Paint Types

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof? Everything You Need to Know

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Acrylic paint is a popular choice among artists and crafters due to its versatility and vibrant colors. However, one common question that arises is whether acrylic paint is waterproof.

In this article, we will delve into the properties of acrylic paint, its water resistance, and how to make it waterproof.

So, let’s explore the world of acrylic paint and find out if it can withstand water exposure.

Understanding Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a water-based paint that consists of pigment particles suspended in an acrylic polymer emulsion.

When applied to a surface, the water in the paint evaporates, leaving behind a film of acrylic polymer that dries to a durable and flexible finish.

Acrylic paint is known for its quick drying time, allowing artists to layer colors and work efficiently.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

Acrylic paint is water-resistant, meaning it can withstand exposure to water to some extent.

When dry, acrylic paint forms a protective layer that helps prevent water from seeping into the paint film.

This makes it suitable for indoor use and for artworks that may encounter occasional contact with water, such as wiping with a damp cloth.

However, it’s important to note that acrylic paint is not completely waterproof.

If exposed to excessive water or submerged in water for an extended period, the paint film may soften and become susceptible to damage.

Therefore, it’s essential to take precautions to enhance the water resistance of acrylic paint if you plan to use it in situations where it may come into direct contact with water.

Water Resistance vs. Waterproofness

While acrylic paint is water-resistant, it’s crucial to understand the difference between water resistance and waterproofness.

Water resistance refers to the ability of a material to resist the penetration of water to some degree.

On the other hand, waterproofness refers to the complete resistance to the penetration of water.

Acrylic paint falls under the water-resistant category, as it can repel water to a certain extent.

It can withstand light splashes, humidity, and occasional contact with water without significant damage.

However, it is not entirely waterproof, meaning it cannot withstand prolonged exposure to water or complete immersion.

Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off?

One common concern among artists is whether acrylic paint will wash off once it has dried.

The good news is that once acrylic paint has dried and cured, it becomes relatively permanent and will not wash off easily with water alone.

This makes it suitable for various applications, including painting on canvas, wood, and other surfaces.

However, it’s important to note that while acrylic paint is water-resistant, it can still be removed or altered with the use of solvents or harsh chemicals.

Therefore, it’s advisable to handle acrylic artwork with care and avoid exposing it to abrasive cleaning agents or excessive scrubbing.

How to Waterproof Acrylic Paint

If you want to make your acrylic paint more waterproof, there are several methods you can try. One effective way is to apply a clear acrylic sealer or varnish over the dried paint.

These sealers create an additional protective layer that enhances the water resistance of the paint film.

Before applying the sealer, ensure that your artwork is clean and free from dust or debris.

Use a soft brush or foam applicator to apply the sealer evenly over the entire surface of the painting. Allow it to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Another method to waterproof acrylic paint is by mixing a waterproofing medium or additive directly into the paint.

These additives alter the properties of the paint, making it more resistant to water. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the correct ratio of additive to paint.

Waterproofing Acrylic Paint on Different Surfaces

The method of waterproofing acrylic paint may vary depending on the surface you are working on. Here are some tips for waterproofing acrylic paint on different surfaces:


For canvas paintings, applying a layer of acrylic varnish or sealer is an effective way to enhance water resistance.

Make sure to apply the varnish evenly and allow it to dry completely before exposing the artwork to water.


When working with acrylic paint on wood, it’s essential to seal the wood surface before applying the paint. This helps prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and affecting the paint.

After painting, apply a layer of varnish or sealer to protect the artwork from water damage.


Acrylic paint can adhere to glass surfaces, but it may not be as durable or water-resistant on its own.

To make acrylic paint waterproof on glass, consider using a glass primer or a specialized glass paint.

These products are designed to bond effectively with glass and provide better water resistance.


To make acrylic paint waterproof on fabric, consider using a fabric medium or textile medium. These additives help the paint adhere to the fabric fibers and provide better water resistance.

Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the correct ratio of medium to paint.

Waterproofing Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use

If you plan to display your acrylic artwork outdoors, it’s crucial to make it weather-resistant.

