How To Paint Acrylic Paint Over Spray Paint!

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At the time of writing, there is a huge spike in the number of people using spray paints as a quick and easy way to apply a background or base layer to their paper or canvas before applying acrylic paint over the top of it. Although the various tutorials on how to do this make the process look simple, there are some small things that many beginners overlook that can cause problems.

This is why we are going to be answering the very common question of “can you paint acrylic over spray paint?” in todays article. Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible better understand the process of using acrylic paint and spray paint together to ensure you get the best possible results.

Although this particular technique does tend to be more popular when painting on canvas but it can also work surprisingly well when painting on paper or card too. We know that most people focus on the look of the technique but the main advantage in our opinion is the speed that it allows you to get your base layers down to start working on building the layers of your painting up as fast as possible.

Can You Paint Acrylic Over Spray Paint?

You can paint acrylic paint over spray paint but we would highly recommend that you use a water based spray paint rather than the more common oil based spray paint. This makes a huge difference and ensures that the acrylic paint will work well with the spray paint once it has dried onto your paper of canvas.

We constantly see beginners making the mistake of trying to mix oil based and water based paints and the end result is usually poor. With acrylic paint being water based, you really do need to be using a decent water based spray paint if you are looking to paint over it with acrylic paint. You should also ensure that the base layer of spray paint is fully dry prior to going over it with acrylic paint.

Although the spray paint base layer with an acrylic top layer technique is still very popular, more and more people are starting to switch over to using a decent, cheap air brush. Although the initial cost is a little higher than a few canisters of spray paint, it quickly works out to be cheaper than spray paint and allows you to spray your acrylic paints onto your paper or canvas so you don’t have to worry about accidentally using an oil based spray paint either.

Can You Mix Spray Paint With Acrylic Paint?

Many people mix spray paint and acrylic paint in the same piece of artwork to great effect. Although the most common method is to use spray paint as a base layer, there are a number of techniques where you are able to mix the two together to excellent effect with relative ease.

You are also able to blend spray paint with acrylic paint too if needed to allow your acrylic colors to be closer to that of the spray paint provided that you are using a water based spray paint as the two can mix very well. If you are using an oil based spray paint then it will not mix correctly with acrylic paints or let you paint your acrylic paints over your dry oil based spray paint.

Although water based spray paints were hit and miss when they were first released, they are considerably better than they used to be now and offer much better performance. On top of that, they are available in a wide range of colors too helping you get exactly what you need with your spray paint without having to use an oil based formula allowing you to mix it with your acrylic paint much easier.

Should You Use Spray Paint Or An Airbrush?

Although water based spray paints can work well with acrylic paints, more and more people are starting to switch over to a decent, cheap air brush rather than spray paint. It offers a number of advantages as it does workout to be cheaper than spray paints within a few months or re-stocking spray paint while also allowing you to use your acrylic paints in the air brush.

This helps to create the effect of spray paints on your canvas or paper while using acrylic paints in the air brush rather than actual spray paints. This allows you to color match much easier as you simply load your current acrylic paints into the air brush as needed and use them for your base layers.

We often see beginners instantly reject an air bush as they seem to think that it is difficult to use but it is very simple, straight forward, and very user friendly. It really doesn’t take long to learn how to use the air brush and allow you to create a similar effect to your spray paint.

Why Would You Want To Use Acrylic Paint Over Spray Paint?

The main advantage of using acrylic paint over spray paint is that it allows you to use your spray paint or an air brush to get your base layer down very quickly. The thinner layer of paint created using a spray based application system tends to dry much quicker than brush based paint too.

This allows your base layer to dry very quickly so you can start to work on the other layers of your painting quicker. The technique works very well on larger paintings on both canvas or paper too and uses less paint for your base layer helping to save you money in the long run.

Although it takes a more experienced eye to notice, you can usually see that the base layers of the painting have been applied via spray system rather than a brush too. This helps to keep the painting interesting for the more experienced artist due to the different application methods that have been used when creating the art.


That brings our article going over if you can use acrylic paint over spray paint to a close. We hope that we have helped you understand how you can use acrylic paint over spray paint as well as helped you avoid the very common mistake of using an oil based spray paint only for the end result to be very poor. Always use a water based spray paint if you are wanting to go over it with an acrylic paint and your results will be considerably better than if you had used an oil based spray paint.