Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

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When I first put acrylic paint on wood, I didn’t know much and wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew one thing, that wood being natural material will most certainly give unique touch when blended with Acrylic pain.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

You can use acrylic paint on wood. You can paint directly od prep your wood peace before painting it. Preparation includes sanding and priming it. To increase durability and make it waterproof, Finish with a sealant, and wait at least a week for everything to dry.

There are many approaches to this method of painting, and it works with almost every type of wood. It is best to consider how you will approach the project before you begin, and this article will describe how you can best go about creating your wooden masterpiece. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

The best approach to painting a wooden piece—whether it be a cabinet, a wood panel, driftwood, craft wood, etc.—is using acrylic paints. They are a water-based and adhere easily to the porous, wooden surface.

Depending on the type of wood you are painting and how clean it is, you may choose to begin painting it right away but generally is best to do some preparation before painting it.

How Should I Prepare the Wood Before Painting with Acrylic?

Start with preparation by sanding the wood with a medium- or fine-grit sandpaper. If you are using a wooden panel from an art store or something that is relatively smooth, the fine grit should be enough. 

If you are using an old 2×4 or a repurposed, wooden palette, you should begin with the medium grit and then finish with the fine grit sandpaper.

PRO TIP: Remember to sand with the lines (grains) of the wood to preserve the natural look of the wooden face.

Do I Need to Prime the Wood Before Painting It?

You don’t have to prime the wood before painting it, but this is not a bad idea. Primer prepares the wood for painting and allows the paint to stick to the surface of the wood better.

Because the wood is so porous, you may find that the paint soaks in and you need to use more coats to achieve your desired look.

Also, you will see that it is more difficult to make clean lines without primer as the paint is pulled into the wood on either side of the brushstroke. 

Do I Need to Prime the Wood Before Painting It?

As type of primer, I would use Gesso or any other primer suitable for wood surface. These usually come in white, which will allow the colors of your design to shine through the most clearly.

You can also add a little bit of acrylic paint to your primer to tint it. 

PRO TIP: If you want the natural color and grain of the wood to shine through, use a clear primer. 

How to Paint on Wood with Acrylic?

I will guide you 3 main steps, when Painting on wood. Feel free to copy them.

Step 1: Prepare Your Wood

As we discussed earlier, a little prep goes a long way. Decide how much you want to prep your wood by sanding, cleaning, and/or priming it.

After you do this, let the primer dry at least 24-48 hours before you begin to paint. 

Feel free to skip the preparation step if you want to paint directly on the natural wood surface.

Step 2: Paint Your Design

Step 2: Paint Your Design

After you have primed, start painting with the background colors first and then add the details of your design.

PRO TIP: For best results, paint with—not against—the grain of the wood.

If you have primed your surface first, this can allow you a brief “eraser” period where you can add a bit of water to the paint you want to remove and wipe it off. You should wait no longer than 30 seconds before you try to “erase” it. If you wait too long, it will begin to dry and be harder to remove.

NOTE: Be sure the layer below is dry before you paint the next layer or else you may “erase” all the paint underneath, as well. 

Step 3: Seal your Art

After you are happy with your design and you are sure you do not want to add anything else to it, you should seal your artwork. This will protect it from wear and tear over the years. 

NOTE: Wait about a week for the acrylic paint to dry, and then seal it with your preferred finish or varnish. Let this dry 1-2 weeks before handling the piece. 

What is the Right Type of Acrylic Paint for Wood?

Any acrylic paint will get the job done depending on your price range and investment in the piece. Price is a helpful indicator of the quality of the paints you are using.

Different Acrylic pain grades

There are craft grade and student grade paints that are typically cheaper and good for beginners. 

If you are a more serious artist and want something with more vivid colors that will last longer, go with professional or artist grade acrylic paint. This type will be more expensive, but the quality will be worth it.

Arteza offers a compromise between quality and price with their outdoor acrylic paint set.

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This set works on a variety of surfaces, and since it is made for outdoor use, it won’t fade over time.

This is a great option if you want quality acrylic paint for various projects but you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars to get started.

What Kind of Brush Should I Use?

You can use a lot of the same principles for choosing paint when choosing the brush you want to use. Typically, more expensive, artist grade brushes will be higher quality and last longer. But, if you do not want to invest as much in this project, any brush or pack of brushes from a craft store will work.

Something else to consider when choosing a brush for wood Painting:

  • If you are painting over a larger surface, use a bigger brush to paint the background.
  • Use a thinner brush to add details and sharp lines. 
  • It is best to get a pack of different-sized brushes if you are painting a more detailed piece. This also allows you to use a different brush for each color if you are painting with multiple colors at a time.

These brushes from Adkwse won’t shed and are very economical. This is a great option for beginners who want a good base set of brushes for more detailed artwork.

For those of you who will paint larger furniture Peaces od wood peace, I love Pro Grade brushes.

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How Do You Seal Acrylic Paint on Wood?

There are lots of options for the last coating that will seal pain on wood. The type you choose, will depend on what you are using your piece for. Think about whether your piece will be displayed outside or inside, in a high-traffic or low traffic area, and how often it will be touched.

Follow this tips when sealing acrylic paint on wood:

  1. If you painting something that will be used and touched daily, use polycrylic or a water-based polyurethane.
  2. If your piece will simply be displayed somewhere, use an acrylic varnish or a basic sealant.
  3. Typically, the glossier the finish, the easier it will be to clean. 
  4. If your piece will be relatively protected, then pick your finish based solely on your desired aesthetic.
  5. Paint your sealant evenly onto the surface of your piece.
PRO TIP: For high traffic or outdoor display areas choose glossier or outdoor-grade sealant.

More about in related blog post: How to seal acrylic painting?

How Do I Maintain or Clean My Wood Painted with Acrylic?

Depending on the type a finish used, you can typically wipe down your piece with a cloth or use a soft paintbrush to brush off dust or dirt.

If you used a removable varnish to finish your painting, then you can wipe that off using the manufacturer’s recommended varnish remover and then revarnish it.

Related Questions:

How Long Does It Take for Acrylic Paint to Dry on Wood?

Drying time depends on the temperature, humidity, and airflow of your workspace. Typically, it is best to wait at least a week for your paint to cure.

Can you use Modge Podge to seal acrylic paint on wood?

Technically, you can use Modge Podge to seal acrylic paint on wood, but a sealant specifically made for acrylic paintings is a better choice for lasting protection.

Is acrylic paint waterproof on wood?

No Acrylic paint on wood is not waterproof. You need to seal it with an outdoor-grade sealant or varnish to make it waterproof.

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