Wetting Aid


GOLDEN Wetting Aid is an additive used to improve the staining/wetting quality of acrylic paints.


GOLDEN Wetting Aid is an ideal additive for reducing the surface tension of acrylic paint mixtures that have been highly diluted with water. In turn, this allows the “color wash” to readily spread and absorb into raw canvas and other absorbent surfaces.

GOLDEN Wetting Aid is a concentrated surfactant. A surfactant is a liquid, “surface-active” acrylic paint ingredient that reduces the surface tension of a waterborne product such acrylic paint, thus improving wetting and increasing the flow of acrylic waterborne paints.  Most acrylic paints, mediums and other products contain low levels of surfactants, but as water is added into the paints, the need to add additional surfactant increases.

NOTE: GOLDEN Wetting Aid is NOT intended to be used alone or as a painting medium.


Wetting Aid is a concentrated paint additive. It is not intended to be used full strength.

General Dilution Directions: Mixtures of water and Wetting Aid can be added directly to paint or used to pre-wet canvas or paper to increase staining or spread.  How strong of a mixture is necessary depends on the type of paints and painting technique. Always dilute Wetting Aid with water before mixing with acrylics, using the least amount of Wetting Aid necessary for the desired application.  Test what strength is necessary before making up larger batches.

Water to Wetting Aid (31 to 1) Mixing Ratios

Imperial Measurements


Metric Measurements

Water Amount

Wetting Aid Amount


Water Amount

Wetting Aid Amount

8 fluid ounces

¼ fluid ounce


236 ml

7.5 ml

32 fluid ounces (1 quart)

1 fluid ounce


1 Liter

30 ml

128 fluid ounces (1 gallon)

4 fluid ounces


3.8 Liters

118 ml


Foam Generation: Shaking or rapid stirring may increase foaming of Wetting Aid and paint mixtures. To minimize foam, handle carefully.

Excessive Additions: Using excessive amounts of Wetting Aid may reduce desired effects, cause water sensitivity and stickiness of the paint film, and increase foaming during application. Surfactants evaporate slowly from the drying paint film and therefore should always be added sparingly.

Health & Safety Warning: WARNING: EYE IRRITANT. INHALATION OF SPRAY MIST HARMFUL. DO NOT SPRAY APPLY. Not for use by children. Eye Irritant. For additional Health and Safety information, see the Safety Data Sheet.



Always use the least amount of Wetting Aid necessary for your application and label the container "Wetting Aid/Water mixture". Do not use full strength.

  • For stain-painting techniques (paints greatly thinned to create washes and stains), pre-mix 32 parts of water to 1 part of Wetting Aid. The table (above) provides common amounts to use:

The water/Wetting Aid mixture can be added to paint as needed until the color wash/stain has the desired pigment strength. Test on a spare piece canvas to dial in the color concentration and absorption into the substrate. Paint mixtures with Wetting Aid will behave differently on various canvas and substrates. For diffused colors, work on a wet canvas. If you want clean edges (hard edge) work on dry, raw canvas.

  • For pre-wetting raw canvas, there are several methods for stain painting on raw canvas
    • Pre-wet the canvas using the Water and Wetting Aid mixture (32:1); do not add Wetting Aid into the paints (just add water). The paints will spread somewhat evenly into the wet canvas.
    • Pre-wet the canvas with only water, and thin the paints using the (32:1) to thin the paints. You can use stronger paint mixtures that can contain strong and weak color concentrations.
    • Add the Water and Wetting Aid (32:1) mixture to both thin paints and to pre-wet canvas. The mixtures will not move as much because everything has the same degree of surface tension.


  • To reduce Surface Tension or improve “Wetting” of acrylic paint, use minimal amounts of Wetting Aid with water and add the mixture sparingly into paint to help lay down onto a smooth, non-porous painting surface such as plastics. A 9:1 (90% water to 10% Wetting Aid) is a good starting reduction for highly pigmented mixtures. Premix Wetting Aid with water, then add the mixture slowly into the paint until the desired effect is achieved. NOTE: This mixture should only be used sparingly, just enough to prevent the paint from beading up onto the slick surface.


  • For use as a paint-making additive, use the 9:1 (water to Wetting Aid) dilution to “wet out” dry pigment. Surfactant is used several ways in acrylic paint making. Surfactants are used to "wet out" pigments to ease their introduction into an acrylic medium or gel. Start by mixing 9:1, then add this mixture directly with dry pigments until it creates a paste. This paste may then be added into an acrylic medium. Start at 3 parts acrylic medium to 1 part “pigment dispersion”, and adjust as needed. Refer to our “Just Make Paint” article for additional information.


  • For paper & fabric marbling use, add Wetting Aid sparingly to the paint mixtures while balancing the colors. Refer to our Just Paint article “Balancing Colors for Marbling “ for detailed instructions.


The above information is based on research and testing done by Golden Artist Colors, Inc., and is provided as a basis for understanding the potential uses of the products mentioned. Due to the numerous variables in methods, materials, and conditions of producing art, Golden Artist Colors, Inc. cannot be sure the product will be right for you. Therefore, we urge product users to test each application to ensure all individual project requirements are met. While we believe the above information is accurate, WE MAKE NO EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, and we shall in no event be liable for any damages (indirect, consequential, or otherwise) that may occur as a result of a product application.

Wetting Aid