How To Seal Acrylic Paint For Outdoor Use, 25 Things You Should Know

Are you looking to transform your outdoor space with vibrant, weather-resistant art? Look no further! The guide on how to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use is your ticket to creating stunning, long-lasting masterpieces. We’ll show you how to prep your surfaces, choose the right sealer, and protect your work from harsh elements, ensuring your vibrant designs remain fresh and bold for future seasons.

How to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use:

To properly seal acrylic paint for outdoor use, choose a sealer specifically designed for acrylics, such as varnishes, clear coats, or sealing sprays. Ensure the surface is clean, dry, and debris-free before applying the chosen sealer. Apply the sealer in thin, even layers and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Give the sealer time to cure fully to maximize protection, and keep the piece in a safe, sheltered location to ensure the durability and longevity of the artwork.

Discover essential techniques for sealing outdoor acrylic paint projects, ensuring they withstand harsh weather conditions. Learn about the best materials, tools, and application methods to create long-lasting, vibrant art on any surface, including wood, metal, and concrete.


How to Properly Seal Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Application

Acrylic paints are an excellent choice for artists due to their versatility and durability. However, when it comes to using acrylic paint for outdoor projects, you need to make sure that you properly seal the paint to protect it from weather, sun exposure, and other outdoor elements.

Sealing acrylic paint is essential for prolonging the life of your artwork and ensuring it maintains its vibrant colors.

Choosing the Right Sealer

When it comes to choosing a sealer for acrylic paint, it is crucial to pick a product that is specifically designed for this purpose. A good sealer will protect the paint from weather, UV rays, and other potential damage while not altering its appearance in any adverse way.

There are several types of sealers available on the market that are suitable for this task, including the following:

– Varnishes

Varnishes are the most common sealers used for acrylic paint. They come in various finishes, such as gloss, satin, and matte, allowing you to choose the desired appearance for your artwork.

Varnishes can be either solvent-based or water-based, but water-based varnishes are generally more eco-friendly and easier to clean up.

– Clear Coats

Clear coats are another option for sealing acrylic paint. This type of sealer is an excellent choice for outdoor projects as it offers strong protection against UV rays and weather conditions. Clear coats are typically available in both spray and brush-on forms, making application easy and convenient.

– Sealing Spray

Sealing sprays are similar to clear coats but are exclusively available in aerosol spray cans. These sprays are simple to apply and are suitable for sealing acrylic paint on various surfaces.

However, they might not provide as much protection as some other sealers, so it’s essential to consider your specific project’s needs before choosing a sealing spray.

Preparing the Surface

Before applying a sealer to your acrylic paint, it’s crucial to ensure that the surface is clean and free of any dust, debris, or oils that might interfere with the sealer’s adhesion.

  1. Allow the paint to dry completely. Acrylic paint typically dries to the touch within a few hours, but it’s best to wait at least 24 hours to ensure it is entirely dry before applying a sealer.
  2. Clean the surface by wiping it down with a soft, damp cloth. If necessary, use mild soap and water to remove any stubborn dirt or oils, but rinse thoroughly with clean water.
  3. Allow the surface to dry completely before proceeding with the sealing process.

Applying the Sealer

Once your surface is clean and dry, it’s time to apply the sealer. The specific application process will vary depending on the type of sealer you have chosen.

– Applying Varnish

  1. Stir the varnish gently but thoroughly to ensure it is evenly mixed. Avoid shaking the varnish, as this may introduce bubbles.
  2. Use a soft, wide brush to apply a thin, even layer of varnish to the surface, following the grain of the material if applicable.
  3. Allow the varnish to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically at least several hours, before applying additional coats if desired. Typically, two or three coats are recommended for optimal protection.

– Applying Clear Coat or Sealing Spray

  1. Shake the can well before using it, and make sure you are in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Hold the can approximately 12-16 inches away from the surface and apply a thin, even layer of clear coat or sealing spray, moving the can back and forth in a steady motion.
  3. Allow the sealer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically 15-30 minutes, before applying additional coats if necessary. Two or three coats are usually recommended for optimal protection.

Curing the Sealer

After applying the sealer, giving it time to cure properly is essential. Most varnishes, clear coats, and sealing sprays will dry to the touch within several hours but may take several days or weeks to cure and provide maximum protection fully.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific curing time recommendations.

While the sealer is curing, keeping the piece in a safe place, protected from weather, extreme temperatures, and direct sunlight, is critical.


