Acrylic Paint Skins for Art Projects

What Are Acrylic Paint Skins?

this lens' photo

What are acrylic paint skins? Acrylic paint skins are essentially paint films applied to nonstick surfaces and allowed to dry. When dry, the paint film itself can be separated and saved for later use in arts and crafts. The characterics of the film can vary greatly depending on the paint and acrylic medium used. Generally though, the acrylic skins are usually flexible and elastic. They can easily be cut and glued to other surfaces for making multimedia art and collages.There are various ways to approach acrylic paint skin making. The materials at hand and the techniques used determine the properties of the skins.

What is required

Nonstick surfacesAside from the acrylic paints and the acrylic mediums,you need a nonstick surface to apply your paint and remove the dried skins from. The two examples in the photo are a piece of smooth glass and parchment paper. The parchment paper is NOT the same as wax paper in that the coating is a silicone coating. Other surfaces an artist may use are garbage bags, polyethylene plastic sheet, and plastic wrap. Keep in mind some surfaces will give you a perfectly smooth skin while others will give wrinkly skins. The wrinkly skins are special in that they create interesting textures with dimension.NOTE: The two bottles featured in the photo are denatured alcohol and 91% isopropyl alcohol. It is a good idea to clean any glass or plastic with these solvents to remove grease, dirt or other foreign contaminents. KEEP ALL SOLVENTS AWAY FROM FIRE OR OTHER IGNITION SOURCES.

Using glass as a substrate

Smooth acrylic skinThe first time I made a skin I used a scrap piece of glass. I just happend to find this panel in a dumpster. As long as the glass is smooth and can be cleaned satisfactorly then its all good. It bears a special mention that you CANNOT use a heat gun on acrylic paint skins that are on glass. Glass is a very poor conductor of heat and subject to great stress in extreme heat. The glass is apt to break or shatter unpredictably making a heat gun a very dangerous tool to use on glass surfaces. Don’t ask me how I found out.Now, if you are patient enough to wait for the paint to dry on the glass for 24 hours or more, then you should be able to peel the skin off with little effort. And the side lying flat on the glass will be as smooth as the glass itself.

Creating Acrylic Skins on Glass Substrate

I am gloing to show the tools and techniques to use glass as a nonstick surface. I purchased this set of spackling spatulas from Walmart for $1.97 for smoothing and smearing the paint onto the glass.

The three sizes work perfectly for me as the largest one is useful for smoothing out the skins while the smallest one fits into my jarred paint to scoop out however much paint I wish to dispense onto the glass surface.

In this example, I have dispensed Hansa yellow, Quinacridone violet along with gloss acrylic medium. The large spatula was laid over it in an angle and pulled back to smooth and smear the mixture.

In another method I simple just pour out the gloss medium and just spread it out a little with the spatula. I then decorated the skin from above by dribbling opaque and metallic paints over the top.

After adding the copper paint and the metallic blue it was time to wait and see how this masterpiece will dry.

Acrylic skins made with metallic paints

Metallic paint skinsA truly dazzling way to make skins is to use metallic paints. Not only can you have the marbling and streaking affects, the mica pigments give a deep iridescents. Imagine this attribute in a dimensional mixed media composition!DSCN3291

Here is another view of a metallic skin. Look at the dazzling bronze and gold skin!


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