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I do a lot of hobby crafting for tabletop gaming that involves painting miniatures and building scenery (think model railroad hobbyists). In this craft, there is a lot of need for washes of different sorts that fill in crevices and crannies for developing shadowing and texture. I have some tempera paints that were gifted to me, but I don't have much of a use for them and was thinking I could make them into washes of different colors since they are already very thin. Has anyone tried tempera paints for this? Will the paint hold up if painted over with acrylics? Will they be washed away when I attempt to seal my work (usually with Mod Podge and/or polycrylic)? I suppose I can experiment a little bit, but I thought I'd see if anyone else has attempted this before putting time into it.

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    Hi Nate, I haven't tried this, but I think the tempera will not adhere to the acrylic, but you might be able to find a proper grounding technique. Sealing afterwards seems like a necessity, as handling the miniatures will likely abrade the paint. I hope someone else here has experience with this. And welcome to Arts & Crafts!
    – Joachim
    Sep 22, 2020 at 17:28
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    Just a suspicion, but I would expect tempera to at least bleed with any water-based coating. You might be able to mix in something that would add some water resistance once dry (a little PVA glue?). It only needs to stay intact until the seal coating is mostly dry. But this is all speculation, never tried it.
    – fixer1234
    Sep 23, 2020 at 22:31
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    Thanks for the insight and suggestions. I had a notion to add a little PVA as a binder, so I'll experiment a bit and will update my post with the results. Sep 24, 2020 at 13:53
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    Any updates on this, Nate?
    – Joachim
    Jan 23, 2023 at 7:38

2 Answers 2

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It would depend on the specific paint and it's pigment density. If the paint has a high pigment density then mixing it with a color-free acrylic medium should give you a wash that can be placed over other high pigment acrylic paint without significant reactivation so long as they are allowed to dry suffiicently.

If the paint has a low pigment density then you will struggle to achieve an even appearance and may just have pooling and blotching.

The pigment density can vary significantly between colors so you would need to experiment to find your ideal mix. You will likely have more success with dark colors than light colors.

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Using tempera paints to create washes for miniature painting is a common technique. While acrylic washes are more commonly used, tempera paints can also be utilized effectively.

When using tempera paints as washes, you may need to thin them down further to achieve the desired consistency (by adding water for example). By diluting the tempera paints, you can create washes that flow into crevices and recessed areas, enhancing shadowing and texture.

While layering acrylic paints over tempera washes, it should generally work without any issues. Acrylic paints are compatible with tempera paints, and they should adhere well to the surface (A good idea is to test it on a small area before applying to the entire project).

Sealing your work with Mod Podge or polycrylic finishes should also be fine. If the washes are dry, they won't be affected by the sealing process (conduct a test on a small piece before you go into the entire project).

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    The question is if tempera paints can be applied as washes over acrylics (and not the other way around).
    – Joachim
    Nov 7, 2023 at 16:32
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    Also note that some of your answers have been flagged for appearing to be AI-generated. If you're using AI to generate answers, this should be clearly indicated (we don't yet have a clear policy here on whether or not we allow them in the first place, but any source should be referenced).
    – Joachim
    Nov 7, 2023 at 16:54

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