How to Blend with Acrylic Paint: 3 Easy Ways

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One of the things that most beginner painters are worried about when they attend painting classes is that they will have a difficult time blending colors. It isn’t as difficult as some may think, but it is something that takes a bit of practice.

I like to teach paint party guests a few blending techniques that will make their finished pieces look like they have been painting for many years. Blending is quite easy, once you get the hang of it.

The more you work at blending, the better you are going to be. I always tell painters at these parties that if they want to hone their skills, they should practice at home in between paint and sip parties.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to blend acrylic paints.

What is Acrylic Paint Blending?

When you want to have two or more colors meet without having harsh lines, you will need to blend the colors. When done properly, this creates soft edges rather than those harsh lines.

You can use soft edges to create a blurry transition between the colors. Blending is often used for seascapes and sunsets or sunrises to create soft edges.

Painting blending can also be used to create numerous effects. These can include but are not limited to, height, focus, and distance.

#1. Wet-On-Wet Blending

For wet-on-wet blending, paint party guests use water, paper towels, and of course, paint. The first step of the process is to put a small amount of two different colors onto the palette.

Next, the paint needs to be thinned with a bit of water. To get the right shade or opacity, add a bit of titanium white.

The brush needs to be soaked in water and then wiped on a paper towel to make sure that it isn’t dripping wet. Another option is to spritz a little bit of water onto the canvas.

The brush is then dipped into the paint, and then wide strokes are used, working side to side.

There are a couple of ways to blend colors using this method. 

Most of the time, the first color will be painted from top to bottom, and the second color is painted from the bottom up. The two colors meet in the middle of the canvas as a gradient.

The other way to blend using the wet-on-wet method is to start at the top with the first color, and then dip the brush into the second color.

The brush isn’t rinsed with water before the second color is added, allowing the colors to blend. When you get close to the bottom, clean the brush and apply the second color.

Paint back and forth in straight lines when using the wet-on-wet blending technique. If necessary, paint in layers to get the desired color intensity, making sure that the first layer is dry before painting on top of it.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of time waiting for the paint to dry, you can use a hair dryer to hasten the drying time.

#2. Wet-On-Dry Blending

This is a blending method I tend to teach at painting parties where the guests have some painting experience. This is because it is more difficult to control.

But, you can get some very neat effects when you use this method properly.

One of the things I like the most about this method is that if the paint dries before blending, it isn’t anything to worry about.

To use the wet-on-dry blending technique, start by putting a small amount of two different colors onto your palette. Thin the paints with a bit of water if they are too thick. They should be nice and creamy for this blending method.

Next, the second color, which should be the lighter color, is applied on the canvas beginning at the top of the canvas. Paint towards the middle of the canvas, or to where the two colors are going to meet.

Do not dip the brush into the paint again. Keep painting with the same brush, and you will notice that the paint gets thinner and thinner as you go. If the brush does get too dry, you can dip it into a bit of water (very little, just enough to dampen the paint).

Keep painting, using wide strokes until there is a smooth transition from one color to the other.

#3. Double Loading or Half/Half Blending

This blending technique involves putting two colors on the same brush at once. Load up the brush with the first wet color. All of the bristles should be covered in the paint.

Next, dip the brush into the second color. One color will be layered over the other, and that is exactly what you want for double-loading blending.

Do not mix the colors. There should be some differences between the overlaps so there will be some white showing in some areas of the painting.

Begin painting with the two colors on one brush, and continue in this manner until you start to see lines appear. At this point, you have gone too far.

This technique takes a bit of practice to avoid getting lines between the colors. But, once you get it down pat, you will love the effects that it offers. 

Experiment with different color combinations to create interesting effects, and to learn more about mixing colors.

Bonus Technique: Blending With a Sponge

You can also use sponges to blend paint on a canvas. Dip the sponge in water, and then squeeze out any excess water. The sponge should be damp, not soaking wet.

Dip the sponge into one of the paint colors, and then press it down on top of another color that you want to blend with the first color. Then you can dab the sponge onto the canvas, at an angle, until you get the amount of blending that you desire.


These are just a few of the many different blending techniques people learn at paint and sip parties, and the ones that I tend to teach the most to beginners. 

For more advanced classes, I introduce other blending techniques, such as blending with palette knives and mop brushes.

I often try to get paint party guests to book their own parties, and not just for my financial benefit. The more classes they take part in, the more techniques they are going to learn.

Sometimes I even offer to teach the same group over and over again, so they continue to learn on a regular basis.

The more you can learn about blending, the better your blended painting is going to be in the long run.

Don’t forget to check my guides on acrylic paint ideas for beginners and how to make your own acrylic paint for more fun activities to do.

*image by Anant_kasetsinsombut/depositphotos