paint cans filled with colorful paints and a paintbrush

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Metal?

Can you use acrylic paint on metal?

This is a question I often see people asking on forums and social media, and that is why I wrote this article.

Acrylic paint is quite common; it is vastly used in artistic painting. However, one can also use it for other practical purposes such as painting metals or refurbishing objects.

This paint is often used because it dries fast, doesn’t wear off quickly. It equally maintains its color well, even when exposed to harsh elements.

But, to achieve all of these, you will need to use a primer so it will adhere correctly. You should also endeavor to pick a primer that is compatible with acrylic paint.

Having said this, let’s delve into the topic properly.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Metal?

paint cans filled with colorful paints and a paintbrush

Yes! As I said earlier, acrylic paints can be used on metal. Here are is a step by step guide on how to do this:

How To Prepare The Metal Surface For Painting

Know that it is very crucial to prepare the metal surface properly before painting it. If there are any features like hinges or doorknobs, which you don’t intend painting, endeavor to remove them or mask them with tape.

You should also mask other areas you don’t want to paint. With this, we are going to be explaining step-wise how to paint metal with acrylic paint.

Step 1- Clean the surface

Wipe away dust, smoothen the surface with good sandpaper, wash it, and allow it to dry. You can also consider using alcohol wipes for the cleaning as this is a faster way to clean.

Step 2- Apply an oil-based primer

Proceed to apply an oil-based primer on the surface. As we stated earlier, endeavor to use a primer that is compatible with the acrylic paint.

You should also choose the right paintbrush for the primer application as you won’t want to apply the primer over.

Step 3- Wait for the primer to dry

You wait for the primed coat to dry. Check the container of your primer to know the drying/curing time of your primer as it varies. The average curing time spans around 45 minutes to one hour.

Step 4- Start applying the acrylic paint

You can start painting with a paintbrush. Just as we stated earlier, the size of the paintbrush you’d use largely depends on what you’re painting.

If you’re painting something substantial, you can consider using a roller. When you’re done, allow the final coat of paint to dry. This usually takes around 35-47 hours.

Take this tip

Acrylic paint is water-soluble, so you should wash the paintbrush with water while it’s still wet with paint.

Also, if you wish to paint with more than one color, you can paint over the first coat of acrylic paint after the first color dries. Besides, you should wear old clothes or an apron when painting with acrylics as the stains don’t come off quickly.

What kind of paint do you use on metal?

You can use either a water-based acrylic paint or an oil-based paint, as long as the container identifies “for metal” somewhere on its labeling. Oil-based paints take much longer to dry, and they need a high-quality paintbrush that doesn’t shed during application.

What kind of paint do you use on metal

What is the best paint to stick to metal?

Overall Best Paint for Metal: KRYLON Color Master Paint

The metal paint can easily be used on both indoor and outdoor surfaces. What is this? This paint comes in many different colors as well as finishes. You can also check out the Krylon Covermaxx Spray Paint, another best overall metal paint from the same brand.

How do you get paint to stick to metal?

To properly prepare new metal surfaces, use mineral spirits to remove grease and apply a rust-inhibitive primer before painting. For painted surfaces that are in sound condition, remove dust with a clean, dry cloth, de-gloss the surface with light sanding, and wipe with mineral spirits to ensure good adhesion.

Does acrylic paint wash off?

Acrylic paint can wash out of clothes with proper treatment, such as applying hairspray or isopropyl alcohol. Because this paint is water-soluble, you can often rinse it away entirely if you catch the paint stain before it dries!

Will acrylic paint stick to galvanized metal?

Most acrylic coatings will adhere directly to cleaned galvanized metal. A weathered galvanized surface develops a layer of white rust, which must be removed to ensure good adhesion of the coating.

Can you paint metal with a brush?

Use a brush or roller, or use a spray paint formulated for application on metal (manufacturers like Rust-Oleum and Krylon offer “all surface” spray paint in numerous colors and sheens). Apply several light coats, letting the paint dry for a few hours between coats.

What is acrylic paint used for?

Besides canvas, paper, and card, you can use acrylics to paint on glass and plastic, metal and stone, fabric, and leather. Since acrylic paint is water-soluble, you can wash your brushes and palette, as well as your hands, with soap and water.

Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Although it might be slightly water-resistant, it does not provide a waterproof coat. To make it waterproof, add a sealer over the acrylic paint. If you have not treated the surface in any way and the paint is still wet, the rain can wash away the acrylic paint.

How do you keep acrylic paint on metal?

Acrylic paint is not waterproof, so you need a sealer to add water-resistance after painting metal. Varnishes or sealers are ideal for the task. They bring a waterproof and scruff-proof seal to the newly painted surface, protecting it for many years to come.

Can I paint metal without primer?

As long as you properly prepare the surface before primering it is certainly OK to apply. Be aware that primers are not durable- their only job is to create better adhesion between the surface and the paint, and sometimes to seal out the original color. It is a bad thing to allow it to let it unpainted for too long.


Painting with acrylics can be fun, especially if you’ve got your tools ready. A lot of people often react to acrylic paints, as most acrylic paint products have a strong smell.

If you react easily, you can add a nose mask to your tool list. It is also vital that you research properly before purchasing an acrylic paint.

If possible, buy a primer of the same make as the product. This saves you the stress of checking if they are compatible or not.

Related Posts: