Surface Customisation with Liquitex

25 June 2024

One of the best features of acrylic is its versatility in customising various surfaces. Acrylics can adhere to a multitude of materials such as wood, board, masonry, metal, paper, glass, and plastic, allowing for diverse artistic effects. Here’s an overview of the best methods to create bespoke surfaces for acrylic paint using Liquitex products.



How to Prepare Your Surface Before Customising


Different materials offer varying levels of 'grip' for the paint. Smooth, non-porous surfaces like metal provide less adhesion, whereas porous materials offer more. Preparing a surface with gesso or a medium helps the paint adhere and remain intact over time. This preparation also seals the surface, ensuring colour purity. Without sealing, impurities can leach through and cause discolouration over time.



What is a Ground?


A ground is the initial base layer you apply to the raw surface, which helps the paint adhere better. Traditionally, artists use gesso, but various mediums, such as fluid mediums, modelling pastes, and texture mediums, can also serve as grounds. A good ground adds ‘tooth’ to the surface.


When customising surfaces, first determine your desired outcome. Ensure your support and ground are suitable for your project. The choice of ground affects how the paint handles, dries, and its long-term stability. For instance, paint dries faster on textured, absorbent surfaces. If you plan to create a heavy or three-dimensional piece, you need a strong ground. Additionally, the base can influence the values of the paint applied on top, allowing you to customise the texture and colour. A smooth white base under an opaque colour will enhance brightness, while a deep textured black base adds dimension.



How to Prepare Your Surface with Liquitex Products


For custom grounds, colour is a key element. The colour and tone of your base can impact the chromatic and tonal appearance of your paint. The Liquitex Professional Gesso range includes titanium white, black, and grey, providing a neutral opaque base that eliminates surface colour and allows for further building. Deeper colours add depth, while white serves as a classic backdrop. For a bespoke colour, mix your chosen acrylic colour with acrylic gesso or medium. Professional Soft Body and Heavy Body Acrylics and Basics colours offer optimal consistencies. Clear Gesso is ideal when you want the surface to show through but need additional tooth.



Add Texture with Professional Mediums


Texture is another customisation method. Liquitex Professional Super Heavy Gesso creates instant 3D texture and sculptural shapes. It serves as a strong ground that supports weight, holding modelling pastes and heavy mixed media. You can paint over it, tint it with colour, or mix it with Liquitex Gesso for a more fluid consistency. Mixing texture mediums or pastes into gesso can create various textural effects. Liquitex Modelling Paste is an excellent absorbent ground for pastel, charcoal, and graphite drawings—try a mix of 3 parts gesso to 1 part Modelling Paste. For a less absorbent surface with less tooth, dilute Liquitex Gesso with Liquitex Matte Medium.


Liquitex Professional Natural Sand adds structure and texture, drying to a matte, 'beach sand' finish. Use it alone, mixed with colour, or overpainted once dry. It’s perfect for acrylics, pastels, and graphite. Professional Ceramic Stucco, containing tiny hollow ceramic spheres, provides a structured, undulating texture that dries to a light grey matte finish. It’s ideal for staining, colour washes, and glazes. Professional Glass Beads add a reflective, bubble-like finish.


For lustre, sparkle, and metallic highlights, add Professional Iridescent Medium to your gesso, then overpaint with a transparent colour for a stunning effect. Similarly, try Professional Gold or Silver Metallic Medium. All Liquitex products are 100% compatible and work together, so experiment and explore infinite possibilities.


Which materials are you working with? We’d love to see your creations! Share your work with us on Instagram using the hashtag #createwitheckersleys. You might even be featured in our Customers' Creations gallery!


Thanks to our friends at Liquitex for this article, originally published at: