking for, it is important to know which one to choose concerning quality and longevity.

Book Binders’ GlueAcid-free, PH neutralUsed by fine artistsLasts much longer than traditional glues
School glueClear glueElmers glueVery popular glue typeSlightly acidicCan last for years but will break down over time due to acidityDecades for acrylic art
Glue-AllWhite glueIe, Elmers glue is a watered down version of Glue-AllWashable after dryNot recommended for artwork as it does not last as long as other PVA glues

Vinyl and acrylic resins have both their advantages and their disadvantages, even though they are quite similar in composition.

Vinyl resins are a cheaper option and are more commonly used in glue and house paint. Both a hardener and a binder, vinyl resins are perfect for extending acrylic paint without affecting the composition and strength too much, if at all.

Made of polyvinyl acetate, PVA glue adheres to many different painting surfaces such as wood, paper, cardboard, and material, making it the most widely used adhesive.

Why Is PVA Glue A Good Choice To Use As A Pouring Medium?

Cost Affective – PVA glue such as Elmers glue is a great choice because of its price and availability. You are bound to find it at almost any grocery, hardware, and convenience store. Compared to brand name pouring medium prices, such as Liquitex Pouring Medium, PVA glue is s much more affordable but still effective option.

Composition – When PVA glue is used in acrylic paint, fewer cells form naturally compared to pouring mediums such as Floetrol or Liquitex Pouring Medium. This is great if you are trying to achieve more solid colors, and this glue does not compromise the composition and the actual color of the paint.

Archival Qualities – This refers to the material’s lifespan and how long the color, form, and texture will last. Although there is proof that your painting will last for somewhat years, it is unclear if it will last forever because neither of these two products has actually been around for more than 100 years.

PVA, a polyvinyl acetate, was first discovered in 1912, but it was only introduced in 1947 in the form of Elmer’s Glue.

Acrylic, a polymer emulsion, only appeared in 1934 as a painting medium, but it was only commercially available in the 1950s.

Non-Toxic – Synthetic materials are used to make PVA glue. Therefore it is non-toxic. Minimal fumes are released, so no protective gear such as masks and gloves are necessary when working with PVA glue.

Drying And Strength – The binders/resins in PVA glue form a strong bonding connection between surfaces. PVA glue consists of water, binders/resins, and acetone or ethanol. Water adds to the fluidity of the glue, and the acetone or ethanol determines the drying time.

It takes about a week for the paint to cure completely but only 3 days to dry to the touch. The recommended time to wait before you apply varnish is +/-14 days. If you varnish it too soon, it will cause the water to be outgassing, resulting in a murky-looking finish and could pull away from the canvas.

What Ratios Of PVA To Acrylic Can You Mix?

PVA glue is used as the base in a pouring medium. Due to the rather thick consistency of the glue, water is added to create thinner liquid consistencies.

Ratio Of Water/Pouring Medium To Glue

1/3 water – 2/3 PVAglueMost commonly used recipe for a pouring medium.Relatively thin consistency but still thick enough to mix well with acrylic paint.
70% PVA glue – 30% waterSlightly thick consistencyColors stay more solid due to lessintermixing
25% water – 50% PVA glue – 25% Floetrol or LiquitexHelps natural cells to emergeProduces amazing lacing effects

Ratio Of Glue To Paint

1:1Used for craft paints
1 part paint to 2 parts glueFor student quality acrylic paints
1 part paint to 3 or 4 parts glueUsed in the preparation of more professional paintsHeavy body acrylics

How Do You Mix A Pouring Medium?

What You Need

  • PVA glue (pouring medium)
  • Acrylic paint
  • Canvas
  • Clear plastic cups (for mixing paint)
  • Wooden mixing stick/pallet knife (for stirring)
  • Gladwrap (plastic wrap) – to protect your work surface
  • Water
  • Gloss varnish (if you want a more vibrant finish)


  • Cover your work surface with plastic wrap
  • Select your colors
  • Mix your colors in clear plastic cups so that you can see if

Adjust the color to your preference

  • Add 1 part acrylic paint, ½ part glue, and a splash of water (depending on how thick or thin you want your mixture to be)
  • Mix thoroughly with a wooden mixing stick or a metal pallet knife until you have a smooth, lump-free fluid
  • Test the consistency of your mixture by lifting the stick and add more water if the trickle is too thick and more paint if it is too thin

Now you are ready to start with your masterpiece so let the fun begin!!!


You can use as many colors as you want, but if you are doing this for the first time, I would suggest that you start with 3, maybe 4, colors.

Fill the cup halfway, by pouring a little bit of each color into the cup, one by one.

Now that you have your paint mixture ready pour the paint onto your canvas. Lift the canvas and slowly tilt it from side to side, in any direction you prefer, until the entire canvas is covered with the paint.

You can also pour your colors individually instead of mixing/combining them in a cup. You can experiment by pouring your paint diagonally, horizontally, in zigzags, circles, and basically any other shape or direction you desire.

Blowing through a straw onto the paint on your canvas is a very effective trick to try to blend the paint into each other in interesting ways. You can also use a hairdryer for more dramatic blowing effects.

Normally it takes about 3 days for the paint to dry completely, so make sure you leave your canvas in a safe place to dry when you are done with your painting.

As it dries, the once glossy paint turns slightly matt. You can apply a gloss varnish to finish your painting with a vibrant glow. Rustoleum, Spray Mate, and Montana Spray Varnish are tried and trusted brands and are all of good quality.

Make sure you are in a well-ventilated area when you are spraying your canvas. The fumes that are emitted are dangerous to your health if inhaled.

Acrylic paint colors appear lighter once it is mixed with the glue since the color of the glue is a misty, slightly opaque color. However, once the glue dries, the color will be brighter than when you started because the glue dries clear.

Can You Use Elmer’s Glue To Seal/Varnish An Acrylic Painting?

Elmer’s glue is not recommended as a seal or varnish, due to the fact that it is water-based and will dissolve if it comes into contact with water. The best way to seal your acrylic painting is to put a water-soluble acrylic medium over it, followed by a mineral spirit acrylic varnish such as Liquitex Soluvar MSA varnish.

If You Mix PVA Glue Into Paint, Does It Make It Waterproof?

Most PVA glues are not waterproof. There are different water resistance levels in glues, with Titebond 3 being the only glue that is rated level 1. Adding glue to paint to make it waterproof won’t be effective; therefore, a varnish is recommended.

In Conclusion

So now we know that you can mix PVA glue with acrylic paint. We know how to mix them. We know how different ratios give different liquidity. Finishing your painting with a good quality varnish is highly recommended if you want your painting to last longer and protect the color quality.

You can add glitter dust to your paint to make it look metallic, and using contrasting colors such as yellow and blue next to each other, really makes your painting pop with color. Add some color to your life, and have fun!