that air dries to a hard, usually glossy, finish, used for
coating surfaces that are outdoors or otherwise subject to
hard wear or variations in temperature; it should not be
confused with decorated objects in "painted
is applied with brushes and fired in a kiln. The name is
something of a misnomer as in reality, most
commercially-available enamel paints are significantly
softer than either vitreous enamel or stoved synthetic
resins, and are totally different in composition; vitreous
enamel is applied as a powder of paste and then fired at
high temperature. There is no generally accepted definition
or standard for use of the term enamel paint, and not all
enamel-type paints may use it.
Typically the term "enamel paint"
is used to describe oil-based covering products, usually
with a significant amount of gloss in them, however recently
many latex or water-based paints have adopted the term as
well. The term today means "hard surfaced paint" and usually
is in reference to paint brands of higher quality, floor
coatings of a high gloss finish, or
Some enamel paints have been made by adding
to oil-based paint.
Although "enamels" and "painted
enamel" in art normally refer to
vitreous enamel, in the 20th century some artists used
commercial enamel paints in art, including Pablo Picasso
(mixing it with oil paint), Hermann-Paul
and Sidney Nolan.
(1947) is one of a number of works by Nolan to use enamel
Ripolin, a commercial paint not
intended for art, also Picasso's usual brand.
Some "enamel paints" are now produced specifically for
Uses and categories of enamel paint
- Floor enamel – May be used for
concrete, stairs, basements, porches, and patios.
- Fast dry enamel – Can dry within
10–15 minutes of application. Ideal for refrigerators,
counters, and other industrial finishes.
- High-temp enamel – May be used for
engines, brakes, exhaust, and BBQs.
- Enamel paint is also used on wood to
make it resistant to the elements via the waterproofing
and rot proofing properties of enamel. Generally, treated
surfaces last much much longer and are much more
resistant to wear than untreated surfaces.
- This paint is usually sold in 14 ml tinlets (in the
UK) and is available through specialist hobbyshops.
Xtracolor and Humbrol
are well known UK brands that have a wide range of
colours, covering most of the ones used by various armed
a US company, offers the Floquil brand for railroad models,
and Pactra, Model Master and Testors brands for
models. Liquid enamels are sold in 1/4 to 1 oz. bottles,
and some colours are also available in spray cans.
Detail of acrylic painting showing finishes that
resemble both oil and watercolor
is fast drying paint
containing pigment suspension in acrylic
Acrylic paints can be diluted with water, but become
water-resistant when dry. Depending on how much the paint is
diluted (with water) or modified with acrylic gels, media,
or pastes, the finished acrylic painting can resemble a
or an oil painting,
or have its own unique characteristics not attainable
with other media.
Acrylic artist paints may be
thinned with water and used as
in the manner of watercolor paints, but the washes are not
re-hydratable once dry. For this reason, acrylics do not
lend themselves to color lifting techniques as do
based watercolor paints.
Fluorescent acrylic paints
lit by UV light. Paintings by Beo Beyond
Acrylic paints with gloss or matte
finishes are available, although a satin (semi-matte) sheen
is most common; some brands exhibit a range of finish (e.g.
heavy-body paints from
Winsor & Newton).
As with oils, pigment amounts and particle size or shape can
naturally affect the paint sheen. Matting agents can also be
added during manufacture to dull the finish. The artist can
mix mediums to their paints and use topcoats or varnishes to
alter or unify sheen if desired.
When dry, acrylic paint is
generally non-removable from a solid surface. Water or mild
solvents do not re-solubilize it, although
can lift some fresh paint films off.
can remove paint films, but they do not lift paint stains
very well and are not selective. The use of a solvent to
remove paint will result in removal of all of the paint
etc. Oils can remove acrylic paint from skin.
Only a proper, artist-grade acrylic
gesso should be used to prime canvas in preparation for
painting with acrylic. It is important to avoid adding
non-stable or non-archival elements to the gesso upon
application. However, the viscosity of acrylic can
successfully be reduced by using suitable extenders that
maintain the integrity of the paint film. There are
to slow drying and extend workability time and flow releases
to increase color-blending ability.
Prior to the 19th century, artists mixed
their own paints to increase the longevity of the artwork
and achieve desired pigment load, viscosity, and to control
the use of fillers, if any. While suitable media and raw
pigments are available for the individual production of
acrylic paint, due to the fast drying time and other
technical issues, hand mixing may not be practical.
