Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Metal?

Acrylic Paints are fast-drying paints which are made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. These paints are water-soluble but at the same time acts as a water-resistant when it is completely dried.

Acrylic Paints might resemble watercolors or oil painting but have completely unique features that are difficult to get from other media.

Acrylic Paints are very versatile in nature as they can be used on numerous kinds of surfaces while this is something good to know that some surfaces require a special preparing process to make the acrylic paint sticks well to it.

Here the question still lies that either acrylic paints are suitable for metals surfaces?

Acrylic Paints

So the one-word answer to this question is YES. Acrylic paints can paint metals surfaces if and only they are well prepared first. There are many fun metals projects that you can paint with acrylic colors like Christmas ornaments, doors, garage doors, fences, file cabinets, trash barrels, screen doors, bureau handles, cabinets, desks, sheds, and much more. 

One most important thing that you always should keep in mind is that when you are painting metals with any acrylic paints, you will need to use a primer to adhere correctly.

Now when we know that we can use these paints on metals, it is also necessary to be equipped with the information that why many DIYers prefer to use these acrylic paints on their metal surface.  Here we have some reasons why acrylic artists love painting on metals.

Why Acrylic Artists Prefer Painting on Metals

First and foremost, metal is the only kind of surface that allows its artist to create a background on a surface that lends a truly unique and different feel to their work. But this is not the only motive, as we will also highlight some other points of giving preference to these acrylic paints

artist painting
  • Printing is very easy on metals. You can easily print your soda cans by using your home printers to provide them with a unique look and feel to its work.
  • The DIYer work will get detailed or depth when he plans to emboss the metals to produce a raised surface.
  • It is always easy to tarnish a metal using gel bleach to stamp or write anything on the surface.
  • When you are done with the surface preparation before starting your painting process, you should then reach for well-known acrylic paints and acrylic paint pens for mark making.

Now when we have seen why generally acrylic artists give preference to the metal surface, we should also know some helpful tips and techniques that would help you a great deal in your painting process.

Here are some quick five amazing tips you just need to know and consider before undertaking your first acrylic on a metal project.

5 Tips for Painting on Metal

painting on metals
  • Slightly sand your metal surface and also wipe clean before starting your painting.
  •  Also, sand the backside of your metal before gluing it down to your surface with any metal glue.
  • If you want to display your painted metals object, then always use acrylic glazes or any sort of alcohol inks.
  • If you are dealing with Iron metal and that is rusted, so you are always recommended to apply a rust remover to your object and then seal it before you begin your process.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to seal your work after you are done with the painting.

Now we hope that you are informed about the basic know-how of these acrylic paints and their cohesion with metals surface.  Here we feel also important to let you know the basic procedure of using these paints so that you have an amazing experience with these colors. 

So here we are with steps of using an acrylic painting that should be followed to get your desired result.

The procedure of using acrylic paint

Paint starting ideas

Before starting any painting process, you should know that your safety is the first thing on our priority list, and for that reason, we suggest you have all the safety gear, which includes a face mask, rough clothes or apron, and gloves (if you want to know how to get spray paint out of your clothes, ready more here). This will ensure that you are safe from any toxic fumes that some paints might emit, and you could encounter with cough and breathing problems.

Once you are safe and protected from any problem-causing things, then only you should consider starting your painting activity. 


Firstly, you should use any alcohol wipes to clean the object’s surface that your planning to paint. This will help you eliminate any dirt and dust that might create a problem for you during your process.


Apply any oil-based primer with your paintbrush to that metal object. Remember to consider the size of your paintbrush as a paintbrush should completely coordinate with your painting object.


Don’t lack patience. Give the coat of primer its due time to dry or cure fully.  If you are confused about the time, then consult your primer’s packaging to check its drying or curing time, as this factor varies from brand to brand, but the rough estimate or an average time is almost an hour.


When you are pretty sure that your primer is dried, then only you should proceed towards your acrylic paints. It is good to use a paintbrush for smaller projects, but you need to balance that with its size again. If you have a large and huge painting object in front of you, you can also use a roller to complete quickly and cover those difficult areas for a paintbrush.

Last but not Least

The whole story’s crux is that we can surely use acrylic paints on any metal surface as they really adhere well with each other. Remember to use a primer always before starting your process, as it will let you get rid of the stress of compatibility issues.

Painting with acrylics colors can be really fun as it gives you high-quality finish that you are expecting on your metal objects. Some people might find the smell of these acrylic paints as strong and intense, so they are advised to have their nose covered with a mask, which will prevent them from that.

Regardless of what you have learned in this guide, we still suggest you research and investigate properly before purchasing an acrylic paint.

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