Is Acrylic Paint Food Safe?

We have noticed a spike in the number of questions about keeping products food safe due to the huge number of people who have recently joined the arts and crafts space as a way to pass the time and to show their creativity. With so many people wanting to use their arts and crafts skills to customise bowls, mugs, chopping boards, and a range of other common food related items, we have noticed more and more people asking if acrylic paint is food safe or not.

Due to so many people reaching out to ask about using acrylic paints with food related items and the importance of ensuring that you are using the correct products when it comes to food related items, we have decided to publish this article. We hope that it will; be able to help any of our readers who are wanting to use acrylic paints on items that come into contact with food get the best performance possible while also ensuring that their items are safe to use with food.

Before we go any further, we want to quickly say that you should always check the label of any products that you are thinking of using on items that come into contact with food. Although we will be talking about a few specific brands in this article that do offer food safe products for arts and crafts, these same brands also have a number of none food safe products so you have to double check you are using the correct items.

Is Acrylic Paint Food Safe?

Although there are a small number of acrylic paints that are listed as food safe, the vast majority of the paint products on the market are not and do present a risk to you if you do use them to decorate items that come into contact with food. This is usually due to the minerals and chemicals that are used in the pigments for the acrylic paints to give them their colors not being suitable for consumption.

In addition to that, there are some colors that are straight up toxic and have a high chance of causing issues with sickness if you do accidentally consume them. Although the most well known colors are the cadmium based ones such as cadmium red, cadmium orange, and cadmium yellow, there others out there too.

These are usually the acrylic paint colors that contain lead, magnesium, or iron but there are a number of others too such as various shades of vermillion that are high in arsenic. Although some paint brands have since switched over to synthetic pigments for these colors, they are still not listed as food safe and should not be used on items that will come into contact with food or drink.

Is There A Food Safe Paint?

Although there are some paints on the market that are listed as food safe, we usually recommend against using them due to the pigment substitutes that deliver their color being weak. This usually results in poor coloration as well as rapid fading in a very short period of time resulting in your artwork being ruined.

In addition to that, most of the “food safe” paints are over priced for what you are getting in our opinion while also usually under performing as we mentioned above. This usually results in people within the arts and crafts community getting ripped off and getting a very poor deal when there are better options out there.

The majority of people who do want to use acrylic paints for arts and crafts on items that will be used on items that will come into contact with food choose to use a food safe sealant rather than a food safe paint. This ensures that you get the best possible colors that won’t fade for your artwork while adding a sealant onto your paint once it has dried to offer the food safe protection.

Is Acrylic Sealer Food Safe?

A standard acrylic sealant is not usually food safe due to the chemical compounds in the sealing agent used to provide the protective barrier. These acrylic sealants are excellent products that do tend to offer a high level of protection for general arts and crafts but they the regular acrylic sealing agents tend not to be suitable for anything relating to food.

There are a number of different natural sealing agents that can be used in different ways for different use cases that you are able to use instead of an acrylic sealing agent to try and make sure that your acrylic paint is food safe. These do range in their effectiveness but we feel that carnauba wax is definitely one of the better products.

Although some people do use a food grade mineral oil for any wood products that will come into contact with items to be used with food, this is usually not designed to protect acrylic paints. These mineral oils are usually used to lock in the natural colors of the wood but we do often see people get confused and presume that they are food safe paint sealants when they are not.

How Do I Make Painted Items Food Safe?

There are a number of different ways that you are able to make various items that will come into contact with food safe once customised with paints. The correct method will depend more on the item that you are using as a metal item like as spoon will need a different sealant to a ceramic item like a bowl that will in turn need a different sealant to a wood item like a cutting board.

You can usually get some solid results from carnauba wax on a range of different surfaces without having any issues but it tends not to perform well on metals. Another popular alternative is bees wax but again, its performance is questionable on some surfaces with it still performing poorly on metals.

If you have painted a metal surface that will come into contact with food using acrylic paints then you will probably need an industrial sealant and these can be pricey. Due to this, we usually recommend against it for the regular arts and crafts enthusiasts as even a small canister can be almost one hundred dollars putting it out of budget for most people.


That brings our article going over if acrylic paint is food safe or not to a close. We hope that you have found it helpful and that we have been able to help you. We know that people enjoy their arts and crafts but decorating items that will come into contact with food with acrylic paint is usually not worth the time and money that it takes to actually make everything food safe and usable so we usually recommend against it.

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