Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

You’re standing in your garage, a blank wooden canvas before you, and a vibrant palette of acrylic paints at your disposal. You’re ready to unleash your creativity, but a question lingers: “Can I use acrylic paint on wood?” The answer is a resounding yes! Acrylic paint, known for its versatility and durability, is a fantastic choice for wood surfaces.

Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. It’s water-soluble but becomes water-resistant when dry. This unique characteristic makes it a popular choice for artists and DIY enthusiasts. Whether you want to paint a wooden furniture piece or a decorative wooden panel, acrylic paint can bring your vision to life.

Benefits and Types of Acrylic Paint for Wood

Now that we’ve established that acrylic paint and wood go together like peanut butter and jelly, let’s delve into the benefits of this dynamic duo.

Durability and Versatility

Acrylic paint is known for its durability. Once it dries, it forms a hard, protective layer that can withstand the test of time. This makes it an excellent choice for wood exposed to wear and tear, such as furniture or outdoor signs.

But that’s not all. Acrylic paint is also incredibly versatile. It can be used straight from the tube for a thick, oil-paint-like texture or diluted with water to create a watercolor effect. This versatility allows you to experiment with different painting techniques on your wooden canvas.

Water-Based Acrylic Paint

Water-based acrylic paint is a game-changer when it comes to painting on wood. This acrylic paint is easy to clean up, dries quickly, and has a low odor, making it a favorite among artists and hobbyists.

Water-based acrylic paint is also known for its environmental friendliness. Unlike oil-based paints, it doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that can be released into the air as it dries. This makes it a safer choice for both you and the environment.

Moreover, water-based acrylic paint adheres well to wood surfaces, providing a smooth and vibrant finish. It’s also resistant to light, meaning your artwork will retain its color and not fade over time.

Top-Rated Acrylic Paints for Wood

So, you’re ready to dive into the world of acrylic painting on wood, but you’re not sure which paints to choose. Fear not, my friend! I’ve got you covered. Here are some of the top-rated acrylic paints for wood that will help you create masterpieces that last.

1. Arteza Acrylic Paint

Arteza is a well-known brand in the art world, and their acrylic paint set is a crowd favorite. This set offers a wide range of vibrant colors that are richly pigmented and have a smooth consistency. They’re easy to blend and dry to a durable finish, making them perfect for wood projects. Plus, they’re non-toxic and safe for artists of all ages.

2. Liquitex BASICS Acrylic Paint

Liquitex BASICS offers high-quality paints at an affordable price. These paints are known for their thick consistency and excellent coverage. They’re also easy to mix, allowing you to create a limitless range of colors. The best part? They’re made with lightfast pigments, ensuring your artwork won’t fade over time.

3. Golden Heavy Body Acrylic Paint

Golden Heavy Body is the way to go if you’re looking for professional-grade acrylic paints. These paints are known for their exceptionally smooth, thick, buttery consistency. They offer excellent pigment load and lightfastness, ensuring your artwork remains vibrant and durable. While they’re pricier, their superior quality makes them worth every penny.

4. Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint

Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint is a great option for hobbyists and beginners. These paints are easy to use, dry quickly, and provide a durable finish. They’re also non-toxic and clean up easily with soap and water. With a wide range of colors, Apple Barrel paints are perfect for all your wood painting projects.

5. Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Paint

Winsor & Newton is a brand trusted by artists worldwide. Their Galeria line offers high-quality acrylic paints at a reasonable price. These paints have a high level of pigment and are easy to work with, making them ideal for beginners and experienced artists. They also offer excellent lightfastness and durability.

Preparation: Is Sanding Necessary Before Painting Wood with Acrylic Paint?

Picture this: You’ve got your acrylic paints ready, your wooden canvas is waiting, and you’re eager to start painting. But wait! You might be overlooking an important step: sanding. You might wonder, “Is sanding necessary before painting wood with acrylic paint?” The answer is yes, and here’s why.

Sanding is like laying the red carpet for your acrylic paint. It prepares the wood surface by making it smooth and even, ensuring the paint adheres properly. The paint might peel off or look uneven without sanding, which is not what we want, right?

The Importance of Sanding

Sanding is crucial for several reasons. First, it removes any old paint, varnish, or stain, giving you a clean slate to work on. Second, it smooths out rough spots or splinters, creating a uniform surface. This not only makes the painting process easier but also enhances the final look of your artwork.

The Sanding Process

So, how do you go about sanding? Start with a coarse-grit sandpaper to remove any old paint or rough spots. Then, move to a medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the surface further. Finally, finish with fine-grit sandpaper to give the wood a smooth finish. Remember to always sand in the direction of the wood grain to avoid scratches.

Once you’re done sanding, wipe the wood with a damp cloth to remove any dust. Now, your wooden canvas is ready for a coat of primer. Applying a primer before painting is a good idea as it provides a base for the acrylic paint to adhere to, enhancing its durability and vibrancy.

