HomeArt Painting BlogWhat is the Difference Between Craft Paint and Art Paint?

What is the Difference Between Craft Paint and Art Paint?

Discover the key differences between craft paint and art paint. Learn which type suits your project best. Shop KHY for quality DIY paint wholesale.

When you dive into the world of painting, you quickly discover that not all paints are created equal. Two major categories you'll encounter are craft paint and art paint. Understanding the nuances between these two types can significantly impact your projects and the results you achieve. Whether you're buying wholesale art paint for a studio or selecting craft paint for a DIY project, knowing the differences can guide your decisions and help you choose the right materials for your needs.

Understanding Craft Paint

What is Craft Paint?

Craft paint is typically designed for general use in various DIY projects and crafts. It is versatile, affordable, and comes in a wide array of colors. Most craft paints are water-based, making them easy to clean up with soap and water. This type of paint is readily available in craft stores and often used for painting on wood, ceramics, fabric, and other surfaces.

Characteristics of Craft Paint

  • Cost-Effective: Craft paint is generally less expensive than art paint, making it an economical choice for hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts.

  • Wide Range of Colors: Craft paints come in numerous vibrant colors, including specialty finishes like metallic, glitter, and neon.

  • Ease of Use: They are designed to be user-friendly, suitable for people of all ages and skill levels.

  • Quick Drying: Most craft paints dry quickly, allowing for faster project completion.

  • Versatility: Craft paint can be used on various surfaces, including paper, wood, canvas, and plastic.

Exploring Art Paint

What is Art Paint?

Art paint, often referred to as fine art paint, is specifically formulated for artistic endeavors. This type of paint is preferred by professional artists and serious hobbyists due to its superior quality and performance. Art paint is available in various mediums, including acrylics, oils, and watercolors.

Characteristics of Art Paint

  • High Pigment Concentration: Art paints have a higher concentration of pigments, resulting in richer and more vibrant colors.

  • Superior Quality: These paints are made with high-quality materials, ensuring consistency and durability in artworks.

  • Variety of Mediums: Artists can choose from acrylics, oils, and watercolors, each offering unique properties and techniques.

  • Blendability: Art paints blend smoothly, allowing for more sophisticated techniques and effects.

  • Longevity: Works created with art paint are more likely to stand the test of time, with colors remaining vibrant for years.

Key Differences Between Craft Paint and Art Paint

Pigment Concentration and Quality

One of the primary differences between craft paint and art paint lies in the pigment concentration. Art paint boasts a higher pigment concentration, resulting in more vibrant and intense colors. This high-quality pigmentation allows artists to achieve precise and consistent results, which is crucial for fine art projects.

In contrast, craft paint has a lower pigment concentration. While this makes it more affordable and suitable for a range of surfaces, the colors may not be as rich or vivid as those found in art paint. However, for most craft projects, this level of pigmentation is more than sufficient.

Binder and Medium

The binder in paint is what holds the pigment particles together and adheres them to the surface. In art paint, the binder is often of higher quality and tailored to the type of paint. For example, acrylic art paint uses an acrylic polymer emulsion, while oil paint uses linseed or walnut oil. These binders provide durability and flexibility, allowing for a wide range of artistic techniques and long-term preservation of artworks.

Craft paint typically uses a more general-purpose binder, which is designed to be easy to use and clean up. This makes it ideal for quick projects and surfaces that may not require long-term durability.

Consistency and Viscosity

Art paint is available in various viscosities, from fluid to heavy body, allowing artists to choose the consistency that best suits their technique. Heavy body acrylics, for instance, are thick and hold brush strokes well, making them ideal for impasto techniques. Watercolors, on the other hand, are fluid and transparent, perfect for washes and delicate layers.

Craft paint usually has a medium consistency that is easy to work with and suitable for most surfaces. This versatility makes it a go-to choice for hobbyists and crafters who need a paint that performs well across different applications.

Drying Time

Drying time is another critical factor that distinguishes craft paint from art paint. Many art paints, particularly oils, have extended drying times, allowing artists to work on their pieces over longer periods and make adjustments as needed. Acrylic art paints, while drying faster than oils, still offer some flexibility and can be manipulated with retarders to slow down the drying process.

Craft paints are formulated to dry quickly, making them convenient for projects that need to be completed in a short amount of time. This quick-dry feature is particularly beneficial for crafts involving multiple layers or detailed designs that require fast turnaround times.

Price and Availability

Craft paint is generally more affordable than art paint, making it accessible to a wide range of users, from children to casual hobbyists. It's readily available in craft stores, online, and in large quantities as wholesale art paint for larger projects or group activities.

Art paint, given its superior quality and higher pigment concentration, is typically more expensive. It is often found in specialty art stores and online, where artists can select specific brands and types that meet their needs. Buying art paint wholesale can be a cost-effective way for studios and professional artists to stock up on their preferred materials.

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Project

Choosing the Right Paint for Your Project

Selecting between craft paint and art paint depends largely on the nature of your project, the surfaces you're working on, and the level of detail you require.

For Craft Projects

If you're working on a craft project, such as decorating a wooden box, painting a glass vase, or creating a DIY home décor item, craft paint is usually the best choice. Its ease of use, quick drying time, and versatility make it perfect for these applications. Plus, the broad range of colors and finishes allows you to get creative without breaking the bank.

For Fine Art

For fine art projects that demand high-quality, vibrant colors and long-lasting durability, art paint is the way to go. Whether you're painting a canvas, creating a detailed portrait, or working on a large mural, the superior pigment concentration and binder quality of art paint will ensure that your artwork stands the test of time. Acrylics, oils, and watercolors each offer unique properties that can enhance your artistic expression.

Wholesale Art Paint for Bulk Needs

For educators, studio owners, or artists who frequently use large amounts of paint, buying wholesale art paint can be an economical option. This allows you to stock up on high-quality paints at a reduced cost per unit, ensuring that you always have the materials you need on hand. Wholesale options are available for both craft and art paints, catering to the specific needs of different projects and users.


Understanding the difference between craft paint and art paint is essential for selecting the right materials for your projects. Craft paint offers versatility and affordability, making it suitable for a wide range of DIY and decorative projects. In contrast, art paint provides superior quality and durability, ideal for fine art and professional works. Whether you are purchasing wholesale art paint or exploring new creative endeavors, knowing which type of paint to use will enhance your artistic outcomes and ensure the success of your projects.

For all your painting needs, consider KHY, a leading provider of DIY paint wholesale. KHY offers an extensive range of high-quality craft paints and art paints to suit every project, from casual crafting to professional artistry. With competitive prices and a commitment to quality, KHY is your trusted partner in bringing your creative visions to life. Explore our selection today and discover the perfect paint for your next masterpiece.

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