Vinyl Emulsion Paints

Vinyl emulsions are basically the same as acrylic emulsions. The acrylic polymer has one hydrogen atom replaced by a chloride atom, which results in some slightly different handling properties. Paints made from vinyl emulsions dry very matte and evenly. Acrylic emulsion paints tend to dry spottily with shiny and matte areas, even when a medium is added in an attempt to regulate this effect. Painted surfaces that have variations in surface shine produce the visual illusion of multiple tones of color within one color. This is often a desirable trait for figurative artwork, but is undesirable for most abstract artwork.

It is the matte quality that has made the vinyl emulsion paint Flashe, manufactured by the LeFranc & Bourgeois Company, popular among abstract artists. However, vinyl is said to break down more easily than acrylic when exposed to ultraviolet light and is therefore not recommended for murals where there may be exposure to direct sunlight.

Vinyl and acrylic paints can, in theory, be mixed together. If they are incompatible, the mixture should react immediately, resulting in a “cottage cheese” look, and the mixture will not spread when used. Liquitex colors have, for example, been successfully mixed when Flashe colors, with the one exception of the Flashe black vinyl paint, which will curdle when mixed with an acrylic.