Sealing acrylic paint for outdoor use is essential in ensuring your artwork’s durability and longevity. By choosing the right sealer, properly preparing the surface, applying the sealer correctly, and allowing it to cure, you can enjoy your outdoor pieces for years to come.

With proper care and maintenance, acrylic paint can withstand the challenges of weather and sun exposure, making it an excellent choice for outdoor art and decor.

1. Choose the right sealant
Select a clear, weather-resistant sealant, such as a varnish or polyurethane, that is suitable for outdoor use and compatible with acrylic paints.
2. Clean the surface
Ensure that the painted surface is clean and free of dust, dirt, and debris to allow proper adhesion of the sealant.
3. Apply the sealant
Using a brush or roller, apply the chosen sealant evenly over the painted surface. Be sure to cover all areas and aim for a smooth, even coat.
4. Dry and cure
Allow the sealant to dry completely, following the manufacturer’s recommended drying time. Once dry, ensure the sealant has fully cured before exposing it to outdoor elements.
5. Reapply as needed
Inspect the sealed surface periodically for any signs of wear or damage. Reapply the sealant as necessary to maintain a strong, protective barrier.

What Kind of Protective Coating Can Be Applied Over Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use?

Acrylic paint is a versatile and durable medium, often used for outdoor projects such as murals, signs, and furniture. However, when exposed to the elements, acrylic paint can become vulnerable to fading, chipping, and other forms of damage, making it essential to take precautions to protect your artwork.

Choosing the Right Sealer for Acrylic Paint

A wide range of sealers are available, each offering varying degrees of protection and compatibility with acrylic paint. Some of the most common sealers used for outdoor acrylic paint projects include:

– Clear Acrylic Sealer

A clear acrylic sealer is one of the most popular options for protecting outdoor acrylic paint. This type of sealer is relatively easy to apply and offers durable protection against water and other elemental hazards.

Many clear acrylic sealers are also UV-resistant, making them an excellent choice for preventing fading caused by exposure to sunlight.

I recommend using a clear acrylic sealer with a gloss or satin finish to provide a protective layer that won’t detract from the appearance of your artwork. When applying a clear acrylic sealer, make sure the painted surface is clean and free of dust or debris.

Apply two to three coats of sealer for optimal protection, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next.

– Polyurethane

Polyurethane sealers are another excellent option for protecting acrylic paint outdoors, as they provide a strong, durable barrier against weather, UV radiation, and other environmental hazards.

Polyurethane is available in various finishes, including matte, satin, and gloss, so you can choose the option best suited for your project.

When using a polyurethane sealer, applying a thin, even coat to the painted surface is crucial. Use a foam brush, synthetic-bristle brush, or spray to ensure the sealer goes onto the surface smoothly without streaks or bubbles.

Apply multiple coats, allowing each one to dry completely, as the product’s instructions recommended.

– Polycrylic

Polycrylic is a water-based alternative to polyurethane that offers a clear, non-yellowing finish suitable for outdoor acrylic paint protection. It dries quicker than polyurethane, is easy to clean up, and is often considered a more environmentally friendly option.

To apply polycrylic over acrylic paint, use a high-quality synthetic-bristle brush, foam brush, or a spray can to achieve a smooth, even coat. Apply two to three coats for optimal protection, allowing each coat to dry as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Applying UV-Protective Coatings

UV radiation from sunlight can gradually break down acrylic paint, leading to fading and discoloration. To prevent this, many artists choose to apply a specialized UV-protective coating to their outdoor acrylic paint projects.

These coatings, available as sprays or paints, contain UV-absorbing compounds that reduce the amount of UV radiation that reaches the paint surface. Look for products specifically labeled as UV-resistant or UV-protective, as they will offer the best protection against sun-related damage.

When applying a UV-protective coating, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and apply multiple coats to ensure adequate coverage and protection. Allow the coating to dry fully between coats and before the artwork is exposed to sunlight.

Taking Additional Protective Measures

In addition to using sealers and UV-protective coatings, there are other steps you can take to keep your outdoor acrylic paint projects in the best possible condition:

  • Choose high-quality, weather-resistant acrylic paint intended for outdoor use. These paints contain additives that can improve their durability and longevity when exposed to the elements.
  • Position your artwork in a shaded area or under an overhang to limit direct exposure to sunlight, rain, and other environmental hazards.
  • Clean your artwork regularly to remove dust, dirt, and other debris that can contribute to the breakdown of paint over time. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the surface gently, and avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage your paint.


