As any artist will know, paint thinner is something that you always want to keep in your kit because you never know when it will come in handy. Paint that is too thick to travel through your airbrush? Add some paint thinner.
Paint that has gone dry on your palette before you’ve had a chance to use it? Add some paint thinner. Paint that has accidentally spilled all over your floor? You’ve guessed it.. add some paint thinner!
As you have probably already guessed by now, it is one of those tools that will always be helpful. Especially in times of crisis. So it is worth investing in some to add to your kit. But finding the right paint thinner for you can be difficult, especially if you don’t know what to look for.
Even if you do know what you are looking for, the vast range of products on the market can make it difficult to find the one that is right for you.
That’s why we’re here to help with this helpful guide to the best paint thinner on the market. Not only are we giving you a round-up of the top 5 options available, but we’ve also included a buyer’s guide which is full of all the information you need to consider when you are buying paint thinner.
In a hurry?
Our favorite paint thinner on the market is the Pebeo China Paint Thinner. This paint thinner is excellent value for money and is also packed full of excellent features which we believe make it the best on the market, including:
- The ability to thin paint without damaging the durability of the paint.
- It can also be used to fix dry paints and fluidify dry paint on your palette so that it will work again.
- It is suitable for use on all surfaces including sheet steel, porcelain, and even glass so that your options are endless.
- It comes in a 45ml bottle which is excellent value for your money, and will last you for years to come.
Top 5 Paint Thinner of 2021
Pebeo China Paint Thinner
Our favorite option on the market is the Pebeo China Paint Thinner. This paint thinner is suitable for use with a variety of different surfaces, but it is primarily designed for use with paint that is suitable for use on china, porcelain, glass, and other surfaces like these.
This paint thinner comes in a 45ml bottle and requires only a very small amount with every use so that it is guaranteed to last you for years to come. It is excellent for fluidifying dry paints left on your palette and also thins paint without damaging the durability of its formula.
But our favorite thing about this paint thinner is how user-friendly it is. All you need to do is follow the instructions on your bottle and your paint will be as good as new. So with all this in mind, there’s no doubt that this is one of the best options available.
- Thins paint without damaging its durability
- Can also be used to fluidify dry paints on your palette
- Comes in a 45ml bottle that will last
- Suitable for use on all surfaces from porcelain to sheet steel to glass
- Can be oven-baked for an enamel finish
- Incredibly user-friendly for beginners
- No notable drawbacks
US Art Supply 16oz Airbrush Thinner
We also love the US Art Supply 16oz Airbrush Thinner. As their name suggests, US Art Supply is a leading brand in the field of art, and their airbrush thinner is up there as one of the best products in their range.
This paint thinner is designed for use with acrylic paints that are primarily used with an airbrush. It is designed to thin the paint and improve the color flow while allowing it to travel through the airbrush with more ease. It is made to maintain permanent results and contains acrylic-based binders to ensure the integrity of the paint is not damaged.
If that wasn’t enough, this paint thinner is also great at thinning for fine line work and also for creating color transparency in your work, so there’s no question that this is one of the best options on the market.
- Perfect for use with acrylic paints
- Designed to make airbrush paints thinner and improve the color flow
- Contains acrylic-based binders so that the quality of the paint is not damaged
- Excellent for thinning ready for fine line work
- Created to make permanent results
- Can also be used to create color transparency in your work
- No notable drawbacks
Speedball Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner
Another excellent option is the Speedball Mona Lisa Odorless Thinner. This paint thinner is different again as it is primarily made for use with oil-based paints and artist oil. It is designed with safety in mind as it comes with a child-proof lock and in a shatterproof bottle to prevent any harm.
Our favorite thing about this paint thinner is that it is incredibly easy to use as it works in the same way as turpentine to make your job easy. This paint thinner is completely odorless and clear so that you do not have to worry about any damage to your work, and it is also suitable for use when blending colored pencils.
With all of this considered, it is clear that this is one of the best options money can buy.
- Suitable for use in artist oil and oil-based paints
- Can be used in the same way as turpentine
- No unpleasant odor and completely clear
- Packaged in a shatterproof bottle for durability
- Child-proof lock for safety
- Also excellent for blending colored pencils
- Small amount for the cost
Golden Open Acrylic Thinner
You should also consider the Golden Open Acrylic Thinner. You may be put off by this as it is only available in a 4oz bottle, but there’s no need to worry as you only need a very small amount every single time that you use it.
It has a water-based design so that you do not need to worry about stickiness, and it is also very resilient so that the texture of the thinner does not alter over time. It is a perfect choice for both cheap and expensive paint as it is designed to thin the consistency of the paint without damaging its integrity.
So after looking at all these great features, it’s obvious that the Golden Open Acrylic Thinner is one of the best.
- Water-based design is not sticky
- Designed to thin the consistency of acrylic paints
- Does not alter open time
- Comes in a 4oz bottle providing plenty of use
- Works well with both cheap and expensive paint
- Excellent value for the price you are paying
- Gel consistency can be confusing
Airbrush Flow Improver Paint
Finally, we cannot forget about the Airbrush Flow Improver Paint. This paint thinner is different from the others that we have looked at as it is designed solely for use with airbrush paint.
Despite this, it comes in a larger 8oz bottle but still only requires a very small amount every time that you use it. It can provide superior results and is incredibly easy to use, even if you have no prior experience with paint thinner.
