How to Make Your Own Blank Clear Acrylic Paint Medium Cheap

Introduction: How to Make Your Own Blank Clear Acrylic Paint Medium Cheap

About: I enjoy building things which i need or want, like coilwinders, coilguns, laser burners ect. I am into a bit of everything, electronics, programming, animating ect.

Hi all!

Recently, after weeks upon weeks of investigation (like 5 weeks maybe) ive at last solved a huge personal problem.

I sell thermochromic pigments (and other special effects pigments, materials, ect ), and with so much, so cheaply at my disposal, i also like to envision many projects i can do on a whim, not like a few years ago when one had to carefully plan everything out and make the best use of their $2+/g pigment from the other online merchants.....

Any-who, this problem was the complete lack of plain acrylic paint medium, that is, acrylic paint, without the color, and i don't mean white paint, im talking about pigment-less paint.

Manufacturers rarely make blank mediums and when they do its overpriced and often full of so many additives its not suitable to mix with pigments or dyes because it needs to be diluted with actual paint. In short, not the best stuff for mixing paint with. it works, but plain and pure in this case is always better.

Then it came to me! Why not filter out the pigments!
A dumb idea at first, the ideal paint to filter is titanium white paint since any expected leakage of color wouldnt make much of a tint, problem is you'd need a centrifuge and a micro-nanometer filter or a dilutant you can safely remove from your paint after without causing it to set, making it thin enough to pass through filter paper. Its impossible, not without exceeding the costs of buying actual pure medium which is always premium stuff costing like $50 for 250ml.

Since normal paint is out of the question, there is an alternative!
glitter! the "pigment" in glitter paint isn't >300um talcum stuff, its <1mm particles, easily filtered with a broad filter.

I found out its possible to attain a clear, pure colorless medium, by filtering glitter paint.

There is just one hitch, it requires a fair amount of pressure, it likely wont filter under its own gravitational pressure.

This hitch is circumvented though by following the instructions on the next page

Step 1: Materials

OK, before you can start your going to need the necessary materials. Though its not exactly rocket science, most anyone can do it.


  • Glitter or particle paint in a CLEAR suspension
  • a clear or white glass/cup with a capacity of at least 3/4 of the glitter paint Or a suitable bottle for permanent storage
  • scissors
  • thin but fine threaded fabric

The fabric must be thin and consistent, i used a rag which was previously a pillow case.

The fabric must be consistent enough not to allow any glitter through and strong enough that you can apply a decent amount of pressure.

As for the container your going to place the clean medium in, make sure its at least 3/4 of the volume of paint your using if not equal. its unlikely you'll get more than 80% of the medium out before the glitter concentration becomes to high.

Step 2: Doing Stuff With the Thing

First things first you gotta prep the glittery goop. Ideally buy one which has been sitting still for a long time, and has had all the glitter settle, or otherwise, let your glitter sit a few days completely still. it will make the process impossibly efficient.

Using the aforementioned scissors on the appropriate fabric, cut a large square of fabric, big enough it will surpass the threading of the bottle, that's the minimum requirement, easily met.

next, wet the square or else things will get tricky and messy, remove the cap, place the square on the bottle and screw the lid back on.

Step 3: Squeeze!

Get your container ready, bottle or cup. I recommend using your final container you intend to permanently store the medium in, or a cup if your going to mix pigment in straight away.

You need to make sure you move the medium between containers as few times as possible, because in a 250ml cup you can be sure that about 10-30ml is going to stay stuck to the container if you try to pour it out.

If possible, wait until the glitter settles or keep it settled if that's how you bought it.

start squeezing that goo out.

It will come out clear hopefully, the glitter getting blocked out.

For the first half try to squeeze out as much as possible before it all clogs up. After the first half of volume is squeezed out it will get harder, but you'll be able to keep going until you've moved about 3/4-4/5ths of the liquid out.

Towards the end you need to start shaking it up and unsettling the glitter so it doesn't block the fabric, but at no point will it ever become impossible that much i can assure you, just harder.

Of this i managed to get 200ml out of 250ml out before giving up. Still, given that's 200ml which i paid $7 for, compared to $15 for 175ml, im quite happy and you ought to be too!