Protecting acrylic paint outdoors is essential for maintaining the vibrancy and longevity of your artwork. By choosing the appropriate sealer, applying UV-protective coatings, and taking additional precautions, you can ensure that your outdoor acrylic paint projects remain in excellent condition for years to come.

Is it Necessary to Apply a Sealant for Acrylic Paints Used Outdoors?

Acrylic paint is known for its versatility, durability, and bright colors, making it a popular choice for indoor and outdoor projects. However, many people wonder if it’s necessary to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use, especially when exposed to various weather conditions.

Why Acrylic Paint is Suitable for Outdoor Surfaces

Acrylic paint has several qualities that make it well-suited for outdoor use:

  • Water-resistant: Once dried, acrylic paint forms a solid and water-resistant surface, which means it won’t be easily washed away by rain.
  • UV resistance: High-quality acrylic paints contain pigments that are resistant to fading from sunlight, ensuring that your colors stay vibrant and true even when exposed to harsh rays.
  • Adhesion: Acrylic paint is known for its excellent adhesion to various surfaces, such as wood, metal, plastic, and masonry. This means it can easily bond to a wide range of outdoor surfaces without requiring a primer.
  • Flexibility: Unlike some other paints, acrylic paint remains flexible when dry, which helps prevent cracking and peeling when exposed to changing temperatures and humidity levels.

Preparing the Surface for Outdoor Acrylic Paint

Before painting with acrylics outdoors, it’s essential to properly prepare the surface to ensure a durable and long-lasting finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Clean the surface: Remove dirt, dust, and debris from the surface using a stiff brush or cloth. Grease, oil, and other stubborn stains may require a paint thinner or degreaser.
  2. Repair any damage: Fill in cracks or holes with an appropriate filler or sealant, then sand the patched areas to create a smooth surface.
  3. Prime if necessary: For porous surfaces like untreated wood, apply a suitable primer to seal the pores and provide an even base for the paint.
  4. Sand the surface: Lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to create a slightly rough texture. This step helps the paint adhere more effectively.

Applying Acrylic Paint Outdoors

Once the surface is prepared, follow these tips for a successful outdoor acrylic paint project:

  • Choose the right paint: Select high-quality acrylic paint that offers UV resistance and is specifically formulated for outdoor use.
  • Apply thin and even coats: Apply thin coats of paint to prevent dripping and uneven coverage. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.
  • Use a suitable brush or roller: A high-quality brush or roller will ensure smooth and even paint coverage.
  • Protect your work area: If painting a vertical surface, place a drop cloth or newspaper beneath the area to catch any paint drips or spills.
  • Monitor the weather: Ideally, work on days with low humidity and mild temperatures. Avoid painting in direct sunlight, as it can cause the paint to dry too quickly, leading to surface imperfections.

Sealing Your Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use

While acrylic paint is already water-resistant and UV-resistant, applying a protective sealant or varnish can provide additional protection and prolong the lifespan of your outdoor project. Here are some recommendations and tips for sealing acrylic paint outdoors:

– Choose the Right Sealant

Before you select a sealant for your outdoor acrylic project, consider the following factors:

  • Compatibility: Ensure that the sealant is compatible with acrylic paint and won’t react negatively with the painted surface.
  • Finish: Sealants come in various finishes, including matte, satin, and gloss. Choose the finish that aligns with your desired look.
  • UV protection: Look for sealants that offer additional UV protection to further safeguard your paint against sun exposure.

– Apply the Sealant Correctly

To apply an outdoor sealant to your acrylic paint, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the paint is fully dry: Allow your final coat of paint to dry completely (preferably for at least 24 hours) before applying the sealant.
  2. Clean the surface: Wipe away any dust or debris from the painted surface with a clean, lint-free cloth.
  3. Apply thin, even layers: Apply the sealant using thin strokes or rolls, ensuring full coverage of the painted surface. Apply multiple coats if necessary for maximum protection.
  4. Allow ample drying time: Follow the drying instructions on the sealant packaging, which may require 24-48 hours or more for complete drying.

In conclusion, while outdoor acrylic paint is highly durable and well-suited for various outdoor applications, adding a protective sealer can prolong its lifespan and provide additional defense.

