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How to Fix Dry Paint From Your Paint by Numbers Kit

dry paint fix dry paint dried acrylic paint

In the following article, you’ll know how to fix dry paint, how to soften acrylic paint, or how to dilute acrylic paint from your paint by number kit. How do you fix hardened acrylic paint? Also, you’ll find a simple remedy to all the different problems that your painterly paint by number might have.

A lot of people use number kits painting as a way to unwind and relax from the daily stressors. The best part about it is that it doesn’t need special skills for it. All you have to do is paint the canvas with the corresponding number from the kit.

But have you ever opened your paint by numbers kit, only to find dried out acrylic paint or that the acrylic paint turned to rubber? Have you noticed the acrylic paint drying too fast much like quick dry paint for walls? Does paint expire acrylic or the paint solidified in can? It can happen with expired acrylic paint.

So, do you want to know how to fix sticky acrylic paint?

Can really – can you rehydrate dried acrylic paint? Is there a canvas painting repair kit that you can use? Maybe a flow aid additive that you can add to your acrylic craft paint?

Do you know how to save acrylic paint or how to restore dried wall paint? Do you know how to harden acrylic paint, how to make paint liquid again, or how to soften chalk painted fabric?

Read on, if you want to know how to melt fast drying paint for crafts, how to fix old paint, or how to remove dried acrylic paint. What is the shelf life of acrylic paint? Do acrylic paint expire fast? What’s better for dried paint – flow improver vs flow aid?

The acrylic paint drying time is fast! So, when you’re doing acrylic painting, be sure to prepare for the fast drying process.

Acrylic Paint Properties and Common Issues

Acrylic paint

As you already know, most paintings by numbers kits come with their own painting colors. In most cases, these colors are made of acrylic paint.

Acrylic paints are known for their brilliant vibrancy and their abundance of color degrees, but acrylic paint expire.

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When they’re finished, they give the same look as water color and oil paints. They’re also quite affordable, which made them super popular in the last few decades.

However, they also have many issues. One of the most common problems they have is that they dry up in almost no time especially in extreme heat. That’s why it is really important to store acrylic paint especially leftover paint or old acrylic paint properly.

Also, since they’re chemically an emulsion, they tend to separate inside their containers. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ve gone bad and can’t be used again.

Bringing Dried Paint Back to Life

Are you wondering how to rehydrate dried latex paint? Dried latex paint is not the end of the world. There are ways to rehydrate the paint and make it usable again. It’s important to note that this type of paint is oil-based, so you’ll need to be careful not to add too much oil.

If you need your paint to stay moist for a longer period, you might want to avoid quick dry acrylic paint, as it dries up quickly.  If you’re using oil paint, you might want to consider adding a bit more oil to the mixture to keep it wet for a longer period. Add just enough oil to achieve the desired consistency for oil based paints.

How to Tell That an Acrylic Paint has Gone Completely Bad

Before diving into the situations where you can fix the dry paint, let’s talk about the only one where you should throw it away.

In most cases, you can easily reuse the acrylic paint if it has undergone consistency changes, such as lumping or drying up. However, if the paint started growing mold, it shouldn’t be used anymore.

The mold infects the excess moisture that remains insides the paint container. This is something to consider if the paint is opened and left on the shelf for over 2 to 3 years.

However, if you’ve never opened the color container, you shouldn’t worry about that, as they last for over 10 years if they’re unopened.

It might not be easy to spot the mold visually. In that case, you’ll need to smell the acrylic paint. Unlike the normal odor of paint, it will have a pungent or sour smell.

How to Fix Lumpy and Dry Paint

As you already know, acrylic paint has a tendency to dry up pretty quickly when compared to other paints.

This can be more problematic with paint by number kits because they come in small sealed cups. When you open these numbers kits up, they’re subjected to a lot of air which speeds up their drying up process.

The result is usually a lumpy and thick acrylic paint that loses the creamy consistency you’re used to.

You’ll also notice that the pain doesn’t come out of the cup and mix with the brush easily. Here are all the methods that you can use to revive old paint.

Using Warm Water

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If you’re dealing with acrylic paints, water will be your savior in a lot of situations. It is important to ensure that you’re keeping acrylic paint wet. This happens because acrylic polymers are chemically hydrophilic molecules, which is a fancy term to describe a material that dissolves well in water.

