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How To Add Glitter To Acrylic Paint

how to add glitter to acrylic paint
One of the most common art mediums used by most artists is acrylic paint, probably because of its versatility, durability, and the fact that it comes in affordable and wide variations.

It is also easy to play around with since you can paint it on almost any surface except those with oil or wax so if you ask, can you add glitters to acrylic paint? Yes, absolutely. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to do and the effect it would have on your artwork.

Step 1. Choose your glitter

There are several options to choose from when it comes to sizes, colors, and textures, you even have an option for metallic acrylic if a subtle sheen is just what you’re after. Choose the type that you can comfortably work on, there are chunky, fine, and extra fine grinds.

The outcome of your glitter application will largely depend on the type of glitter you decide to use, you can even stick with 1 type or play around with multiple selections of glitters. Some of the most popular types of glitter are opaque, transparent, holographic, and hexis. There is a wide variety to choose from that might shock and surprise you.

Step 2. Test first

choose glitter

Using the same acrylic where you will ultimately top off your chosen glitter, test how it will hold first. We don’t want to ruin an entire project just because you went in with the glitters and you don’t like how it turned out, right?

If you have a discarded canvas, that’s good but if you don’t, you can just test it on cardboard. Anything close to the quality and texture of your canvas will be good for testing.

  • Option 1 – Paint your test canvas with the same acrylic colors that you used in the main artwork, sprinkle the glitters on top of the acrylic while it is still wet, and let it sit for a couple of minutes. Make sure that you put enough glitters above the paint to cover all intended parts.
  • Option 2 – Paint your test canvas with acrylic paint, let it dry completely, and apply school glue/Elmer’s glue to the parts where you want the glitters to stick, this is also where you need to water down your glue if you feel like it is too sticky and is hard to spread.

Do not go heavy on the glue because it might have a hard time drying completely. Once you are happy with the glue coverage, sprinkle enough glitters on top of the wet glue and let it dry for a couple of minutes.

The result should give exactly how you want it on the actual artwork, if it’s not giving you that then this is the time to do trial and error until you achieve the result that you truly want. This is your room for experimentation.

Step 3. Plan your application

Since you can play around with glitters and there are no restrictions on how to use them, you can decide how to use them in your project. Some people sprinkle some parts of their work with it to put an accent and give it a fun twist. Can you mix glitter in acrylic paint? Why not? Some people use it as a base or background for their artwork, so that will be easier.

Again, no one is entitled to restrict you on how to use it, after all, art should be a form of freedom of expression, right? So use it as you wish, the most important thing is that you like how it will turn out.

Step 4. Choose your brush/applicator

choose your brush applicator

Once you have decided what type of glitter to use, and how you want the glitters to appear on your artwork, it is now time to choose how you will apply it.

This will matter most if you are doing either a big or small project. If you want your glitters to have a precise application then you will not be using a big brush for a tiny spot or a small brush to cover a big area because it would take you hours to finish.

There will be curves and corners that will be hard to coat with glue without using a specific brush, the same goes with bigger projects that will require big brushes to coat huge parts of the canvas.

Step 5. Actual application

Once you are done with all four steps and you are sure how you want your glitters to reflect in your project then go ahead and carefully sprinkle each glitter into your desired spots. If you are putting it on top of the paint and you just want your glitters in certain spots, make sure that all other spots are completely dry to avoid unwanted application.

Let it dry for a couple of minutes and tap the excess glitter out of the canvas, make sure to dump the extra glitter in another container to be able to use it again and to avoid the glittery mess that would be hard to completely remove by the way.

Step 6. Polish to perfection

If you missed a spot, you can just go over and dust it with the same glitters again, or if it went over the line, feel free to correct it by using a sharp thin object like a palette knife if you have it but anything with a similar shape should work to remove the excess glitters.

Make sure to dust off most of the excess glitter from your canvass to avoid flaking off once the glue or paint settled and dried completely. Some people also choose to glaze their artwork to seal in the glitters but most of the time the texture and the color pigment change therefore not everyone is doing it.


Making any form of art is beautiful, it is perhaps in its own right magical and mysterious at the same time. So go ahead and add a little sparkle if you feel like that’s what your art needs, these articles are more on guidelines on how to add glitter to your acrylic paint but it is mostly up to you and how you envision your art would be.