How To Thicken Latex Pain?

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Latex paints are considered to be somewhat better than other paints because they dry quickly and it’s very easy to work with. It’s mostly used for interior and exterior paintings and it’s great for walls and ceilings. However, latex paints are water-based so they aren’t as durable as other paints but they do better at retaining color.

Latex paints are also available in a variety of finishes, from matte to gloss, they are easier to clean and can be used to paint over oil-based paints. Latex paints were previously made with a rubber base but now they are made with a water-soluble base built on acrylics and vinyl. This makes latex paints easy to clean with water and soap.

Before the latex paint is used, it is recommended to mix the paint with water first to get a good consistency of the paint, this is called the thinning process of the paint. On the other hand, it is also possible to thicken latex paint using certain products, which is what we will focus on in this segment.

Methods To Thicken Latex Paint

There are different ways to thicken latex paints and below we list a few:

Hydroxyethyl cellulose:

If the paint is too thin or maybe you just need to make the paint thicker to add more texture to it, there are thickening products available to do just that. Hydroxyethylcellulose, also known as HEC is one of them. It is a well-known latex thickening agent, it’s water-soluble meaning it easily dissolves in water. It also increases paint viscosity including bonding and color without affecting the properties of the paint. Once mixed into the paint it has a creamy consistency and a good resistance attribute.

Steps to follow: There are basically 2 ways of mixing hydroxyethyl cellulose into the paint. The first one is to mix HEC directly into the paint. This can be done by transferring the paint to be used to a different container big enough to contain the amount of paint to be mixed. Next, pour in the HEC slowly and stir consistently to avoid lumps.

1. It is recommended to strain the paint if it contains any lumps as this will make the painting look messy. Continue mixing until desired consistency is achieved. When it comes to measuring the amount of HEC to be added to the amount of paint to be used, it is recommended to not surpass 25% of HEC to the amount of paint to be used since too much of it will over-thicken the paint.

2. The second way to mix HEC into the paint to make it thicker is by mixing the agent in water first and then adding it to the paint to be used. It can be dissolved in hot and cold water but it is recommended to use room temperature water in this particular case. Start by pouring some water into a container or a bucket depending on the amount of paint to be used. It is recommended to make enough of a batch of the paint to have the same consistency when painting on any given surface.

3. Next step is to stir the water with a stir stick, a blender, or with an electric paint mixer if available and slowly add the HEC while stirring vigorously, since adding the agent too quickly may create lumps. Avoid the lumps as much as possible so to not waste the paint. The water viscosity will begin to change into a thick mixture, stop stirring when the agent becomes a smooth gel-like solution. This may take approximately 30 minutes to an hour to complete.

4. Once the mixture is ready, add it slowly to the paint while stirring until the desired consistency is achieved for painting purposes. Test the mixture by applying it to a small area of the surface to paint, wait for the paint to dry, and check to see if the paint has the desired consistency before applying it to the entire surface to be painted.


Another way of thickening your latex paint is by using a cornstarch thickener mixture or a flour thickener, you chose either one but cornstarch is most commonly used for its consistency. Cornstarch is a starchy white powder made from corn kernel which lacks most nutrients and is mainly used as a thickener.

Steps to follow:

1. To prepare the cornstarch mixture, add 1 cup of water to 1 tbsp of cornstarch, to a bowl and mix well.

2. Next, heat the mixture on the stove on medium heat and stir constantly to avoid lumps. Stir until a thick smooth consistency is achieved. Add slowly to paint and stir well until the desired consistency is achieved. If there’s a need to make a bigger amount of this mixture, just add more water and cornstarch using the measurement above, depending on the amount of paint to be used. Once the mixture is mixed with the paint, test and see if works well.

3. They are other options in which paint thickening may be useful. Sometimes, paint thickening is needed when reusing old paint since its main components may be settled to the bottom of the can. Instead of throwing it away just mix it up well with a mixer or hand stick until the original consistency is achieved. Then use one of the methods listed above to thicken the paint a bit more if needed since it may be too watery. Hydroxyethylcellulose is also known as HEC is a white-yellowish powder known for its thickening properties mostly used in household products and cosmetics, while cornstarch is mostly used to thicken certain kinda foods but it’s also used to thicken paintings.

What Are Latex Paints

Latex paints consist of a pigment and binder with water used as a carrier, this is the difference between latex and other paints. A great benefit of latex paints is that they won’t yellow over time unlike other types of paints, it’s budget-friendly and covers well with fewer coats.

Because latex is water-based, brushes and spills can be cleaned up with water, instead of paint thinners or removers. It is recommended to follow instructions listen to chemical products when used for safety measures. Hope you found these tips helpful.

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