How to Apply Acrylic Paint on Wood

So, you have your top-rated acrylic paints and sanded wooden canvas ready. Now comes the fun part: painting! But before you dive in, let’s walk through the steps to ensure your painting process goes as smoothly as possible.

Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace

First things first, set up your workspace. Ensure you have a clean, well-lit area with all your painting supplies within reach. Cover your workspace with old newspapers or a drop cloth to protect it from paint spills.

Step 2: Prime the Wood

Remember the primer we talked about earlier? Now’s the time to use it. Apply a coat of primer to the wood using a brush or roller. This will provide a base for the acrylic paint to adhere to, enhancing its durability and vibrancy. Let the primer dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Apply the Acrylic Paint

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for: painting! Dip your brush into your chosen acrylic paint color and apply it to the wood. Use even strokes and work in the direction of the wood grain for the best results. Don’t worry if the paint looks thin or streaky after the first coat; acrylic paint often requires multiple coats for full coverage.

Step 4: Add Additional Coats

Once the first coat of paint is completely dry, assess your work. Add another coat of paint if the color isn’t as vibrant or the coverage isn’t as full as you’d like. Repeat this process until you’re satisfied with the result.

Step 5: Seal the Paint

After your final coat of paint has dried, it’s a good idea to seal your artwork to protect it. Apply a clear acrylic sealer using a brush or spray. This will add a protective layer to your paint, preventing it from chipping or fading.

Using Acrylic Paint on Different Wooden Surfaces

Acrylic paint isn’t just for wooden canvases or crafts. It can also add color and personality to wooden furniture, doors, and outdoor wood. Let’s explore how to use acrylic paint on these different surfaces.

Wooden Furniture

Got an old wooden chair or table that could use a makeover? Acrylic paint to the rescue! Before you start painting, clean the furniture thoroughly and sand it to create a smooth surface. Apply a primer, then paint the furniture with your chosen acrylic paint color. Remember to apply multiple thin coats for the best coverage. Once the paint is dry, seal it with a clear acrylic sealer to protect your newly painted furniture from scratches and spills.


Painting a wooden door with acrylic paint can give your home a new look. Start by removing the door from its hinges and cleaning it thoroughly. Sand the door to remove any old paint or varnish, then wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove dust. Apply a primer, then paint the door with your chosen acrylic paint color. Use a roller for larger areas and a brush for detailed areas. Apply a clear acrylic sealer once the paint is dry to protect the door from weather and wear.

Outdoor Wood

Acrylic paint can also be used on outdoor wood, such as fences or garden furniture. However, remember that outdoor wood is exposed to the elements, so you’ll need to take extra steps to ensure the paint lasts. Start by cleaning the wood and sanding it to create a smooth surface. Apply a primer, then paint the wood with high-quality outdoor acrylic paint. This type of paint is designed to withstand weather conditions and UV rays. Once the paint is dry, seal it with a clear acrylic sealer designed for outdoor use.

Methods to Seal Acrylic Paint on Wood

So, you’ve painted a stunning masterpiece on a wooden canvas using acrylic paint. Congratulations! But your work isn’t done just yet. You’ll need to seal the paint to ensure your artwork stands the test of time. Sealing acrylic paint on wood protects it from damage and helps maintain its vibrant colors. Here’s a guide on how to do it.

Method 1: Using a Clear Acrylic Sealer

A clear acrylic sealer is popular for sealing acrylic paint on wood. It’s easy to use and provides a strong, protective finish. Here’s how to apply it:

  1. Choose Your Sealer: Acrylic sealers have different finishes, including gloss, satin, and matte. Choose the one that suits your preference.
  2. Apply the Sealer: Using a clean brush, apply a thin coat of the sealer over the painted wood. Make sure to cover all painted areas.
  3. Let it Dry: Allow the sealer to dry completely. This usually takes a few hours, but it’s best to leave it overnight to be sure.
  4. Apply Additional Coats: For extra protection, apply one or two more coats of sealer. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next one.

Method 2: Using a Varnish

Varnish is another great option for sealing acrylic paint on wood. It provides a durable finish and enhances the color and texture of the paint. Here’s how to apply it:

  1. Choose Your Varnish: Varnishes come in different finishes and types. For acrylic paint, a water-based varnish is a good choice.
  2. Apply the Varnish: Using a clean brush, apply a thin coat of varnish over the painted wood. Be careful not to overwork the varnish, as it can become cloudy.
  3. Let it Dry: Allow the varnish to dry completely. This can take several hours or even overnight.
  4. Apply Additional Coats: For extra protection and a more polished look, apply one or two more coats of varnish. Remember to let each coat dry before applying the next one.


Whether you’re painting a piece of furniture, a door, or an outdoor wooden sign, acrylic paint offers a versatile and durable solution. Its wide range of colors and finishes allows you to express your creativity and bring your vision to life.

But remember, the key to a successful painting project is patience and preparation. Take your time with each step, from sanding and priming to painting and sealing. And most importantly, don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!