Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

You are probably wondering if you can use acrylic paint on wood. Acrylic paint is commonly used for a lot of creative purposes. It has many advantages, such as affordability, fast drying time, and not releasing toxic fumes, making it safe to use.

The answer is yes. Acrylic paint is one of the best ways to transform your old wood into something colorful. Although, the surface of the wood will need to be prepped first before you can apply the paint. There are also many steps to take for a long-lasting finish.

Now that you are aware that you can use acrylic paint on your wood, you must know the step-by-step guide to applying it.

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Can Acrylic Paint Be Used on Wood?

Acrylic Paint is a water-based formula that contains pigments that are spread through a means of acrylic emulsion. It is a good choice for indoor usage because it does not release toxic fumes.

Acrylic paint does not just do a perfect job on a canvas but also works well on other surfaces such as metal, paper, leather, and of course, wood. Apart from its ability to improve the appearance of your wood, it is an affordable option that helps to reduce costs.

You can use any acrylic paint for your wood; most wood types have a smooth surface and a soft texture, allowing them to take paint well. One great advantage of using acrylic paint on wood is that it will not crack or shrink the surface of the wood.

Some other advantages include easy application, acrylic paints are long-lasting, have a wide variety of colors to choose from, and are easy to blend, mix, work with, and clean. With all these advantages, it is no doubt that acrylic paint will go well on your wooden surfaces.

The Applying Process of Acrylic Paint on Wood

To get the best results when applying acrylic paint on wooden surfaces, you must do some necessary things, and the first thing to do is prepare the wood.

Preparing the Wood

Prepping the wood is the primary thing to do before starting painting. The first thing to do is ensure that your wood is clean, so you can use a damp cloth to wipe off any form of debris on the surface of your wood.

Next, you should sand the wood. Sand the surface with a sanding sponge or sandpaper until you have an even surface. A smooth surface is vital for painting as it makes the job easier.

Applying a Primer

After prepping your wood by ensuring it is free from dirt and has a smooth surface, you can go ahead to apply a primer to the surface of your wood. Using a primer layer helps seal the wood and makes lighter colors look more vibrant.

All you need to do is use a roller to apply the primer to the surface of the wood and leave it to dry thoroughly (advisably overnight). You can add more than one layer of primer until it covers the wood entirely and has a smoother surface.

Apply a Background Color

Once the primer has completely dried, the next step is to add a background color to the wood’s surface. Choose the background color that is perfect for your artwork or whatever you are working on. You can use a flat paintbrush to apply the paint to the wood.

Once you are done applying the first coat, you can use the second coat and wait for it to try. Acrylic paint takes about 20 to 30 minutes to dry and about an hour or two for thicker layers.

Keep in mind that if you do not need a background color, there is no need to add one. You can get straight to painting your project. Although it is advisable to have a base layer, it solely depends on what your project entails.

Finish Up the Painting

This is the first to the last step, and it involves adding the details and finishing touches to your artwork or project. You can do this when your background layer is dry by using a soft brush to add details with any color of your choice. You can now leave your project to dry.

Add a Sealant

The last step to adding acrylic paint on wood is adding a sealant. This step is not compulsory, but it is necessary to protect your work from peeling, chipping, scratching, dirt and liquid. It also increases the longevity of your work, so it is essential.

You can use a spray-on or a brush-on sealer of your choice, apply a thin coat, and then leave it to dry. If you will use your paint job outside, it would be best to seal it with a clear varnish.

FAQs about Applying Acrylic Paint on Wood

Can I paint my furniture using acrylic paint?

Yes, you can, but as usual, the most important thing to do is prep the furniture’s surface. Wooden furnishings always have a sealant that makes it difficult for acrylic paint to stick to the surface. You will need to sand the surface to remove the protective topcoat evenly.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry?

One of the advantages of acrylic paint is its ability to dry fast. It takes about 20-30 minutes to dry, an hour or two for a thicker coat, and 24 hours to set in properly. Although this is usually affected by different factors such as environmental conditions and the number of layers added.

Do I need to apply a primer before using acrylic paint?

It is advisable to do so, though it is not necessary. If you desire an excellent finish, you should add a primer to the surface of the wood.

Do I need to apply a sealant after using acrylic paint on wood?

A sealant will help protect your wood from many disadvantages, such as chipping and scratching. It increases the lifespan of your work, so you should apply one.


Acrylic paint is one of the easiest and cheapest options when painting your wood. With this step-by-step guide, you can now go-ahead to use acrylic paint on your wooden surface like a pro.

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