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Regarding the types of paints, acrylic paints are top of the list. They are fairly popular due to their quality, performance, and versatile properties. Use on different surfaces makes them loved by professionals and DIYers. Don’t forget that you have to follow the basics before applying acrylic paint on metal, such as surface preparation and primer application. You can paint metal with acrylic to transform outdated and rusty look. Nevertheless, you also need to know the right procedure on how to paint metal with acrylic and tactics so that the acrylic paint on metal adheres to the surface accurately.

The procedure of acrylic paint on metal without primer also depends on the type of metal. This guide will address how to use acrylic paint on metal and everything you need to know about painting on metal.

Acrylic Paint on Metal

Acrylic paint on metal

Acrylic paints are suitable for painting metal, but you must fulfill one requirement, i.e., the surface must be well prepared. They are easily applicable to different surfaces; therefore, most professionals like to use acrylic paints. The applications include models, car rims and wheels, scrap metal art, jewelry, chairs, cabinets, lamps, desks, and more.

Not to mention, they are suitable for patio furniture, screen doors, fences, shelves, wall decors, metal garage doors, etc. I have observed that people prefer acrylic paints as they give long-lasting performance and are also highly affordable. Likewise, they require some preparation without special tools and equipment. So, does acrylic paint work on metal? Yes, they are highly suitable.

How To Paint Metal with Acrylic – Easy Steps

paint metal with acrylic (before)
Before paint with acrylic
painting on metal (Before)
Rusty metal

It seems complicated to paint metal with acrylic, but it’s pretty easy if you follow the accurate procedure. However, you need to utilize your effort in surface preparation before painting. Here are the easy steps to follow and paint metal with acrylic paint:

Get your work area ready before you start painting with acrylics. Painting requires ventilation for safety reasons. Put on gloves, and protective clothing to protect yourself.

Step 1: Gather The Essential Material

You must collect all the necessary materials and tools before starting the painting job, such as:

  • Drop cloth
  • Rags
  • Painter’s tape
  • Cleaner
  • Gloves
  • Wire brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Acrylic paint
  • Paintbrush or Paint sprayer
  • Sealer (Optional)

Step 2: Remove The Old Paint & Residue

If the metal surface is already painted, removing the old paint is compulsory. After that sand the metal surface properly and use a wire brush to clean it. It helps remove the paint, residue, dirt, and rust. Clean all the corners using a brush or sandpaper to get an even paint finish.

You can check your surface preparation with your hands. When you feel the surface is smooth, the metal surface is ready.

Step 3: Clean The Metal Surface

After the removal of old paint, there will be dirt leftover. It’s compulsory to eliminate it completely to get a thoroughly cleaned surface. Start cleaning it with fresh soapy water and remove dust using a rag.

If still the surface is unclean, you can use some neutral solvents to remove stubborn residue. In the end, cleaning with fresh water is important.

Step 4: Apply The Primer

Apply primer before acrylic paint, making the surface fresh and smooth. You can get several coats easily and efficiently. Apply the primer using a brush or sprayer as you desire and let it dry thoroughly. Depending on the mental condition, you can also apply more than one coat of primer.

Step 5: Apply The Acrylic Paint

Inhalation of some components of solvent-based acrylics can be hazardous, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Therefore, you should wear a mask while working outside or in a garage that has proper ventilation.

Now the surface is ready to paint. Apply acrylic paint using a brush, sprayer, or roller, but the metal surface should be covered evenly. As per my experience, I recommend you to apply two coats and wait until the first coat dries completely.

Remember one thing: If you are planning to paint your metal furniture outdoors, you should use acrylic exterior paint. On the other hand, if your furniture is located indoors, you should use interior acrylic paint.

after acrylic painting on metal
Acrylic painting on Metal surface

Step 6: Seal The Surface Thoroughly

It’s an optional step and is used for further protection of the painted surface. For your ease, many paint manufacturers add the sealer within the paint. In short, it’s an additional layer for a glossy finish and provides long-lasting protection.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Metal Without Primer?

The answer depends on different conditions and factors that I have discussed here. You can perform this action without a primer when you paint the metal with oil-based paints. The reason is that the paint will not stick accurately due to rust and moisture.

