Can watercolor and acrylic be used together?

There are many differences between watercolor and acrylic. Is it still possible to use them together?

There are ways to use acrylic and watercolor together. As both acrylic and watercolor are water-based paints, they can be mixed together, even though acrylic paint is hard to be covered with watercolor. Mixing them together creates new and unique color patterns and opacities.

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When can watercolors and acrylics be used together?

Since a canvas does not absorb water as well as paper, it is quite difficult to use watercolor on it. However, if you mix both of them together, it can certainly work as long as you don’t use too much water.

However, I prefer to use paper. Paper absorbs water and pigments faster than canvas, so it’s more convenient to use it instead. There’s really only one choice – if canvas texture appeals to you more, go ahead and use it.

If you are wondering how long watercolor paints can be used, check out this article.

What to watch out for when mixing watercolors and acrylics

Despite the fact that mixing these two different mediums together can be quite fun and useful, you still need to be careful.

Especially when you are picking up new paint on your palette. Always use another brush or thoroughly clean your painting brush, so that no acrylic paint gets into your watercolor palette.

As acrylics are similar to plastic once dried up, this would probably destroy the watercolor paints. 

When you’re used to painting with watercolors, you may forget to wash the brushes in the sink and instead dip them in a jar of water.

You need to be more careful when using acrylic paints, and make sure that your brushes are thoroughly cleaned after painting.

If not, they will get rock hard and probably be destroyed to the point where you can’t use them.

It’s the price you pay when you use acrylic paints. 

Speaking of prices: You can read this article to find out why watercolor paint is so costly!

What is better, canvas or paper?

Acrylic is usually painted on canvas, while watercolor works much better on paper. What’s the best way to use both of them in one piece?

Considering you will have to use water, I would choose paper. Canvas just isn’t designed to absorb a lot more water than what’s already in the paint. There will be a long drying time, and the results will be worse than on paper.

As for paper, I would recommend a 300lb paper, as it is able to absorb a lot of paint and water. The 140lb paper is also fine, but I wouldn’t go below this range since it will negatively affect your painting experience.

You should definitely gesso canvas before painting it if you insist on using it. As a result, the paints will have a bit more grip. 

I would not suggest using an easel for watercolor painting because it will lead to paint flowing down the canvas. Use a desk or something similar instead. In this article, I provide an in-depth guide to watercolor painting on an easel.

Can you use the same brushes for watercolor and acrylic paint?

Watercolor and acrylic paint can be painted with the same brushes. To preserve the quality of your paints, you will need to clean the brush thoroughly before using it again on the watercolor palette.

You generally don’t have to purchase new brushes when you switch from watercolors to acrylics or vice versa. Use the same ones you used before, but make sure they are clean and don’t lose hair while you paint.

Is it possible to use other mediums as well?

Basically, you can use anything you want. It’s one of the biggest advantages of being an artist. You can try whatever appeals to you. If you enjoy it, wonderful. You can always try something else if you don’t like it.

There is literally no limit to what you can try out and what effects you can achieve. Please let me know if you create something amazing using an unconventional method! I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I’ll give you some ideas about which mediums you might mix with watercolor: pencils, ink, markers, acrylics, oils, gouache, and even coffee. I’ve seen beautiful paintings with coffee before, so give that a try! Also don’t hesitate using more than 2 mediums. Certain parts of a painting may be ideal for a certain type of medium.

Not sure how to ship a watercolor painting? Make sure your artwork arrives in perfect condition by reading this tutorial.

Are you a dog owner? Check out this article to make sure your best friend stays healthy: Are watercolor paints toxic to dogs?


The versatility of watercolor allows you to use it with almost anything. If you are going to use it with acrylics, I would recommend that you do not use it on canvas, since watercolors don’t work well with it. To achieve the best results, choose a painting paper with a weight of 140-300lb.

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