How To Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof!

It is good to see that painting with acrylics is becoming more and more popular with a large number of people having taken up acrylic painting over the last few years. As you can probably guess, with more people getting involved in acrylic painting we have seen a spike in the number of questions asked each month relating to painting with acrylics.

One of the more commonly seen questions that we have noticed month in month out is based on how to make acrylic paint waterproof after applying it to your paper, canvas, or other surface. With so many people constantly asking about this we have decided to make this the main focus of today’s article to try and help as many of our readers as possible.

As with most things in the arts and crafts space, there are a number of ways that you are able to easily make your acrylic paint waterproof. We will be going into what we feel is the best option to protect your acrylic based artwork from water as well as a number of household items that can be used too. As we are covering so many topics in this article we have decided to add a table of contents below to help our readers easily navigate the article by clicking on any sections they specifically want to read about.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof After It Dries?

Regular acrylic paint is not waterproof once dry and will quickly end up having issues if it ends up getting wet. Although there are some outdoor acrylic paints on the market, these are also not waterproof once dry and will also end up having issues if your artwork gets wet. You have to be careful with these outdoor acrylic paint sets too as they will often use terms such as water-resistant in their marketing and many people misinterpret this as waterproof when it is not.

What Can I Put On Acrylic Paint To Make It Waterproof?

There are a number of different budget-friendly, high-performing acrylic paint sealants on the market that can help to make your acrylic paint waterproof once your artwork is complete. In our opinion, Krylon aerosol sealant is the leading acrylic paint sealant on the market at the time of writing with it offering excellent performance while having a low price tag as well as being very quick and easy to use.

There are a number of different variants of the Krylon sealant on the market with both matte and gloss options available to ensure that your needs are met. The sealant is able to help you protect your artwork from water while also offering you a number of often overlooked benefits too. The product has managed to rightfully earn itself one of the best reputations going amongst the arts and crafts community and we would highly recommend that our readers consider it for their acrylic paint sealing needs.

How Do You Seal Acrylic Paint?

There are a number of different ways that you are able to actually seal acrylic paint with the application method usually depending on the product that you are using to seal your artwork. With something like Krylon aerosol sealant you simply hold the canister around 30cm away from the surface of your acrylic paint artwork and then spray it until a thin coat is covering the whole surface.

Although some people do apply two coats of their sealant, this is usually not required provided that you are using a reputable product that has a proven track record. A single coat of a decent sealant that has been designed for use with acrylic paints and offers waterproof protection should be enough to get the job done in most cases unless your artwork will be displayed outside and is exposed to the elements then a second coat is probably a good idea.

Some sealants do have other delivery methods though so we would always recommend that you read the instructions on the side of the product for the best possible performance. On top of this, some products have been designed to have two or even three applications for the sealant to work correctly so be sure to always read the usage instructions.

What Household Items Can I Use To Seal Acrylic Paint?

Thankfully, there are some household items that you are able to try to use to seal your acrylic paint to try and help offer it some protection from water. Although some people have claimed that these do make their acrylic paint based artwork waterproof, the results can vairy depending on a number of different factors so always do some testing prior to using the following sealing methods on artwork that you care about.

Can I Use Clear Nail Polish To Seal Acrylic Paint?

One of the more commonly used household items that people have been seen to use to seal their acrylic paint is clear nail polish and although it seems like a popular option, the results leave much to be desired. The main issue with nail polish is that it quickly ends up becoming expensive when used at the rate that is required to seal even an averages sized piece of acrylic paint making an actual sealant much more budget-friendly.

Another thing that we would like to point out is that even clear nail polish tends to start to yellow after six to twelve months adding a negative effect to your artwork that could be detrimental to the overall look of the piece. If you only need to have the artwork functional for a short period of time then nail polish may be considered but for any long term artwork, the yellowing effect tends to put it out of consideration for most people.

The actual application process of nail polish usually requires a brush too meaning that you may accidentally spoil your artwork with some nail polish formulas also presenting a risk of them having a reaction with your acrylics too. Although it would stand to logic that nail polish would offer some waterproof protection to your acrylic paints, we feel that the potential downsides covered above out weight it.

Can I Use Hairspray To Seal Acrylic Paint?

Although some people do use hairspray as a sealant for their acrylic paint work, it tends not to offer any waterproofing qualities to the artwork and due to acrylic paints drying hard and glossy, it renders hairspray useless for the purposes of this article. On top of this, some hairspray formulas may causes issues with your paints and start to break them down and potentially ruin your artwork.

Can I Use PVA Glue To Seal Acrylic Paint?

A number of people have reported using PVA glue as a sealant on their acrylic paints to try and provide their artwork with some protection against water. Although in theory this can work, PVA is NOT waterproof when dry and is only water resistant with the bonds in the glue often failing after as little as three soakings causing it to peel. As you can imagine, once the PVA starts to peel it can pull parts of your acrylic paint off your canvas or paper too.

Can I Use Mod Podge To Seal Acrylic Paint?

Although Mod Podge does have a ton of uses in the arts and crafts space, we would not recommend that you use it as a sealant to provide a waterproof barrier. Mod Podge is actually less water resistant than actual acrylic paint meaning that it will have its own issues if it ends up exposed to water and then only cause you more issues in the long run.


That brings our article going over how to make acrylic paint waterproof to a close and in our opinion, the best option will always be to use an actual waterproof sealant spray that has been designed for use with acrylic paints. We know that there are a number of products on the market that meet these specs but always do your own research on specific products to ensure that they have a good reputation amongst the community when used with acrylic paints for waterproofing artwork prior to using them.

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