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Learn how to use acrylic paints from these information sheets:
Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) Downloads in PDF file:
Techniques of Community Murals by Bernard Williams of the Chicago Public Art Group. Link to a comprehensive mural painting article on planning and executing a community mural.
Q. What is the difference between Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint and the acrylic paints sold in art stores and mail order catalogs?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is comparable to the name brands of artists acrylic paint. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is not a student grade or craft paint. We use the traditional pigments found in all high quality artists’ paint as well as 100% acrylic resin as a binder. We do not skimp on quality of our ingredients or the amount of pigment we use. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint has been the first choice of artists in Southern California for decades.
Q. Why does Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint cost so much less than the paints sold in art stores and mail order catalogs?
A. We have been making Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint and selling it directly to the artist since 1965. The paint goes directly from us to you! You pay less because Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is not marked up by the retailer.
Q. Can I use Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint for an outdoor mural?
A. Yes. Acrylic paint is excellent outdoors. See "Mural Painting/Tips for Exterior Mural Painting"
Q. Is Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint water-proof?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is water-resistant but it is not water-proof. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint should not be used for underwater murals unless entirely sealed with a waterproof topcoat. Retaining walls should be sealed on the opposite side with a water-proof sealer. Painted flower pots should be sealed on the inside with a water-proof sealer. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint cannot be used on top of a water-proof sealer.
Q. Can I paint clothing and fabric with Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint?
A. Yes. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint adheres very well to cotton, silk, rayon and blends of these fibers. Paint will stiffen the fabric. Adding water to the paint may cause the color to fade in washing. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is permanent when dry and does not need to be heat set. Hand wash and line dry painted fabrics. Let paint dry five days before the first laundering. Some dry cleaning solvents may affect the appearance or adhesion of acrylic paint. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint can be mixed with most water based fabric paints and fabric painting mediums.
Q. Can I paint Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint on top of oil paint?
A. Acrylic paint will not adhere to any slick surface such as oil-based enamel or artists’ oil paint. To insure good adhesion, thoroughly sand the surface and remove any dust.
Q. Can I paint Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint on glass?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint will not adhere permanently to glass--it can be scraped off.
Q. Can I paint Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint on metal?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint may be applied to a properly primed metal. To clean bare metal, wash with vinegar and rinse. Thoroughly sand previously painted metal surfaces. Prime with a metal primer designed to accept water-based acrylic paint.
Q. Can I paint wood items such as furniture with Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint?
A. Yes. New bare wood should be primed with Nova Color Gesso #200 or with a top quality water-based primer designed for bare wood. Previously painted surfaces should be thoroughly sanded and dust-free. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint will not adhere to some oil-treated wood finishes. If your item will get wear and tear, you may want to seal it with a clear topcoat designed for furniture or floors. Bare new wood can be stained with a dilute solution of Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint and water.
Q. Can I paint my wood or concrete deck with Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint will make colorful decorations and designs but it will scuff more easily than deck paint. You may use a clear topcoat designed for floors on top of your design.
Q. How much water can I add to my acrylic paint?
A. Adding water dilutes the binder (glue quality) that makes the paint stick. Adding 10% water or less will maintain adhesion. In some fine art applications such as watercolor technique or some fine art airbrushing, (where there is no abrasion, washing, or wear and tear), the amount of binder is not as important. If you are painting a wall, a sign or clothing, you will want the binder to remain strong. If you mix any of the clear mediums, varnishes or gels with your color instead of water, the adhesion will remain strong. Adding a clear topcoat over your finished work will also protect any paint layers below that are weak in binder.
Q. What are the best colors for mixing?
A. Good colors for demonstrating color theory or making a color wheel are as follows: Yellow; Hansa Yellow Light #107 or Azo Yellow Medium #144. Red; Quinacridone Red #129 or Quinacridone Magenta #147 Blue; Phthalo Blue #115 or #115-D or Ultramarine Blue #122. Transparent colors tend to give cleaner, brighter mixes than do opaque colors. Opaque colors such as cadmiums, cobalt, and most oxides tend to make dull secondary colors when mixed with each other. Opaque colors are more brilliant when mixed with transparent colors. Check your label or color chart for “opaque” or “transparent” identification
Q. What is the difference between “opaque”, “transparent” and “translucent” colors?
A. Opaque colors tend to blot-out or obscure the color of the surface on which they are applied. Transparent colors tend to “show-through” the surface below. Translucent colors tend to be partially opaque and partially transparent. Pigments are by their nature opaque or transparent. Transparent colors can be made more opaque by the addition of white or other opaque colors or by applying additional coats of paint. Opaque colors can be made translucent by the addition of a clear medium such as Nova Color #204 Matte Medium, #205 Matte Varnish or #206 Gloss Medium & Varnish.
Q. Does “thick” paint mean that there is more pigment?
A. No. Paint can be thickened chemically and thickness may have no relation to the amount of pigment.
Q. What is the difference between Nova Color Titanium White #118 and Gesso #200?
A. Titanium White #118 is heavily pigmented with titanium dioxide white pigment. Nova Color Gesso #200 has less of this white pigment. Gesso #200 also contains calcium carbonate (also known as whiting or marble dust) that gives it a flat (non-shiny) and toothy (faintly gritty) surface. Gesso #200 is also less opaque than Titanium White #118.
