How to Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof: The Ultimate Guide

Making acrylic paint waterproof is a process that can be done in a few simple steps. In this article, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about waterproofing acrylic paint. We will provide a detailed tutorial on how to make your paints water-resistant, and offer some tips to help you achieve the best results.

So whether you’re an artist looking to protect your work, or just want to make sure your next painting session doesn’t end in disaster, read on for all the information you need!

Understanding Acrylic Paint

Before we get into the specifics of waterproofing acrylic paint, it’s important to first have a basic understanding of what this type of paint is and how it works. Acrylics are water-based paints that consist of a pigment suspended in a polymer emulsion. This means that when they are wet, they appear glossy and translucent; but once they dry, they become opaque and relatively hard.

This fast-drying quality makes acrylics a popular choice for artists, as it allows them to work quickly and achieve results that wouldn’t be possible with other types of paint. However, it also means that acrylic paintings can be more susceptible to water damage than those created using oil paints.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

Acrylic paint is not waterproof. That being said, it does dry into a very tough and durable surface that can withstand water to a certain degree.

Is Acrylic Paint Waterproof When Dry?

The quick answer is no – acrylic paint is not waterproof when it dries. If you were to leave an acrylic painting in the rain or submerge it underwater for hours at a time, then yes – the paint will eventually start coming off and bleeding into whatever liquid touches it.

But if you’re looking for something more permanent (like leaving your artwork outdoors), there are ways of making acrylics even more resistant than they already are with varnish coats!

Why Do You Need to Waterproof Acrylic Paint?

There are a few reasons why you might want to waterproof acrylic paint. One is that, as we mentioned before, this type of paint is not inherently water-resistant. Acrylic paintings that are displayed in humid environments or outdoors can quickly become ruined by rain, snow, or even mist. ​

So if you’re working on an outdoor painting project, or just want to make sure your artwork survives a rainstorm or accidental spillage, then waterproofing it is the best way to go.

Another reason is that acrylic paintings tend to fade over time when exposed to direct sunlight. By adding a layer of varnish (which will also protect them from water damage), you can help keep your paintings looking fresh and vibrant for many years to come.

Whatever the reason, knowing how to make your paints water-resistant is a valuable skill!

How to Make Acrylic Paint Waterproof?

If you want to make your acrylic paint waterproof, use finishing products designed specifically for this purpose. These will help to seal the paint and protect it from water damage.

There are a few different types of mediums or finishes that you can use:


Varnish is a clear, protective coating that can be applied over your finished painting. It will add an extra layer of protection against moisture and fading. There are both matte and gloss varnishes available, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

Acrylic Polymer Medium

This type of medium is designed to increase the durability of acrylic paint, making it more waterproof and scratch-resistant. It’s also great for adding shine and leveling out textures in your paintings.

UV Resistant Varnish

If you’re looking for something to protect your artwork from fading in the sun, then this is a good option. It will help preserve colors and keep them looking vibrant for longer!


This product works by adding an extra layer of protection to your painting. It’s best used on wood or other porous surfaces as it can be difficult to remove if applied incorrectly (i.e., smudged).

Applying a Varnish Sealant

The process of applying an acrylic varnish is relatively simple, but it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right steps for your particular project.

What You Need:

  • Acrylic varnish (gloss or matte)
  • Flat paintbrush or roller with a high-density foam tip

Step One

Allow your painting to dry completely before applying any type of acrylic sealer. If it’s not completely dry, then the water in the paint could react with wet media causing an unwanted effect on top of your work! Make sure that no moisture remains anywhere near where you’ll be varnishing up with solvent as well since this will affect how well they bond together.


Step Two

Prepare the area around your painting by covering it with plastic or newspaper so that any spills won’t damage anything below them.

You’re also going to want a clean brush/roller for applying varnish, otherwise varnishing might be difficult since there will be too much paint on the bristles! (If you don’t mind having some residue from previous use left over though then just use an old one.)

Step Three

Apply varnish to appropriate areas of surface and allow it dry according to manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with the next step in the process – this typically takes about five minutes but could take longer depending on how wet media was applied; if necessary, apply another coat after drying time has elapsed as directed by manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with varnishing process again.

Step Four

Once the varnish has dried, remove any excess solvent or paint from your brush/roller with a clean cloth so that no varnish remains on it; this will prevent future problems when using wet media by making sure only one layer of protective coating exists between the work surface and painting itself (which makes applying other coats easier).

Varnish every area except where you’ve already applied another type of acrylic sealant such as clear gloss mediums.

Using Household Items For Waterproofing Acrylic Paint

There are a few household items you can use to waterproof your acrylic paint. All of these items work by creating a barrier on the surface of the paint that will prevent moisture from seeping in and ruining your painting. Each has its own method of application, so be sure to follow the instructions closely. Here are some of the most popular methods:

Hair Spray

Perhaps this is the most popular method out there as far as making acrylic paintings waterproof goes. The reason why it is widely used by artists from across the globe is that everyone has hair spray in their home or office, which makes it easy to waterproof an acrylic painting.

To apply it, simply spray a light coat over the entire surface of your painting. Let it dry completely before displaying or storing your artwork.

Nail Polish

This method works for small canvases and the process is quite simple. You will need clear nail polish that does not contain any glitter or color to make sure that it won’t discolor your artwork in any way.

Shake the bottle of nail polish well before use so as to mix all its ingredients together evenly. Take a clean brush (you can also use an old toothbrush) and dip it into the manicure liquid. Starting from one corner of your painting, apply a thin layer of nail polish to it in quick strokes. Once you have applied the first coat, wait for it to dry completely before applying a second coat (this should take about 15-20 minutes).

Both of these methods work well for small paintings, but they aren’t recommended for large ones because they can cause cracking over time. Also, make sure you test any sealant on a small area of your painting first before applying it all over just to be safe!


  • Make sure all layers of paint have dried completely before sealing with varnish/mediums. Even a small amount of moisture can cause the paint to peel or bubble up once it’s dry.
  • When working with water-based mediums, make sure to use them in a well-ventilated area. These products tend to release harmful fumes, so it’s best not to breathe them in!
  • Avoid using too much water when painting. This will help reduce the chances of your work getting ruined if it comes into contact with liquid accidentally.
  • Apply at least two coats of varnish/medium over your finished painting for maximum protection. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one.
  • If you’re planning on displaying your artwork outdoors, consider using a UV-resistant varnish for extra protection against the sun’s rays.
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying acrylic sealers.
  • If you’re using a spray varnish, hold the can six to eight inches from the surface and apply in short even strokes. Make sure to keep it level while spraying or else runs could form! You should also do a final coat of varnish over your work after it’s been framed – this will add an extra layer of protection for when it’s on display.
  • If possible, avoid using thin layers of paint as they are more susceptible to weathering and fading in comparison to thicker applications. This is especially important when working with colors that are light or transparent – for example, yellow or blue. It’s better to use multiple coats of thicker paint than just one coat that isn’t dense enough!


Making your acrylic paintings waterproof is a great way to protect them from the elements and extend their lifespan. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your work will look good for years to come!

Experiment with different types of sealants to find the one that works best for you. There are many products on the market today that offer varying levels of protection against water damage. Choose one that suits your needs and be sure to test it out on a small section of your painting first before applying it all over.

Happy painting!

Leave a Comment