Exposure to sunlight, rain, and other outdoor elements can cause damage to the paint over time. Here are some tips to make your acrylic paint more suitable for outdoor use:

  1. Use high-quality acrylic paint: Opt for artist-grade or professional-grade acrylic paint, as they tend to have better lightfastness and durability compared to student-grade paints.
  2. Apply multiple layers: Layering your paint can provide additional protection against the elements. Apply multiple coats of paint, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next.
  3. Use a UV-protective varnish: Apply a UV-protective varnish over your acrylic artwork to shield it from the harmful effects of sunlight. Look for varnishes specifically designed for outdoor use.
  4. Protect the artwork: If possible, display your outdoor acrylic artwork under a covered area or use protective coverings during inclement weather to minimize direct exposure to rain and sunlight.

Maintaining Waterproof Acrylic Artwork

Once you have made your acrylic artwork waterproof, it’s important to know how to maintain its water resistance.

Here are some best practices for cleaning and preserving your waterproof acrylic paintings:

  1. Dust regularly: Use a soft, lint-free cloth or a soft brush to gently remove dust from the surface of your artwork. Avoid using abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the paint.
  2. Avoid excessive moisture: While acrylic paint is water-resistant, it’s still advisable to avoid excessive moisture or prolonged exposure to water. Wipe off any accidental spills or splashes immediately with a soft, damp cloth.
  3. Handle with care: When moving or transporting your acrylic artwork, handle it with care to avoid scratching or damaging the paint. Use protective coverings or packaging materials to ensure its safety during transportation.
  4. Store properly: If you need to store your acrylic artwork, make sure to keep it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and extreme temperature fluctuations. Use acid-free tissue paper or glassine paper to protect the surface from dust and scratches.

Experimenting with Waterproofing Techniques

If you’re looking to explore additional techniques and products to make acrylic paint waterproof, there are several options to consider. Here are a few examples:

  1. Silicone additives: Some artists use silicone additives to create a waterproof barrier on the surface of their acrylic paintings. These additives can be mixed directly into the paint or applied as a topcoat.
  2. Epoxy resin: Applying a layer of epoxy resin over your acrylic artwork can provide a glossy finish and enhance its water resistance. However, keep in mind that working with epoxy resin requires proper ventilation and safety precautions.
  3. Wax or wax-based sealants: Wax-based sealants can be applied over dried acrylic paint to create a protective layer. These sealants can provide a subtle sheen and improve water resistance.

When experimenting with different waterproofing techniques, it’s important to test them on a small area or a sample piece before applying them to your final artwork.

This allows you to assess the results and ensure compatibility with your specific project.

Does Expired Acrylic Paint Still Have Waterproof Properties?

Expired acrylic paint may lose its waterproof properties. Acrylic paint expiration dates indicate the suggested timeframe for optimal usage. However, when past its expiration date, the paint’s binder may deteriorate, affecting its ability to repel water effectively. It’s important to check and replace expired acrylic paint to maintain desired waterproofing results.


Acrylic paint is water-resistant by nature, but it may not be completely waterproof.

However, with the right techniques and products, you can enhance its water resistance and make it suitable for various applications.

Whether you want to protect your artwork from water damage or create weather-resistant outdoor pieces, understanding how to make acrylic paint waterproof is essential.

So, experiment with different methods and enjoy the versatility of acrylic paint while ensuring its longevity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use acrylic paint on outdoor furniture?

A: Yes, acrylic paint can be used on outdoor furniture.

However, to ensure its durability and water resistance, it’s recommended to apply a protective sealant or varnish over the painted surface.

This will help protect the paint from the elements and extend its lifespan.

Q: Can I mix acrylic paint with water to make it more waterproof?

A: While adding water to acrylic paint can make it more fluid and easier to work with, it does not make the paint more waterproof.

In fact, adding too much water can dilute the paint and compromise its water resistance.

If you want to enhance the water resistance of acrylic paint, it’s better to use a waterproofing medium or additive specifically designed for that purpose.

Q: Can I use acrylic paint on ceramics or porcelain?

A: Acrylic paint can be used on ceramics or porcelain, but it may not be as durable or long-lasting as other specialized paints.

To ensure better adhesion and water resistance, it’s recommended to use a primer designed for ceramic or porcelain surfaces before applying acrylic paint.

Additionally, applying a clear sealant or varnish over the painted surface can help protect the paint and improve its water resistance.

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