Can you paint enamel over acrylic?

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

To understand the compatibility of Enamel and acrylic paints, you must know the difference between them. This will help you determine which type of paint suits your needs—The advantages and disadvantages of enamel and acrylic paints also factor in deciding.

Enamel Paint Vs. Acrylic Paint
Enamel paint vs. Acrylic paint

Understand the difference between enamel and acrylic paints

Enamel and acrylic are two different paints with distinct features. Enamel is solvent-based and dries slowly with a glossy, complex finish. Acrylic is water-based and dries quickly to a matte, flexible finish. To get the desired results, understanding these differences is critical.

Features Enamel Paint Acrylic Paint
Drying Time Slow Fast
Finish Glossy/Hard Matte/Flexible
Cleaning Method Turpentine Water/Soap Solution

When using Enamel over acrylic, make sure the acrylic is cured. Otherwise, the Enamel won’t correctly adhere, causing blisters and paint peeling. To avoid this, sand and clean off dust before applying Enamel. Use a primer for both types of paint. Apply thin coats and dry them, then seal them with a protective coat. By following these tips, you can prevent any unwanted outcomes. Enamel paint may be challenging, but acrylic has a plastic heart.

Advantages and disadvantages of enamel and acrylic paints

Enamel and acrylic paints have different characteristics you should consider before selecting the right colour for a project. Each paint type will influence the finished work.

Here is a comparison between Enamel and acrylic paints:

Enamel Paint Acrylic Paint
Glossy finish Dries fast
High durability Waterproof
Toxic compounds Non-toxic & eco-friendly
Strong smell Nearly smell-free

Remember, when deciding between Enamel and acrylic, Enamel can go on top of acrylic – once it is dried. But acrylic cannot go on top of Enamel – unless you do some surface preparation.

Regarding personal preference, one artist had trouble with enamel odours, but acrylics were better for her. A clean surface is all you need – smoother than a pickup line at a bar!

Prepare the Surface

To prepare the surface for painting Enamel over acrylic, follow specific steps. With the ‘Preparing the Surface’ section with ‘Cleaning the surface of acrylic paint, Sanding the surface to promote adhesion, Applying a primer,’ you can achieve a perfect finish. These sub-sections will guide you on how to clean the surface, roughen it up for better adhesion, and apply a primer before applying enamel paint.

Clean the surface of the acrylic paint

Waterproof Acrylic Paint
Waterproof acrylic paint

Clean your acrylic paint surface for proper application. Poor cleaning can make the paint not last long. To do this, use a soft brush or cloth to clear away dust and debris.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Blend some warm water with mild detergent and use a clean sponge or cloth to apply it.
  2. Rinse the surface with clean water and let it dry.
  3. Sand the surface lightly.

Be careful when cleaning. Don’t use abrasive cleaners, as they can scratch the paint. Also, don’t press too hard. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for additional steps. That way, your colour will adhere and last longer.

Sand the surface to promote adhesion.

Sanding is an effective measure for proper adhesion of a surface. Use sandpaper to create minor scratches and abrasions on the surface. Follow these five steps to get ready for optimal adhesion:

  1. Start by cleaning the area.
  2. Use coarse-grit sandpaper to work on the site.
  3. Repeat step 2 with medium-grit sandpaper. Ensure there are no bumps.
  4. If possible, go over everything with fine-grit sandpaper.
  5. Clean up any dust or residue.

For painted or finished surfaces, extra caution is necessary. Invest in a dust mask and protective gear. Test various products on test surfaces before actual application. This allows informed decisions. Prime for a killer finish!

Apply a primer

Before painting, apply a coat of primer! This step is essential, as it creates a smooth surface for the paint to stick to, resulting in a better finish and a longer-lasting result. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Clean the surface with soap and water.
  2. Sand any rough spots until smooth.
  3. Tape off edges that need protecting.
  4. Use a brush or roller to apply the primer in even strokes.
  5. Let the primer dry completely, as per manufacturer instructions.
  6. Sand lightly one more time before the final coat of paint.

Note: Different surfaces require different primers, such as wood or metal. Specialized primers are also available for specific purposes, like stain-blocking. Believe it or not, early painters used animal glue as a primer! Nowadays, there are much easier options to use. So get ready to get creative – painting on acrylic is like creating a work of art!

Apply Enamel on Acrylic

To apply Enamel on acrylic quickly, select the correct type of enamel paint that adheres well to acrylic surfaces. You must also ensure the Enamel paint is mixed correctly for the best results. This section will explore three helpful sub-sections for applying Enamel paint on acrylic: choosing the right type, mixing the enamel paint properly, and using the enamel paint with either a brush or a spray.

Choose the correct type of Enamel paint.

Picking the right Enamel to paint for acrylic surfaces is essential for successful outcomes. Consider the details of your project before selecting the paint. Here’s a table to help you out:

Paint Type Features Suitable Project Types
Water-based Fast drying, low odour, easy cleanup with soap and water Small projects such as outdoor furniture
Solvent-based Durable, resists chipping and cracking, provides a glossy finish Industrial or commercial applications like machinery coatings
Oil-based Excellent adhesion & gloss retention Outdoor metal surfaces like gates or fences

It’s important to know that each type of enamel paint has pros and cons. So, think through your project’s needs before making a decision.

The history and evolution of enamel paints have led to new formulas better suited to particular surfaces. Advancements are ongoing from 3,500-year-old ceramics in Egypt to 19th-century industrial metal coating factories. Now, let’s dive into the art of enamel paint mixing!

Mix the Enamel paint properly.

Mixing The Paint
Mixing the paint

Enamel paint is an excellent option for those who want to guard and cover their acrylic surfaces. To ensure a perfect application with maximum stickiness and strength, mixing the Enamel paint accurately is essential. Here’s how to mix Enamel paint on acrylic properly:

  1. Purchase top-notch Enamel paint for acrylic surfaces.
  2. Vigorously shake the can or pot to spread the pigment evenly.
  3. Pour an appropriate quantity of paint into a clean container and add the right amount of enamel hardener/catalyst, as instructed by the maker. As you mix, remember to wear the proper safety gear.
  4. Once you add the catalyst, stir the two substances cautiously with a wooden stirring stick until obtaining an even, uniform mixture. This should take two minutes.
  5. Check the mixture on a sample surface before applying it to your desired area, allowing you to adjust the ratio if necessary.

Also, some brands suggest different ratios of paint-to-hardener based on temperature and humidity. For the best results, follow only the instructions in your chosen brand’s manual. This will bring excellent results, providing maximum protection from external elements.

Interestingly, Enamel paints have remained popular due to their many benefits, such as functioning well in extreme temperatures and providing a seamless finish without much effort. Whether you prefer to brush or spray, applying Enamel on acrylic is like giving your car a new, shiny coat of armour.

Apply enamel paint with a brush or a spray.

Enamel is a hard-wearing paint that can be used on materials like acrylic. It can be applied with either a brush or spray. Here’s a how-to guide to applying Enamel paint on acrylic:

  1. Prep the Material – Clean the material with soap and warm water. Then sand it to make the surface rough to ensure the Enamel sticks better.
  2. Apply Enamel Paint – Use a brush or spray to apply an even layer of Enamel on the acrylic material. Let the first layer dry for a few hours before applying a second one.
  3. Cure the Paint – Let the paint sit undisturbed for 24 hours to dry and cure properly.

Some tips to make this easier:

  • Shake and stir the paint before use.
  • Keep the surface horizontal while painting.
  • Clean the brush with mineral spirits after each use.

These tips will make sure your enamel paint layer is even and smooth. Just remember, painting Enamel on acrylic is not just a layer of paint – it’s a commitment to touch-ups for life!

Tips for Painting Enamel Over Acrylic

You must follow specific tips to ensure successful painting with Enamel over acrylic. Allow proper drying time, avoid applying too thick coats of Enamel paint, and do not rush the enamel painting process to avoid bubbling and cracking. This section provides valuable information on these sub-sections, helping you achieve a smooth and polished finish.

Allow proper dry time.

Ensuring proper drying duration is key before painting Enamel over acrylic. Please wait at least 24 hours after the last acrylic coat for it to be entirely dry. This will stop moisture from entering, preventing the enamel coating from sticking to its base layer. The waiting period strengthens the adhesive bond between both layers for improved resistance and durability.

If a shorter drying time is needed, try using an accelerator to speed up drying without affecting the acrylic’s surface texture. This way, you can keep an excellent finish balance and speed up drying.

Maintain consistent temperature in your work area. It’ll help keep variances in different coats away. Also, a well-ventilated location helps quicken drying processes. This ensures better durability and adherence of your Enamel paint on your acrylic coatings.

Most pro painters use recommended brands with proven performance when applying Enamel over acrylics. Suitable products with good reviews can help avoid chemical reactions and variants that impact bonding or colour stability. So, don’t get too wild with the Enamel – unless you’re going for the finger-paint look!

