7 Ways to Be a "Greener" Acrylic Painter

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, and while sustainability is always top-of-mind, I recently found myself wondering how I can be even "greener" in my studio. 

In this blog post, I share my tried-and-true methods and the new eco-friendly tips I've learned in my research. 

1. Clean Up the Right Way

Wait until the paint in your palette or bottle is completely dry and dispose of it in the trash rather than the drain. Washing excess paint in the sink will cause pigments to make their way down the drain, which isn't good for the environment. 

Keep your paintbrushes in tip-top shape by adding a Paint Puck to your water cup; I also recommend using chemical-free brush cleaners. The more you care for your brushes, the fewer you'll need to buy. 

2. Shop from Ethical Brands

Take the time to research the brands you're shopping from. Most companies will have their sustainability efforts listed on their website like Liquitex does here

3. Avoid Wasting Paint 

I know this sounds easier said than done, but there are tons of ways to cut back on waste. Here are some tips: 

  • Before you go to the art supply store, take note of the colors you already have and which colors you can mix with your current supply. Next, make a list of the colors you'll need and consider the piece you'll be working on. Purchase a size that matches your needs. 
  • Buy your most-used colors in bulk. Colors like Titanium White and Ivory Black are ones I use with every single painting, so I always buy the largest size of paint the store has on-hand. This not only saves me money, but it cuts back on the number of individual paint bottles I would have eventually purchased. 
  • Keep your paint bottles clean so their caps don’t get stuck and always make sure they're tightly sealed. 
  • Avoid keeping your paints in extreme temperatures and make sure you read each brand's care instructions so that you can keep your paints alive for as long as possible. 
  • Use a pre-moistened palette like this Sta-Wet palette to keep your paints fresh in between sessions. If you prefer to use a smaller palette or butcher tray, I recommend grabbing some Press 'n Seal wrap to keep everything airtight. 
Get your hands on some of Liquitex's Palette Wetting Spray. Adding water to acrylic paints will cause them to crack, so while you can also loosen up your paints with a light mist of water, you do run the risk of affecting your work. 

    4. Repurpose Old Canvases

    Raise your hand if you've ever abandoned a painting? 🙋‍♀️ Rather than throw these canvases away, sand them down and reprime them with acrylic gesso. You'll avoid excess waste and also save yourself some money!  

    5. Create Your Own Studio Rags  

    Have an old t-shirt or beach towel? Cut it up into small squares and use them in your studio as rags. 

    6. Reuse Old Take-Out Containers

    Next time you get take-out or delivery, save any resealable plastic containers. These are great for mixing colors and keeping them airtight. 

    7. Save on Shipping Supplies 

    Do you sell and ship your paintings? Every time you receive a package, save everything you can. I'm talking the box, the bubble wrap, and especially those air-filled cushions

    Other ways you can make your shipping methods more eco-friendly? Buy biodegradable bubble wrap or bubble wrap made from recycled materials.  

    What are some other ways you're staying green in your studio? Share them below in the comments! 

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    Disclosure: Links to Blick Art Materials and Amazon are affiliate links, which means that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Please note, I only promote products that I personally use and love! 

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