How to Fix Dry Paints

How to Fix Dry Paints

Many of our customers start their kits and then get distracted by life and work, only to come back to find that their paints are thick or hard! If you are experiencing something similar with your paints, keep on reading. We will go through the most effective steps to softening and reviving thick, dry, or hard acrylic paint!

Thick or Dry Paint

If you have thick or dry paint, you are in luck! This is more of a good thing than a bad thing. Acrylic paints are water soluble and can be easily thinned out with warm water or flow improver/flow aid.


Water is your best friend when dealing with acrylic paints. Acrylics are water soluble (which means they can be dissolved in water). Add a drop or two of WARM water to your paints to moisten them almost instantly. An increase in temperature increases solubility, but does not effect the concentration of a solution (sorry, I majored in Chemistry in high school), so warm water will mix with the paint better without thinning them out. We recommend stirring the paint with a small toothpick and, if you have the time and patience, wait over night.

As a friendly reminder, make sure to SEAL the paint pod after you have added any drops of water. Paints are meant to dry when exposed to air, and will be happy to do so if you leave the tops open!

Add a drop or two of warm water

Flow Improver/Flow Aid:

Flow Improver/flow aid can thin out your paints, but in a much different way than water. Rather than add flow improver to your paints directly, you add a few drops to your water and dip your brush in it as you paint. Think of it as adding the equivalent of olive oil to your water. Once you have added flow improver to your water, the paint glides off your brush more smoothly. The only caution we have for using flow improver is that it has been known to increase the amount of paint you use on a canvas. For numbers with a lot of surface area, you may have to be careful not to use too much paint!

Painting with Brushes

Hard Paint

Sometimes, the paints are just so dry that there is no fixing it. If a drop of water overnight does not fix it, you might just need a replacement. We do everything we can to prevent it (as I am sure other companies do as well), but it happens and you should not panic! If you ordered from us at, we will be happy to send out replacements for dry paints in most situations. Just send us an email to with your order number and issue!

Hard Dry Paint Example

Want to learn more?

Want more thorough instructions for your paint by number kit? Check out our Ultimate Paint by Number Guide for everything you need to know about your new craft!

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