Art and Craft

Is acrylic paint waterproof?

Is acrylic paint waterproof

Working on an art project outdoors there is a very high chance that even your acrylic paint gets washed along with the rain. Even when working on indoor art in places like the washroom there is a very high probability that the moisture can ruin your effort on your piece of art to nothing. Sometimes even a very unlikely accident can cause water to be spilled on an art piece or an acrylic painted wall resulting in it getting destroyed. All these instances may make this question pop up in your mind “Is acrylic paint waterproof?” And you realize then that acrylic paint may not be waterproof the contrary to what a lot of people think.

Once the acrylic paint dries up it loses its ability to be somewhat waterproof. Though acrylic paint is a little water-resistant and sometimes it can even withstand moisture for quite some time. But, over time exposure to water and moisture can result in the acrylic painted surface getting worn out or damaged altogether. It is the reason why you need to do something to make sure that your effort spent while doing acrylic paints lasts for the time to come. The best way to do so is by using varnish to top off your acrylic painting to give it the ability to stay the same for an extended period.

Acrylic paint is a very versatile and popular choice of paint that many people prefer to use over so many other options. It is because when it comes to creating art pieces acrylic paint is a choice that many professional and amateur artists choose. Acrylic paints give a very fine finish that may can a little worn out over time. It is why when making home projects most people prefer to use acrylic paints as it still is a better option to opt for rather than making a painting with house paints that are famous for their weather resistance ability. Nevertheless, the fact remains true that acrylic paints are not that indestructible.

If you are looking to figure out an answer to the question “Is acrylic paint waterproof?”. You should know first how acrylic paints are made, how exactly they work and what are the ways to make acrylic paints moisture-resistant.

Everything you need to know about acrylic paints

Three main components make acrylic paints the way they are. These include pigment, water, and acrylic resin.

  • Pigment

The pigment is the most important component that is acrylic paint. It is exactly what gives color to acrylic pain. But, in its natural form pigment has a powdery form. That’s why inorder to give it a runny texture you need to add something along to the powdery texture.

  • Water

Water in acrylic paints works as a binder material that works to give the powdery texture of pigment a fluid form. It is necessary to transform the pigment into a fluid form because it makes it easy to use it for painting.


  • Acrylic Resin

Acrylic resin is another very important part of acrylic paint. It is because it is a binder that works to separate the pigment and ensures that it stays in one place on your painting as soon as the paint gets dry. In other words, it is the most essential part that keeps everything gel in together.

Acrylic polymer is made when acrylic resin and water are mixed. This is the form that is used for painting on different materials. Once you are done painting the water included in the acrylic polymer evaporates and leave behind acrylic resin. It then transforms into a plastic-like material. It is at this phase you can say that your painting is done as the paints are set properly and dry.

How is acrylic paint waterproof?

People may argue whether or not acrylic paint can have resistance to water or weather or not it is completely waterproof. According to my understanding, I think that acrylic paints have good water resistance ability. Let us talk about all the reasons what I come to this conclusion.

First of all, we need to understand what it means to have water resistance and what it means to be completely waterproof.

  • Water resistance

By water resistance, we mean that it is somewhat resistant to water. But, it cannot withstand exposure to water for an extended time without getting damaged.

  • Waterproof

By waterproof, it means that it can withstand water completely and fully without sustaining any damage to it. Without any regard to the time and amount of water, it is exposed to.

Now that we know about the difference between water resistance and is waterproof. Now, let us talk about acrylic paints. Acrylic paint is a kind of polymer. Now you may be wondering what is a polymer? Don’t think too much, as we have the answer to your question. Polymers are those substances that are used as coating materials to make the surface waterproof. Though, acrylic paints are said to be waterproof. I don’t think that stands true.

It is because normally any object or substance that is completely waterproof has a rating attached to it. This normally starts with “IP” and helps to determine how much resistance it has to moisture. This makes us wonder how exactly is acrylic paint waterproof? And what is its IP rating? After a lot of research, I found that there is no IP rating that is attached to acrylic paints. So, it makes it very difficult to say that acrylic paints are completely waterproof.

Don’t ever make the mistake of leaving your acrylic painting immersed in water for long or leave those beautifully painted lounge chairs out in the rain. As there is a high chance its beautiful coating can get damaged due to being continuously exposed to water.

