Randy Charles
Professional Painter

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

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

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

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Metal?

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

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

Acrylic paint is the way to go if you want to add color and style to your metal surfaces. It’s the most popular choice, plus it’s low-cost, has many shades, and is easy to use. Acrylic paints are useful for indoor decoration and craft projects since they cover well.

Don’t feel overwhelmed if you’re thinking of brightening up your metal projects with some color! This guide will tell you all about using acrylic paint on metal. It will explain the types of paint and the best techniques for painting your project. Let’s learn how to turn a dull metal surface into something extraordinary!

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic Paint On Metal
Acrylic paint on metal

Acrylic paint is a type of fast-drying paint. It’s made of pigment suspended in synthetic acrylic resin. Great news – it’s perfect for metals, indoors and out! It doesn’t matter if you’re painting aluminum, brass, steel or wrought iron – acrylic paint will produce a durable finish that will last for years.

It’s commonly used on canvas, paper, wood and other porous surfaces. Its versatility also makes it perfect for metals. It dries quickly and provides vibrant colors. Plus, it helps protect against the elements. Won’t crack or peel either – it has long-lasting performance.

To get the best results, use a specialized acrylic metal primer before applying an acrylic top coat to any metal. Some brands like Rustoleum create paints specifically designed for this purpose. They come with built-in primers and top coats, making them ideal even for novice DIYers!

What is Metal?

Metal is a natural material found on the earth. It comprises various elements, such as iron, aluminum, copper, tin, lead, and zinc. Metals can be formed into various shapes through melting, cooling, and pressure or heat.

Metal makes various products, from automobile parts to jewelry and jewelry boxes. Different types of metal have different properties when it comes to working or painting with acrylic paint.

Polished or machined metal surfaces offer the best surface for painting with acrylic paint. Priming is needed for acrylic paints, as they cannot stick to metal directly. Priming makes acrylic paints last longer and helps them adhere better.

What is the Best Way to Prepare Metal for Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paints are great for metal! Preparing the surface is vital for a good result. Start with cleaning, then sanding, and finally, priming. Taking the time to prepare the metal right is important. It ensures the paint sticks and lasts.

Let’s see how to get metal ready for acrylic paint:

  1. Cleaning
  2. Sanding
  3. Priming

Clean the metal surface

Before you start painting metal with acrylics, it’s important to prepare it right. Clean the surface to get rid of dust, grime, or oils. Use a wire brush suitable for ferrous or non-ferrous metals to scrape off rust or particles. Rinse it with water and dry it quickly. This stops rust formation and helps the paint adhere.

Depending on your project, you may need to use primers or undercoats to prep the metal:

  • Primers provide a good base and help paint adhere.
  • Undercoats are applied to protect the metal from rust and corrosion.

Sand the metal surface

Before you start painting, ensure the metal surface is ready. Sand with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough texture. This helps paint stick and removes any oils or rust. Use a cloth to wipe away sanding dust. A coat of metal-specialized primer can also be applied. It increases paint adhesion and ensures even coverage. Let the primer dry before applying acrylic paints.

Apply a primer

Before painting metal with acrylic paint, you must clean and prep the area. Use a paintbrush or roller to apply an even coat of primer for metal surfaces. It’s important to use a primer made of metal to prevent rusting. Allow the primer to dry completely before continuing. Give plenty of drying time, and apply multiple coats for full coverage if needed.

What Types of Metal Can You Use Acrylic Paint On?

Acrylic Paint On Metal-02
Acrylic paint on metal-02

Acrylic paint on metal is a simple way to get creative. Furniture or decorative objects can have a unique, colorful look. But which metal types work with acrylic paint? Let’s learn more!


Steel can be painted with acrylic paint. The key? Prep! Prepping the steel surface is a must for a chip-free, peeling-free finish. Here’s how:

  1. Use a household cleaner or mineral spirits to remove dirt, oil, and grease. Rinse and dry.
  2. To create a “tooth,” lightly sand the surface with 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe off any dust left from sanding with a damp cloth.
  3. Apply a metal-suited primer coat before top coating with acrylic paint.
  4. Once the primer is dry, start with thin coats of acrylic in the desired color. Dry time between each coat? Usually 1-2 hours, but follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  5. For extra protection against UV, H2S, and SO2, you can apply a clear sealer over the entire painted surface.


Aluminum is great for painting with acrylics. It is smooth, providing good adhesion for the paint. Before beginning, clean and sand the area to create a key for the paint. Roughing the surface with sandpaper or steel wool can give a better, longer-lasting finish.

Apply a primer and sealer for optimal coverage and color saturation. Wait about 1 hour before applying the acrylic paints. Once finished, apply a varnish or other sealant to protect the art and give it durability against fading, chip, or other damage.

See Also: How to Remove Varnish From Acrylic Painting?


Copper is a metal that can be painted with acrylic paint. But there are a few things to consider. Don’t apply too thick a coat, or you’ll have trouble wiping it off. And make sure the metal is spotless before you start— dirt, grime, and oil can prevent the paint from sticking.

To begin, pick a primer for your project. Primers are coatings that help paint stick to metal. Oil-based is best for copper, as it gives better coverage and durability than water-based primers.

Prepare the area by cleaning it. Then apply the primer in thin, even layers. Allow at least 30 minutes of drying time between coats.

Now your primer is dried and cured. You can start painting. But don’t put on too thick a coat. Allow two hours of drying time between layers. Keep adding color until you get your desired design without leaving bare spots.

What Are the Benefits of Using Acrylic Paint on Metal?

Acrylic paint is a great choice for painting metal! It’s water-based and made with pigment, acrylic resin, and other additives. Drying quickly and creating a strong bond gives an even finish that lasts. Plus, it won’t fade or scratch easily.

Before painting, make sure the metal surface is clean and smooth. Sand down any rough spots, then apply the right primer. Different metals may need special primers – check with your supplier or online.

And finally, acrylic paint can stick almost anything to metal, paper, canvas, etc. It offers various levels of flexibility depending on the brand and application technique. Perfect for amateur and professional painters looking for a beautiful finish on metal.

What Are the Drawbacks of Using Acrylic Paint on Metal?

Acrylic Paint On Metal-03
Acrylic paint on metal-03

Acrylic paint’s use on metal brings drawbacks. Applied directly to metal, it reduces the paint’s performance & durability. Artwork may show signs of cracking/chipping. Chemicals in metals & acrylic paint can bond, & rust when exposed to moisture or humidity. Without a protective film, oxidation may occur. Due to its low adhesion rate & poor flexibility when applied to metal, it can flake off due to temperature changes or abrasion.

An appropriate sealant topcoat must be applied after painting on metal with acrylic paint to ensure its longevity.


Acrylic paint can be used on metal surfaces if the metal is clean. Prepare the surface properly and use a flexible, good-quality primer. Acrylic paint can stick to the metal if you make the surface suitable. Spend time preparing the metal for painting to get the best results. Use acrylic paint designed for metal and give each coat time to dry before applying more coats. With care and patience, great results can be achieved with acrylic paint on metal!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use acrylic paint on metal?

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on metal surfaces. However, you should always prepare the surface before painting and use a primer and sealant for the best results.

What kind of preparation is necessary for painting metal with acrylic paint?

Before painting metal with acrylic paint, you should clean the surface with a degreaser and water solution and then sand it down thoroughly. After sanding, apply a primer and sealant to ensure the paint adheres properly.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to dry on metal?

It typically takes acrylic paint a few hours to dry on metal surfaces, depending on the thickness of the paint and the environmental conditions. Using a sealant after the paint has dried for the best results would be best.


Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of PaintCentric.com, 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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