Acrylic Paint

Can You Paint Acrylic Over Enamel?

Can You Paint Acrylic Over Enamel

If you’re an artist, one of the first things you learn is that no two colors are exactly alike. This isn’t just an academic matter. There are many practical ways to get this “exact” likeness between colors that can affect your painting skills and possibly your business.

You can paint acrylic over enamel, depending on the specific combination. You must prepare your surface by sanding it and then priming it with latex or oil-based primer. Once that’s done, you can apply the acrylics — again, wait for them to dry before applying more layers of color.

If you have found yourself in the middle of a paint job involving enamel, acrylic, or epoxy paints and want to know if your project can withstand the re-applied paint, then this post is for you.

Related Reading: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

What Is Enamel?

When you hear the word ‘enamel,’ tooth enamel probably comes to mind. Well, here’s the kind of enamel I will talk about.

Enamel is a decorative or protective substance that is mostly semi-transparent and glossy and is applied to metals, glass, or clay (source). Therefore, it is correct to state that enamel is oil-based paint that forms a glossy and shiny finish on products or surfaces.

Enamel paint is a type of finish that dries to a hard and glossy finish. It can be used on walls, furniture, or any other surface that needs to be protected from damage and wear. Enamel paints are available in many colors, but they’re usually white or off-white when you buy them at the store.

They’re also commonly used as automotive paints because they can be applied over existing paint without damaging it.

Enamel paint can be used to paint wood, glass, metal, walls, and some plastics, as well as for interior walls in bathrooms and kitchens. Some enamel paints are also available in moisture-resistant forms, making them ideal for bathroom and kitchen applications (source).

How can you paint acrylic over enamel if the enamel is so oily?

You can paint acrylic over enamel if the surface is properly prepared. When painting over enamel with acrylic paint or any other type, you must first prepare the surface (source).

You can do this by sanding or applying primer to the surface. Depending on the underlying paint, you will need to scrape or sand away the previous paint, or you may need to apply a primer before painting over it.

Painting enamel on a previously painted surface without first getting rid of the underlying paint is a bad idea because the paint may begin to chip or form bubbles after a while. So, the paint will eventually peel off, even if it looks good for a few weeks. As a result, it is critical to prepare the surface before painting the enamel.

Related Reading: Can You Dye Acrylic Yarn?

What Is the Best Primer for Acrylic Paint?

Primer is a type of paint with two components: pigment and binder (source). Acrylic resin is typically used as the binder in acrylic primer. Acrylic primer is ideal for various surfaces because it forms a strong bond with the surface to which it is applied.

Primers are the essential oils that keep your paint waterproof. They also help protect your paint against water erosion, oxidation, and other natural hazards. The best primer for acrylic paint is not just any product you can buy at the store; it’s an essential oil that combines well with the paint.

Choosing a primer with high-quality properties, such as lavender and ylang-ylang, will yield the best results.

The primer is used for several reasons, which are:

  • To prepare surfaces for painting. It is usually applied on porous surfaces such as wood, concrete, or drywall before painting begins.
  • To seal the product design or surface and make it smooth for the paint to adhere.
  • It also helps to keep the paint intact from peeling, flaking, or chipping. Acrylic primer can be applied to both the inside and outside of the surfaces.

The best primer for acrylic paint is the one that uses 100 percent acrylic resins and is generally more expensive. For instance, the U.S. Art Supply White Gesso Acrylic Medium (link to Amazon) is highly recommended as one of the best primers for acrylic paint.

The primer can be applied by following the formula below:

  1. Using a clean spatula or a mechanical mixer, ensure that U.S. Art Supply White Gesso Acrylic Medium is evenly mixed.
  2. Allow to dry after applying one coat of U.S. Art Supply White Gesso Acrylic Medium (White) diluted with 10-15 percent water with a roller.
  3. Apply U.S. Art Supply White Gesso Acrylic Medium in the desired color with a roller and set aside to dry.
  4. Apply a second coat in the same manner if necessary (give a one-hour recoating interval between each coat).
  5. Finish with the recommended instructions according to the method of application.
  6. Using regular and repeated movements, apply approximately 1 square meter of the surface as you paint the rest of the product or surface to completion.

Using a primer on surfaces exposed to direct sunlight or extreme heat is not recommended.

How to Use Acrylic Paint Over Oil-Based Paint

You’ve probably heard countless recommendations on choosing the right paint for your project. Whatever your reasons, chances are you have at least one online guide that suggests which paints will work with your product or surface and how much effort it will take to paint correctly.

If so, you are at the right place and time. I will explore some tips you can use to achieve a finish that will meet your desired results.

So, can you use acrylic paint over any oil-based paint, and what process does it entail? Of course, you can paint acrylic paint over oil-based paint.

Here are some tips that can make acrylic paint usable with any oil-based paint (source).

  1. Make sure that the oil paint is dry first. You should consider if the oil-painted surface is 7-30 old and can be scrubbed without affecting the finish.
  2. To remove the gloss from the surface, use fine-grit sandpaper.
  3. Remove all sanding dust by lightly rubbing it with a tack cloth. Tack cloth is sticky and made of beeswax. If you press too hard, some of the wax may be left behind.
  4. Using a sponge, thoroughly clean the surface with a 14-cup trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution in a gallon of warm water. Wear personal protective equipment and use TSP in a well-ventilated area. Cover the oil-based paint with a high-quality primer for optimal adhesion. Apply a second coat of primer if any color or stains show through.
  5. Use acrylic paint to paint over your product or surface, then let it dry.

Acrylic paint can be used on any oil-based paint; you just have to follow the right criteria for it to apply effectively and last long.

Final Thoughts

I have learned that as time went on, people are always curious about how certain things work. Some craftsmen and women I know enjoy repainting (it is an art form) or rejuvenating old furniture, especially those antiques.

Some antique furniture and even decorative items, given the right care, may not necessarily have to be thrown away. If you have a vintage piece of furniture and want to keep it in good shape, you might want to consider these tips when painting over enamel.

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