Step 4: Using Your New Medium

I found out immediately one of the key benefits of this pure acrylic polymer ( as its referred to in this state ), when mixing it into thermochromic pigment, a light fluffy and hydrophobic pigment (repells water like oil), this stuff, unlike normal gloss or matte mediums requires no machine mixing, it took in the pigment as if it were a polar solvent that "wets" the powder instead of just slowly blending in and gradually forming a suspension.

of course it didn't literally do this, but it was faster than ive ever seen it happen

In the second photo note how black the paint mixture is, this happened with only a little bit of hand mixing. again otherwise improbable with purpose built medium.

Before packing it away to test if anything in the paint would have an impact on the sensitive thermochromic pigments storage life, i did a test paint and as you'd expect the effect was AMAZING! it automatically set itself at the exact correct thickness required for the thermochromic effect, not too thin that you can see through it and not too thick that whats underneath is blocked out by the semi opaque particles or that body temps have difficult completely transferring enough heat to activate the pigment.

in short this pure acrylic polymer is the best stuff ive ever dealt with, itl probably handle the super heavy glow powders well too!

Anyway, this concludes my instructable.

I hope it helps!

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    6 Discussions

    Ooo that's a neat methodology! Definitely dig the idea of having all the pigments just on hand to do what I like with, I am so jealous! Thanks for sharing!


    2 years ago

    If you have any acrylic wall paint in your garage, and if it has been undisturbed for many months, there's a good chance you'll find an inch or two of said medium floating on the surface


    2 years ago

    Don't know where you buy glitter paint for $7 but a 2oz bottle is almost $3 and that's a Walmart. Any other store and the price goes up. Rustoleum 1 qt is $ 32; that's $1 per ounce.


    2 years ago

    Hi thanks this is great info. I actually wondered the same as sandir17 about glitter glue vs glitter paint as I could only find clear glitter 'paint' that is actually glue (and unhelpfully does not list ingredients)! I have to use glow dust mixed with a clear medium on a theatre job this week where I am painting on both hardboard which has a basecoat of white emulsion, and white sharkstooth gauze that will also have video projected on it (so I'm using a glow dust which only shows up when lit with UV, so it will hopefully be invisible when the video projection is happening). I have never used something like this before so it has got me a little worried - as I am freelance and work alone I'm kind of stuck googling to try to work out how to use it properly and your info has helped me a bit on the way, so thank you very much for this.

    If I may ask even more of you though... I had already tried mixing with PVA glue, where the PVA was mixed with varying amounts of water but the pigment became one massive clump of pigment no matter how much I stirred. I didn't know if the problem was the PVA glue or the water (maybe the powder is hydrophobic?). I guess from what you've said its the glue though. So now I'm back at square one thinking what else I can try to mix it with.

    I have a short deadline meaning I can't really risk ordering something online which is a pain, so I am looking for a medium that is available in many shops (I'm in UK, not sure where you are). It cannot be a glossy finish such as varnish as will be lit by stage lights before the UV backlight is deployed to reveal the magic, and any gloss or satin would reflect light, so I'm a bit stuck. I know you can get like flat glaze paints from Rosco etc. and there are likely suppliers I could travel to here in the middle of the UK who stock it but its soooo expensive that we don't have the budget for that! (About £45-50 for a smallish can). So I'm looking for something cheaper that will work. So, sorry for the crazy rambling, having somewhat of a panic(!) I suppose I'm just asking incase there is anything else you have found that works if I can't find glitter paint instead of glitter glue. :)


    3 years ago

    where did you find that large bottle of glitter paint? I find lots of glitter "glue" (is that the same?) and tiiinnny bottles of glitter paint. I would love to make this to maybe use as a blending aid in my acrylic painting, paint with clive uses something like that but I don't want to try and ship from the UK as I am in the states.


    3 years ago

    A note to anyone reading this now, look out for ammonia based mediums. its actually quite common among glitter mediums. They will react with certain pigments or substances and instantly cure or congeal, lump up basically.
    known reactants are acids such as in PVA and PVC glue, and also rare earth metal oxide based glow pigments, such as strontium based glow pigment, which is one of the really good bright long lasting glow pigments around these days.

    Lastly, i recommend you invest in a container of clearcoat and a cheap air brush, for working with thermochromic pigments. you get like 10X more surface coverage using an air brush, and much nicer, thinner layers, which react more quickly to heat.