Rehydrating Dried Out Acrylic Craft Paint?

Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 424 Answers
September 9, 2019

I have about 50 bottles of acrylic paint, all different colors, that I have not used for several years. Some have just about dried up and in some the paint has gotten thick.


Any suggestions on what I can add to make them useable again?


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
September 9, 20191 found this helpful
Best Answer

Re-hydrating acrylic paint.

Step 1
You can try using a small amount of water on your brush,and mixing with dried paint.

Step 2
You can add acrylic flow improver.Just add a small amount to your paint and stir,repeat until you get the desired texture you want.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
September 9, 20192 found this helpful
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I would use only water to rehydrate it.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
September 9, 20191 found this helpful
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Some brands like FolkArt® Fabric paints tell you never use water to save old paints, of course, they are trying to sell new paint so you can try.


Put a small squirt onto a palate and add a few drops of warm water.

Some people have success with Gesso (whatever brand you use) so you could try the same technique. A little on a palate, a few splots of the Gesso, mix.

When we were painting we bought cheap paints and they were not savable when we went back to using them. Better paints will refresh better. I just bought cheap, small plastic bottles and they turned to glue.

Post back how it goes for you!

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
September 9, 20191 found this helpful
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There are mediums sold at all craft stores that will usually work but water will also work.
The big problem is 'how dry'?
It is very difficult to restore really hard dry acrylic paint.


My daughter loves to fool around with paints but since it can get expensive she buys her paints from yard sales and thrift stores. This usually means they are not in the best condition.
She likes to use water but it is very easy to add too much and that just makes a runny mess. Add a little water to the bottle and if it softens a little you can be kinda sure that you can still use it.
Try taking a small 'chunk' of dry paint on a board and wet a small brush (not dripping - you can always add a tiny bit more) to the chunk and move it around. Maybe success?

check some of these sites out.

There are also several instructional YouTube episodes available.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 320 Answers
September 10, 20190 found this helpful
Best Answer

If it's hard-dried, you could cut open the bottle with a box cutter to release the paint onto a heat-proof shallow bowl, add some water, cover, and microwave for a bit (start with 30 seconds).

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