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You are here: > Acrylic Painting > Acrylic Retarders and Flow Enhancers > Golden Acrylic Flow Release

GOLDEN Acrylic Flow Release is a surfactant. A surfactant is a concentrated surface-active liquid which reduces surface tension, thus improving wetting and increasing the flow of acrylic waterborne paints.

A surfactant is used several ways in acrylic paint making. Surfactants are used to "wet out" pigments to ease their introduction into an acrylic resin, medium or gel. They can also be added to thinner paint mixtures, such as stains, to help reduce surface tension.

Acrylic Flow Release is very useful for staining techniques, as it dramatically reduces the surface tension between the stain (paint/water) and the support. Certain supports, especially raw canvas, are inherently water repelling in nature and require the use of such a surface-active agent to allow the stain to wet and penetrate into the support.

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Golden Acrylic Flow Release 4 oz
List Price $10.49
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Golden Acrylic Flow Release 8 oz
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Golden Acrylic Flow Release 16 oz
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Adding Acrylic Flow Release to Paint Mixtures

Always pre-dilute Acrylic Flow Release before adding to a paint mixture. This product is a very strong surfactant, and we recommend adding minimum amounts to a mixture and increasing levels gradually.

Minimum Dilution

  • Mix 1 part Acrylic Flow Release to 10-20 parts water. Use this mixture whenever adding the Flow Release into a paint system.
  • When painting on non-absorbent surfaces (not staining), do not exceed the level of 3% Acrylic Flow Release/water mix in the paint to minimize water sensitivity.
  • For staining applications on absorbent surfaces, higher levels of Flow Release may be used as it will be absorbed by the support.
  • Use Flow Release to pre-wet canvas or paper to increase the staining or spreading capabilities of the paint.


  • For stains1, add 1 to 2 caps full of the 10:1/20:1 mixture per quart of paint/water mixture (stain).
  • Pre-wetting the canvas with water or a water/Acrylic Flow Release mixture will facilitate the penetration of the stain into the weave of the canvas.
  • For hardedge stains, incorporate the Acrylic Flow Release into the stain, but work on dry supports that have not been pre-wet.

Marbleizing2 Additive
Acrylic Flow Release can be used to "balance" acrylic paints for marbleizing techniques. For a full description of this process, refer to the Marbleizing with GOLDEN Products Information Sheet.


Foam Generation:

Shaking or rapid stirring will increase foaming of material and paint mixtures. To minimize foam, handle carefully.

Excessive Additions:

Excessive use of Acrylic Flow Release can cause water sensitivity of the paint film, result in film tackiness, or increase foaming tendency.


1Stain - Transparent or semitransparent solution of pigments in a liquid composed of thinner and binder.
2Marbleizing - Floating paints on thickened medium to produce intricate patterns.

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.

Special thanks to Golden Artist Colors for providing technical information