How to Use Acrylic Paint on Metal

There are different ways on how to level up or improve a particular project, like engraving patterns or adding vibrant colors by using paints. When it comes to metal projects, it would be best to consider a type of paint made with chemicals that can withstand and suit metal surfaces. In this way, some instances that might ruin the smooth surface finish can be avoided, like peeling or causing blisters and flakes.

One of the most common types of paint used in metal projects is the Acrylic Paint. It is a water-based paint with resiliency and flexibility to be used among various surfaces, like metals. It has fast-drying and water-resistant features, which are perfect for metal masterpieces. However, using acrylic paints on metals require knowledge and in-depth understanding on the step-by-step process to achieve the best and longest-lasting outcome. In this article, we highlighted a comprehensive guide on what factors to consider and the process to follow.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Acrylic Paint

Adding some touch of color or paint on metal projects, like for home furniture or decoration, is a good idea to level up their concept and image. But using acrylic paint requires having an idea on the factors that you need to consider before going to the process of applying the paint on the metals.

Choosing between Regular or Spray Paint

It would be best to consider whether your project might need enough coverage so that you can use regular acrylic paints. For flat surfaces and bigger size of projects, your best option is a spray paint.

Acrylic Paint for Outdoor or Indoor Projects

Will your project be left outdoors or displayed indoors? Depending on the two, there are acrylic paints with specific features, resistance, and durability. When doing a metal project outdoors, choose an acrylic paint that can withstand elements, like moisture and temperature.

Acrylic Finishing

There are different types of finishes after applying acrylic paints as well, like glossy and matte finish. It would be best to consider which type of finish will suit your metal projects so you can purchase the right acrylic paint.

How to Deal with Rust

Metals are prone to rust, so it would be best to choose the acrylic paint that you can count on. Also, there are acrylic paints that can work with metal projects with a bit of rust in them if you are trying to recycle something with a metal surface.

Steps on How to Use Acrylic Paint on Metal

If you have already decided to make your metal project colorful, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply acrylic paints to metals.

Step 1: Prepare the Materials

There are materials that you need to gather before starting the painting procedure with a metal surface using an acrylic paint. Make sure that you already have the right acrylic paint for your project, and the rest of the materials needed are as follows:

  • Water
  • Primer
  • Paint Brushes
  • Wire Brush
  • Thinner
  • Sandpaper
  • Sealant

Step 2: Get the Surface Ready

The next step in the process when you already have the materials with you is getting the surface all set for the application of paint. Make sure that the metal surface is free from dirt and other unnecessary layers of grimes. If there are rusts around the metal surface, you can use a wire brush to remove them. Also, you can use sandpaper to make sure that the metal is smooth for painting application. It would be best to start the painting procedure with a clean metal surface for a smoother application.

Step 3: Apply Primer

Once the metal surface is already all set, you can start applying the primer, and two coats will already do. The main purpose of putting a primer before applying acrylic paint to a metal surface is to provide more adhesive and to prevent rust from building up on the metal. Also, before going to the next step, make sure that the primer you applied has dried out completely.

Step 4: Start Applying the Acrylic Paint

It is finally time to apply the acrylic paint. If you consider using spray paint, it has a much easier and simpler way to apply since you only have to aim at the metal part you want to paint and push the spraying button. But if you want to use regular paint, you will have to utilize the different paint brushes that you prepared. After that, wait for the first coat to dry out completely before applying another one until you achieve the color and finish that you want.

Step 5: Seal the Surface

After putting the acrylic paint on the metal surface, you have to wait for a few hours for the paint to dry out completely before you can put the sealant next. The general purpose of sealing the surface using a sealant formula is to protect the painted surface and add more touch of finish, from glossy, semi-glossy, or matte. It is the last step in applying acrylic paint to metals, and your project will be good to go.

For a detailed guide on sealing acrylic paint, especially if you are working with plastic surfaces, you can check out our article on 'How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Plastic?' This guide provides valuable insights into the sealing process, ensuring you achieve the best results when applying sealant to metal surfaces as well.


In doing handcrafted projects, making it colorful and vibrant is also a good way to level up their appearance especially when they are for outdoor decorations or indoor furniture. But the process of applying acrylic paints requires a detailed step-by-step procedure and preparations. If you are planning to spice up your old toolbox or music box with adding some paints in it, make sure to review this article to achieve the metal surface finish you want. Get your materials ready, purchase the right acrylic paint, and get ready to work for your next metal project!

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