Remember to follow proper surface preparation, painting, and sealing techniques to ensure a successful and lasting outdoor acrylic paint project.

Yes, it is recommended to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use to protect it from weather, UV rays, and other external factors that may cause wear and tear.

What is an Effective Waterproof Sealant to Protect Acrylic Paint?

Painting with acrylics is a popular pastime for artists and hobbyists alike. However, when it comes to protecting your work, whether it is a canvas painting, a mural, or a wooden sculpture, you need an effective waterproof sealant.

Understanding Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint is a water-based, fast-drying paint that is easy to manipulate and comes in various colors and finishes. It adheres well to many surfaces, including canvas, wood, fabric, and even metal.

However, it can also be delicate and prone to moisture, dirt, and UV exposure damage. This is where a waterproof sealant becomes essential to ensure the longevity of your artwork.

Why Use a Waterproof Sealant?

There are several reasons why you should use a waterproof sealant for acrylic paint:

  1. Protection from Moisture: Acrylic paint, though water-based, can be damaged by water, especially when exposed to it for extended periods. A waterproof sealant will protect your artwork from humidity, rain, and other water-related damage.
  2. Protection from UV Rays: Over time, acrylic paint can fade under exposure to sunlight. A waterproof sealant with added UV protection helps keep your colors vibrant and prevents fading.
  3. Dirt and Stain Resistance: A good sealant will make cleaning your artwork easier and protect it from dirt, grime, and stains.
  4. Enhanced Durability: A waterproof sealant adds a layer of protection to your artwork, increasing its overall durability and resistance to wear and tear.

Types of Waterproof Sealants for Acrylic Paint

You can choose from several types of waterproof sealants for your acrylic paint artwork, depending on the specific requirements of your project. Some of the most common sealants are:

– Varnishes

Varnishes are thin, transparent, protective coatings that come in various formulas to suit different purposes, such as:

  • Gloss Varnish: Provides a high-gloss finish that enhances color vibrancy and depth.
  • Matte Varnish: Offers a non-reflective, matte finish that reduces glare and maintains a “flatter” look.
  • Satin Varnish: A middle ground between gloss and matte finishes, satin varnish gives a subtle, low-sheen finish.

Varnishes can be either water-based, which is easy to clean up and dry quickly or solvent-based, which offers better durability and water resistance but take longer to dry and require careful handling due to flammable components.

– Sealers

Sealers are thick, opaque coatings that are best used on porous surfaces, such as wood, to prevent the absorption of moisture that could damage the paint. They can be water- or solvent-based and are available in matte, satin, and gloss finishes.

– Clear Coats

Clear coats are clear, protective finishes that can be applied over painted surfaces to add a layer of protection, resistance to scratches, and a glossy or matte finish, depending on your preference. They can be water- or solvent-based, are generally more durable, and offer better UV protection than varnishes.

How to Choose the Right Waterproof Sealant for Your Project

When selecting a waterproof sealant for your acrylic paint artwork, consider the following factors:

  1. Surface Type: The type of surface you are working on will influence the choice of sealant. For example, sealers are best suited for porous surfaces like wood, while varnishes and clear coats are better suited for canvas or metal.
  2. Desired Finish: Consider whether you want a glossy, matte, or satin finish. Each type of sealant offers a different finish, so choose one that aligns with your preferences.
  3. Environmental Factors: If your artwork is exposed to outdoor elements, choose a sealant that offers high UV protection and water resistance.
  4. Ease of Application: Water-based sealants are generally easier to clean up and quick-drying, while solvent-based sealants offer better durability but require careful handling.
  5. Versatility: If you work on various projects, consider a versatile sealant that can be used on multiple surface types and offers a range of finishes.

Recommended Waterproof Sealants for Acrylic Paint

Based on my personal experience, I recommend the following waterproof sealants for acrylic paint:

  1. Golden Polymer Varnish: This water-based varnish is available in gloss, matte, and satin finishes and offers excellent UV protection and water resistance. It is easy to clean up and can be applied to various surfaces.
  2. Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating: A versatile spray-on clear coat that works well on canvas, wood, metal, and plastic surfaces. It offers a glossy finish, UV protection, and water resistance, making it suitable for indoor and outdoor projects.
  3. Liquitex Professional Varnish: This water-based varnish is available in gloss, matte, and satin finishes and offers excellent UV protection and water resistance. It is easy to apply and dries fast.

