Acrylic Ink Vs. Acrylic Paint − Every Doubt Cleared!

Both the acrylic ink and paint are water-based. But the prime difference is that – the ink is the liquified/lighter version of paint.  In fact, you can make acrylic ink from acrylic paint just by adding some water, vinegar, and glycerin. There is a valid process for doing so, which I’ve covered at the bottom of this post. 

Aside from that one big difference, you should be conscious of which one is stronger, longer lasting, water resistant, and so on. Knowing about these will assist you in selecting the best option for a certain demand. You can use the ink and paint more skillfully if you know more about them. 

So, without any further hemming and hawing, let’s skip to the good part.

Difference Between Ink and Paint: Surface-Level Talks

Thickness is the main thing that differs paints from inks. Paint is thicker and more viscose whereas ink has a flowy thickness.

It’s because inks have dye or pigments that are way smaller molecules compared to paint and that’s what makes inks dissolve in solvents faster. On the contrary, the pigments in paints are larger and have thicker binders.

The fun part is that you can use paint as ink by using a medium to increase the paint’s flow.

The Differences Between Acrylic Ink and Acrylic Paint

Since acrylic ink is the fluidized form of acrylic paint, their application, mode of use, durability, and other aspects will undoubtedly differ.

Let’s look at a quick comparison between acrylic paint and ink, then get to the detailed differences.

Properties Acrylic Ink Acrylic Paint 
DensityLow High / Thicker
Color TransparencyLowDeeper color in one swatch.
Solvent WaterWater 
SafetyNon-toxic for external organsNon-toxic for external organs 

And, here are the details.

Characteristics Differences

  • Density: Acrylic paint has a greater density or thickness than acrylic ink.
  • Color Transparency:  Although both acrylic paint and ink are vivid, the paint is darker, and the ink is lighter.
  • Ingredients: The key ingredients in acrylic paint are pigment, solvent, binder, additives, and extender. About acrylic ink’s ingredients, the most common names are pigment, dye, colorant, linseed oil, vehicle, additive, and drying agent. 
  • Controllability: Acrylic paint has a better controllability rating since it is thick and difficult to scatter or mess with. The ink, on the other hand, splashes over swiftly.
  • Permanency: The good news is that both acrylic paint and ink are permanent (weather/heat resistant and waterproof). However, you must use and dry them properly before exposing them to sunlight and water. Or else they might peel off after some time.

Application Area and Method

  • Area/Surface

Acrylic paint is highly versatile and can be used on paper, canvas, wood, metal, ceramic, plastic, glass, stone, and wall. The same goes for acrylic ink too.

Wood, canvas, stone and wall would need two coats of acrylic paint and paper, metal, glass, ceramic and  plastic would need 1-2 coats. 

In the case of acrylic ink, one coat will be enough for most surfaces. Stones, wood, and glass you might need to apply more than twice.

User Restriction

If you’re just starting painting, consider using acrylic paint instead of ink because the ink is sloppy and could be challenging to control.

Additionally, keep them out of children’s access as they are toxic.

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Ink and Paint 

Just like every story has two sides, acrylic ink and paint have their own pros and cons. Knowing about the advantages and disadvantages will help you choose the right one for your needs.

Pros of Acrylic Ink

  1. It can be used on a wide range of surfaces
  2. Durable than normal inks
  3. Dries up quickly
  4. Permanent when dried completely
  5. Acrylic paint is heat resistant
  6. Can be multi-layered
  7. Smudge or bleed-proof
  8. No need to mix with water or toxic spirits

Cons of Acrylic Ink 

  1. Acrylic ink is very runny since it is liquidized.
  2. It might bleed if used in an excessive amount.
  3. Challenging to work with.
  4. Doesn’t give dark color in one swatch.

Pros of Acrylic Paint

  1. It can be applied to a variety of surfaces
  2. Highly pigmented
  3. Permanent when dried
  4. Water & Heat-resistant
  5. It can be lightened by mixing water
  6. No need to mix any toxic spirits
  7. Easy to work with

Cons of Acrylic Paint

  1. It cannot be undone once dried
  2. Dries up really fast, which might be problematic sometimes
  3. Becomes darker after drying up

Acrylic Ink VS Alcohol Ink- What Makes Them Different?

The obvious difference between acrylic and alcohol ink is their elements. Acrylic ink is pigment biased while the primary component of alcohol ink is dye. 

Thus the dried layer of acrylic is permanent and for this, acrylic ink is archival but acrylic ink isn’t. It’s almost impossible to re-work with acrylic ink. But this doesn’t happen with alcohol ink because when it dries, the alcohol in it evaporates. So, it ensures a thin reworkable layer of ink. 

Other differences are in their consistency, transparency, drying qualities, uses, and layering. To clarify the point, alcohol ink is thinner and it dries faster than acrylic ink.

While alcohol ink is mostly used to create delicate paint layers, acrylic ink is used for watercolor techniques.

Moreover, acrylic ink isn’t flammable but acrylic paint is flammable after completely drying.

6 Amazing Ideas for Using Acrylic Ink

Like others, are you also confused about what to do with acrylic ink? Well, there are some enchanting works that you can do with it. From painting to making sprays, there’s a lot to do. 

And here are some fantastic ideas for you.

