Art Supplies Shopping List for Acrylic Painting


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What supplies do I need for acrylic painting?

When deciding to try painting for the first time, the choice of available art supplies can be overwhelming and confusing. So here is an art supplies list of everything you need to get started with acrylic painting.

Acrylic paint colors to start

Don't be fooled by all the available paint colors. Start with a few essential colors and get to know each look and mix. Buy a tube of these colors:

  • Medium naphthol red or cadmium red
  • Phthalo blue
  • Medium Azo Yellow or Cadmium Yellow
  • Burnt shadow
  • Phthalo green
  • White titanium and
  • Payne's gray

You do not need black to darken colors or for shadows because the mixing of other colors will result in dark colors. We personally love cadmium red and cadmium yellow, but you need to be careful not to get paint on your skin as cadmium pigments are toxic.


Again, you don't need brush handles of different sizes and shapes. Over time, you will develop a preference for the size and shape of the brush, as well as the type of hair. To start with, we recommend two hazelnut brushes of different sizes, with stiff bristles. Hazelnut is a versatile brush shape that offers a variety of brush strokes depending on how you hold it, from narrow to wide. Many paintings are made with a single fiber.

Palette knife

Palette knife

If you use a putty knife instead of a brush to mix paint colors on your palette, you won't end up wasting paint that gets stuck in the brush. It is also easier to mix the colors well. A putty knife can also be used to scrape paint off a canvas when things go wrong (if the paint hasn't dried yet).

Moisture-retaining paint palette

It is convenient to scoop a little of each paint color from the tube onto a palette, ready to be picked up with a brush. Because acrylic paints dry quickly, you need a moisture-retaining palette, not a traditional wooden palette. If you squeeze paint into a regular palette, much of it will dry out before you use it.

Practice paper

Practice paper

You are not going to paint a masterpiece every time you pick up your brush. Sometimes you need to play and practice. If you make it on paper instead of canvas, not only is it cheaper, but storage is less of an issue as well. You may want to use a large wire-bound sketchbook, but another option to consider is a canvas-textured pad of paper.

Painting on canvas

Buying a canvas that is already stretched and primed gives you more time to paint. Buy a few different sizes and shapes. Long and thin they are perfect for landscapes.

Water reserve

You need a container for the water both to rinse the brush and to thin the paint. An empty jam jar will do, but you may prefer a plastic container that won't break if you drop it. You can buy all kinds of containers, including those with holes in the edges to store dry brushes.

Rags or paper towels

You will need something to clean excess paint from a brush and to remove most of the paint before washing it off. Typically a roll of paper towels is used, but an old shirt or torn sheet in rags will work as well. Avoid anything that contains moisturizer or cleaner because you don't want to add anything to your paint.

An apron

Once the acrylic paint has dried, you don't like to wash your clothes, so wear a sturdy apron to protect your clothes.

An easel

Easels come in different designs, but our favorite is a standing H-frame easel because it is so sturdy. If space is limited, consider the tabletop version.

Drawing board

When painting on paper, you will need a rigid drawing board or a board to place behind the sheet of paper. Choose one that is larger than you think you need because it is very annoying to suddenly discover that it is too small.

Bulldog clips

Heavy-duty bulldog clips (or large binding clips) are the easiest way to keep a sheet of paper on a chalkboard. Use two on the top and one on the sides (sometimes just one side, if the sheet of paper is small).


When you've finished a painting that you particularly like, give it another level of protection by varnishing it.

Varnish brush


A varnish brush has soft bristles, which help you apply varnish evenly and finely. Makes work so much easier!

Gloves without fingers

A pair of fingerless gloves help keep your hands warm while leaving your fingers free to grip a brush or pencil well. Wear a pair in a fairly distinctive green (this makes them easy to spot!) From Creative Comforts. They're made from a stretchy cotton/lycra blend for a perfect fit, so you'll find they won't get in the way or get in the way.

Enjoy The Video Tutorial about Essential Acrylic Painting Supplies!

Source: Emily Mackey Art

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