Considering everything that I have mentioned earlier, I have concluded that acrylic paints have good resistance to water but they are not what is normally said to be waterproof. So, if you are spending so much time and effort on a project that uses acrylic paint don’t ever risk it.

How to make acrylic painting withstand the tests of time?

It may sound very dramatic, but, yes we can assure you that there is a way to make sure that your acrylic painting withstands the test of time. By that, we don’t only mean that it is waterproof but we are also talking about the painting getting faded over time.


Let’s say if you have painted a table or a chair made of wood or metal. That is supposed to be placed outdoors. The surface can likely get a little damaged due to chips, cracks, or peels. Especially if it doesn’t have any proper kind of protection.


So, when making a piece of art you also need to consider the place where you are going to place it. For example, if you are planning to make a painting for your lounge, you don’t have to worry about it being waterproof. But, the problem arises when your work of art is kept somewhere outdoor where it has direct exposure to different elements of atmosphere and moisture. In such cases, it is a wise move to make sure that your acrylic paints are completely waterproof. So, it doesn’t get damaged and can withstand the tests of time.


The best way to make your acrylic painting waterproof is to use a varnish along. But, there are many things that you need to think about when it comes to using a varnish. Firstly you need to know how to apply the varnish to your painting. Plus, you also need to know how many layers of varnish your painting needs to give it the waterproof protection that you desire.

Steps you need to follow to put varnish to your acrylic painting

If you want to waterproof your painting then you need to follow some specific instructions. You cannot just apply the varnish directly along with the acrylic paints. To apply varnish to your painting, first of all, you need to ensure that your painting is not wet in any way. A week is a maximum time an acrylic painting takes to completely dry up. Once you are sure that your painting is dry in every way possible then only you can start with the varnishing part. The first thing that you need to do before applying varnish to your painting is to start the whole process with an isolation coat.

What makes an isolation coat?

An isolation coat works as a wall between the varnish and the surface of your acrylic painting. It keeps the two separate and mixing. But, now you may be thinking why we need a wall to separate the varnish from the surface of the painting. Why is it not possible to use varnish on its own? Yes, it is possible to use varnish on its own. But, you need to be very careful when applying varnish directly on the surface of the painting.


Normally, it is not recommended to use varnish directly on the painting. The reason being that varnish can get removed. In case, your varnish layer is worn off then you need to make sure to apply a new layer. This helps to bring your painting to get alive and makes its colors shine out. But, the problem comes when the varnish layer gets removed, it can also cause the acrylic paints to get removed as well. This is the main reason why you need to have an isolation layer along with the varnish to add extra strength and protection to your acrylic painting.


Well, if you think that the isolation coat is expensive, then you are wrong. All you need to do is to get a bottle of varnish and a bottle of isolation coat and you are good to go. You can even check isolation coats by Dick Blick Art, which are popular for their affordable price and quantity.

Applying Isolation coat

You can apply an isolation coat to your acrylic painting once the paints fully dry up. It is very easy to apply an isolation coat to your painting. All you need to do is to follow the instructions given on the isolation coat bottle. First of all, you need to mix your isolation coat with the amount of water mentioned in the insolation coating bottle. Only applying one coat over the painting is more than enough. You just need to make sure that the isolation coat covers the painting surface properly. Especially, if you are painting on a surface with different textures then you need to make sure that the isolation coat doesn’t miss any places.


Once you are done, you need to leave the isolation coat to dry for 24 hours at least. It may seem like a very time-consuming process. But, trust me when I say that it is worth waiting the time. Because it gives your painting the ultimate protection it needs to stay the same way. After waiting for 24 hours, it is time to apply the varnish layer.


There are three types of finishes of varnish, that are matte, glossy, and satin. You need to determine the type of varnish finish that goes well with your painting. You need to be very mindful of the choice that you make. It is because getting the wrong type of varnish finish can entirely transform the way how your painting is supposed to look.


Matte varnish finish can make the colors of your painting to give a dull look. While a glossy varnish finish will help to make the colors of your painting to become alive and appear more brilliant. In comparison to a satin finish that is a mixture of both matt and glossy.


To make sure that you accurately apply your varnish. Follow the instructions that are given on the bottle and mix the varnish with the right amount of water. If you want to apply multiple layers of varnish to your acrylic painting you need to wait for about three hours after each layer. The whole process is very time-consuming but if you want to make sure that your painting is properly protected then it is worth the time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *