Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof on Wood, Fabric, Metal, and Glass?

Acrylic paint is a popular and versatile medium that can be used to paint all kinds of surfaces, including wood, canvas, stone, and clay. This made acrylic paint very popular with artists and DIY enthusiasts.

But before you place your acrylic paintings outside, there is one thing you need to know.

Acrylic paint is not waterproof. It can resist some water exposure, but it is not perfect. To make acrylic paint waterproof you will need to use a sealer or varnish. Additionally, you might have to prepare the surface before painting, depending on which medium you are using.

This article discusses what you can do to make acrylic paint waterproof.

Is acrylic paint waterproof when dry?

Dried acrylic paint is more water-resistant than other types of paint since the pigments are mixed with polymers. However, even fully dried acrylic paint is not entirely waterproof. When in contact with water it can absorb some moisture and become wet again. Use a sealant to make your acrylic paint waterproof.

A dried acrylic painting which isn't waterproof yet.

How to make acrylic paint waterproof

Various sealants can be applied to acrylic paint in order to make it waterproof, depending on what surface you are painting.

When you apply the sealant use even brush strokes and don’t let the varnish pool in one area.

Since the precise application method can differ from surface to surface, let’s take a look at some of the most common options.

How to make acrylic paint waterproof on wood

To properly seal acrylic paint on wood, first let your paints dry for at least one full day.

Polycrylic and polyurethane sealants are great choices to waterproof your acrylic paint. These varnishes will allow your wooden object to sit outside and prevent it from accruing as much wear and tear.

Be sure to purchase water-based sealant instead of oil-based, as an oil-based product will damage your acrylic paint. Also, be sure to not that polyurethane may dull or yellow your acrylic paint over time.

How to make acrylic paint waterproof on fabric

Acrylic paint is so versatile that it can even be used to paint onto pieces of fabric. However, when the paint dries it will be rigid, plus it may reactivate if your fabric or garment gets wet. Fortunately, there are options to seal in your beautiful paint job.

The trick to waterproofing acrylic paint on fabric is to add a fabric medium to your acrylic before the paint is dry. Make sure to add the correct amount of medium to your batch of acrylic paint.

While working on the project, it’s important to note that fabric medium extends the drying time of your acrylic paint. It also makes the paint easier to work with.

In order to finish your project, gently wash your dry piece of painted fabric and allow it to hang dry.

How to make acrylic paint waterproof on metal

Acrylic paint is one of the few mediums that can stick to metal, and this makes it an ideal choice for painting metal projects. It’s also easy to seal acrylic paint on metal.

To seal acrylic paint on metal, you’ll need to purchase a special metal varnish meant for acrylic paint. It will only take one coat to seal the acrylic paint onto the metal surface.

How to make acrylic paint waterproof on glass

Acrylic paint is a great option for painting on glass. It will stick well to this surface and provide a durable finish.

Sealing acrylic paint on glass first involves letting the paint fully dry for 24 hours. Next, you have some options.

The first option is baking the paint onto the glass at a temperature of 350 degrees for half an hour. It’s advisable to put the glass in the oven when the oven is off. This way the glass can slowly warm up as the oven does.

There are other options for sealing acrylic paint on glass. These include letting the paint dry for a month or slowly heating up the paint using a hairdryer. You can also position the glass in the sun to cure the paint until it is dry.

You can mix acrylic paint with up to 30% water.

Can you mix acrylic paint with water?

You can add up to 30% water to wet acrylic paint to dilute the consistency. Mixing in 60% or more water will result in watery paint which can be used for washes. However, adding too much water might result in the paint peeling off from the surface once it has dried.

Only prepare a small amount of paint and water mixture at a time because acrylic paint will dry faster with water added to it. If you mix too much, it may dry before you can use all of it.

Finally, the water ratio is not as important if you are painting onto a very absorbent surface. Any excess water will be absorbed into the canvas, so you won’t have to worry about flaking or peeling.

What is acrylic paint made of?

Acrylic paint was invented in 1934 by a German company called BASF. They were first used as house paints. The first artist-brand acrylic paint was introduced in 1963.

Acrylic paint is made from a mix of pigment suspended in a polymer binder but also includes stabilizers, silicon, water, and metal soaps.

Some acrylic paint colors are more transparent than others. Other colors are thick with a high pigment load, meaning they can completely cover the colors underneath them.

Acrylic paints can also come in a variety of consistencies, including fluid acrylic paint, soft body acrylic paint, and heavy body acrylic paint.

Soft body acrylics have the same pigmentation as heavy body acrylics – the differences are the consistency of the binder. This means that soft acrylic paints are not “watered-down” heavy body paints, but are a different ratio of mixtures altogether.

Fluid acrylic paints are perfect for paint pouring, while soft and heavy body paints provide a smooth or thick mark on your chosen surface. Heavy body paints will better hold brush strokes or impasto marks.

Various other mediums, such as acrylic ink or acrylic gouache, have similar properties to acrylic ink and a similar polymer binder.

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