Acrylic Gloss Medium-any tips


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 1, 1999
Holland, PA, USA
I am about to purchase some acrylic gloss medium to adhere fabric to a mounting board. I have never tried this product before and wondered if anyone had any advice for using it. Brush or roller? Is it water soluble for clean-up? Does the adhesive ever fail? Thanks!


You will love this stuff.
A brush or a roller or a used kleenex (just kidding) will work just fine. I use whatever is clean at the moment, usually a foam brush.

It does clean up nicely in water.

I have never seen the adhesive fail.

Let it dry before you use it. You can reheat it 15 minutes after it dries or three days, it doesn't matter, it works nicely. You will not miss that business of goopy fabric glue oozing through sheer silk.

I also use it to bond two sheets of 4 ply solid core rag board together for 8 ply mats IN ANY COLOR. How's that for yummy?

edie nowiwannaplaywithfabric goddess
Sounds cool! It comes in three sizes. Do you use this stuff sparingly or will I wish that I bought the large size? I have two small projects that I need it for right now.

I called our local art supply store and they stock this product. However they had no clue that it could be used as an adhesive. It is by Liquitex. I did a search (at the top of the page) and found many references.
Acrylic gloss medium is what was used as a surface adhesive in decopauge...remember that trend?

Be aware it is milky in consistency, but dries clear. It can be used as an adhesive, a nonremovable varnish (thus decopauge), or a medium with acrylic paints.

If used to thin acrylic paints, do not mix more than 50% water with the medium or it make it so the acrylic paint does not bond properly.

Since it has such strong adhesive properties, you can also mix various materials with it...such as sand, glitter, bronzing powders, confetti, or the kitchen sink... ;)

Like acrylic paints, it dries to a waterproof substance quickly so wash your brushes, etc. as soon as possible with tepid water.

I never thought of using it to bond fabric to board or make 8 ply or even 12 ply matboard.

Hey Baer...whaddayathink???

Dave Makielski

Dave Makielski
I also carry acrylic matte medium for the art students - any difference in the products?

Since it has such strong adhesive properties, you can also mix various materials with it...such as sand, glitter, bronzing powders, confetti, or the kitchen sink...

So I can use it to glue the macaroni to the toilet seat frame I saw on Marthas show?? Is that how she did it??

Glue macaroni on, spray paint them gold and sprinkle giltter onto them!! Sounds great!!
I started out quite sensibly, with a small bottle.
Now I buy by the quart.

As far as I know, it is the gloss medium that works nicely as an adhesive. I have matte medium here as well, I have yet to give it a whirl.

You can all thank Hugh Phibbs for this idea. He likes this as an adhesive because it is C/P.

Edie the justpassingiton goddess
I'd recommend the matte. It has the same adhesive properties but shows less if it ends up somewhere that you'd rather it didn't. The gloss tends to catch your eye.
Terry, you have a good point about gloss spillage would stick out like a sour thumb, but something stuck in my head from my past art material retailing life that said that the matte medium didn't have near the same adhesive properties due to its formulation. I just spoke with Doug in tech assistance at Col-Art Americas and he said it is more advisable to use the gloss medium and varnish as the adhesive properties are better. The matte medium has some adhesive properties also, but his recommendation was to use the gloss for our purposes.

Dave Makielski
Ok we'll go with that then. I learned to use the matte from the Master Printers at Landmark Editions in Mpls. but that was mostly paper collage. I still use it for lots of adhesive purposes with great results but for mats and liners I preffer Mighty Muk and it's lots cheaper even though we sell acrylic mediums. Which makes me kind of wonder why use acrylic for this purpose? Seems to me that mighty muk is maybe $20 a gal? Acrylic retails for what, $70 or $80 gal?
It's C/P.
Maybe Hugh can tell us why it is more so than PVA glue.
Also, the difference between the cost of the two gallons more than pays for that first piece of silk that the muk oozes through.
Plus, a little of it goes a long way. That means that when you bond two 4 ply boards together, the seam will not be visible. I have always been able to see the seam when boards were bonded with PVA or dry mount tissue.

edie the tryityoulllikeit goddess
Besides thickness, is there any difference between "Gloss Medium" and "Gloss Gel"?
A while back Hugh suggested acrylic medium as a good C/P substitute for silicone for object mounting, and it seems the gel would be less prone to run and cause a mess.
Can either version be used for the purposes we're discussing here? (Particularly the let-dry-and-then-heat-mount attachment of fabric to matboard.)


P.S. one of my favorite pet uses for gel medium is for making paper pads. You just line up the edge of your paper stack evenly, clamp between two pieces of flat moulding with spring clamps, and brush on two coats of the gel. Voilá. Instant scratch pad.
I must be slow on the uptake. Whats C/P? Seepy?
I always let my muk dry and then heat it to bond. I've never had a problem with it oozing thru even thin fabric.
I don't think I want any of them in contact with my customers Tinoretto so I'll use a barrier of some sort. I feel kinda seepy right now.
Thanks for all of your comments. I got to the art supply store and purchased the medium not the gel. I hope that was the right stuff. A little pricey. I tried it out on a scrap of fabric. It bonded, but not like cement. Meaning...I could easily pull it up. Did I do anything wrong or is that normal? I used a tacking iron set on medium. Will this stuff hold the fabric if a little tension is applied?
Yes, it's the medium I use as the fabric adhesive.
I cook the fabric mats in the dry mount press and some fabrics stick very aggressively, others I can pull off.
I have never had one bubble up, if that's what you're worried about.

I got to thinking about the last time I had a glue oozing issue on a mat. The only time I could think of it was when I still sold that beautiful India silk from FFMI and the only way I could get it to stick uniformly to anything was to lay it down when the muck was still a little tacky. I deepsixed those samples and haven't worried about it since. I really can't think of a time when it oozed if you let it dry completely and then reheated it.

The biggest headaches with oozing came with wrapping some lighterweight fabrics (esp. India) on liners. Oy vey, those scoop liners wrapped with silk still give me nightmares! I mean to try the gloss medium on those and see if I can use it with success when it is still a little tacky. Since it is a thinner goop, maybe it won't be as much of an issue. Ah, but, I'm really just thinking out loud. Don't mind me.

Once I heard in Hugh's class that it was C/P, I made the decision there to use it as my "default fabric adhesive." Like you, most of what I frame with a fabric mat or backer has value.

You oughta give the medium a whirl, though. It is very easy to use in comparison to the muck. Just being able to get it more neatly out of the bottle makes it worth it to me.

edie the inthegluingmood goddess
Great thread all!!!

This topic has given me both vital and subtle information that a whole lifetime of framing experience might not have ever produced.

Thank you everyone for being so willing to share're what makes this forum my best resource in the industry.


Dave Makielski