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The Best Acrylic Enamel Paint

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Buyer's Guide

Everything You Need to Know About Acrylic Enamel Paints

Paint is a household necessity. It can be messy and hard to handle, but it's worth the work. Not only does it cover your walls with a fresh coat of color, but it also protects them from everyday wear and tear.

Acrylic enamel paints are a type of water-based paint that has many benefits. It's tough, durable, and has a range of sheens and finishes. It is also washable and easy to clean up. Acrylic enamel paints can be used on interior and exterior surfaces, as well as some metal surfaces such as aluminum. They're ideal for decorative painting, automotive projects, and furniture restoration. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about acrylic enamel paints.

What is an Acrylic Enamel Paint?

small sized acrylic enamel paint

Acrylic enamel paints are special paints that contain acrylic resin. They are designed to be water-resistant. These paints come in a wide range of colors and finish. Acrylic enamel paints are available in regular, semi-gloss, and glossy finishes. They can be used on metal, wood, stone, and glass surfaces.

Most acrylic enamel paints are designed to be used on exterior surfaces and are ideal for furniture and boat restoration. They're also popular for home interior painting projects. Acrylic enamel paints can also be used on metal and glass.

The Benefits of Acrylic Enamel paint

acrylic enamel paint

The top benefits of acrylic enamel paints include being highly durable, non-corrosive, easy to use, and have a wide range of finishes. The enamel itself is a water-based paint that dries quickly, which means that it's easy to apply and remove.

Additionally, acrylic enamel paints dry faster than oil-based paints, which makes them perfect for painting in climates that have low humidity and heat. When comparing acrylic enamel paints to oil-based paints, oil-based paints usually have a more transparent sheen. Acrylic enamel paints have a translucent sheen that allows the paint to show through, while oil-based paints show up as semi-sheen.

What’s so unique about Acrylic Enamel Paints?

Unlike traditional water-based acrylic paints, the pigments used in acrylic enamel paints are colored in a way that allows them to be absorbed by the metal they're applied to. Thus, they do not require additional coats, and there's no need to clean up any spills. The pigments used in the paint are ground into a fine powder and suspended in resin. They are then added to the paint when it's mixed in the jar, making it waterproof.

Pigments used in acrylic enamel paints are generally available in a range of tones, and the colors vary according to the source. The traditional colorants used in acrylic enamel paints are a white base and a secondary color. The metallic pigments are colored with dyes, which are essential in the desired effect.

Where To Use Acrylic Enamel Paint

Acrylic enamel paints come in a range of different finishes. Some have a glossy, semi-gloss, or matte finish, but the most common ones are semi-gloss, glossy, and satin. It's easy to work with these in a variety of ways.

For example, they can be applied with rollers or brushes, or layered using the brushes. They're ideal for doing decorative painting and will stand up to more paint applications, yet are suitable for handling and cleaning up. You can also use acrylic enamel paints on metal, such as doors, and many other types of surfaces, such as vinyl and Plexiglas.

They are ideal for both interior and exterior use. Acrylic enamel paints are suitable for most interior surfaces such as furniture, doors, and external walls.

Things To Consider Before Purchasing Acrylic Enamel Paints


Acrylic enamel paint comes in two varieties: a professional quality for artists, and student quality for students. A wide spectrum of hues, a high concentration of finely ground pigment, and excellent permanence ratings characterize artists' grade paints (also known as "professional" paints). Student colors are less expensive, but in exchange, you get fewer options, lower pigment levels, and the potential inclusion of fillers that might decrease the color's power. Students' colors are less expensive.

Artists' colors are frequently more bright and have a smoother consistency, making them simpler to mix and layer, which isn't only a difference in how they're created.

If you're just starting out and have a limited budget, students' quality paint is OK to use. However, if you're creating artwork that you're serious about maintaining, I recommend switching to artists' quality paint (especially if you aim to sell your work). Another alternative is to go for the cheaper earth colors, but pay more for the more expensive pure vivid colors, by using student paints (which are almost as excellent). Students' colors for underpainting and professional quality paint on top are both methods employed by some painters to save money.


With acrylic enamel paints, the color choices are endless. You're free to mix and match them as you see fit to come up with new shades. Starting with an acrylic enamel paint kit is also a great alternative for novices. This will save you money on each tube while also providing you with an excellent starting point. Beginners should avoid obsessing over the details of the painting process, and instead focus on getting the paint on the canvas.

Some hues are significantly more expensive than others if you want to buy artist-quality paints (although still cheaper than oil paints). This is due to the fact that some pigments are extremely difficult to come by. It's not uncommon for manufacturers to classify their paints into “series,” with “1” denoting the lowest cost and “7” denoting the highest cost.

Earth colors are often the most affordable, but cadmium-based colors may cost up to four times as much! Using synthetic pigments instead of natural ones might save money, but the color intensity and durability will suffer as a result. Look for the word "hue" following the pigment name to find this information on the product. However, I'm pleased with the results when I employ some of the "hue" colors in my artwork.

