Acrylic retarder

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In painting, a retarder is a substance, usually added to water, 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 dry 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] Non-toxic car anti-freeze, which contains propylene glycol, can also be used.


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