Avoid applying too thick coats of Enamel paint.

To dodge a clumsy application of Enamel paint, it’s vital to manage the thickness of the layers applied to your acrylic work area. Applying too-thick coats of Enamel can bring about uneven drying, leaving behind unacceptable imperfections.

Three steps to dodge applying too thick coats of Enamel paint:

  1. Firstly, thin out the Enamel with an appropriate solvent, such as lacquer thinner or mineral spirits.
  2. Then, apply one thin coat at a time and let each coat dry completely before applying another.
  3. Finally, repeat the process until you get the desired coverage.

Furthermore, use light strokes and minimal pressure with a suitable brush or roller and shoot for multiple thin layers instead of a few thick ones.

Recognizing that different paints have different dry readings and sticking to maker guidelines is essential.

Studies demonstrate that applying thick coatings might cause issues in assembling situations, harming items. (Source: Chemical Engineering Journal)

Steady and careful wins the enamel painting race unless you want bubbly, cracked chaos on your hands.

Do not rush the enamel painting process to avoid bubbling Takingcking; taking time during the enamel painting pro to prevent splashing and cracking cess is vital. Running without proper technique and prep can ruin the job. Follow this guide for a successful outcome!

  1. Clean the surface. Use a cloth with soap & water or mineral spirits to remove dirt, dust, and grease.
  2. Prime the surface. Use a quality primer designed for enamel paints to promote adhesion and durability. Let it dry completely before continuing.
  3. Apply Enamel paint in thin layers. This allows proper adhesion and minimizes stress build-up. Give ample drying time between coats.
  4. Test the Enamel paint over acrylics before starting a project. This way, you’ll know how long it takes for different brands to dry.
  5. Take precautions when applying heat over painted surfaces. These flammable materials emit toxic chemicals – no smoking near curing enclosures!

Enamelling as a decorative art has been around for centuries. People from different cultures used it to mark their belongings with unique designs using various colours and metals, heating them above 800°C (1470°F). European Royals used enamel jewellery, mainly from Switzerland, after clashing with the French Empire.

Finish your enamel-acrylic masterpiece with success – follow these tips, and you’ll be painting like a pro!


To wrap up, the conclusion of this article, ‘Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic,’ ensures that you got an answer to your initial query. To sum up, we will provide you with a quick recap of the essential points to consider. This will help you to paint Enamel over acrylic effectively. Lastly, we present our final thoughts on this topic for you to ponder.

Recap of essential points to consider

It’s essential to jot down the key points from the discussion. It reflected the crucial understanding of the article’s message better.

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Additionally, understanding how these points connect is essential and as well s explains VR’s diverse capabilities entirely.

A wise tip would be to continually research breakthroughs withheld of work to stay competitive and up-ate with the current trends. Trying to pick a favourite child is worse than painting Enamel over acrylic.

Final thoughts on painting Enamel over acrylic

When combining enamel and acrylic paints, it’s crucial to consider compatibility. It’s best to do a test before painting. Enamel can bond well over acrylic surfaces, but chipping or cracking could happen due to different expansion and contraction rates. So it’s wise to use high-quality paint.

Also, applying thin layers of Enamel will make the end product more durable and last longer. This will give you a stable coat without any flaws.

It’s worth noting that enamelling is an old, esteemed trade. It used to be an art form where precious metals were covered with glass-like layers of glass powder and metal oxides. Enameling was widespread in cultures like Egypt and Greece and was used to decorate pottery, weapons, and jewelry.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the specific steps to follow when painting Enamel over acrylic?

You slightly uld start lightly cleaning the surface to create a rough texture. Then, prime the surface with an enamel primer before applying the Enamel paint in thin coats, allowing each layer to dry completely before adding another.

Can you paint acrylic over Enamel?

It is not recommended to paint acrylic over Enamel, as the enamel paint needs to cure before acrylic can be applied thoroughly. Otherwise, the acrylic will not adhere properly and may peel or cracCanssible to use an enamel Spray paint over an acrylic base coat?

Yes, you can use enamel spray paint over an acrylic base coat, but you should always test a small area first to ensure the two types of paint are compatible.

How long does Enamel paint take to dry?

Depending on the specific brand and environmental conditions, enamel paint can take 4-24 hours to dry.

How do you clean enamel paintbrushes?

To clean enamel paint brushes, wipe off any excess paint with a paper towel or rag. Then, rinse the brush in solvent or mineral spirits, and repeat until the brush is clean. Finally, rinse the brush in warm soapy water to remove any remaining residue before allowing it to air dry.

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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