Fluorescent and iridescent paints, which include pigments that provide intriguing illuminating effects alone or when blended with conventional paint, are now available in "specialty hues" as well. If you decide to experiment with any of these pigments, bear in mind that they may not be permanent. That brings me to my next point.


The capacity of the pigment in paint to resist progressive fading when exposed to light is referred to as permanence, which is also termed lightfastness. Fugitive hues are the term used to describe faded pigments. Another reason I adore acrylics is because their durability ratings are far superior to those of oils or watercolors.


Viscosity is a term used to describe the paint's consistency or thickness. They are comparable in viscosity to oils in that they are thick and buttery, which helps them to hold onto brushstrokes and blend colors easily. If you want a thinner medium for fine details, staining, watercolor methods, or dry-brushing, fluid acrylics are an option. Acrylic mediums come in a wide range of viscosities, so you may combine them with your paint to achieve the precise consistency you desire.

Your choice will be determined by the style of your artwork and your own taste. However, if you're a novice painter, stick to the more typical thick body acrylics because they can still be diluted with water or an acrylic medium if necessary.

painting using acrylic enamel paint

Final thoughts

Paint is what makes the world a more beautiful place. Through the years, paint companies have adapted to ensure that the product they produce is competitive. Acrylic enamel paints are especially popular with painters and do-it-yourselfers for a variety of reasons. The product comes in a wide range of colors, has a long shelf-life, and is easy to clean up. Acrylic enamel paints are also affordable, making them a good choice for anyone looking for good paints for their projects.

Various colors of enamel paints exist, each of which can have a distinct look. For example, high gloss paints have a glossy finish, whereas flat and matte finishes exist. Some colors, such as deep blues and purples have a metallic, sparkly feel to them, which makes them look expensive.


Is acrylic enamel paint waterproof?

Although it is partly water-resistant, it is not a waterproof coat. Add a sealant over the acrylic paint to make it weatherproof. Additionally, the sort of surface you are painting may require preparation prior to painting for best results.

Rain will undoubtedly destroy the paint because it is just marginally water-resistant and not waterproof. Rain may wash away acrylic paint if you haven't prepared the surface in any manner and the paint is still wet. After drying, the paint is marginally water-resistant but will ultimately peel or flake off.

Is acrylic enamel paint strong?

Acrylic enamel paints remain much longer because they dry to produce a durable shell. These paints function similarly to enamel and lacquer paints in that they are straightforward like lacquer and last like enamel. These paints can be used alone or as part of a multi-stage scheme.

What is acrylic enamel paint used for?

High-quality acrylic enamel paints have a short drying time, superb coverage, and long-term durability. Both metal and wood may be painted safely with this paint, and it can be used both indoors and outdoors without fear of corrosion.

It is possible to spray acrylic enamel at any angle, even upside down, for those hard-to-reach places. Also, it may be used to construct patio furniture such as fences and screens as well as stools, cabinets, and wall décor.

Can you use acrylic enamel paint on metal?

Acrylic enamel paint works well on metal, but you have to prepare the metal surface first. With acrylic enamel, painting is easier and more enjoyable because it can be used for a variety of purposes. As a result of the paint's affordability and lack of application-required tools and equipment, this is an attractive option.

What is acrylic enamel paint made of?

Alkyd resin is the primary ingredient in most acrylic enamel paints. Varnish and oil-based paint were combined to produce enamel paints.

What is the difference between synthetic enamel and acrylic enamel?

Because of the hardener added to the mix, the acrylic enamel blend will be considerably more durable. Believe it or not, the synthetic enamel blend will still cure properly and have a wonderful gloss, but when it comes to longevity, your project will last longer and have a tougher surface with acrylic enamel.

Do you need hardener for acrylic enamel paint?

It is not required to add hardener in acrylic enamel, but it boosts durability and reduces drying time. It kicks quicker when reduced with lacquer thinner rather than enamel reducer.

What is the difference between acrylic enamel and lacquer?

Acrylic enamel, unlike regular acrylic, requires a hazardous enamel thinner for basic cleanup. On the other hand, acrylic lacquer paints include solvents. Lacquer paints are not suitable for hand painting, but they are ideal for airbrushing. When dry, they are the most durable and also the quickest drying of the three forms of paint.

Will acrylic enamel paint dry without hardener?

Acrylic enamel may be sprayed without a hardener, and this was a typical practice in the past. Using a hardener improves the paint's durability since it dries faster, is harder to scratch, and has a higher gloss finish. You may also make changes to it later if you want to.

Can you use urethane reducer in acrylic enamel paint?

Urethane is a high-quality reducer that is intended for use with acrylic enamel, acrylic urethane, and acrylic urethane basecoat paints. This viscosity reducer can also be used to reduce viscosity in epoxy primers, urethane primers, and urethane clearcoats.

What is acrylic enamel hardener?

