20 Jan 2020Mont Marte

Want to make your paintings really stand out? We have a lot of fun with special effects and we think you will too. In fact, some of them might even surprise you!

1. Use household items as tools

A fork being used to create texture.

You don’t always have to use paint brushes or palette knives for your artworks. There are plenty of household items, such as forks and toothbrushes, that can create different effects.

2. Build texture with sand

If you want to create interesting textures, throw some sand into the mix. There are heaps of ways to do this, including using PVA glue or clear mediums.

3. Apply modelling paste

Hand using modelling paste.

Modelling paste is great for creating a range of textures, patterns and effects. We recently used it to build up rock texture in a waterfall painting. If you’re interested in seeing how we did it, head over to the video tutorial and hit play.

4. Paint with a plastic syringe

This may sound a little funny, but a plastic syringe can be used as a makeshift paint pen. All you need to do is buy a few at your local chemist and fill them up with paint.

5. Sprinkle glitter onto wet paint

A galaxy painting made with glitter.

While your paint is still wet, sprinkle some glitter onto it to add some shimmer. Once the paint is dry, simply tap the excess glitter onto a sheet (you can even tip this back into a tub to use later).

6. Create a collage

It’s not just glitter that sticks to wet acrylic paint – paper and fabric work too. You might also like to experiment with some clear-drying PVA to create this effect.

7. Make a pouring paint background

A turtle painting.

You’ve probably seen pouring paint around, but did you know it makes a great background? All you need to do is create a pour painting, let it dry and then paint your artwork on top of it using acrylic or oil paint. Check out our turtle painting video tutorial to see this effect in action.

8. Create patterns with mineral spirits

If you’re using acrylic paint, you can create some stunning effects using mineral spirits. Simply drop the spirit on top of the paint while it’s still wet and watch large rings appear. To do this, we’d suggest dipping a wooden skewer into the spirit and gently touching the paint with it.

9. Add gold leaf

A gold artwork.

Bring your paintings to life with a touch of imitation gold leaf. There are plenty of effects that you can create with this versatile material, from subtle additions to bold blocks.

10. Use liquid starch for soft cloud effects

Fill a spray bottle with liquid starch and apply it to wet acrylic paint. This will create a soft cloud-like effect as the starch reacts with the paint.

If you’ve got more special effect ideas, we’d love to see them! Feel free to tag us on Facebook or Instagram using @montmarteart to show us what you’ve created.