As the acrylic paint stays exposed to air, it starts losing the moisture stored inside it, which makes the pain a little lumpy and stiff. The best way to fix this is to replenish the lost moisture by adding some water.

However, this should be done with moderation. Too little water won’t be enough to fix the paint’s consistency.

On the other hand, too much water will dilute the color significantly. Moreover, the paint will easily lift off the canvas when it dries up once again.

To do the thinning out properly, you need to add clear water drops, ideally with a plastic pipette dropper.

Start with one or two drops of water and see how it goes. A pro tip here is to warm up the water before adding it.

Increasing the temperature helps in thinning out the acrylic paint without affecting the final concentration. In other words, the paint will be easy flowing without changing the original color.

Not only that, but warm water will also mix in quicker than cold water. After every drop of warm water, make sure that you mix it thoroughly with a small toothpick for 2 to 3 minutes.

It goes without saying that you should seal the paint cup tightly, as it will dry up again if you leave it exposed.

Using Flow Aid (Flow Improver)


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Another common remedy for lumpy paints is to use a flow improver. Originally, these additives help the paint glide smoother on a canvas. You add a few drops of them into a water cup and dip the brush in it as you paint.

However, when you use them to thin out the lumpy paint, you add them directly to your paint. As a rule of thumb, you squeeze out a very tiny amount and mix it thoroughly with the dry paint.

Keep in mind that flow aids are a bit wasteful in terms of paint on canvas. In other words, you’ll notice that you run out of colors quicker when you use them.

That’s why you need to be careful if you’re using numbers that cover a large area of the painting.

How to Fix Hard Dry Acrylic Paint

Hard dry paint is usually more difficult to deal with than lumpy and semi-solid acrylic paint. It’s the result of leaving it fully exposed for a much longer time. Ideally, it’s better that you avoid reaching this stage as it’s difficult to fix.

Fixing hard dried acrylic is similar to lumpy one. The only difference here is that the success of the process is variable.

Start with adding a drop or two of warm water, stirring it for a minute, then leave it overnight. If that wasn’t enough to fix the paint, it’s better for you to replace it with a new kit. You can do the same thing for hardened liquid clear acrylic substitute.

Luckily, there are many companies that will sell you replacement paint pods if the ones you own have dried out.

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What to Do if Acrylic Paint Has Separated Inside the Container?

In some cases, you might find the paint cup with separated layers where one of them is clear. This happens as a failure of the emulsion, as the pigment and the binder separates.

Luckily this one is much easier to fix. All you need to do is mix the colors with a palette knife or any equivalent tool again.

Why Does Color Change When it Dries?

If your paint pods color changes when they dry up, this might be a manufacturer’s error. It’s more common in cheap paint by numbers kits. Also, this happens if you add too much flow aid to the paints.

Tips to Use Acrylic Paint Efficiently

As you now know, it’s better to prolong the acrylic drying time than fixing a rock-solid one. Here are some tips that you can use to slow down the drying factor of the paint.

1. Color One Number Only at a Time

By doing this you’ll minimize the time where you expose a color to air. Also, it’ll help finish the drawing in a much shorter time.

2. Keep a Cup of Water Next to Your Painting

Cup of water next to painting

By keeping a cup of water next to you, you’ll be able to clean the brush much quicker. This way you’ll avoid drying up your paint colors by excessive exposure. You need only a small amount to keep your paint moist.

3. Don’t Use Up all the Paint Before It’s Finished

Even if you’ve finished a specific color, don’t throw the rest of it away. You might eventually need it to add some final touch-ups to your painting.

4. Don’t Paint Next to a Window

To do that, you only need to reduce the factors that cause the colors to dry. This includes closing any fans, turning off the AC.

Not just a window, but also a fan. Acrylic paints are famous for drying quickly with any stream of fresh air flowing towards them.

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Wrap Up

There you have it. A complete and thorough guide that walks you through all the possible remedies to fix dried acrylic paint. Some tips also applied on fixing hardened oil paints.

As you can see, it’s always better to prevent the paint from drying up rather than fixing a completely dry one.

Remember to always check the paints for molds by smelling it, so you avoid using an expired paint on your canvas painting.

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