An acrylic enamel hardener is intended to provide a very high gloss surface when repairing a vehicle paint using acrylic enamels. It reduces susceptibility to re-coat, boosts gloss, improves chemical and corrosion resistance, and reduces dry time.

How long does it take for acrylic enamel auto paint to dry?

Acrylic enamel paint may dry in as little as 24 hours and as long as 30 days. If you use a hardener or catalyst, the curing or drying period for acrylic enamel paint on cars is at least 48 hours. Then you may sand and polish the vehicle's surface. After this period, you can add another layer of various acrylic enamel paint brands.

What paint thinner is used with acrylic enamel?

Alkyd or oil-based paints should be thinned with mineral spirits and acrylic paint or latex with water, respectively. To keep yourself safe, use protective goggles and a mask while you work.

Which is better acrylic enamel or acrylic urethane?

Acrylic enamels dry quickly. The sheen and longevity of the paint can be improved by mixing it with acrylic enamel urethane hardeners. Acrylic urethane paints, on the other hand, endure longer than enamel paints because of their water-resistance.

To get the desired viscosity, urethane paints must be blended with a urethane activator & a urethane reducer. A glossy surface is provided by acrylic lacquer paints, which dry quickly. Additionally, these paints are resilient to chipping and flaking because of their unique formulation. To make them simpler to spray, combine them with a lacquer thinner first.

How do I get a smooth finish with acrylic enamel paint?

Brushless, highly reflective surfaces may be achieved by layering acrylic enamel paint and medium alternately. If your paint layers are retaining brush strokes, you can use water to keep sanded particles from becoming airborne and softly sand each layer once it has dried using waterproof sandpaper. Wipe the sanded areas with a gentle rag while they are still wet.

What do you put on acrylic enamel paint to make it waterproof?

Acrylic paint must be sealed with a sealant such as a varnish to make it waterproof. In the art field, spray sealers are most widely utilized. The sealer will provide weather protection for the acrylic paint's topcoat.

How do you clean up acrylic enamel?

You can clean acrylic enamel buildup using a commercial detergent or another appropriate cleaning procedure by removing debris from the surface. Dry with a clean towel after rinsing with fresh water.

Mineral spirits may be used to remove any oil, grease, wax, or other petroleum-based compounds. Wire brush or sandpaper can be used to remove any loose paint or corrosion.

How to thin acrylic enamel?

Mix in a tiny amount of paint thinner prescribed by the manufacturer, such as water, mineral spirits, or another similar substance. Refill the spray cannon with paint and run another test on it. Increase thinner till the paint sprays evenly and seamlessly from the gun or just until you reach the maximum quantity of thinner specified by the manufacturer.

Is acrylic enamel the same as urethane?

Acrylic enamel is more difficult to apply than urethane paint. Paints such as urethane may be sprayed using airless sprayers, but acrylic enamel necessitates the use of a high-pressure sprayer. Spraying bigger droplets of urethane paint results in better coverage of the surface.

Since acrylic enamel does not completely cover the primer, the color of the primer is more important when applying it. Because urethane paint covers the primer entirely, it doesn't necessitate the same stringent requirements for primer selection as other types of paint. Acrylic paint takes 24 to 48 hours to cure, but most urethane paints dry in two to three hours.

How do you get runs out of acrylic enamel paint?

Start by cutting the runs with a razor blade. Holding the blade at a 90-degree angle to the surface, shave over the run with a new razor blade. The high areas will gradually be removed as a result of using this method.

Can you clear coat over single stage acrylic enamel?

Yes, you can spray over a single-stage acrylic enamel finish. There are brands that offer a solution that can dry out the acrylic enamel paint and transform it into a base coat. After that, it'll only take 30 minutes to apply the top coat to it.

How do you mix single stage acrylic enamel?

For optimum single-stage coverage, several products call for a paint-to-reducer-to-clear-coat ratio of 4:1:1 or 3:1:1. This implies that for every single part reducer and clear coat, you'll need four parts paint, whereas for every 1 part reducer and clear coat, you'll need three parts paint.

Can you use acetone to thin acrylic enamel paint?

Despite the fact that acetone may be used to thin acrylic enamel paints, it is not advisable to do so. To remove enamel paint off brushes and other surfaces, acetone can be used, but when it's used as a thinner, issues may arise. Acetone, for instance, is capable of dissolving plastic.

How much turpentine do I mix with enamel paint?

Enamel paint can be incorporated with either a sprayer or a brush. If you're using a brush, it is recommended dipping it in turpentine to thin it. Thinning acrylic enamel paint with 15-20% by volume of good grade turpentine will give you the optimum brushing consistency.

Does acrylic enamel need a clear coat?

Acrylic enamel paints have a longer shelf life since they dry with a hard shell. Professional painters use baked-on paint, which adheres to the vehicle since it's been baked on. Acrylic enamel paint comes in two varieties: one that requires a clear topcoat and the other that doesn't, referred to as a one-stage system.


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