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GOLDEN Retarder: Slow-Drying Additive for Acrylic Painting

February 28, 2022by Michael Townsend

Just Paint published by Golden Artist Colors, Inc.


At GOLDEN, we are often asked to more thoroughly explain the proper way to use Retarder. This simple paint additive slows down the drying rate of acrylic paints. How much Retarder is necessary and how much painting time an artist can gain is the focus of this article, as well as providing other factors contributing to the effectiveness of Retarder.


What is GOLDEN Retarder?

GOLDEN Retarder is an acrylic painting additive, containing mostly propylene glycol, used to “retard” or slow the evaporation rate of water. This additive simply increases the amount of time one is able to manipulate the paint before it starts drying. Retarders are sometimes called “humectants”, meaning they regulate moisture by either absorbing or expelling moisture. For the artist, the most important aspect is how long the paint remains mobile because as soon as enough water leaves the film, the paint can no longer be manipulated easily. This stage is referred to as “touch dry” or “skinned over”. For most painting techniques, this is the drying state that is more important than how long before the paint becomes solid.


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