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Deciding on paint supplies can be daunting, especially when determining which acrylic paint supplies to buy first. Well, you are not alone. There are thousands of new artists each year. In fact, job opportunities for craft and fine artists are expected to grow by 6% from 2021 to 2031.

As you get started, this article will provide everything you need to have to begin painting today. 

Here’s a list of acrylic painting must-haves:

1. Acrylic Paint

2. Painting Surface

3. Paintbrushes

4. Paint Palette

5. Cup or Mason Jar of water

6. Paper Towels, Cloth

7. Easel

acrylic paint tubes

1. Acrylic Paints

First, decide which type of acrylic paint you want to use. There are various levels, from beginner to professional paints. Professional paint colors have a higher percentage of pigment and are typically more vibrant than beginner paints.

Acrylics also vary in viscosity. Soft-body acrylic paints are somewhat thin, whereas hard-body paints are thicker and allow for more textured painting approaches. Acrylic inks have the most liquidity and can be painted like watercolors.

Secondly, when buying paints, you want to determine if you want a acrylic paint set with various colors or if you want individual paint tubes. If you choose individual tubes, select primary colors first, which are red, blue, and yellow. These colors can be blended into secondary colors such as orange, purple, and green. Consider purchasing white and black paints as well.


Recommended Paint Sets:


2. Painting Surface

There are a variety of paint surfaces available.

Canvas boards are an excellent option for beginner artists. They provide a flat hard surface to paint on and comes in a greater variety of sizes.

Wrapped canvas or stretched canvas, also comes in a greater variety of sizes but does not need to be framed.

Wood is a good surface but will need to be primed before painting due to its absorbency.

Recommended Painting Surfaces:

Canvas boards

Wrapped Canvas

Acrylic Notepad

acrylic paint palette

3. Paint Palette

The most common palettes are circular ones with round sections. However, I recommend choosing palettes with large rectangular sections or flat surfaces that allows for easy color mixing within the pallets.

Recommended Paint Palette:


acrylic paintbrushes

4. Paintbrushes

When painting with acrylics, synthetic paintbrushes are the way to go. Synthetic brushes can be stored in water without damage. Why is this important? While painting you might be using a variety of paint colors or brush sizes. Therefore, you will need to place your brushes in water to keep the paint from getting hard while using different brush.

Paintbrush shape and size

The shape and the size of your paintbrushes will affect your brush strokes. Consider the size of your painting surface and the size of the elements within your painting. Medium to small brushes should be adequate if you plan to work on smaller surfaces. Look into larger brushes when needing to cover large surface areas with one color are color transitions.

In addition to size, I recommend  getting various brush types, such as round, angled or flat brushes. Having varying brushes will allow you to explore different paint techniques.

Recommended Paintbrushes:

mason jar for acrylic painting

5. Cup or Mason Jar of water

Water is essential when painting with various colors. It allows you to clean your brush when changing colors and helps with the workability of thicker paints. When painting with multiple brushes, water can save your brushes from hardened paint if stored there temporarily while working on your art. Be sure not to use over 50% water to paint combinations. 

6. Paper Towels, Cloth

As you change colors and dip your brushes in water, you may need to dry your brush with a paper towel from time to time. Paper towels can also be used to check if you have cleaned your brush bristles properly. Simply rub your brush thoroughly with the paper towel to see if any paint rub in to the towel. If none comes out, your brush is clean. Also paper towels are needed for clean-up. 

7. Easel

When deciding on an easel, you want to consider your painting location. Will you be painting while sitting on a stool or at a table? Will you want to paint outside? Do you need something that can be stored away easily? Be sure to identify your ideal paint setup. Then choose your easel based on what fits best with your preference. Tabletop easels are convenient and great for beginners since you can simply sit at any table to use them. However, a floor easel will be more suitable if you want to paint on large canvases. 

Recommended Easels:

Adjustable Easel for Painting Canvases Height from 17in. to 66in.


Additional items you may want to consider are:

1. Apron to protect your clothing. 

2. Pencil to create a base drawing prior to painting. 

3. White Eraser to remove linework as you develop your base drawing

4. Varnish for any finished painting you want to preserve

Fredrick Douglass

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