Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Outside? Is it Water-resistant?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Acrylic paint can be used on wood, stone, plastic, metal, glass, and more. It is easy to work with, comes in many colors, and can add brightness to your project.

Can acrylic paint be used outside? Is this type of paint waterproof? Will it protect the item from rust? Will the acrylic paint form a seal on the item? Do you need to do anything special to the item or the acrylic paint to make it outside-friendly?

In this article, we will answer all those questions, especially the most important one, can acrylic paint be used outdoors? This article will cover any special preparations to prepare it for outside, how long the acrylic paint will last outdoors, and more.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Outside?

Yes, acrylic paint can be used outdoors. This is one of the best paints for being water-resistant, but it is not waterproof. When something is waterproof, it is okay for the paint to be exposed to large amounts of water for a long period and not be changed.  

You can use it on items outdoors, but over time it will probably need to be repainted. Although it is not waterproof, acrylic paint is weather resistant.

Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Outside
Can Acrylic Paint be Used Outside

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last Outside?

If you have sealed the acrylic paint and it is waterproof, it should last five to ten years. You need to watch it to ensure that the sealant is doing its job and the paint is not wearing off. 

One thing to remember is that acrylic paint is made of water-based pigments, so the paint is subject to freezing, which can, over time, damage the quality of your paint job. Sometimes, in freezing temperatures, the paint can crack.

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How Do You Protect Acrylic Paint Outside?

When putting something outside, it must be sealed. Before you get to that step, you must ensure that the surface is ready for the acrylic paint. For the acrylic paint to form the right bond to the surface and look brighter for a longer period, the surface has to be prepared.

 Protect Acrylic Paint Outside
Protect Acrylic Paint Outside

For surfaces like concrete or wood, they need to be primed properly. If it is a smoother surface like metal or glass, you will need to scuff the surface so the acrylic paint will have something to hold on to. Once the surface has been prepared, it is time to prime it.

This means that you are going to paint the surface with paint primer. It is easy to paint on the object you are going to put outdoors, making it easier for the paint to grip it. To make the color more vivid, you should use multiple levels. 

You should do at least three layers. If the top layer fades or peels, you will still be unable to see the original surface.

Next, you must make sure you are choosing the right paint. With acrylic paint, it has a polymer. This will allow the acrylic paint to stick to the objects surface. 

The polymer is resin-based, and the paints durability depends on the resins percentage and type. The more resins in the paint, the stronger bond it will have with the objects surface.

When choosing the right paint, look at the color and if it is suitable for outdoor use. Almost all acrylic paints will work outside. 

Some colors are better used indoors than outside, so check before you purchase the paint. Some colors will also fade faster than others. Look for colors that have great light-fastness.

Once you have the painting work done, it is time to choose a good varnish. You want to make sure that you are not using a strong varnish because with their strong solvents, they could dissolve the paint. 

Others are not suitable for a smooth surface. If you are unsure which one to get, ask one of the salesmen for help. Tell them the surface type and that it is used outdoors using acrylic paint.

Before putting the object outdoors, ensure the paint is completely dry. If it is not, then if it rains, the paint could wash off. The sealant needs to be waterproof. If you do not want to use varnish, you can use a water-based urethane or a polyacrylic protective finish.

Also Read: Can Acrylic Paint Be Used Outside?


Can acrylic paint be used outdoors, and the answer is yes, but it must be sealed to protect it. It is water-resistant but not waterproof, so you must protect it from the rain. 

Using acrylic paint outdoors can last up to ten years, but you still may need to touch it up once in a while. Just be sure to have the right acrylic paint you can use outdoors and sealant.

Also Read: Can you use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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