The 10 Best Acrylic Paint Sets

Updated March 17, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

10 Best Acrylic Paint Sets
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 45 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're used to working with watercolors or oil paints and want to try out a new medium, or you'd like to inspire a young artist to begin creating on a more serious level, these acrylic paint sets are a perfect choice. They're also great for the arts and crafts enthusiasts out there, as they work well for decorating wood, glass, clay, ceramics, and fabrics. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best acrylic paint set on Amazon.

10. Castle Art Supplies 24

The Castle Art Supplies 24 is a good value considering it comes with 24 different tubes, each of which contains the standard 12 ml. This is a great set for an artist new to the medium, as it's quite inexpensive but includes a broad range of colors.
  • durable aluminum tubing
  • water-based and nontoxic
  • tend to dry too quickly for mixing
Brand Castle Art Supplies
Model pending
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

9. MyArtScape 12 x 12

The MyArtScape 12 x 12 comes in packaging that makes it suitable to give as a gift to the budding Basquiat in your family. It includes 12 tubes of high quality, richly pigmented hues that can be blended to create the full color spectrum in your works of art.
  • long-lasting vibrancy
  • work well on canvas or paper
  • tubes tend to run out quickly
Brand MyArtscape
Model MAS-200-ACRYLIC-12X12ML
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Mont Marte Satin Series Primary

The Mont Marte Satin Series Primary contains just six colors, but each one comes in a tube packed with 75 milliliters of the premium stuff, which is quite a bit more than most sets. It's a great choice for those who want to focus on learning how to mix their own colors.
  • great for classroom use
  • easy to blend to most hues
  • tend to dry with a chalky finish
Brand Mont Marte
Model PMSS0001
Weight 1.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

7. Plaid Apple Barrel 18-Piece

The bottles in the Plaid Apple Barrel 18-Piece have a larger capacity than what you'll get with most sets, making them good for larger projects. It includes standards like black, white, and flag red, as well as specialized hues like bright magenta and parrot blue.
  • glide smoothly onto most surfaces
  • quick-drying formula
  • containers are prone to leaking
Brand Apple Barrel
Weight 3.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. Colore AP-12

The professional-grade Colore AP-12 contains 12 small tubes that make a great addition to any artist's collection and are just as good of a choice for someone interested in dabbling with the medium. It includes vibrant hues like cobalt and ultramarine blues.
  • adhere well to most surfaces
  • can also be used for fingernail art
  • tubes are often mislabeled
Brand Colore
Model ArtSupplies-AP-12
Weight 8.8 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

5. Sax True Flow

For art teachers or artists working in large formats who tend to burn through their supplies quickly, the Sax True Flow comes with 12 pints of top-quality paint. Its bright colors are good for keeping kids interested and on-task in the classroom.
  • fluid enough for pouring
  • smooth and creamy texture
  • not great for layered applications
Brand Sax
Model 439304
Weight 16 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Daveliou Non-Toxic 24

The Daveliou Non-Toxic 24 is routinely praised by its users and is backed by a one year, 100% money-back satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer. It's a great choice for those who like to work with thick layers of color, as it retains ridges and peaks well.
  • mix with water for wash effects
  • can be re-wet after drying
  • hold brush strokes well
Brand Daveliou
Model 9305201012
Weight 14.9 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. Creative Joy 12

The thick and vibrant paints of the Creative Joy 12 are great for adding fine details to most surfaces, including ceramics. It includes six brushes, making it a good choice for newcomers to the medium who want to test the waters before making a larger investment.
  • includes burnt sienna and umber
  • brushes are easy to clean
  • good value for the price
Brand Creative Joy
Model CJAPB01
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. The Essentials by Twinkleverse

The Essentials by Twinkleverse is true to its name as, for many artists, it will have all the colors needed to create stunning portraits, landscapes, or abstract works. It contains mostly natural, muted tones, good for recreating images from the real world.
  • suitable for professional artists
  • comes with titanium white
  • includes a helpful beginners guide
Brand TwinkleVerse Art Suppli
Model 3445957
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Liquitex Basics

The Liquitex Basics comes as a generous 48-piece set suitable for starting off your collection or for supplementing the serious artist's arsenal. It features 22 milliliter tubes that won't get depleted quite as quickly as the smaller ones that come with many kits.
  • high pigment load for vibrancy
  • dry with a beautiful satin finish
  • includes a broad range of colors
Brand Liquitex
Model 101048
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

Brush With Greatness: The Ideal Acrylic Paint Set

Acrylic paint has only been in widespread use since the middle of the 20th century. In fact, the paint was not even developed until the mid 1930s and has only existed in a useable form since the late 1940s. And when first released, it was intended for use as a house paint. The audacious artists of the day quickly adopted the bright, quick-drying paint for use in their works, however, and some of the most iconic artwork from the 1900s was wrought in vibrant acrylics. Look no further than Warhol's soup cans or images of Marilyn Monroe for iconic examples.

