Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Metal?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Metal

This is relatively easy to do if you’ve ever thought of refurbishing a metal object or just giving it a coat. Metal surfaces that are going to be used for another purpose don’t have to get the same color as before – and that can open doors to all kinds of exciting projects. As long as you properly prepare your metal before painting, you will do this task easily. Acrylic paint is popular with many painting tasks. But can you use acrylic paint on metal?

Acrylic Paint can be used on metals. But they don’t naturally hold onto metal. It is, therefore, necessary to apply an undercoat for metals beforehand. In addition, acrylic paints are sensitive to humidity, and applying a top coat (otherwise called sealant) is therefore essential (waxes intended for wood may be suitable).

There is just a quick preview. In this article, we will discuss the following topics:

  • Is acrylic paint waterproof on metal?
  • How long does acrylic paint take to dry on metal?
  • Can you use vinegar to clean metal before painting?
  • Can you use acrylic paint on metal?
  • What type of paint covers acrylic primer on metal?
  • What type of paint can be used on metal?
  • What is the best paint for metal?
  • What primer to use for acrylic enamel paint on metal?
  • How to apply acrylic paint on metal?
  • How to seal acrylic paint on metal?
  • How to cure acrylic paint on metal?

Table of Contents

Is acrylic paint waterproof on metal?

Although acrylic paint is water-resistant and works well on metal surfaces, it doesn’t need a waterproof coating. Because paint doesn’t readily adhere to metal, getting a waterproof coating may be a tall order.

What type of paint covers acrylic primer on metal?

The best and most suitable paint type for an acrylic primer on metal is latex paint. Latex paint works perfectly over an oil-based acrylic primer.  

What type of paint can be used on metal?

You can either use water-based or oil-based paint. The project will determine what paint type to use on your metal. For outdoor metal surfaces, use oil-based paint. water-based paint will be ideal for indoor metal surfaces. 

How long for Liquitex acrylic paint on metal to dry?

On average, it takes between 10 and 20 minutes for your Liquitex acrylic paint to dry on metal. Don’t forget, Liquitex is naturally a fast-drying paint substance.  

How long does acrylic paint take to dry on metal mailboxes?

Typically, you will need to wait for at least 48 hours for your acrylic paint to dry on metal mailboxes. If the paint dries well enough, you won’t need to seal the paint after completion. 

How many layers of paint do you need on metal?

When painting metal, two layers are better: don’t just apply one layer of primer; it is better to apply two. On the one hand, this helps the paint hold better and protects the metal from oxidation. If you use a brush, you must not overload the brush with paint, as this could lead to a layer of the paint becoming too thick. Also, it is possible to paint the first layer in one color and paint the second layer in a different color after the first layer has dried thoroughly.

Can you use acrylic paint on metal?

Acrylic paint can be used on almost any surface, and of course, it can be used on metals. However, when painting metal, one thing or the other must be observed, and certain precautions must be taken.

You can use either a water-based acrylic paint or an oil-based paint, as long as the container identifies “for metal” somewhere on its labeling.

Can you use acrylic paint on metal

Originally tweeted by The Painting Pros (@ppros) on March 17, 2021.

Will acrylic paint stick to metal?

To make your acrylic paint stick to metal, look for primers specific to metal because they stick best to the surface. Most primers are also available as a spray for easy application. If your metal isn’t rusty, you can start with the regular oil-based primer. Before applying, scrape off any loose rust and wipe the surface to remove particles and debris.

Can you apply acrylic paint on metal without primer

Unlike oil paint that can be applied directly to the metal surface, acrylic paint is water-based. Applying it directly on metal will cause rust. So, you have to prime the metal first. A primer will also let the paint stick better to the surface.

Can you use acrylic paint on galvanized metal?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on galvanized metal. However, make sure that the metal surface is thoroughly clean from dirt and debris. A clean galvanized metal ensures that the acrylic paint sticks to it properly.  

Can you use acrylic paint on metal outdoors?

Without a doubt, acrylic paint is perfect on metal outdoors. Make sure you prepare the surface. The good thing is that the preparation doesn’t cost much. You can achieve a great variety of metal outdoor projects using acrylic to paint on them.

Can you use acrylic paint on metal chairs?

Yes, acrylic paint works excellently on metal chairs. Metals provide a quality surface for acrylic paint to shine. You only have to make surface preparation before using acrylics on metal chairs. Doing this will make the surface shines brighter. 

Can you use acrylic spray paint on metal?

Being water-based and water-resistant, acrylic paint is what most crafters and artists prefer for their metal surfaces. You don’t have to worry about the cost because it’s highly cost-effective. 

Can you use apple barrel acrylic paint on metal?

Absolutely! Apple barrel acrylic paint comes with many properties that make it suitable for use on a metal surface. Typically, the apple barrel acrylic paint is weather-resistant and dries to a high enamel varnish, regardless of the surface. 