Paint With a Brush

Take a piece of paper or canvas, draw something with a pencil, take a brush and dip it into the ink, and color your sketch. 

Painting with acrylic ink gives a delightful and fresh watercolor texture. If you are an aesthetic lover, you’ll definitely love that.

Paint with a Brayer

Simply put some ink on a glass or plastic palette, roll the brayer on it, and then roll the brayer on your canvas or paper. You can make really cool textured backgrounds using different texture brayers. 

Plus, you can also use this technique to create cutouts or masking effects. 

Brayer is a sophisticated option for painting large areas. Painting those areas will be super challenging and time-consuming with tiny brushes.

Filter Effect

Since the ink is very light, you can create a filter effect over a dark painting with any ink color. Simply add some water to the ink and then scrape over your artwork for a lighter effect. 

Drop Splatters and Abstract Paintings

Acrylic ink can also be used to make some amazing drop splatters and abstract paintings. It comes with unending shades and is compatible with most surfaces, thus perfectly suitable for this genre of painting. 


Simply placing the ink into a pen will let you write with beautiful colors. You can also create calligraphy writings. 

Make Spray

Do you love using color sprays? You can make them using acrylic ink. To make a spray with ink, you first need a spray bottle. 

Then directly pour the ink into it, or you can also add 25% water to the ink (excessive water can make the ink too thin) and spray it on your painting surface. It’s that simple!

However, don’t stick or limit yourself to what I or others have to say. Explore your creativity, play with the ink, and discover something great.

How to Make Acrylic Ink from Acrylic Paint?

Instead of wasting money buying ink, you can make them if you have the below materials −

  1. Acrylic paint
  2. Distilled water
  3. Vinegar
  4. Glycerin
  5. A glass bottle with a lid

Next, follow the below-mentioned steps −

  1. Pour ¼ cup of acrylic paint into the glass jar
  2. Add half a cup of distilled water and shake until mixed properly
  3. Then add 1 Tsp of vinegar and ¼ tsp of glycerin into that mixture
  4. Turn off the glass bottle lid and again start shaking to mix everything properly

And congrats, your ink is ready to use!

Can I Mix Acrylic Paint With Acrylic Ink?

Yes, you’re allowed to mix acrylic paint and ink to make beautiful shades. You need to be accurate about the quantity depending on the shade you want though. 

If mixed for larger areas, don’t forget to thin the paint with 25% water. Otherwise, the mixed paint will be too thick to spread across the surface.

Pro Tips for Perfect Acrylic Painting

There are surely no definite boundaries to play around with colors or paints. But still, if a few tips can level up the artistic you, then why not? 

Use Good Brand Paint

Quality matters! Always go for the artist’s quality acrylic paint. However, they might be quite expensive but will let you get a better color when it dries up. 

Some of the good brands are− Liquitex, Winsor, Newton, and so on. 

Learn to Mix Color

Before you start painting, learn about color theory. Knowing how to mix color shades will let you make a lot of different shades from primary colors. 

For instance, by mixing yellow and blue, you can get the green color. And, mixing red and green acrylic paint will create yellow.

This technique will not only save you some extra money but will also help you with emergency needs.

Pick Out the Color You Need

Acrylic paints dry up quickly. So, don’t take out or don’t put all the colors on the color palette altogether. Eventually, pick the color that you need. 

Don’t Keep the Lid Open

Turn off the lid once you’ve taken out the color from the tube or bottle. Or else the entire tube or bottle of color will dry up. 

Quantity of Water

The tendency of acrylic paint to dry very quickly can occasionally make blending difficult. And water is helpful at that time. 

Adding a little bit of water gives a smooth blend and finish. Thus, remember to keep a cup or small bowl of water near you whenever you’re ready to paint.

Don’t Stick to One Brush and Clean It

Sticking to one brush or not cleaning it will load your brush heavily with many colors. Then it will be tough for you to paint or even clean your brushes. 

Therefore, use at least 2 or 3 brushes and wash them frequently rather than sticking with just one. And by using this technique, you may avoid destroying your artwork.

Keep Your Brush’s Head Up

If you keep your brushes in a standing position, avoid putting the bristles downward and keep them in the upward direction. This way they dry quickly and don’t pick up dust. The brush handle should be touching the bottom.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How to control acrylic ink?

If you want to control acrylic ink from spreading around quickly, mix it with Floetrol before using it on your canvas. Otherwise the paint will dry before you blend it on the surface. 

What type of brush is best for acrylic ink or paint?

Synthetic brushes are best for both acrylic ink and paint. They make handling and speeding the paint and ink way easier than other ones do. Plus, they are super easy to clean as well.

What’s the difference between acrylic paint and poster paint/color?

Both of them are water-based. However, once acrylic paint has dried, it cannot be scraped off or fixed. On the other hand, even if the poster color dries off, you can still soften it by adding some water or any medium.

Wrapping Up

So, I hope you are now clear about the Acrylic Ink Vs. Acrylic Paint question. They both are water-based colors and have amazing applications. 

You can use acrylic paint on your shoes for decorating. And a lot of people even earn money by selling DIY shoes or sneakers. 

Just remember to use acrylic paint sealer over your decoration. And in a similar vein, ink is also remarkably versatile.

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