Q. How can I remove dried acrylic Paint?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is permanent and can be removed with a paint remover designed to remove latex paint (products such as Goof-off). An alcohol, ammonia and water solution may remove small amounts of paint from tools and brushes. Commercial brush cleaners are also available. Hot soapy water will help remove paint from non-porous surfaces such as glass and plastic.
Q. How can I mix pearl colors and not lose the pearlescent quality?
A. Most pearl colors may be tinted with small amounts of non-pearlescent paint or tints. Avoid using house paint or pastels as they mask the pearl quality. Strong transparent colors work best ( such as #109 Carbon Black, #115 or #115D Phthalo Blue, #116 Phthalo Green, #147 Quinacridone Magenta, #103 Carbazole Dioxizine Violet). A pearl surface may also be achieved by mixing a clear topcoat such as #206 Gloss Varnish or #205 Matte Varnish with a small quantity of pearl color. Test this mixture first as the true appearance will not show until it is dry. For best results use Nova Color #180 Iridescent Base & Glaze for mixing.
Q. What is a medium?
A. A medium is a fluid or paste which can be added to paint without decreasing its adhesion.
Q. What is the difference between a gel and a texture paste?
A. A gel dries clear and can be mixed with paint without altering the paint color. Gels are used to create impasto paints. Gels remain flexible. Texture paste is usually used to build up or create relief in an underpainting. Texture paste contains fillers which aid in holding its shape. Nova Color #202 Texture Paste dries opaque, hard and sandable. #251 Lightweight Texture Paste dries opaque, stiff, and shrinks less than #202. Color mixed with #202 Texture Paste or #251 Lightweight Texture Paste creates pastels. #218 Tintable Texture Paste has very little color change when mixed with paint and dries stiff and matte. #218 Tintable Texture Paste is not as stiff when wet and can be used as paint when mixed with colors.
Q. What is the difference between latex house paint and Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint? Can I mix Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint with latex house paint?
A. Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint is made with 100% acrylic-latex resin. House paint is generally made with a less expensive and less durable latex or vinyl-latex resin. Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint contains a high level of acrylic resin. House paint may have only the minimum amount of resin required to make it serviceable. House paint is designed to “level” after brushing. Artists’ paint shows brushstrokes. House paints are usually opaque. Artists’ paint can be opaque, transparent or translucent. House paints tend to be pastels or soft colors. Artists’ paint is more brilliant and available in a wider range of colors and intensities. Nova Color Artists’ Acrylic Paint is compatible with water-based latex house paint. House paint is not recommended for fine art as it is not made to last as long as fine art paints.
Q. How much area will the paint cover?
A. Paint coverage varies depending on the absorbency of the surface and how rough or uneven it is. Raw canvas, stucco, cement and rough wood will get low coverage. Gessoed and previously painted surfaces will get high coverage. Approximate coverage is: gallon, 240-320 square feet; quart, 60-80 square feet; pint, 30-40 square feet. Allow extra paint when mixing colors. Theoretical spreading rate @ 1 mil dry film thickness is 600 square feet per gallon.
Q. How can I best store my paint?
A. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint dries by evaporation so it is important to keep jars capped. Lids and jar threads should be kept free of paint to insure a tight seal. A few drops of purified water can be added to the paint surface before closing. Tap water, soiled brushes and stirrers, or reused food jars can introduce bacteria into the paint and cause mold. Clean brushes, tools and storage jars regularly with alcohol, bleach or other disinfectant. Store paint at 40-85 degrees F.
Hide: Degree of hiding power depends on the pigment used. Colors may be opaque, translucent or transparent. Check opacity chart.
Air dry @ 70 degrees F & 50% R.H.:
Dry to touch: 1/2 - 1 hour.
Dry to recoat: 3 hours minimum.
% Non Volatile (Solids):
By weight 45-50%
By volume 35-40%
Volatile Organic Compounds (V.O.C.):
150 grams per liter maximum.
1.25 pounds per gallon.
V.O.C. per color is available. Values given are typical. Give us a call if precise specifications are needed on individual products.
Brush: No reduction necessary.
Roller: Up to 10% reduction with water if necessary.
Spray: Air sprayer--reduce 20%-25% with water.
Airless sprayer--no reduction necessary; .013”-.016” tip @ approx. 2,000 PSI.
D.O.T. Shipping Class:
Water-based. Not regulated. Freight class 55.
To check adhesion:
Apply a test patch and allow to dry for 36 hours. Check by scraping.
Clean up with warm soapy water. Nova Color Artists' Acrylic Paint is water soluble when wet; dries permanent and water resistant. Do not allow to dry on brushes, tools or clothing.
Nova Color Artists Acrylic Paints conform with federal art material labeling guidelines and have been reviewed by a toxicologist.
To shop discount acrylic paint art supplies online click "Paint & Prices"
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