Can you use acrylic paint on my metal chandlier?

Naturally, chandlier is made of metal chrome, bronze, wrought iron, or brass. This material design is suitable for acrylic paint to shine brightly. As a versatile paint type, acrylic paint works perfectly on any form of metal surface. 

How to paint metal with acrylics?

How to Paint Metal with Acrylic Paint?

As mentioned earlier, painting metal with acrylic is possible. But there are a lot of things needed to be done before starting.

Before you can start painting metal, there are some preparations to be made. This applies in part to new metal, but especially to metal that has been in use for a long time and perhaps has an old coating.

Here’s how to apply acrylic paint on metal:

  • Remove old paint: Use a wire brush or sandpaper to remove old paint residue. You can also remove existing paint using a heat gun. Then, rusted parts can be removed using the gas torch. Excessively rusted parts are removed with a spatula. Use a gas torch if necessary.
  • Cleaning: Use a clean rag to thoroughly clean the metal and remove any paint residue, other dirt particles, and grease.
  • Sanding: Sand the metal as smoothly as possible and clean the material again with a clean rag.
  • Priming: Prime the metal with a primer that matches acrylic paints. If the metal is rusted, you should apply a zinc chromate primer before applying the regular primer. You must then immediately use the standard layer of primer to protect the metal from new rust optimally.
  • Wait to dry: Finally, let the primer dry thoroughly before you start painting.
  • Get a suitable acrylic paint for metal: The Arteza Metallic Acrylic Paint is ideal in this case.
  • Apply the first coat: Once the primer has dried, apply the first coat of acrylic paint with a brush or paint sprayer.
  • Let it Dry: Then wait until this layer is completely dry.
  • Apply another layer of paint.
  • Repeated several times: If necessary, you are welcome to paint on additional layers of paint or patterns, but you should then let the metal rest for about two days before use.

How to make acrylic paint permanent on metal?

Here are the steps on how to do it:

  • How to make acrylic paint permanent on metal?
  • Prepare the metal surface 
  • Remove rust, peeling, and lose paint, as well as unwanted fixtures
  • Fix minor dents and holes
  • Prime the surface with acrylic primer to protect the paint against corrosion and rust
  • Paint and seal with two coats of paint.

Note: The best primer to use is oil-based primer. Water-based or latex primers allow moisture to seep through and destroy the paint.  

How to get acrylic paint to dry faster on metal?

Here are the steps on how to get acrylic paint to dry faster on metal:

  • Apply the paint in a thin layer to pulverize the paint.
  • Make sure the painting environment operates with a low level of humidity 
  • The air should be pretty dry
  • Close the windows and all openings 
  • Turn on the heater (choose the right heater)

If you’re into outdoor painting, make sure you opt for a dry and warm day. 

How to use acrylic paint on powder-coated metal?

Here are the steps on how to use acrylic paint on powder-coated metal:

  • Prepare the metal surface by cleaning and removing any debris or dirt
  • Prime the surface with one full coat. 
  • Allow at least one hour for the primer to dry
  • Decorate the interior surface with two coats

You should wait for two hours to dry; whereas, exterior decoration takes at least one hour to dry. 

How to use plaid folkart outdoor acrylic paint on metal?

Here are the steps about how to use plaid folkart outdoor acrylic paint on metal:

  • Start by buying plaid 2. oz (56 gram) of folkart outdoor acrylic paint 
  • Flip-up the top bottle
  • Squeeze to fill the palette with the right color

Alternatively, you can go for the wide mouth folkart outdoor acrylic paint bottle of about 4.0z (113 gram). Load your paintbrush directly from the bottle with the palette

How to make alcohol inks with acrylic paint on metal tumblers?

Here are the steps on how to do it:

  • Using isopropyl alcohol, clean the metal surface and tumbler sides
  • Create an effect with a few drops of inks
  • Decorate the edge of the tumbler with a cotton swab
  • Allow the ink to spread and meld for some minutes
  • Leave the ink to dry about 24 hours 
  • Use multi-medium or spray gloss to seal the painting  

How to acrylic paint on a metal cabinet without primer?

Here are the steps on how to do it:

  • Prepare the workspace: Clean the cabinets; keep the paint off the cabinet-bound walls; and place a drop cloth 
  • Remove cabinet drawers and doors
  • Paint the cabinet with acrylic paint
  • Allow the paint to dry
  • Apply a protective varnish
  • Replace drawers and hang the cabinet doors

How to paint light on metal in acrylic?

Here are the steps on how to do it:

  • Prepare your metal surface
  • Select acrylic paint prier and apply it
  • Paint the metal surface
  • For light paint, use a paintbrush. A spray paint designed for a metal surface and acrylic paint will also be the best bet.

How to seal acrylic paint on metal?