Though still relatively new to the art scene, acrylic paint has a number of positive attributes worth mentioning in detail. When it comes time to choose the right acrylic paints for yourself, you need worry less about the brief but bright history of this medium and instead focus on what comes in a given set of paints. Almost all acrylic paint sets will fit the budget of almost any artist. Even higher-end options with dozens of tubes of paint usually cost well under fifty dollars, with some high-quality options priced closer to thirty dollars. That low price is but one of the reasons acrylic is the ideal paint for exploration. Simply put, the artist can afford to waste this paint.

However, many of the higher priced sets that contain those dozens of tubes of paint actually do their owners a disservice, offering too little of each color for genuine experimentation. A better idea is often to buy a set with fewer different colors of paint but with larger amounts of the colors they do offer. That allows for liberal blending and mixing of colors, letting the artist create her own specific hues rather than painstakingly squeezing out the last drops of paint from a too-small tube. If you are comfortable with this approach, do be certain that any paints you choose come with a copious supple of black and white, and consider buying separate portions of these critical colors.

Most acrylic paints are bright and vibrant, and indeed that is what many artists prize about them. Still, there are options available with more muted tones that lend themselves to landscapes, en plein air painting, and other such types of works. If that is type of art you hope to create, then a larger set with myriad shades of colors might be a better set than one with larger volumes but limited variety. These sets can help you find a shade close to what you need that can then be "softened" with the addition of some white or gray paint, meaning less time worrying about creating a perfect color and more time painting the scene you see before your eyes.

Why Acrylic Might Be the Best Possible Paint

Any experienced painter will tell you that blending your own colors is a must if you want to achieve just the right look in your artwork. Indeed the most important colors of paint in your set are likely be black and white, for these are the paints that allow you to create shades and tints, respectively (in color theory, these are technical terms, with the addition of black to another color resulting in a shade and white creating a tint). As noted, the low cost of acrylic paint allows for plenty of experimentation (also known as trial and error) as you seek the perfect shades and tints for your works.

Acrylic paint also has another notable benefit when compared to more traditional media like oil paint or watercolors: it is very fast-drying. Many acrylic paints will be fully dried within hours of application, in fact, while some oil paint can remain technically fluid for months before it is fully dried. (Layers of acrylic can even be applied over still-wet paint without affecting the appearance of the top layer in most cases.)

And unlike finicky (though lovely) watercolors, the viscosity of acrylic paint almost fully precludes its dripping or running, so handling the paint is easy. This makes it an ideal medium for newer painters not yet innately skilled with brushwork.

Acrylic paint can also be applied to almost any surface, from canvas to terra cotta to plastic and more. While watercolors will refuse to bond with many materials, and while oil paints will adhere poorly to many non-porous surfaces, acrylic paints will readily adhere to many different materials, allowing for the adornment of everything from a wall in the home to a section of panel to a decorative planter.

The Science Behind Acrylic Paint

Anyone who knows that many plastics can also be referred to as acrylics will not be surprised to learn that this paint is very much a manmade product created thanks to scientific advances. The base compound used in acrylic plastics and paints is an acrylic resin, itself derived from acrylic acid, which is produced using propylene, a byproduct created by gasoline production. It quickly becomes clear that acrylic paint is something of a happy accident, then; no one set out to produce a new category of paints and plastics, but their potential was quickly identified as other compounds and products were better understood.

Thanks to the base suspension of acrylic paint being an artificial "polymer emulsion," once dried, the paint is highly impervious to water solubility. That makes acrylic paint durable in a way that watercolors and most oil paints are not. However, acrylic paint can still be thinned using water (or other materials) while it is still in liquid form.

Once dried, acrylic paint is impressively resistant to the cracking and flaking common with aging oil paint. (Recall that it was originally developed both for interior and exterior residential and commercial painting.) This resilience only adds to the appeal of the medium, making it suitable for use even in locations where the conditions cannot be guaranteed to be kept perfectly stable.

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Last updated on March 17, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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