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I thin my paint with Liquitex "Flow Aid Fluidifiant" and their "Slow-dri fluid retarder". I've tried similar stuff from both the Winsor & Newton and Golden lines and really didn't see any difference in performance but everyone has their favorites ::D:

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Well the Gel medium for the Slo-Dri just makes a mess of your paints and will not do what you want. It is WAY too thick. A lot of the Craft Supply stores (like Michael, AC Moore, etc) carry Liquitex and if you ask them, they will direct you there, and the only thing will be the Gel. Being a newbie almost 2 years ago I thought, well, if I just add a bit more water to the mix, it will break down the gel. NOPE. Just makes smaller clumpy messes of gel. I asked several managers of MIchaels and none of the stores at least in this area (Eastern Mass) stock it any longer.

 

Liquitex Slo-Dri Fluid Extender comes in an ORANGE bottle in 2, 4, 8, 16 oz sizes (at least that I have seen).

 

There is also a Slo-Dri Blending Medium in a GREEN bottle that has some of the same properties (it's essentially a combination of Flow Aid, Slo-Dri, and Gloss Medium). This works fairly well as a commercial, premixed additive.

 

I usually combine Slo-Dri Blending Medium, Slo-Dri Fluid Retarder, and FlowAid with Distilled Water. I have to dbl check when I get home the exact ratios. YMMV. I started my gunk with Jen Haley's recipe - 1:1:2 - Flow Aid:Extender:Water and tweaked it from there based on my own painting speeds, skill, and types of paints I use.

 

Yes using the Blending medium is a little redundant when I am already mixing Extender and Flow Aid. I liken it to buying a jar of Red Sauce, and then adding in extras to suit your tastes. It gives you a good base to start. It's also because finding liquid Slo-Dri around here is a PITA.

 

There is also a great article in the Crafts section on the Reaper main page that deals with paint additives called Let it Flow. This is where I got started with the paint alchemy.

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You can find acryllic flow aids and extenders in the paint section of any Michaels, Pat Catans, Joann Fabrics or Hobby Lobby. I'm assuming one of those can be found in your city. Also, look in the phone book for professional paint/artist stores. They will also carry them.

 

Flow Aid is typically very concentrated. You only need a little bit to help reduce surface tension and assist paint application. I would only about 5% to 10% of your thinning fluid should be flow aid for regular painting. For washes, I typically add more flow improver. I prefer Winsor & Newton Flow Aid.

 

For extenders/retarders, you want a liquid formula. The gels are typically for canvas painters. You want to thin your paint and make it smooth, so using a gel is counter productive. You can us as much or as little extender as you want. It depends how slow you want your paint to dry. When I want something to dry fast, I won't use any extender at all. For typical painting, I'll use between 25% to 50% extender. If you were actually going to wet blend, you might want to go even higher. Before you highlight or apply a second coat of paint, the first coat needs to dry completely or else you will pull the paint off the mini and ruin your work. At the same time, you don't want your paint to dry on your palette before you've finished. So, you have to find your own comfort level. I prefer Liquidex Liquid Matte Slo-Dri Extender. I believe it's an orange label. It's important you get liquid and matte. Liquidex sells gloss and semi-gloss versions of their liquid extender. Folk Art liquid extender is also pretty good and very cheap.

 

The rest of my thinning compound is distilled water. Experiment with the ratios and see what you like best. I use different ratios for different projects. When I first started using these, I used 50% extender, 25% flow improver and 25% water. I've since found that flow improver is so concentrated that 25% is a bit of an overkill and have toned it down to about 10%. I also rarely need more than 30% to 50% extender or I'm sitting around waiting for things to dry before I can continue. This is also affected greatly by the heat of your painting area (hot lamps will dry paint on your palette fast) and the humidity of your area.

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Gunk is Anne's special water/flow improver/extender mix.

 

Also, remember that Future is a floor finish. It's a soap with an acrylic gloss added into it, so it's going to make your paints glossier. It's also pretty good as a sealer, but then you've got to dullcoat over it. It's the soap in Future that breaks the surface tension. You could probably get the same result with any dishsoap.

 

My experience is that I'd rather use something specifically formulated for paint. Cleaners for stripping, while cheaper, take more time than actual paint stripper. Floor cleaner and soap, while available and cheap, can make a mess of your paint. Other items are just so much more toxic. Like brake fluid. And since I tend to lick my brushes, I'd rather not be licking Future. :wacko:

 

 

YMMV.

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it's going to make your paints glossier

 

I'm not sure that I've noticed that (at least compared to the paint I do not cut with it), but I'll take your word as an expert on it since you really seem to know what you're talking about. It is pretty much pure acrylic (which is why it seems to work well), which is kinda like paint minus the pigment.

 

As far as licking your brush, I seem to have read something about "brush lickers" on your board, and I'm not sure what it's all about, but I haven't seemed to develop that habit yet so perhaps I don't need to worry about that particular side effect/concern of using Futures.

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