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Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic

Understanding which paints to use for specific projects is one of the most common concerns in home renovation or crafting.  Each type has advantages and disadvantages that make it suited for specific applications.

However, you may come across a scenario where you have something painted with acrylic latex paint and need to paint it with oil-based enamel paint.  Can you do this, or is there too much difference between the underlying paint, like acrylic paint vs. enamel?

In our guide, you can learn more about the difference between enamel and acrylic paint and what would happen if you decided to paint one over the other. You’ll know the effects of painting oil paints on watercolor paint, proper surface preparation for paints to adhere correctly, and the best paint between acrylic and enamel paint for your tasks. (Learn How To Paint Over Black Lacquer Furniture)

Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic

Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic Paint?

If the acrylic coat underneath hasn’t been sealed with a top coat and the paint job is intact, you mix acrylic and enamel paint by using the acrylic as your primer and covering it with oil-based paint.

However, the recommendation is to use a primer before painting the acrylic painted surface, thus ensuring your enamel paint lasts a long time.

How Do You Use Enamel Paint Over Acrylic?

A couple of thin coatings of latex primer should be applied to attach the enamel paint. After the first coat has dried, apply the next layer. After the coating has cured completely, you can paint your acrylic with oil-based paints.

What Paint Can You Use Over Acrylic Paint?

It is okay to paint oils over acrylics, but not with enamel paint underneath and coated with latex paints.

Can Enamel Paint Over Acrylic Primer?

It’s possible, depending on the type of “acrylic primer.” For example, enamel can lift water-based or mildly solvent-based acrylics. If the lacquer is acrylic, you can paint over acrylic without too much issue.

What Happens If I Paint Enamel With Acrylic?

If acrylic paint is placed directly on enamel paint, it will ultimately peel off. Likewise, oil-based enamel paints will not adhere to acrylic paint made from water, whether the Enamel paint was sealed with a top coat.

Can I Paint Enamel On Acrylic Latex?

You can use enamel paint to paint latex paint. Enamel paint will cover latex paint, although the recommendation is to use a primer first, even if it is not required.

Although a primer is not required, it delivers superior results on the painted surface.

Can You Paint Oil-based Enamel Over Acrylic?

Water-based enamel cannot be applied directly to oil-based enamel paint; however, it can be applied to water-based paint such as acrylic paint. On top of the oil-based enamel, the paint will break and separate and will not adhere properly to the surface. (Learn How To Keep A Painted Door From Sticking To Weather Stripping)

Can You Paint Over Acrylic Paints?

Acrylic paint dries to an insoluble, water-resistant condition. Because acrylic paint is water-soluble even when dry, you can paint over previous layers without color transfer.

What Paint Goes Over Acrylic Primer?

A primer undercoat can be used as a full undercoat or primer. Any treatments, including solvent-based finishes, will allow you to paint acrylics and water-based paint.

What Primer Do You Use With Enamel Paint?

Before applying enamel paint, unlike acrylic paint, a layer of primer is required, especially on interior surfaces, furniture, cabinets, and molded surfaces. Ensure the oil-based paint primer you’re using is approved before you start painting. Some enamel paint types even include built-in primers to help the paint adhere better.

enamel over acrylic

Does Acrylic Stick to Enamel?

Acrylic paint generally doesn’t adhere to enamel. Because most enamel paints are oil-based, latex paints like acrylic don’t stick to oil-based paints. Some water-based enamel paints are available. Enamel paints use the same solvent as acrylic paint: water.

The acrylic sticks to the water-based enamel since the paint solvents are similar. However, you need plenty of surface preparation. Acrylic paints are seldom used over enamel paints: Enamel paints are oil and chemical-based and coat building exteriors and outdoor objects.

The oil-based paint survives hard-to-use, dust, and temperature changes. In addition, the enamel paint’s oils improve its resilience to the elements. Enamel paints are also created with chemicals and pigments that make them resistant to UV light.

These added chemicals and oils make acrylic paints challenging to stick to enamel. Paint bonding will be problematic because of the different paint solvents (water and oil). Strong chemicals in the enamel can damage acrylic finishes.

Acrylic paint can be applied over water-based enamel because both paints have similar properties, and most often, using fine-grit sandpaper is enough. Acrylic over oil-based enamel requires adequate surface preparation. (Read Can I Paint Satin Over Semi Gloss)

Follow the steps below to finish the task.

How to Apply Acrylic Over Enamel Paint?

Applying acrylic over enamel isn’t tough, but the prep surface is time-consuming.

Preparing enamel paint for acrylic paint takes less than an hour. However, oil-based enamel paint takes time. (Learn How To Clean White Painted Doors)

Equipment required to put acrylic paint over enamel:

  • A Paint Scraper
  • Fine-Grit Sandpaper
  • Chemical-Based Paint Stripper
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Synthetic Bristled Paintbrush
  • Rags
  • Latex Primer for Acrylic Paints
  • Acrylic Paint
  • An Oil-Based Paint sealant (Optional)

Remove Glossy Topcoat From Enamel Paint

You can skip this step if you’re painting acrylic over enamel. If you’re using oil-based enamel, the next step is to remove the glossy shine.

When dry, oil-based enamel paints generate a thick glossy layer. Acrylic paint will not adhere tightly to this thick layer. If you wanted to paint over spray paint, then removing the gloss from such a thin layer of paint would be hard.

1. Scrape off Thick Film:

You’ll need a metallic paint scraper to accomplish this. Remove the gloss with rubbing alcohol (mineral spirits) or a chemical-based paint stripper: However, rubbing alcohol does not permanently remove the gloss.

If the isopropyl concentration is below 70%, it may not remove the glossy finish. If this isn’t strong enough, use a chemical-based paint stripper to peel the top coating from the gloss finish.

Chemical-based paint thinners and strippers use methylene chloride, acetone, and turpentine to remove paint and leave you a matte finish.

2. Sand Lightly Using Fine-Grit Sandpaper:

After removing the gloss, fine-grit sandpaper should sand the enamel. Removing lumps and paint pimples helps to smooth the enamel. In addition, it helps offer an even surface after removing the gloss.

Using ultra fine-grit sandpaper, sand the enamel as sandpaper with a coarse or medium grit will damage the semi-gloss enamel finish.

3. Apply Latex Primer

Apply two thin layers of latex paint primer to the enamel after being well sanded. The primer will help seal the enamel paint, and paint adhesion, longevity, and smoothness are also ensured.

4. Prep Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paints can come in many ways, and chances are you’ll need to use a brush. If the paint is too thick, you’ll need to dilute it with water. Oil-based paints would otherwise be thinned using paint thinner.

5. Apply Acrylic Paint

After the enamel paint has been prepared, the acrylic paint must be applied. Over the enamel, you’ll need two or three layers of acrylic paint. Two coats are generally sufficient, but if the enamel were not primed first, you’d need at least three coats to achieve a beautiful finish.

Use a synthetic-bristled paintbrush to apply the acrylic paint. Each coating of acrylic paint should be done softly to dry quickly and be controlled more easily. Don’t apply the paint too thick, or you could have brush marks on the new coat of paint. Wait until the first acrylic dries before applying the second. The second paint coat will not flake off because of this.

6. Sealing Acrylic Paint

It’s usually good to seal the acrylic paint after applying it over the enamel. Acrylic paint can be sealed to protect and keep the finish. It also adds a glossy shine to the water-based acrylic finish, making it more reflecting and bright.

Oil-based polyurethane and transparent wax are two popular acrylic paint sealants. You have successfully placed acrylic paint over enamel after completing these stages.

mixing paint

Can You Mix Acrylic Paint and Enamel?

It is not recommended to mix acrylic and enamel paints. The chemical formulae and solvents of the two paints will almost always be incompatible. Both paints will become unsuitable if mixed since the mixture will have a thick paste-like consistency. In addition, the combination will not cure if applied to a surface. For days, the finish will be crusty or sticky.

This is because the enamel paint’s oils will interact with the water, resulting in carbon-based chemicals that are neither water nor oil. This makes entirely evaporating the solvents from the paint particles challenging. As a result, the paint will stay tacky.

However, because both paints have comparable properties, you might blend water-based enamel and acrylic paint. However, the mixture may not turn out well even with the same base. Acrylic paints are frequently more vibrant than enamel paints, which is one of the main reasons.

It will be challenging to achieve a consistent color using water-based enamel and acrylic paint. To be safe, never combine water-based paints and enamel. Instead of enamel, acrylic is preferable. Can you apply acrylic lacquer over enamel paint if you’re using acrylic over enamel?

Can You Put Acrylic Clear Coat Over Enamel Paint?

Over enamel paint, a clear acrylic finish can be applied. However, the enamel finish must be sanded, primed, and prepared before applying the clear acrylic coat. The clear acrylic coat will not bind effectively if the enamel is not prepared correctly.

Because the clear acrylic finish is designed to be used on paints, it can be applied over enamel paint. It can be used as a clear coat to seal many paint types, including enamel. Except in limited areas, acrylic paint should never be used over enamel. This is because acrylic paint isn’t intended to apply over or seal enamel. Instead, it can be applied to a primer or a bare surface.

You might use a clear acrylic coat to seal your latex enamel finish. It will stick on enamel as a topcoat, but it must be treated first, especially if the enamel is oil-based. The gloss has to be removed from the oil-based paint type. Because the gloss is practically waterproof, the acrylic clear coat will not adhere and eventually peel if this is not done.

There is no need to strip any gloss from water-based enamel because none exists. However, you’ll need to sand lightly and use a latex primer before applying a clear acrylic coat to both types of enamel.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic (2)