Heavy-body acrylics are vital for artists who love playing with texture. These paints feature a higher viscosity than liquid paint, which makes them act almost like buttery oils, with improved ability to retain brushwork and knife work once they dry. The very best heavy-body paints should contain no added extenders, opacifiers, fillers, or dyes. They should have outstanding lightfastness and show no cracking even when heavily built up. Achieve bold color and dramatic surface effects with our picks of the best, below.
1. Golden Artist Colors Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
Golden’s paints are designed to encourage color experimentation and are easy to mix and layer. They are dense paints with concentrated pigments that provide great coverage while holding brushstrokes beautifully. This set comes with eight colors in 2-ounce tubes that conveniently carry information on opacity, pigment, and lightfastness.
2. Holbein Heavy-Body Acrylic Primary Set
Heavily pigmented, Holbein’s paints provide fantastic coverage while delivering on color vibrancy. The acrylics in this primary set of five 2-ounce tubes are as slick as peanut butter and retain peaks and ridges that look fresh and almost alive when dry. The paint also has wonderful flexibility to guard against cracking, and it has a slower drying time than most acrylics, which provides more time for wet-on-wet painting.
3. Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paint
Featuring bold and lasting pigment, a silky-smooth texture, and superior coverage, Liquitex’s heavy-body acrylics are a top choice for students. Their high viscosity not only preserves peaks, brushstrokes, and other tool marks but also helps to achieve crisp detail. It’s available in sets of 4 to 24 tubes, each holding 0.75 to 2 ounces of paint. About half what our top picks cost, Liquitex’s paints nevertheless deliver brilliant color and superior coverage.
4. Soho Urban Artist Heavy Body Acrylic Paint Set
If you want to experiment with color, consider these cost-saving paints, which are available in .4-ounce tubes and are only a bit more expensive per ounce than Liquitex’s. The highly-pigmented paints have a thick, creamy texture that retains brush and knife strokes well and are mix easily, even with other acrylics. They dry with a lustrous sheen, but you can add a sealer if you prefer a matte finish.
5. Dina Wakley Media Heavy Body Acrylic Paints
Developed by Dina Wakley, a mixed-media artist and educator, these are artist-quality paints intended for painters of all skill levels. Wakley relies heavily on palette knives in her own work, and her paints have a creamy consistency that excels in holding strokes and textures. Despite their heaviness, they spread easily and have excellent coverage. Sold in tubes to guard against drying out, Wakley’s paints are available in an inviting range of colors.