Can You Mix Acrylic Paint with Oil Paint?

Acrylic paint and oil paint are two commonly used types of paint. However, you may have considered whether they can mix.

Mixing acrylic paint and oil paint, as acrylic paint is water-based, and oil paint is oil-based. However, there are ways in which these paints can work alongside each other.

Keep reading to find out more.

Acrylic Paints vs. Oil Paints

Acrylic paints and oil paints have different properties, such as viscosity, permanence, and drying times.

Acrylic Paints

Acrylic paint is a water-based form of pigment particles suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion. All acrylic paints consist of three main components:

  • The pigment (the color)
  • A binder (this keeps the pigment in place after the paint dries)
  • The vehicle (water that carries the pigment and binder)

Acrylic paints are an excellent option because:

● They are quick drying

● They have mobility

● They’re easily removed with water when wet

● They’re permanent when dry

● They can be applied to any surface, many without a primer

● They’re non-flammable with a low odor

As with all things, there are a few drawbacks to acrylic paints:

● They are prone to chipping

● Gloss finishes are not as shiny as other mediums

● They do not have the shelf life that oil paints have

Oil Paints

Oil paints have been used since the fifteenth century. Of course, a few things have changed over the years. But, the main components of oil paints have remained the same; the pigment, a binder (linseed oil), and a solvent (usually mineral spirits or turpentine).

Oil paints are the go-to medium for many artists because:

● They have an extended drying time

● The range of colors and the richness of the depth of the colors are endless

● They can be mixed

● There are many methods of application

● They offer a range of effects and finishes

● They do not change in texture, finish, or color once dry

● They have a shelf life of twenty or more years when stored properly

The drawbacks of using oil paints include:

● Most surfaces require a primer or sizing to hold the paint

● Not all surfaces are compatible with oil paints

● Cleaning requires special chemicals

● Oil paints have a high odor because of the solvent component

So, how can acrylic paint and oil paint work together?

Mixing Oil and Acrylic Paint

Although you shouldn’t mix acrylic paint and oil paint on your pallet, you can use them to produce a fantastic piece of art.

Oil-based paints can be used over water-based paints, but never the other way around. Applying acrylic colors to oil-painted surfaces is not recommended. As acrylic paints will not hold to the surface, the water-based paint will peel away, drip or streak. The underlying oil has the potential to ruin water-based acrylic colors.

Acrylic paints can prove to be a valuable medium for an underglaze or primer for your oil painting. Since the acrylic layer will be porous when dry, the oil paint will adhere to the surface without any issues if you reverse the process.


Generally speaking, acrylic and oil paints do not mix. The water base of the acrylic and the oil base of oil paint will never combine.

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