Can you mix acrylic and latex paint?

The debate between acrylic and latex paints often arises as we know both are popular choices among artists, but what happens when you contemplate mixing these two paint types? Can you mix acrylic and latex paint? Let’s delve into this intriguing topic to uncover the truths, dispel the myths, and explore the potential outcomes.

latex paint

Acrylics vs Latex Paint

Before we delve into the mixing process, let’s shed some light on the characteristics of acrylic and latex paints. Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that contains pigment particles suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. Its fast drying times form a flexible and durable film.

Acrylic paints are known for their wide range of vibrant colors and ability to adhere well to various surfaces, including canvas, wood, paper, and more. Latex paint, on the other hand, is also water-based but contains latex, a type of rubber, as the binding agent. 

Latex paint is used for interior and exterior walls, furniture, and other household surfaces. It offers excellent coverage, easy clean-up with water, and low odour compared to oil-based paints.

Acrylic Latex Enamel Paint

Acrylic latex enamel paint represents a harmonious marriage between acrylic and latex paints, offering a blend combining the best attributes. This hybrid paint formulation features the durability and adhesion of acrylic paint with easy application and low odour of latex paint.

Can you paint oil-based paint over latex?

While it’s possible to apply oil-based paint over latex in certain situations, it’s essential to ensure proper surface preparation and similarity tests to prevent adhesion issues. This may involve sanding the latex surface lightly and applying a bonding primer before proceeding with the oil-based paint. However, oil-based paints require longer drying times.

Can you use latex paint over oil-based primer?

Yes, latex paint can be applied over oil-based primer after proper surface preparation and testing. This may involve cleaning the surface thoroughly, sanding lightly, and using a suitable latex paint primer before painting.

Debunking the Myths

Now, let’s address the common myths surrounding mixing acrylic and latex paints.

Myth 1: Acrylic and latex paints cannot be mixed.

Fact: While it’s true that mixing paints of different bases can sometimes lead to random results, acrylic, and latex paints can be combined with caution and proper preparation.

Myth 2: Mixing acrylic and latex paints will result in poor adhesion and durability.

Fact: When mixed in the right proportions and with the appropriate additives, acrylic and latex paints can create a blend that offers good adhesion and durability, especially for specific applications like decorative painting or crafts.

Mixing Acrylic and Latex Paint Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve debunked the myths let’s walk through the process of mixing acrylic and latex paints effectively:

latex paint vs acrylic paint

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

  1. Acrylic paint
  2. Latex paint
  3. Mixing container
  4. Stirring stick
  5. Water (if necessary)
  6. Optional: acrylic medium or latex extender for better performance

Step 2: Prepare the Mixing Container

Ensure that the mixing container is clean and dry. Use a large container to accommodate the desired amount of paint mixture.

Step 3: Mix the Paints

  1. Start by pouring the desired amount of latex paint into the mixing container.
  2. Gradually add acrylic paint to the latex paint, stirring to blend them evenly.
  3. If the mixture is too thick, thin it with water or add acrylic medium for a smoother consistency.
  4. Continue to adjust the proportions until you achieve the desired color and consistency.

Step 4: Test the Mixture

Before applying the mixed paint to your surface, conducting a small test patch is advisable to ensure adhesion. Apply the paint mixture to a sample surface and allow it to dry before assessing the results.

Step 5: Application

Once satisfied with the test results, you can apply the mixed paint to your desired surface using a brush, roller, or sprayer. Follow proper painting techniques and allow adequate drying time between coats.

Practical Considerations

While the benefits of mixing acrylic and latex paints are clear, it’s essential to consider some practical aspects before starting your painting project. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Ensure you mix the acrylic and latex paint are compatible and suitable for the intended surface. They are mostly used for interior and exterior painting projects.
  2. Before applying, conduct thorough testing on a small sample surface to assess adhesion, colour accuracy, and overall performance.
  3. Depending on the desired outcome and surface texture, you may need to adjust your painting techniques and tools accordingly.
  4. Proper maintenance and care are essential for preserving the longevity and appearance of your painted surfaces. Follow recommended guidelines for cleaning and upkeep to ensure lasting results.

Disposal of Latex Paint

Proper latex paint disposal is essential to minimize environmental impact and ensure compliance with local regulations. Here are some guidelines you can use for disposal:

  1. Drying Out: If you have small quantities of latex paint left over, let it dry by leaving the lid off or mixing it with an absorbent material such as kitty litter.
  2. Solid Waste Collection: Once the paint has dried into a solid form, you can dispose of it with regular household waste.
  3. Recycling: Some recycling centers accept latex paint for recycling or reprocessing into new paint products. Check with your local recycling facility for guidelines and procedures.


In conclusion, while there may be some scepticism surrounding the mixing of acrylic and latex paints, creating a blend that meets your painting needs is possible with proper knowledge and preparation. Whether you’re experimenting with color mixing or seeking to combine the best attributes of both paint types, understanding the characteristics and limitations of latex and acrylic paints is critical to achieving successful results.

So, the next time you ponder the question, “Can you mix acrylic and latex paint?” remember that with creativity, experimentation, and a dash of know-how, the possibilities are endless. Mixing latex and acrylic paints correctly can open up many creative opportunities and help you achieve the desired results for your painting projects.

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