logo canson
logo canson

Tutorials and artistic advices

Acrylic: Painting with fillers

Twitter icon

Rate this article

Mix sand in your paint? Why not! This isn't some uninspired artist's hare-brained idea, it's a frequently used technique for creating a coarse, rather spectacular texture. What you need to know about mineral fillers. 

What you need to know

  • Fillers are substances added to paint. They do not change the color at all, but give it a grainy, slightly coarse, appearance. 
  • Fillers are very practical for suggesting an expanse of sand or the surface of a rock, for example.


1. What kind of filler should you choose?


You have a choice from ready-to-use to 100% handmade! 

  • Acrylique - quelles charges choisirAcrylic painting pastes: Acrylic paint and filler mixes are ideal for beginners, because they come ready-to-use. You have (almost) nothing to do!
  • Crushed marble: This is one of the most used mineral powders. It is marketed in various degrees of coarseness. You can mix it by adding acrylic paint to the powder.
  • Note: because the powder is very dense, you need a significant amount of paint.
  • River sand: remember to collect some when walking along a stream! Wash and boil it to get rid of any organic residue.  Mix it with the paint later.

Note: because sand contains various grain sizes and colors, it has a quite irregular texture. 

Have fun! You can add… anything you want: wood shavings, newsprint, confetti, glitter, etc.


2. Adding a filler 


  • Select a firm medium: thick cardboard or canvas mounted on a frame.
  • Use a spatula to mix the filler with white acrylic paint from a tube. 
  • Spread the resulting paste on the medium with the spatula.
  • Once the paste is dry, preserve the original texture by using diluted colors to paint over it. Use a pig bristle brush with slightly worn bristles, because they can hold more pigments.

Acrylique - travailler une charge à la spatuleAcrylique - travailler la couleur sur une charge


Suggested products

Canson® Acrylic

See also

Acrylic: Creating impastos
Réaliser des empâtements avec de la peinture acrylique
Impastos, that is, texture effects, help make your material a lot more original! Plus, they are very easy to create