What is Solucryl?

Solucryl is the definitive educational paint. Priced to fit neatly into any budget, this economical palette of 20 colours is designed for use by anyone from school-aged children to seniors in a huge variety of applications. These colours are vibrant, virtually odorless, non-toxic and best of all, resoluble.

How to use Solucryl?

Solucryl behaves like a poster paint, gouache, and water colour, but with the colour punch and versatility of an acrylic. You can use it right out of the jar, mix it on palettes, or pour it into plastic cups and allow to dry for use as a tempera block. Solucryl used as a block will instantly moisten over and over again. You can add Solucryl Resoluble Medium to extend colours and aid in mixing, or you can use Solucryl Permanent Medium to make the colour permanent.

Solucryl dries matte, semi-opaque and remains flexible without dusting or flaking.

Solucryl in the Classroom

From Kindergarten to University, from splash painting to airbrush art, Solucryl has a place in countless facets of art education.

Solucryl colours are brilliant and strong. Ideal for colour theory, the primary colour group mixes beautifully to create clean secondary and tertiary colours.

The paint is pourable and mixes easily with a brush. We suggest using deep-well palettes or small plastic containers for your colours. For younger students (and less mess) Solucryl can be pre-poured into palettes or plastic cups and allowed to dry and then used like tempera blocks. The drying time will vary with environmental conditions and may take up to two weeks to fully set. The paint can be re-activated by using a wet brush or spraying with water.

The pigments used in Solucryl are staining; children should wear smocks while painting, as the colours will stain clothing. The paint will wash off skin with soap and water.

Solucryl has an excellent shelf life and colours will not separate or hard cake in the jar, provided they remain well sealed. Bacterial growth inhibitors help to prevent the formation of mildew over long storage periods.


Solucryl can be painted or sprayed onto a multitude of surfaces. It is most at home on paper or canvas but can also be applied to other porous surfaces such as wood, cardboard, and bisque fired clay. As with all water-based paints, it will not adhere well to oily or greasy surfaces. Non-porous sufraces such as glass or metal should be lightly sanded to provide better adhesion.


Here a few suggestions to get you started using Solucryl.

1. Alla Prima

Painting alla prima means using the paint straight out of the jar. Solucryl has a thick, fluid consistency, which brushes on beautifully and mixes easily with any type of brush or palette knife. It is thick enough to use when painting vertically on an easel. It won’t drip or sag down the surface unless applied in very thick layers. Solucryl is moderately self-leveling but will hold a small amount of texture. It dries matte, semi-opaque and will not flake off even in heavy layers

2. Permanent color

To make Solucryl permanent, simply mix a minimum of two parts Solucryl with one part Solucryl Permanent Medium, and you will have a durable, waterfast paint.

Solucryl Permanent Medium and Solucryl colours can be mixed in any proportion. Colours can also be mixed with acrylic mediums. By adding two parts or more acrylic Polymer and Gel mediums to your Solucryl colours, you can create a huge variety of textures and effects. Once mixed with permanent mediums, Solucryl colours are compatible with any regular acrylic paint and mediums.

3. Mono Printing

Solucryl can be used full strength for mono printing on paper. To keep the paint wet longer, it can be mixed with Solucryl Resoluble Medium.

4. Marbling

In order to use Solucryl colours for paper or fabric marbling, they must first be mixed with Solucryl Permanent Medium at a 1:1 ratio, then thinned to an ink-like consistency with water. Once the paint is thinned, it can be used in the traditional marbling process.

5. Fabric Painting

The bright colours in the Solucryl line make gorgeous fabric paints. Add Solucryl Permanent Medium at a 1:1 ratio and apply with a brush or spray on, being careful to keep the paint film thin. Allow the paint to dry and the item is ready to wear. Always let the paint cure for at least 3-5 days before washing. Wash in cold water and tumble dry. Keep brushes wet while working and clean up with water and soap.

6. Airbrush

Solucryl is the ideal beginner’s airbrush paint. It flows beautifully through the airbrush and the colours are bright enough to create many effects. As it is resoluble with water, Solucryl will clean out of the airgun with water and will not clog the tip during spraying. We recommend adding some Solucryl Resoluble Medium to the paint for easy cleaning.

7. Classroom Painting

Kids love to paint with Solucryl, as the colours are bright, smooth and easy to mix. They can be used straight from the jar or mixed with a little bit of dish soap for easier clean up. It should be noted that some colours will stain clothing and may stain the skin for a short period of time. In the case of light staining, a gentle make-up remover is an effective cleanser. Paint will wash off more freely if a moisturizing cream is applied to the skin beforehand as a barrier.

8. Window painting

Solucryl is the ideal paint for creating temporary window art for commercial storefronts or seasonal decorating in the home. The glass should be clean and free of oil or grease. Colours can be painted or sprayed on directly. As they are semi-opaque, sunlight will show through the colours and create a stained-glass-like effect. Once dried, Solucryl can be cleaned off the glass using water and soap. There is no need for scraping or harsh solvents.

9. Design and Illustration

The semi-opaque, matte nature of Solucryl makes this paint useful for the graphic designer and illustrator. It will brush on easily and reproduces well. This paint can also be used in conjunction with masking fluid or masking film. More economical than professional grade Gouache, Solucryl is ideal for the beginner or student, providing vivid colours at an affordable price.

Solucryl Testimonial:

In my role as an art educator at the Faculty of Education, Queen’s University, I have an opportunity to work with Teacher Candidates who will be teaching art at the Primary/Junior level. In addition to showing them many different techniques and sharing ideas for projects, I try to ensure that the activities can be achieved with large classes on a tight budget.

Solucryl has been a most versatile and economical paint to have in my classroom and I highly recommend it to my students as a wonderful and superior alternative to the powder and liquid tempera paints they are used to from their own childhood and school art-making experiences. I share the fact that their students will be much happier if they are working with a quality product, and that they can reclaim the dried paint on palettes and in paint pots by adding water, as two of many reasons why they should look into getting this product into their own classrooms.

Solucryl is the paint the Teacher Candidates use to experiment with basic colour theory. They can mix vibrant and accurate secondary and tertiary colours and achieve a good understanding of the infinite hues, tints and shades they can create. The paints remain workable over sustained experimentation sessions. The visual resources I painted to illustrate colour relationships remain vibrant after years on display in my classroom. I have also used Solucryl in my Paper Marbling centre. It gives good results considering it must be watered down in order to flow properly on the surface of the base. It is one of the Teacher Candidates’ favourite paper texturing techniques and the Solucryl allows them to take this sophisticated technique into the classroom with confidence because it is non-toxic.

A final project where Solucryl is very versatile and effective is Mono Printing either on frosted mylar or plexi-glass panels. Its creamy texture and workable consistency allow the students’ time to create wonderful patterns and images in the paint for eventual transfer to paper. Using a wet-on-wet or wet on dry technique, students can layer the colours and achieve beautiful and unexpected combinations because of the transparency of the Solucryl.

Solucryl is a fantastic paint that has proved itself time after time in my visual art course. I will continue to use it and to encourage my students to consider using it with their own students when they begin their teaching careers!

Angela Solar
Art Educator Faculty of Education
Queen’s University
Kingston, Ontario

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