Here are the steps about how to do it:

When the acrylic paint applied is dry, use wood wax or acrylic varnish applied with a brush to protect it from corrosion. One of the best varnishes for acrylic paint and metal is the Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer.

Metal painting must be preceded with surface priming and then finished with sealing. Sealing is the only way to ensure the metal is protected from moisture. While the primer protects the metal from the water in the acrylic, the sealant protects the metal from outdoor moisture.

How to cure acrylic paint on metal?

  • Paint the metal surface in a thin layer 
  • Look for a low-humidity surrounding for your workspace
  • Make the air dry
  • Close all openings to the workspace
  • Turn on the heater
  • Make sure the heater evaporates the water in the painted body. It takes about 2 hours to be completely cured.

How to distress acrylic paint on metal

  • Get two paints: a base coat and a top coat
  • Shanty up the corners and edges of the metal surface
  • You can paint the entire metal surface 
  • Add the base coat to the metal surface
  • Rub Vaseline through the top coat to make it stick to the surface
  • Add the latex or acrylic top coat
  • Allow it to dry
  • Distress the surface by sanding it with 180-grit sandpaper or steel wool

Whether you apply the coat to the entire part of the surface or to its edges depends on what your preferences are. 

What is the best paint for metal?

If you’re working on outdoor metal, oil-based is perfect because of its durability. Water-based will work better for indoor metal. Water-based is more durable, while oil-based dries faster give off fewer fumes. 

What primer to use for acrylic enamel paint on metal?

Oil-based primer will deliver the desired effect on acrylic enamel paint on metal. Alternatively, a shellac-based primer also works well.  

Should you prime metal before painting?

Yes, priming is an important part of painting your metal project. Priming prevents rusting since your metal can rust due to exposure to moisture and the elements.  

Tips for acrylic paint on metal

  • It is best to work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. Although acrylic paints do not contain toxic fumes, rust can be harmful.
  • Wearing a dust mask is not only recommended because of possible rust particles but above all in the event that a scrap metal could contain lead.
  • Keep a damp rag handy to regularly wipe away paint, rust, and dust particles as you work. This is much easier for you than waiting for the project to finish and then doing it.
  • If you are applying multiple coats, you will need to let the paint in each coat dry completely before applying the next coat.

FAQs about paint on metal

Can you mix metallic paint with acrylic on flow art?

Yes, you can. When pouring acrylic paint onto a canvas surface, mixing them with metallic paint is possible. The technique works great. This allows you to apply the colors in pools and puddles. 

Can acrylic paint be used on metal candle holders?

It is possible to apply acrylic paint on metal candle holders. You should make sure that you take the preparation seriously. Otherwise, your project may not turn out the way it should. 

Can you paint metal without sanding?

It’s possible but not advisable. If the rust on the metal is not deep enough, you may not sand the surface. But as a general rule of thumb, sanding is an important part of painting metal. 

Can you use vinegar to clean metal before painting?

If you desire a painting that will last longer, you should first wipe and clean the metal surface with vinegar before applying the paint.  

Can you use acetone to clean metal before painting?

Acetone does a good job of cleaning your metal surface before painting. The solvent serves as a rust remover and the metal surface will become clean after it dries off. 

Can you paint over steel?

Yes, you can paint on steel, provided you use formulated paint. Generally, paint hardly adheres properly to the metal surface due to its vulnerability to rust and weathering.

What happens when you paint oil paint over acrylic on a metal radiator?

When you use oil-based paint on a radiator, you should expect incredible durability. The paint will last longer on your project. It also provides a soft and elegant sheen on the radiator.

What happens if I paint the metal with acrylic paint and then put a coat of wax on top?

When you apply acrylic paint on metal and add wax, the painted project is protected against the effects of scratches, bumps, and knocks. Besides, the wax acts as a sealant on the paint.  

How remove metal lid on acrylic paint?

  • Get two pairs of pliers 
  • Set one at the exact diameter of the tube
  • Let the two mouths of the pliers meet at cap threads where the tube tapers 
  • Make the second pliers grab the cap of the tube
  • Turn the pliers counter-clockwise

Alternatively, you can place the metal paint in warm water for about 5 days and use a metal nutcracker to remove it.  

A helpful video for acrylic paint on metal


Painting a metal object is to give it a beautiful appearance and protect it, provided you choose the appropriate paint and follow the rules of application. For this, acrylic paint can be used on metal. But the material would require a primer and a sealer for protection from rust.

In the case of water-based paint like acrylic, first, apply an undercoat with a brush. You can consider mixing acrylic paint in a glass jar with some water before use. Brush cleaning is done with clear water. The undercoat will dry in 2 hours. Then repaint the surface as two coats are needed. Wait for the fresh paint to dry and then spray-seal the acrylic paint using an acrylic varnish such as the Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer.

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