acrylic paint on wood

Acrylic Paint on Wood – A Guide to Painting on Wood

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Acrylic is a versatile medium, being thicker than watercolor and safer and quicker to dry than oils, in short, it is the perfect option for painting on wood. Acrylic paint for woodwork is easy for home use, but you will need to know exactly what paints to use, and how to apply them best to certain woods. Read on for answers on how to use acrylic paint on wood, as well as the best acrylic paint options for woodwork.

can you use acrylic paint on wood



Does Acrylic Paint Work on Wood?

Yes! The reason acrylics are such a popular choice for painting on wood is because they are not only quick to dry but also safe to use. Acrylic paints do not have toxic fumes or chemicals making them safer options than other wood or furniture paints. They are also easily washed off with soap and water so messing is not a problem.  A set of acrylic paints can also be cheaper to purchase than professional woodwork paints, especially if you are taking on a smaller project. An added advantage is that acrylics usually come in sets, so your color options are broader.



Painting on Wood

Painting on wood may be easier than you think. With just a few simple steps you could have that dresser or old desk revamped in no time! It is possible to use acrylic paint on wood furniture and crafts without prepping it however, these easy steps could determine whether you have a smooth or rough finish. As well as affecting the longevity and quality of your paint project.

Below is an easy, step-by-step tutorial on acrylic paint for woodwork, allowing you to experience the benefits of using acrylic paint on wood.


Prepping Your Wooden Surface

The first step you need to take is to prepare your wooden surface. To do this you will need to sand it down and smooth out any roughness or snags. This step is beneficial in ensuring your paint properly adheres to the wood fibers and not just the surface of your furniture. This makes your acrylic paint less likely to peel or crack. It is best to use higher grit sandpaper and go along with the grain to ensure the smoothest surface for painting.

Once you have sanded down the area, wipe your wood with a damp cloth to remove any debris or residue. If it still gets stuck, keep sanding until you have managed to eliminate any rough patches. Even when using what seems like a smooth piece of wood, sanding it down can only improve your painting experience.

does acrylic paint work on wood


Using Wood Primer

Applying a wood primer is an often-underrated step in painting wood. The reason this is quite important is that the primer acts as a sealant to your surface while also allowing your paint to be better absorbed. This allows your acrylics to go on smoother and stick properly to your surface to ensure a lasting paint job. Usually white in color, a primer can also enhance the lighter colors in your palette range making them more vibrant.

The key with primer is to allow it to dry completely before continuing with your painting. This applies on canvas too. These two steps of sanding and priming your wood can be repeated more than once depending on your preferences.

painting on wood


Painting your Base Layer

Once your primer is dry and you are satisfied with the smoothness of your surface, you can start with your acrylic paints. The base layer will be the background color of your piece. As acrylics dry fairly quickly, it is important to take on one area at a time. Your base coat can be applied with a wide flat brush, ensuring maximum coverage. This can be done with one or two coats depending on the consistency of the acrylics you are using and the coverage you need.

If you would like to add a little more fluidity to your paints, you can apply a few spritzes of water or try using an acrylic medium that will work well on wood. This layer can take up to half an hour to dry properly before you can continue with the next step.


Adding Color and Designs

Once your base coat has dried, you can start adding details or elements of color to your wood. Using acrylic paint on wood crafts and furniture allows for endless color possibilities and designs. For this step, a smaller and softer brush would be better. Or for larger areas of color or adding different textures, you may find a sponge to be useful. Keep a jar of water or an acrylic medium close by to retain the moisture in your paints and brushes throughout your painting process. Once done leave your wooden masterpiece to dry.

Adding stencils to your furniture is a great way to paint on some unique or more intricate patterns. To do this use some graphite or tracing paper and copy your design. Then place your copy onto your wood with the graphite side down, this will allow you to transfer your design over the primed wood surface for easier painting.

During your painting process, color mixing and blending may be a requirement. In this case, you want to mix them while they are still wet directly onto your furniture or other wooden surfaces. Using acrylics in this way allows for easy blending and mixing techniques.


Sealing and Protecting Your Wood

Using a sealant or a wood varnish to protect your paint is crucial to prevent damage over time. There are many sealants out there that will provide you with an array of different finishes. Depending on your style, you could get a high gloss finish, sating sheen, or a coat of matte.