Primer helps stick the acrylic paint tightly even in hard weather conditions.

Similarly, acrylic paint is a bit spongy or porous in nature and consists of water-resistant elements. It’s not completely waterproof; therefore, I always suggest using a primer to protect it from rusting over time.

On the other hand, in the case of stainless-steel metals, primer is not compulsory. It’s already protected from rust, and therefore, you don’t need to apply additional primer. So, always check the metal type, and you will get the idea of whether you should apply the paint or not. If you want to buy a primer, you can check the perfect primer for acrylic paint on metal.

What Paint To Use On Metal?

You can use water-based and oil-based paints on metal depending on dry time, type of finish, surface, and other factors, but there are certain parameters you need to check. If it’s a pure metal (not an alloy), it might be open to rust and moisture. Therefore, I always recommend you use acrylic paints here. Acrylic paints are considered the best paints for metal crafts. Recall that they are affordable, easy to apply, require minimal preparation, have no need for special equipment, and give a long-lasting performance on metals.

Commonly, latex-based paints are also used due to ease, unlike oil-based paints. They don’t emit much odor and are highly flammable. On the other hand, oil-based paints for metals are preferred when the metal has to bear harsh weather conditions. If the metal surface is exposed to sunlight, rain, and other environmental conditions, oil-based paints are most beneficial.

How To Seal Acrylic Paint On Metal?

Acrylic paints are porous and not absolutely waterproof. You need to add some sealer to make it completely water-resistant for metals. Numerous types of sealers and varnishes are available in the acrylic paints market. If you want a scuff-proof paint surface, add sealer and enjoy protected metal surfaces for many years.

Will Acrylic Paint Stick To Aluminum?

Yes, acrylic paint works perfectly with aluminum metal. Choose the right latex or acrylic paint specifically manufactured for aluminum metal. You can check the label, and the manufacturer mentions on the box that it’s for aluminum.

There are two types of acrylic paints available for aluminum called exterior and interior grades. Choose high-gloss paints if you want to hide all the imperfections on the aluminum metal surface.

Water Based Acrylic Paint For Metal

It’s a great idea to paint the metal using water-based acrylic paints. Nevertheless, they are ideal for interior metal furniture and surfaces. The dry time of such paints is very low, but sealing and priming are compulsory. If you are a beginner or DIYer, water-based paints are perfect. It’s a fact that these paints have low performance than oil-based paints.

What Is The Dry Time For Acrylic Paints On Metal?

The dry time varies from paint to paint and manufacturer to manufacturer. The average dry time for acrylic paints on metal is about 24-48 hours completely. If you provide enough time, it does not require sealant. The dry time is less if you use acrylic paint for exterior patio furniture. For further guidance, here is the easy way to paint rusty metal quickly.

FAQs On Paint Metal With Acrylic

Is Acrylic paint on metal water-resistant?

Acrylic paints on metal are not absolutely waterproof. You have to make them utterly water-resistant using a suitable sealer or varnishes. The type of sealer also depends on surface and metal types; therefore, choose them wisely.

Is acrylic paint suitable for metal?

Acrylic and latex paints are good for metals such as iron, stainless steel, and aluminum due to smooth finish. They require very less preparation, and a beginner can also paint any metal following the right procedure.

Does acrylic paint dry on metal?

Yes, acrylic paints are very friendly on metal surfaces. They dry quickly and are a good option for almost all metal painting projects.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof on Metal?

No, they are not 100% waterproof on metals. Professionals use sealers or varnishes to make it fully water-resistant. On the contrary, some brands include the sealer in the paint already, reducing the cost of the sealer if you buy it separately.

Does acrylic paint expire?

Acrylic paints are prepared with synthetic material; therefore, they don’t expire like organic paints. However, you have to use them for painting before the mentioned date because they will become unusable.

Bottom Line On acrylic Paint On Metal

In conclusion, you can use acrylic paint on metal, but learning the basics will help you get the desired results. With the high manufacturing of different paints, it has become confusing to pick the right one for you. However, paint metal with acrylic is most beneficial for metals and requires low effort: equally suitable for beginners and experienced professionals. So, make your patio furniture look beautiful with long-lasting acrylic paints.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

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