5 Tips on Using Acrylic Paints in Your Bullet Journal

Posted by Design Team on

Hello friends! It's Nabaa here from @whimsical.doodles on instagram! :) 

Today I'm going to talk a little bit about Acrylic paints and how to use them in your bullet journal (buckle in, this one's going to be a long post!)

Acrylic Paint 101

Acrylic Paints are quick drying paints created by combining pigment and a water based chemical emulsion. But while the paints are water based, like Gouache, the key thing to remember when working with Acrylic Paint is that once dry, it becomes water-resistant. This feature offers some great uses such as the ability to layer paints without muddying colours or easily covering up mistakes. 

It does also mean that once your paints have dried out, there isn't anything you can do to reactivate it. With that out of the way, I must say, Acrylic paints are super fun to work with. Because of how easily you can cover up mistakes, they're a great medium for beginners as well! So if you'd like to use Acrylic Paints in your bullet journal, here are my top recommendations:

Recommended supplies to get started with Acrylic Paints in Your Bullet Journal

  • For your journal, you'll want to use a notebook with nice thick pages that will be able to hold up to the heavy body of the acrylic paint. I personally use an A5 Archer and Olive notebook
  • Acrylic Paints - I personally really enjoy using paints from Apple Barrel or FolkArt but you can use whatever you're able to find!
  • Flat brushes - You only really need 2 or 3 - I love using a large flat brush to cover large backgrounds - a medium brush for smaller pieces and then a super small detailer brush!
  • Scrap Paper
  • Blending Palette to blend paints in!

Remember you can use my affiliate code WHIMSICAL10 on all your Archer and Olive purchases for a discount! For a quick rundown of all the tips mentioned below, check out this video:

1. Protect your pages by using scrap paper underneath 

This is my absolute top tip when using any kind of paint in your bullet journal. It saves me so much time because I can paint quickly vs taking things slowly and trying to be careful with where I lay down paint. 

I LOVE using the little plastic insert that comes with the Metallic Acrylographs! Once youre’d done, you can wipe off the paint That is what I’ve used in the image below:

mixing paint


2. Keep paint from drying out quickly. 

As mentioned above, acrylics can dry out quickly and are virtually impossible to reactivate once dry. If you’re working on a spread in your journal, my tip would be to only squeeze out a little bit of paint at a time. If, however, you're working with multiple colours at once, using plastic wrap or saran wrap is a great way to keep your paints wet for longer.

paint amount visual


3. Use the right tools on top of acrylic paints

If you're looking to write on your acrylic paint background, it's important to know that not all pens/markers will work the same. The reason Acrylic paint cannot be reactivated is because once dry, it essentially turns into a form of plastic. 

blending techniques

And as we know, not all types of pens can be used on plastic. You may want to consider doing a little pen test before committing to a final spread or page in your bullet journal! As a side note though, Acrylographs are super great to use on top of Acrylic Paints! 


4. Clean brushes immediately after use

Another important tip for you! Always try and clean your brushes immediately after you're done working with Acrylic paints or say sayonara to your brushes lol! Acrylic paints can be really damaging to brushes if not cleaned out properly. Fortunately, you don't need to do much. Simply use a little soap and water and you're good to go!

brush care


5. Blending Acrylic Paints

My favourite thing about working with Acrylic Paints is how wonderfully they blend! Place the two colours you want to blend next to each other on the paper and use a gentle back and forth motion to blend! 

If you'd like to get started with using your acrylic paints but are not sure what to create, here's a free printable to paint in! I hope this helps you in practicing using Acrylic paints so you're much more confident using them in your journal 

colouring sheet printable

I hope this blog post has been helpful for you to get started with Acrylic paints in your bullet journal! If you’d like to share your coloured in printable, come say hello @whimsical.doodles and I would absolutely love to see! 💛



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