Product Profiles: Retarder Gel

Ask the Expert: "I recently transitioned fromoils to acrylics and I'm having a hard timegetting the effects I want. The paint dries sofast I can't blend or brush out smooth layers.I'm using gloss medium but it's still notsmooth enough. Is there something else Ineed to be using?"

A: Retarder Gel can be used to slow drying andincrease the "open" time of acrylic colors andmediums. Retarder Gel is a water-clear,colorless additive that can be added directly topaints or blended with an acrylic medium.

How Retarder Gel Works:

An acrylic dispersion is made up of tiny polymermicroparticles kept separate by water andglycols. When an acrylic paint film dries, aswater and other coalescents evaporate, polymermicroparticles contact each other and sticktogether. Water evaporates first and glycolsleave more gradually so a strong, stable film canform. Retarder Gel slows drying by introducing additional water and propylene glycol tomixtures.

How it's used:

Retarder Gel can be added directly to colors ormixed with any acrylic painting medium toextend drying time. Add a small amount to anentire pile of color to prevent paints fromskinning over. Blend into mediums to createslow-drying versions of your favorites.


Because it's not strictly speaking an acrylicmedium on its own and does not contain anybinders, Retarder Gel should make up no morethan 25% of total paint volume. Excessive usecan result in a persistent sticky paint surface.

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