Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? Give It A Waterproof Coating in Easy Steps!

Not only do you get paint acrylics on paper or canvas, but they work great on entire surfaces like wood, glass, cement, etc. But when painting those exquisite pieces in the outdoors, will they hold when the rain pours on them?

Before starting your DIY, you need this question to be answered, ‘Is acrylic paint waterproof?’

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? Give It A Waterproof Coating in Easy Steps!

Unfortunately, acrylic paint isn’t waterproof naturally. But, the good news is they can be made waterproof by applying a gloss coat, varnish, or an outdoor acrylic paint sealer. If you’re not confident about waterproofing the acrylic paint, you can also opt for waterproof acrylic paint. If this is out of your budget or you don’t want to go through the hassle, then we got your back!

What Is Acrylic Paint Made Of?

Being a water-based paint, and since the water is a quick evaporating compound, the acrylic paint stands as a fast-drying paint as well. Acrylic paint is made by mixing acrylic polymer emulsion with a color pigment. Let’s introduce you to the ingredients that make up the total composition-

‘What gives the color?’ – The color pigmentation. You’ll find it in a powdered form. Now, the pigment needs a solvent to make a paint mixture.

The binder- The acrylic resin works as the binder that keeps everything together and gives an identity to the pigment. It allows adherence of the paint on the surface.

The solvent- water acts as the solvent here. It turns the resin and pigment into the acrylic paint we apply on different surfaces. Water evaporates when acrylics are used on the surface; that’s when the paint hardens.

Why Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off With Water?

As I said already, acrylic paint is water-based. The primary process includes mixing pigment with acrylic polymer resin. Without waterproofing, the color would wash off. They do have the quick-drying property that is because the water evaporates in an instant. You can also try heating the painting to let it dry even faster.

Why Do You Need To Waterproof Acrylic Paint?

Dried acrylic paint is quite challenging and doesn’t wash off with water that easily. But when it comes to a stain, you have just applied and hasn’t dried yet, what if the rain starts pouring or you accidentally spill water on them? So, don’t even wait for all the hard work to be destroyed in seconds! The best thing to do is to waterproof the paint.

Even if the paint has dried and hardened, you can apply a sealant to ensure it stays on for a long time. A varnish or gloss coating may be of great help here.

How to Waterproof Acrylic Paint

The best thing about acrylics is their flexibility. You can apply acrylic paints on any surface. But to make sure your efforts stay on for long, you need to preserve the durability by waterproofing it.

Basic tools you’ll need-

  • Special sealant or varnish
  • Foam poly brush
  • Heating tolls like a hairdryer

And do remember a few things when waterproofing-

  • Special coatings or sealants like a varnish should be applied to the paint.
  • The varnish seals the pores and doesn’t let water penetrate them.
  • You need to apply the varnish while the paint is wet; otherwise, it won’t be effective.

Canvas paintings

It would help if you preserved your precious artworks for years and years to come. So, the first evil you need to tackle is water damage. I’ll describe the easy steps for you-

  1. Before starting your painting, apply a primer to the whole canvas. Then paint your dreams on it!
  2. After the paint is dry, take on a UV protective spray and spray the stain with it to protect against UV damage and fading.
  3. Grab your can of outdoor polyurethane. Take a fiber-bristle brush and apply an even coat of polyurethane on the canvas, including the sides. Give time to dry, then use the next coat.

Now that you’re done with the steps, you can unhesitatingly hang it anywhere, including outside spaces as well!

Wood projects

For wooden projects, you can try out brush on varnishes or spray varnish from Krylon. While you use brush-on varnish, don’t forget to use a square fiber bristled brush that’s not too soft or too hard either.


Dealing with acrylic paints on the glass might be a bit difficult than wood, canvas, and metal, but it’s not impossible. So, here’s how you can waterproof acrylic paints on glass-

  • After you paint over the glass surface, give it ample time to dry for about a day or two.
  • You can even apply about 300-350 degrees F heat to the glass painted surface for about half an hour to let the paint set.
  • After the heating session, store the glass piece in a more relaxed area and let it cool down for about 2-3 days.
  • Finally, when the paint is all set, handwash the glass piece gently, and boy! You did it!

You can also use a hairdryer for drying the paint. In this case, you should keep the dryer in low heat, and it’ll probably take about a couple of hours to completely dry off.


Acrylic paints are not only challenging, but they also adhere well to metal and are non-reactive. You can paint on the metal surfaces without any worries. Just remember to apply a few coats of specialized metal varnish on the surfaces after you paint acrylic on them.

Tools You Need For Applying Varnish

Many of you are in a dilemma on what tools you’d require to apply the sealant or varnish. Don’t worry; you won’t be needing any specially made brush that’s hard to find in the stores.

But you can opt for the ideal paintbrush, which is a foam poly brush. Why the foam poly brush? Well, the foam allows even application of the varnish by soaking it up. Let me help you with a few tips –

  • Be consistent with the paint strokes.
  • Do not put the brush on a single spot for a long time, or else it’ll create varnish marks.
  • Be careful about not leaving the fingerprints. Even after the application of varnish, be very careful that you don’t leave finger spots anywhere.
  • Before all the steps and even the painting, it’s always a good idea to add some primer. No, it’s not a necessity, but it’s suitable for durability.

How Does Varnishing Help?

Varnishing does help in a few ways to retain the paint for a long time.

  • It works as a sealant over the paint and blocks the pores. It means you are blocking the water or moisture from entering and ultimately damaging the paint.
  • Varnishing also helps to deal with sunlight and UV. It won’t let the paint fade away due to UV rays.
  • Varnish is made of resin, solvent, and a drying oil which creates a transparent layer over the paint when dried. It also allows giving the color a prettier appearance.

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