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Can You Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint? (How To)

When working with acrylic paint, you may sometimes want to beautify it or protect it. You might even want to change the color and one way to do so is with epoxy. Can you put epoxy on acrylic paint?

Epoxy works well on acrylic paint as long as the surface is prepared in advance. Both epoxy paint and epoxy resin will cover the surface nicely and dry to a hard finish to both protect the acrylic paint underneath and beautify it.

Acrylic painting

When most people are talking about working with epoxy, they’re talking about working with a two-part product that is both epoxy resin and a hardener. Generally speaking, that is what we are going to discuss in this article but there’s something else to consider as well.

Can You Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint? (How To)

There is also such a thing as epoxy paint, and many people are wondering if they can put epoxy paint on acrylic paint. We know that there are some challenges when it comes to mixing paint types, but is this one of those challenges?

Acrylic paint is made from a number of different items, including whatever pigment was selected in a base of oils, plasticizers, and acrylic polymer emulsion. Many of the acrylic paints on the market do not include a lot of acrylics.

Perhaps the most important thing to consider is the fact that the majority of acrylic paints are water-based. They do have the benefit of having acrylic, so they form a water-resistant finish after going through the drying process.

If you’re trying to put epoxy paint over acrylic paint, that is not typically going to be a problem because epoxy paint is also water-based. Of course, you should check to make sure that neither the epoxy nor acrylic paint is oil-based because you can’t typically mix the two over each other.

One thing you can do to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible is to use a good primer. The primer needs to be based on whatever is going on next, so in this case, it should be a water-based primer.

Even if the acrylic paint is water-based, using the primer is a good way to ensure that things work properly. It gives a clean, new surface so the epoxy paint holds perfectly.

Then again, if you are just putting a two-part epoxy over acrylic paint, you don’t necessarily want to use a primer. You want the beauty of acrylic paint to shine through, and fortunately, you can put epoxy directly over acrylic paint without worrying.

The real caveat is to ensure that the acrylic paint has dried completely. Check the can of acrylic paint for more information on drying time but I would add additional time, just to be sure.

You should also wear the proper PPE to ensure your safety. This includes eye protection, gloves, protective clothing, and if possible, a respirator with the proper cartridge.

Epoxy does have some strong fumes and it can be difficult for those who have asthma and other health concerns involving their lungs. It’s always better to open a window and work in a ventilated environment.

Should You Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint?

Paint brushes with acrylic paint

Now that we know that it is possible to put acrylic paint over epoxy, what are the problems associated with doing it? Here are a few to consider:

Particles in Resin – When the resin is still wet, it is possible for particles to fall in it and ruin the finish. Even little pieces of dust that are commonly in the air can make a difference.

There is a way to help fix this problem, but it’s going to take some diligence on your part. You can put a screen over the piece that is shaped somewhat like a tent. It will cover and protect it but you will still have to remove it to clean the epoxy off of the edges if there are drips.

Paint Not Dry – If you try to put the epoxy on before the acrylic paint is dry, you are going to end up with problems. It can smear the paint and cause the entire piece to be ruined.

The only way to avoid this problem is to ensure that the acrylic paint is properly cured and dried. You can check the container for the manufacturer’s instructions on dry time. Keep in mind that humidity and other factors can make a difference, so give it plenty of extra time.

Grease under Resin – If there is any problem with grease under the resin, it may keep the epoxy from sticking properly. This can be a real issue because you don’t always recognize when there is grease or grime on the painted surface.

Another similar problem is with mold. It is possible for mold to be under the epoxy and in some cases, it can even gain a foothold under the epoxy if everything doesn’t go smoothly.

The easiest way to fix this is to spray some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel and gently wipe the acrylic before putting epoxy on. It’s best if you test this in a small area to ensure it will not ruin the paint.

What Tools Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint?

Tools for epoxy

There are a few tools you should gather in advance before applying the epoxy over acrylic paint. This will help to ensure that things go as smoothly as possible and you can do the project without delays.


Rubbing Alcohol

Paper Towels

Wooden Stir Sticks

Measured Mixing Cups

Scale (optional)

Neoprene Gloves

Plastic Spatula

Squeegee (optional)

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You may also have other tools that you like using when doing any DIY project. It’s a good idea to have them on hand in case they are necessary.

What Preparations Do You Need To Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint?

Putting epoxy

The amount of time that you spend preparing for any project is going to have an impact on how well things go. This includes when you are putting epoxy on acrylic paint. What can you do to prepare?

Take the following steps:

1. Clean – It is vitally important that you clean the surface and remove any grease or dust before applying the epoxy. You can spray some rubbing alcohol on a clean paper towel and gently wipe the surface. Be sure to test an inconspicuous area first.

2. Dry – Not only is it important to ensure that the acrylic surface is dry after you clean it, but the acrylic paint should also be completely dry before you apply epoxy. You can check the manufacturer’s instructions for how long the acrylic should be drying. Make sure you add some time for good measure.

3. Drip Preparation – If you are applying epoxy over an acrylic painting or any other smaller surface, you’re going to have a problem with dripping. The piece should be propped up on cups above the surface, so as the epoxy finds its level and runs over the edges, it will drip on whatever is underneath.

You can prepare for drips by putting down a piece of plastic to protect the surface under the area. In addition, use painter’s tape along the bottom of the piece that is being worked on. After the acrylic dries along with the drips, heat them up with a heat gun and peel the tape off.

4. Calculate – Epoxy is not inexpensive so you don’t want to waste any of it if at all possible. It’s important to calculate how much resin you will need before you begin the project. You don’t want to overestimate but you don’t want to underestimate.

How To Put Epoxy On Acrylic Paint

confused man standing

Now that we have everything prepared, it’s time to get started with the actual project. Follow these steps when putting epoxy on acrylic paint.

1. Prop and Level – Any smaller piece that is being worked on should be propped up above the surface on cups or other items. You need to have it above the surface so it doesn’t adhere to the surface when the resin dries.

It is also important to make sure that the piece is level. Check the level in more than one direction to ensure that it is perfectly flat. This will help the epoxy to find its own level properly.

2. Mix and stir – Mix the resin and hardener according to the instructions, which would typically be one-to-one. You should then stir it with a popsicle stick or some other type of wooden stir stick.

Mixing it by hand will ensure that you do not get too many bubbles in the mix. You will still get some bubbles, but they can be taken care of with heat.

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3. Pour – Carefully pour some of the epoxy around the edges and then more in the middle. You want to have enough so that it will completely cover the entire piece.

4. Spread – You can use a plastic spatula or squeegee to carefully spread out the epoxy over the acrylic paint. You can also use your hand if you want greater control over the process but it is best if you wear two neoprene gloves to do so.

5. Edges – Be sure to include the edges and work with them to cover them completely with epoxy.

6. Bubbles – As the epoxy levels and settles, bubbles will come to the surface. You can take care of the bubbles by heating the surface with a heat gun or blowtorch. Be careful you don’t hold the heat in one place too long so you don’t burn the epoxy.

The only other thing you have to do is wait for it to dry and enjoy the finished project.

You can apply epoxy on acrylic paint but you should make sure that the surface is clean first. Mix the epoxy according to the manufacturer’s instructions and spread it across the surface to help it seek its own level.

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