Paint By Number

How to Fix Dry Paints

Once we’ve indulged ourselves in the realms of our prestigious paint-by-numbers kits at least twice (if not more), we’re all guilty of getting distracted or consumed by something popping up in our lives. While we indulge in that particular task, some paints show their anger and are infuriated by drying up. Suppose you’re daunted by these arrogant paints that thicken or get hard and are willing to trade anything for possible solutions. This article will effectively list the four fantastic ways to replenish your acrylic paints and make them great again.

Discern the Bad paints.

Before channeling your inner medics to a potential revival of the dry paints, let’s first learn to distinguish whether your colors have completely turned bad or can be fixed.

The complex and fast rule here is to check whether there are consistency changes in the paint or if the paint is growing mold. Mostly, the colors only undergo consistency changes (lumping or drying up), which can be fixed prolifically. However, when the paint has mold (a fungus), it gives away a spicy or sour smell; hence, the color should be discarded immediately.

The paints will be excellent if you’ve never opened your container for a decade. Only if you’ve previously popped a paint container and haven’t used it for a couple of years is the mold sure to take over the proceedings. (So watch out, folks)                 


Now that you’ve learned the difference between a paint that can be fixed or not, let’s move over to lament and illuminate the fantastic five in detail.

Since Acrylic paints are water-soluble, they can be easily fixed with water, flow improver/aid, thinning medium, wet palette, and agitator.


  • Water is The first hero you should always turn to while dealing with dry paints. Since Acrylic paints are water-soluble, adding a couple of water droplets will do the trick and moisten the colors instantly.
  • The use of warmer water is recommended here because it doesn’t meddle with the concentration of paint, unlike the icy cold water. Stir the paint with some toothpicks and leave it overnight for best results.
  • Make sure the paints have no exposure to air, or all your efforts will go in vain.


  • The flow improvers/aids are the second most widely used option across the globe to fix dry paints. The way these flow improvers/aids work is quite different than how water works as a thinner.
  • Instead of adding flow improvers all over your paints, add a few drops of this magic potion to your water. You can then dip your brush in this mixture and proceed to paint.
  • The paint will sail off your brush more elegantly now. The only thing to watch out for here is that the flow improvers are renowned for increasing the amount of color that you use on a canvas. (Be vigilant, and don’t use too much paint.)


  • For all the experts who are adept at handling these sorts of nuisances, the thinning mediums come in handy to fix the dried paints. As the name prolifically suggests, a thinning medium is a gel-like pasty substance that helps enhance the paint's consistency.
  • Thinning mediums and their efficacy vary from paint to paint, and they are widely available in all chemical stores. Diligently add the thinning medium to your colors per the instructions above.
  • Remember to pour the medium into the paint at a snail’s pace because you don’t want to overdo it. Continue stirring until your required consistency is achieved.

Please remember that some individuals use their paintbrushes as a stirrer to mix the dry paints, but we strongly suggest against it. It damages the brush's bristles and makes them fall off in color.


  • Another way to revive dried-up paints is to use a wet palette.
  • A wet palette is a container with a layer of water and a sponge or paper towel.
  • You can place your dried-up paint on a wet surface, and the moisture will gradually soften the color.
  • This method works well for acrylic paints.


  • All the veterans of this field are pretty familiar with this technique. An agitator, also called a mixing ball, is a compact ball-bearing substance that can be directly placed inside the paint container.
  • The ball has a powerful potion to fix the dry paints and enhance consistency. It works wonderfully by combating the dried and thick paint holding onto either side or the bottom of the container. Adding a thinning medium alongside these agitators is advised for the best results.
  • The most famous agitators are the stainless steel or glass ones. Agitators that are poor in quality invoke rust.

This concludes our fantastic five lists of essentials that can help you fix your dry paints. For all beginners, the first two solutions will work prolifically well, whereas if you’re a pro, you might as well take the last two options. Stay tuned as we hunt to find more effective solutions for you.

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