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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-12, 07:04 AM Thread Starter
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Default Thinning Paint Question...

Ok, so I see alot of people on Youtube use Water as a Paint Thinner (and they do pretty damn good job), but people from many sources say that Water shouldn't be used, instead use a Paint Thinner... but why? What does water do to paint if used as a thinner?

Also, if any recommendation on thinner, please let me know That is, if water is not an option


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Last edited by Six_Paths_of_Pain; 05-05-12 at 07:12 AM.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-12, 07:28 AM
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Water is perfectly fine for acrylic paints (which is what citadel, vajello etc are). Water will, like any thinner, dilute and thin the paint, so if you over-saturate with water then you'll lose coverage and end up with coloured water (which can actually be useful to create glazes).

Generally you'll want to thin your paint to about milk consistency. At that level it will apply smooth and cover well and not obscure detail. It may take more than one layer but it always better to do 2 thin coats than 1 thick.

edit-There are a range of products like flow improvers, glazing mediums, drying retardants and the like available to help achieve the smoothest possible layers and finish but i wouldn't call those thinners.

If you airbrush though then you'll likely want to cut the paint with a thinner. Generic windex works very well.

Last edited by Rems; 05-05-12 at 07:41 AM.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-12, 07:29 AM
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You can use water, and if you don't overload your brush, water is perfectly acceptable as a thinner.

You can use a predesigned thinner for smooth basecoats however. Vallejo does one that I use to thin for airbrush work. I also have my own mix made out of several kinds of acrylic mediums (flow improver, glaze medium, matt medium and some slow dry)...

Lahmia medium is GW's newest in this department, and I must admit I personally haven't used it yet, but I've been hearing nothing but good thing about this new addition to the paintline.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-12, 07:45 AM
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I've always used good old tap water and never had an issue. There are lots of odd horror stories around the net which people attribute to the water being used but I haven't experienced this myself and wonder if often something else is really to blame. I guess it's possible if you live in an area with bizarre water quality (the kind that maybe glows in the dark), Victorian lead pipes etc.

I have recently experimented with using the GW medium and got some interesting results both as a wash (so mixed with a fair bit of water) and as a glaze (a little less water and paint).

Back in the day I had never heard of anyone watering paints down and we all painted straight from the pot. I do find myself watering paints down ever so slightly these days as Rems says it prevents flooding and obscuring any fine detail.

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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-12, 08:18 AM
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I use water with a drop of soap in it to kill the surface tension and aid flow,that is perfectly suficent for anyone who isnt a golden deamon winner,this is the problem with you tube and similar it causes confusion even about the simple things.
all you need is water and practice

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-12, 01:41 PM
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What kind of soap do you use? Dish soap?

I usually use my brush water to dilute my paints (when it's fresh anyway) and I also put a drop or two of dish soap in that water to help with brush cleaning.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-07-12, 06:50 PM
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I heard from my friendly games workshop manager, that screen wash is good for it to. I used water up until recently and now I have started using up my 'eavy metal medium (cus now there is lahmaim medium to replace it), I don't think I could go back, the medium is basically paint without a colour. And if found when thinning mettallics with water I found that if i put in too much water it would separate and u could start to see white bits in it, medium doesn't do this, also medium helps make it smoother, even though water does this too, medium helps give a more even coverage.

That said I wouldn't be dashing to the shops anytime soon to get it, even though medium is really useful u can only start to tell the difference if u r like doing something like non-metallic metal, water is just fine there won't be a huge change in ur painting quality if you use thinner, but if you can afford it get some

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-12, 04:07 AM
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@Six_Paths: I'm a beginning painter too. (I started painting two months ago.) I don't remember where I saw the video, but it had the best advice I saw.

Get two containers that you will paint from. Fill one with actual milk. Get your brush and play with it. Move it up the sides, see how it flows, see how it covers/spreads on a flat surface. Memorize it.

Fill your other container with paint and begin diluting with water until it acts like how the milk did. And there you go, your paint is thinned to the consistency of milk.

It really is hard to explain in words, but once you experience it, it is hard to forget. You'll learn quickly if your paint is too dilute or not enough. Occasionally fill a container with milk to refresh your memory.

As for what water to use, if your municipal water has chlorine or fluoride additives, you may want to use bottled water.

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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-12, 11:41 AM
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IMO thinner is meant for when you decide to be insane and use oil paints, water isn't going to break down oils. Now acrylics are a water based form of paint and thinning it calls for water, this is partially why many who paint canvas on a budget use acrylics, but most often canvas painting is done with oil based. For miniatures use acrylics, thin with water.

I myself was like many I use to go straight from the pot, but have learned to get better results, thin it with water, expeirmint with consistancy unitl you find what you are comfortable with. Using the right consistancy can help you with proper blending techniques, and don't be afraid to mix paints, they are paints they want to be mixed, trust me on this one, not to mention you can achieve some really different selections of color than what is already on the shelf. Also thinning the paint helps you get a more smoother coat, if your paint is too thick it will hide detail and can be globby.

The tools you need to become a good painter are there, it all depends on how creative you can be, never be afraid to play around with it all, its like buying a new transformer, you gotta figure how to go from robot to car somehow.

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-08-12, 01:01 PM
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Using thinner retains the opacity of the color. water tends to water it down (duh! lol).

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