acrylic paint tubes

5 Paints that Work Great on Poster Board

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Poster boards are a fantastic medium for art projects whether you are doing something fun with your kid or trying your hand at a more complex art project. It’s affordable, comes in a lot of great colors, and generally works well with a lot of different markers, crayons, paints, and other supplies.

One of the main things people worry about when painting on poster board is whether the paints will run or bleed together. Different paints also allow artists of all ages and skill levels to play with different textures to give the poster board a unique look.

The types of paint you’ll use will also help determine what type of frame you put the finished product in and how you care for it long-term.

If you’re looking for some good ideas when it comes to painting on poster board, we’ve put together a list of five different paints to use for your next project. Have some fun with them and experiment with these different paints to see what you like to use best!

Poster Paint

bottles of poster paint and two brushes beside them

These are paints designed and manufactured for use on poster boards and other similar materials. They call it poster paint because it’s sturdy enough to stay on the paper for a long time but you can also use water to soften it after it has dried.

That’s a big deal for a lot of artists or kids who want to change the way things look after the first try. Poster paint is a water-based paint ideal for summer afternoons painting in the backyard with your kids when things aren’t going to be taken too seriously.

Acrylic Paint

acrylic paint tubes

Acrylic paint is for artists who take things a bit more seriously. This isn’t water-based paint, so there are really no do-overs once the paint is dry on your poster board. You can paint layers on top of dry acrylic paint, but there’s no going back and changing what you’ve already done.

Acrylic paint is probably the most popular type of paint you’ll find in your local hobby store or online. It comes in a range of prices based on brand and quality, and it’s got a firm texture that stays the way it looks years after the paint dries.

This is a versatile style of paint that goes very well with poster board. You can use it on pretty much anything else you decide to paint on.

Spray Paint

spray paint

This may be a little outside of the box when it comes to paints, but spray paint can be a fun way to mix things up with poster board art projects. And, if you’re using the poster board to do anything like advertising a yard sale or a neighborhood lemonade stand, spray paint will look cool, save you some time, and do the job just fine.

The main thing you’ll want to remember when using spray paint is to keep the paint can a good foot away from the poster. If you hold it too close, the paint will go on too thickly and it will start to run and end up making your project look a bit sloppy.

However, if you’re doing a Halloween art project and you want to make something look like it’s oozing blood or some other scary fluid, then go for it!

Finger Paint (Tempera Paint)

tempera paint on white background

When you think of finger paints, you’re probably thinking of what is technically called tempera paint. Most people have fond memories of playing in the yard or in the craft room blissfully gliding your fingers across poster board as you painted shapes and drew names.

It’s part of a great childhood. Tempera paint is another water-based paint that shares many similarities with acrylic paints. Typically, tempera paints have a binding agent mixed in them to make them thicker and more appropriate for using with your hands or some other art tool instead of a fine brush.

One of the great things about these types of paints is that they’re usually quite easy to wash out. It can be a sigh of relief for parents whose kids are begging them to get some poster board and have at it with the paints.

All you have to do is toss the clothes in the normal wash and the water-based paint should come right out.

Water Color

water color and paint brushes

You may not think that using watercolor on poster boards is an option, but some art projects actually turn out quite nicely. All you need is a bit more patience for the watercolor paint to settle in and make the texture effects that make using them so unique.

With watercolors, you get a gentle look with whatever you’re painting, and when the poster boards dry, they often take on a crinkly texture and the paint bleeds just enough to make things look incredibly stylish.

If you’ve never tried watercolors on poster board, you should give it a shot!

Things to Know When Painting on Poster Board

One of the keys to painting on poster board is getting your timing right. You’ll read a lot of articles online that say you should hang your poster board on a laundry line or pin them up to something to help them dry well.

That’s true, but sometimes it takes a bit longer for the paint to dry on a poster board. If you hang a piece up too quickly, the paint will run and it will affect your final product. Instead, you should focus on using enough paint to get the look you want, but avoid globbing it on so it will dry more quickly.

Let it sit long enough to get firm enough to not run, and then move it to the clothesline.

Doing art projects on poster board, whether you’re doing it alone or with the family, can be a ton of fun. Mix and match different paints and see how they come out.

With time, you’ll find your favorite paints and will know how each kind of paint will react with your poster board to give you the effects you are looking for.

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