Acrylic retarder

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In painting, a retarder is a substance, usually a glycol and usually added to water, that is used to slow the drying time of acrylic paints, giving more time for blending or layering highlights.

Use in fine art[edit]

Retarders are used to counter the fast drying properties of acrylic paints, making possible the usage of wet-on-wet or other techniques which would otherwise require oil paints. When used correctly, they can keep the paint wet from half an hour extra to a full day's working time. Applying too much retardant, however, can prevent a layer from drying correctly for as long as the retardant is present, causing future damage to the painting unless the affected layer of paint is removed or re-mixed.


They generally contain glycol (such as propylene glycol) or glycerin-based additives.


For home-made acrylic retarder, water glycerol down about 5:1 (water: glycerol) and apply to paint.[1]


  1. ^ "Home Made Acrylic Retarders". Archived from the original on 15 May 2013.