In conclusion, choosing the right waterproof sealant for your acrylic paint project is a crucial step in ensuring the longevity of your artwork. Consider factors like surface type, desired finish, and environmental conditions to select the best sealant to protect and enhance your masterpiece.

Is Acrylic Paint Suitable for Outdoor Applications?

Acrylic paint is an extremely versatile medium, suitable for a wide range of artists and projects. Its adaptability, durability, and quick-drying nature make it an attractive option for many applications. One question that is frequently asked is whether acrylic paint is suitable for outdoor use.

Properties of Acrylic Paint

In order to understand whether acrylic paint is appropriate for outdoor use, it is important first to understand its properties. Acrylic paint is a water-based paint made from a polymer, which gives it many unique qualities and benefits.

– Durability

Acrylic paint is known for its durability, which is a crucial factor when considering outdoor paint. Acrylics can withstand various temperatures, humidity levels, and environmental conditions without significant degradation to the integrity of the paint.

– Flexibility

The flexibility of acrylic paint is another key trait that makes it suitable for outdoor use. As acrylic paint dries, the polymer forms a flexible film that can expand and contract in response to changes in temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors.

This prevents the paint from cracking or peeling, ensuring that your artwork remains in good condition over time.

– UV Resistance

Ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause fading and discoloration in most paints. Acrylic paints offer some degree of UV resistance, which helps protect against these damaging effects.

Many acrylic paint manufacturers also offer UV-resistant additives designed to provide even more protection against fading and other sunlight-induced damage.

– Water Resistance

Since acrylic paint is water-based, it offers some resistance to water once it has fully dried. Painted surfaces left in direct contact with water for extended periods can compromise the paint’s durability, but acrylic paint should generally hold up well in normal outdoor conditions.

Preparing Outdoor Surfaces for Acrylic Painting

If you decide to use acrylic paint for outdoor projects, preparing the surface correctly is crucial to ensure the best results. Here are some tips for getting surfaces ready for outdoor acrylic painting:

  1. Clean the surface: Any dirt, dust, or debris can adversely impact the paint’s ability to adhere to the surface properly. Before you begin, be sure to clean the surface using mild soap and water, and allow ample time for it to dry completely.
  2. Prime the surface: Applying a primer coat to your surface can help improve paint adhesion and provide a more uniform surface for the paint to adhere to. Choose a primer designed for use with acrylic paint, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.
  3. Choose an appropriate paint: While acrylic paint is generally suitable for outdoor use, not all acrylic paints are created equal. Look for high-quality, artist-grade acrylic paint that is specifically designed for outdoor applications. These paints will typically offer better durability, UV resistance, and other desirable qualities.
  4. Apply multiple coats: Applying multiple coats of paint will help ensure that your artwork is sufficiently protected from the elements. Be sure to allow each coat to dry fully before applying the next.
  5. Seal the paint: Applying a sealant over your finished acrylic project can help offer additional protection against UV rays, water damage, and other environmental factors. Choose a clear, non-yellowing sealant designed for use with acrylics, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application.

Best Practices for Outdoor Acrylic Painting

Following best practices for outdoor acrylic painting can help ensure the longevity and success of your artwork. Here are some key tips and recommendations:

  • Paint in ideal conditions: To achieve the best results, try to paint in conditions that are neither too hot nor too cold, and avoid painting in direct sunlight or in a damp environment. A temperature range of 50 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit is generally recommended. If painting on a particularly hot or cold day, be sure to take necessary precautions to prevent paint from drying too quickly or too slowly.
  • Avoid using acrylics on porous surfaces: Acrylic paint may not adhere well to porous surfaces like untreated wood or concrete. Be sure to prime the surfaces appropriately, and consider using a different medium if you’re working on a particularly porous material.
  • Mix additives carefully: If you choose to use UV resistance or other additive products in your acrylic paint, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper mixing and usage. Overdosing these additives can negatively impact the appearance and properties of the paint.
  • Monitor your artwork: Inspect your outdoor acrylic paintings periodically to ensure that they are holding up well against the elements and that no signs of degradation are evident. If necessary, you can apply additional layers of protective sealant to maintain the integrity and appearance of the artwork.

In conclusion, acrylic paint is indeed suitable for outdoor use, thanks to its versatility, durability, and resistance to various environmental factors. You can create beautiful, long-lasting outdoor acrylic artwork by properly preparing your surface, choosing the right paint, and following best practices for painting.

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