3 Simple Methods To Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof

Simple Methods To Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof

Acrylic paint is a popular medium for artists and DIY enthusiasts due to its versatility, vibrant colors, and quick drying time. However, one of its downsides is that it is not inherently waterproof, which can be problematic for specific applications such as outdoor murals or furniture.

Luckily, there are several ways to make acrylic paint waterproof and protect your artwork from the elements. This post will explore some of the most effective methods for waterproofing acrylic paint.

How Acrylic Paint Works

Acrylics are water-based paints with a pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. 

When wet, they appear glossy and translucent but become opaque and relatively complex once they dry.

This fast-drying quality makes acrylics popular for artists, allowing them to work quickly and achieve results unattainable with other types of paint. However, acrylic paintings can be more susceptible to water damage than oil paints.

Why is Waterproofing Acrylic Paint Important?

If your acrylic paintings are displayed in humid environments or outdoors, they can quickly become ruined by rain, snow, or even mist. They can also fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight.

Therefore, waterproofing is necessary to protect your artwork and keep it looking fresh and vibrant for years to come. Waterproof acrylic paints need to be painted with acrylic sealer or varnish.

How to Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof

Acrylic paint is water-soluble, meaning it can be diluted with water and cleaned up easily with soap and water. However, several methods can be used to make an acrylic painting waterproof. Here are some of them:

Method 1: Using Varnish or Sealer

Method 1: Using Varnish or Sealer

Another method is applying varnish or sealer over the acrylic paint layer. Several varnishes and sealers, such as polyurethane, acrylic varnish, oil varnish, and more, are available. These products form a protective layer over the paint layer, preventing water from seeping. 



  1. Prepare your painting surface
  2. Apply the varnish evenly over the painting.
  3. Let the first layer dry completely before applying another layer if needed. 
  4. Once you have applied the desired number of layers, let the varnish or sealer dry entirely.
  5. After the final layer has dried completely, your project should be waterproof and resistant to water damage.

It's important to note that while these methods can make acrylic paint waterproof, they may also alter the appearance and texture of the paint. Testing these methods on a small area before applying them to a larger surface is always good.

Method 2: Use a Waterproofing Spray

Method 2: Use a Waterproofing Spray

You can also use a waterproofing spray to make acrylic paint waterproof. These sprays contain chemicals that create a waterproof barrier over the painted surface. When sprayed correctly, the waterproofing spray will create a clear and protective layer over the acrylic paint, preventing water from penetrating the surface.



  1. Choose a well-ventilated area to spray your painting. Ideally, do this process outdoors or in a well-ventilated room.
  2. Before spraying your painting, prepare your working space to avoid accidents or mishaps. Use newspaper or cloth to protect the surface you'll be working on.
  3. Shake the can of waterproofing spray well before use. Be sure to read the instructions on the can carefully before you begin.
  4. Hold the can of waterproofing spray at least 6 inches from the painting, spray a light, and even coat over the painted surface. Be sure to cover the entire surface of the painting evenly.
  5. Allow the first coat of waterproofing spray to dry completely before applying a second coat. Depending on the brand of spray you use, this may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.
  6. Apply a second coat of waterproofing spray, following the same process as the first.
  7. Allow the second coat to dry completely. Once it has dried, your acrylic painting will be waterproof and resistant to water damage.

Method 3: Using a Waterproofing Medium

Method 3: Using a Waterproofing Medium

Several waterproofing mediums are available in the market that can be mixed with acrylic paint to make it waterproof. While acrylic mediums are not waterproof, these still create a barrier that prevents water from penetrating the paint layer. 



  1. Choose the waterproofing medium that you want to use.
  2. Squeeze out some acrylic paint onto your palette. You can use as much paint as you need, depending on the size of your project.
  3. Add a small amount of the waterproofing medium to the paint. Mix it thoroughly with a paintbrush.
  4. Test the mixture on a small area to see how it behaves. If you're happy with the result, you can paint your project. If not, you can adjust the medium you add until you get the desired effect.
  5. Apply the paint mixture to your surface using a paintbrush. Ensure to apply the paint in thin layers, letting each layer dry completely before applying the next one.
  6. If you need to add more layers, mix the paint with the waterproofing medium and apply it in thin layers.
  7. Allow the paint to dry completely before exposing it to water or moisture. This will ensure that the waterproofing medium has had enough time to fully bond with the paint and create a water-resistant surface.

Tips to Maintain the Waterproof Acrylic Paint After Applying Sealer


While applying a varnish or a sealer to acrylic paint can make it waterproof, it doesn't mean that you don't need to maintain it. Here are some tips to help maintain the waterproofing of acrylic paint after applying a sealer:

  1. Avoid exposing the painted surface to water for at least 24-48 hours after applying the sealer to ensure it has had enough time to fully cure and create a waterproof barrier.
  2. Regularly inspect the painted surface for any signs of wear or damage. Even with a sealer, prolonged exposure to water or harsh weather conditions can cause the paint to wear away over time.
  3. Avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners when cleaning the painted surface, as these can break down the sealer and cause it to lose its waterproofing properties.
  4. Store your acrylic painting in a cool, dry place to prevent the paint from becoming brittle or cracking over time.
  5. If the painted surface is regularly exposed to water or other harsh elements, consider applying an additional coat of sealer every 6-12 months to help maintain its waterproofing properties.

Waterproof Acrylic Paint FAQ


Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

No, acrylic paint is not waterproof. Although it does dry into a very tough and durable surface that can withstand water to a certain degree, leaving an acrylic painting in the rain or submerging it underwater will eventually cause the paint to start coming off and bleeding into whatever liquid it contacts.

How long does it take for acrylic paint to become waterproof?

Acrylic paint dries quickly, but it can take up to 24 hours to fully cure and become waterproof. It is important to wait until the paint is completely dry and cured before applying any waterproofing mediums or varnishes to ensure the waterproof layer is effective.

Is polyurethane varnish the best choice for waterproofing acrylic paintings?

Polyurethane varnish is a durable and long-lasting finish that can be used to waterproof acrylic paintings, but it is not always the best choice. Other varnishes, such as water-based polyurethane, acrylic varnish, or epoxy varnish, may be more suitable depending on the desired finish, level of protection, and compatibility with the acrylic paint used.


Acrylic paint is a versatile and popular medium that can be used for various applications. However, it is not inherently waterproof, which can be a problem for certain projects.

By following the steps outlined in this post and using the right finishing product, you can ensure that your painting will remain vibrant and protected for years.

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