Acrylic painters modify the
appearance, hardness, flexibility, texture, and other
characteristics of the paint surface using acrylic media or
by simply adding water. Watercolor and oil painters also use
various media, but the range of acrylic media is much
greater. Acrylics have the ability to bond to many different
surfaces, and media can be used to adjust their binding
characteristics. Acrylic can be used on paper, canvas and a
range of other materials. However, their use on engineered
woods such as
can be problematic because of the porous nature of those
In these cases it is recommended that the surface should be
previously sealed with an appropriate sealer. They can be
applied in thin layers or washes creating effects that
resemble watercolors and other water-based media. They can
also be used to build thick layers of paint: gel and molding
paste media are sometimes used to create paintings with
relief features that are literally sculptural. Acrylic
paints are also used in hobbies such as: train, car, house,
and human models. People who make such models use acrylic
paint to build facial features on dolls or raised details on
other types of models.
Acrylic paints are the most common
paints used in
Grattage is a surrealist technique that became popular with
the release of acrylic paint. Acrylics are used for this
purpose because they easily scrape or peel from a surface.
between acrylic and oil paint
The vehicle and binder of
whereas water serves as the vehicle for an
(suspension) of acrylic polymer that is the binder in
acrylic paint. Thus, oil paint is said to be "oil-based",
while acrylic paint is "water-based" (or sometimes
The main practical difference
between most acrylics and oil paints is the inherent drying
time. Oils allow for more time to blend colors and apply
even glazes over underpaintings. This slow drying aspect of
oil can be seen as an advantage for certain techniques, but
in other regards it impedes the artist trying to work
quickly. The fast evaporation of water from regular acrylic
paint films can be slowed with the use of
Retarders are generally glycol or glycerin-based additives.
The addition of a retarder slows the evaporation rate of the
Oil paints may require the use of
solvents such as mineral spirits or
to thin the paint and clean up; these generally have some
level of toxicity and are often found objectionable.
(Relatively recently, water-miscible oil paints have been
developed for artists' use.) Oil paint films can become
increasing yellow and brittle with time and lose much of
their flexibility in a few decades. Additionally, the rules
over lean" must be employed
to ensure the paint films are durable.
Oil paint has a higher pigment load
because it is able to absorb substantially more pigment than
acrylic because linseed oil has a smaller molecule than does
Oil provides a different (less clear) refractive index than
acrylic dispersions, imparting a unique "look and feel" to
the resultant paint film.
Not all pigments in oil are available in acrylic. For
instance, Prussian blue
is not generally available due to chemical incompatibility
with the acrylic binder. On the other hand there are no
fluorescent oil paints like in acrylic.
Due to acrylic's more flexible
nature and more consistent drying time between colors, the
painter does not have to follow the "fat over lean" rule of
oil painting, where more medium must be applied to each
layer to avoid cracking. While canvas needs to be properly
sized and primed before painting with oil (otherwise it will
eventually rot the canvas), acrylic can be safely applied to
raw canvas. The rapid drying of the paint tends to
discourage the blending of color and use of
wet-in-wet technique as in oil
painting. While acrylic retarders can slow drying time to
several hours, it remains a relatively fast-drying medium,
and the addition of too much acrylic retarder can prevent
the paint from ever drying properly.
Although the permanency of acrylics
is sometimes debated by conservators, they appear more
stable than oil paints. Oil paints fade in color and develop
a yellow tint over time; they also begin to crack with age.
Acrylic paints have only been around for fifty years, but
within this time frame they have yet to alter in ways seen
in oil paint. The changes seen in using oil paint is caused
by the binder of the paint (linseed oil). Linseed oil dries
as an inelastic film. As temperatures rise and fall, this
film cracks. Acrylic paint is very elastic, which prevents
cracking from occurring. Acrylic paint's binder is acrylic
polymer emulsion; as this binder dries the paint remains
Two part epoxy coatings were
developed for heavy duty service on metal substrates and use
less energy than heat-cured powder coatings.
These systems use a 4:1 by volume mixing ratio, and dry
quickly providing a tough, protective coating with excellent
hardness. Their low volatility and water clean up makes them
useful for factory cast iron, cast steel, cast aluminum
applications and reduces exposure and flammability issues
associated with solvent-borne coatings. They are usually
used in industrial and automotive applications since they
are more heat resistant than latex-based and alkyd-based
paints. Epoxy paints tend to deteriorate, known as chalk
out, due to UV exposure.
epoxies are used as
for washers, driers and other "white goods". Fusion Bonded Epoxy Powder Coatings
(FBE) are extensively used for corrosion protection of steel
pipes and fittings used in the oil and gas industry, potable
water transmission pipelines (steel), concrete reinforcing
Epoxy coatings are also widely used as
to improve the adhesion of automotive and marine paints
especially on metal surfaces where
(rusting) resistance is important. Metal cans and containers
are often coated with epoxy to prevent rusting, especially
for foods like tomatoes that are
Epoxy resins are also used for high performance and
decorative flooring applications especially
flooring, chip flooring
and colored aggregate flooring.
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