While it is designed for use with airbrush paint, it is compatible with other paints too, but it is at its best when being used to extend airbrush sessions. So with all of this considered, there’s no way that the Airbrush Flow Improver Paint was not going to make it onto this list.
- Perfect for extending airbrush sessions
- Incredibly simple to use, even for those who are new to airbrushing
- Provides superior results
- Comes in a larger 8oz bottle so that it will last
- Is compatible with a variety of different paint types
- Only requires a minimal amount every time that you use it
- The design of the bottle is quite poor and makes the process more difficult
Finding the perfect paint thinner to add to your painting kit can be difficult, but we’re here to help with this handy guide to the best paint thinners that are currently available on the market.
The options that we have already looked at are some of the best that money can buy, but if you are still unsure, we’ve put together this quick buyer’s guide to give you more information. So if you want to add a paint thinner to your kit but don’t know what to look for, keep on reading.
Paint Thinner vs Paint Stripper
One very important thing to know when buying paint thinner is the difference between this and paint stripper. It is a common misconception that paint thinner and paint stripper are the same, but in fact, they are actually very different from one another.
Paint thinner is something that can be added to paint to break down the internal components of it and make it more liquidy. It works excellently with paint that has dried prematurely and also with paint that is too thick to travel through an airbrush in its current format.
However, through breaking down the paint to make it more liquidy, paint thinner can also be used to make cleaning up paint that has been spilled an easier process.
This is the reason that it often gets confused with paint stripper, as the primary job of paint stripper is to break down and dissolve paint so that it can be removed from its current surface.
The Size of the Bottle
Another thing you need to remember when you are buying paint thinner is the size of the bottle of paint thinner that you are buying.
This is something that can be confusing when you are looking at the different options as the size of the bottle of paint thinner might appear very small for the price tag that is attached to it.
To understand the importance of the bottle size, you need to understand how paint thinner works. Paint thinner operates on a ratio basis, and in the best formulas, you will only need to use a very small amount of the thinner to break down the consistency of the paint.
It is because of this that so many paint thinners are sold in very small quantities, as you only need a very small amount to do the job.
So don’t be put off by the price if the size of the bottle seems completely out of range. If the product has good reviews, then the chances are that it is manufactured in this bottle size because the formula is very good.
Other Things you may Need
Finally, if you are using paint thinner there are some other things that you might require. Some paint thinners can be incredibly strong and the formula can be powerful, so you should take safety precautions when you use this in your workspace.
Of course, you should take a look at the specific paint thinner that you are using, as some paint thinners will not have any toxic ingredients so you may not need to take safety precautions.
To ensure safety at all times, you should always keep the lid on the paint thinner apart from when you are using it. Paint thinners evaporate very easily so you should keep the lid on to avoid any nasty fumes escaping into your living space.
You should also always use a mask and gloves when handling the paint thinner. Some ingredients in these formulas have been linked to rashes and respiratory problems so it is best to take safety precautions to avoid this.
So when you are purchasing paint thinner, you should also purchase a mask and some gloves as well just in case. Finally, it is also worth noting that you will need a wooden spoon, or something similar to this, to be able to mix the paint thinner with the paint that you want to break down.
As paint thinner can be expensive, you must have everything prepared for when you begin to use it so that no paint thinner goes to waste.
Functions of Paint Thinner
While there are lots of different paint thinners available, they all have one primary purpose, and that is to thin the consistency of the paint. However, it is surprising the different functions that you can use paint thinner for.
One thing that you can use paint thinner for is to thin older paint that has become too thick to use. As we have already established, paint thinner breaks down the internal structure of paint and allows it to become runnier so that it is easier to use.
But paint thinner is not something that is limited to use with acrylic paint. In fact, paint thinner is suitable for use with a variety of airbrush paints, and also china paint, as well as the traditional acrylic paint that it was designed to be used with.
It is also not limited to artistic paint and can be used with household paints as well. Most paint thinners are primarily made up of solvents, so there are a lot of different paint formulas that you can use it with.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is paint thinner?
Paint thinners are a type of liquid that is also sometimes known as solvents. As their name suggests, paint thinners have one primary purpose and that is to thin paint that is too solid.
Their solid design means that they can dissolve paint, and also reduce the viscosity of paint so that it can be used in tools such as an airbrush.
While their primary purpose is to thin paint so that it can be used more easily while you are completing your artwork, paint thinners are also commonly used to clean paint from areas where it has been accidentally spilled.
How to use paint thinner?
While the exact way in which you should use paint thinner will differ from product to product, the majority of paint thinners are used in the same way, so let’s take a look at how you use paint thinner.
The most important thing is that you follow the ratio instructions given by the manufacturer as this will be the correct amount of thinner to add to your paint to thin it. Once you have measured the correct amount of thinner, you should add this to your paint in a mixing bucket.
You should not add the thinner all at once, instead, add a little at a time and mix after every single bit is added so that you can monitor the consistency of the paint. Continue to mix for several minutes until the paint is at a consistency that is ready to use.
What is in paint thinner?
A lot of people will have heard of paint thinner, but many people will not know what is in it. Paint thinner usually consists of mineral spirits that have a flashpoint higher than 40 degrees Celsius.
However, the ingredients in paint thinner will differ depending on the country that you are in. While paint thinner usually consists of mineral spirits in the United States, you will instead find white spirit in paint thinner in the United Kingdom.
However, all of these different things do one job, and that is to thin paint.