These also come in different applications such as a liquid or sprays so you can choose the method that best fits your needs. Applying a sealant could not be easier, just like using your acrylic paints. Simply apply a thin even coat over your wood project and leave it all to dry for 24 hours just to be safe.

can you paint wood with acrylic paint



The Best Acrylics for Painting on Wood

Now when asked Can you paint wood with acrylic paint? You will know exactly how to do it. Let’s take a look at some great product recommendations so you can get started!


The Best Acrylic Paint on Wood Furniture: APPLE BARREL Acrylic Paint

Apple Barrel Paints have a beautiful selection of affordable and easy-to-use acrylics for painting on wood. These acrylics come in a variety of colors and clean up easily with water and soap.  They can be used on most surfaces including wood, plaster, tin, fabric, and clay.

Apple Barrels acrylics are smooth and glide easily onto your surface. Their bright colors hold pigment nicely for a lasting and durable finish. These non-toxic water-based paints are available in different sizes too so you can get the option that best fits your project and your pocket. This range is best used for indoor projects and will need a varnish or sealant added if you are looking for a glossier finish.


  • Affordable
  • Variety of colors and sizes
  • Can be used on many surfaces
  • Easy to use and blend colors


  • Dries very quickly, beneficial to use a painting medium
  • Matte colors, they will not have a shine


The Best Set of Acrylic Paint for Woodwork: ARTEZA Acrylic Paint Set

Arteza certainly has a reputation when it comes to professional quality artist supplies. This great set of 24 rich acrylic colors is the perfect starter set for anyone looking to get into acrylics. Whether you are painting on paper, canvas, wood, or other materials, Arteza is a brand you cannot go wrong with.

This set also comes in a handy box for easy storage and travel use. Each of their acrylic tubes is labeled with a rating indicating the level of lightfastness, this quality is useful in determining the longevity of your paints. These bright colors mix well and have a thicker consistency, making them smooth and easy to apply.


  • Well known brand
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24 amazing colors
  • Bright and smooth paints
  • Nice consistency
  • Good coverage


  • Tubes are smaller so you will run out on larger projects


Acrylics for Painting on Wood Outdoors: ARTEZA Outdoor Acrylics

This range from Arteza is specifically designed to be used inside as well as on outdoor projects. This way your acrylic paints for woodwork will not be limited to only being used indoors. This set of 24 vivid colors are self-sealing and scuff resistant.  Allowing them to protect themselves from any outdoor humidity or other weather conditions, without the use of applying a sealant or varnish.

Just like their other acrylics, these Arteza paints are non-toxic and have no strong odor. Aside from wooden projects, these acrylics can also be applied to outdoor ceramics, rocks, and even metal. These paints are of a very thick consistency and may need the help of water or a fluid medium to make them more workable.


  • For indoors and outdoors
  • Can be used on different surfaces
  • Self- sealing
  • Will not be damaged by weather
  • 24 bright colors
  • Safe to use


  • Very thick will need a medium to make it easier to work with



The Best Primer And Sealants for Acrylic Paints

Besides just painting, it’s also a good idea to use primers and sealants. This can be important for acrylics on wood to add an extra layer of durability and protection. Having explored some quality paint options, we can now look at primers and wood sealant options to use.

acrylic paint on wood crafts


Now you should be equipped when wanting to use acrylic paint on wood crafts or furniture. Remember the steps in prepping your wood to ensure the best outcome and lasting durability.

acrylic paint on wood furniture



Frequently Asked Questions


Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Wood?

Acrylic paints are great to use with wood projects. It is a non-toxic and water-based paint medium making it easy to use and clean up. The rich colors available in this medium allow for endless decor options and designs.


Does Acrylic Paint Work on Wood?

Yes, it does. Acrylics work best on wood that has been prepped, sanded, and primed. Rough wood or other rougher surfaces will not hold the pigments well. Adding a sealant will also protect your acrylics and prevent chips or damage to your wooden furniture or crafts.


What is the Best Acrylic Paint for Woodwork?

There are many brands we can recommend for the best results when using acrylics for painting on wood. Some of these include Arteza, Appel Barrel, and Liquitex. In order to find the best brand, you will need to determine your project requirements. Some acrylic paints can only be applied indoors and will work well for smaller projects. If you are looking for a more durable or outdoor option, there are ranges available too.


Acrylic paint for wood is an excellent choice as this type of paint is so versatile and can be used in all kinds of scenarios. Follow the guide above and you will be sure to achieve a perfect paint finish on your wooden finish!


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