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Can You Use Acrylic Paint on 3D Printed Objects?

If you have a 3D printer at home, you can create anything you want! However, you might not have plastic in all the colors you want. Instead, you’ll want to try painting your 3D prints. That way, you can customize them completely.

So, can you use acrylic paint on 3D printed objects? Yes, you can use acrylic and other water-based paints on your 3D prints. You’ll want to apply a solid base coat of paint to the object, let it dry, then paint over it. With acrylic paint, you’ll need to apply multiple layers for the color to show up well.

You mustn’t use paints that contain high amounts of harsh chemicals since they can deteriorate your printed object. Overall, you can use acrylics to paint your 3D printed project and get good results. There’s a lot to learn, so let’s continue reading!

Can I Paint 3D Printed Objects With Acrylic Paint?

You can paint your 3D printed objects with acrylic paints. However, there are additional steps that you’ll need to take to ensure that the paint doesn’t peel off later on. Start by preparing the surface of your print by rubbing it with sandpaper.

You don’t need to wear down the object’s surface a lot, but you want to make it more porous. That way, the paint can stick to it better. From there, apply a primer or base coat to the object. Once that first layer dries, you can easily apply the paint you want.

I recommend using Liqutex Primer before adding your paint. It’s a excellent primer with great coverage and protection.

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If you don’t prepare the object’s surface first, you’ll notice that the acrylic paint doesn’t stick to it very well, no matter how many layers you use. Instead, you should spend time prepping the object for painting. It doesn’t take too long, so you’ll need to make it into a habit.

In short, you can paint on your 3D printed objects with acrylic. You can mix your acrylics to create a wide range of shades that you can use too. Overall, many artists love using this method to make sculptures and models.

How To Paint 3D Printed Objects With Acrylic Paint

Once your 3D printed object cools down completely and comes off the press, you can get to work on adding color! First, you’ll need to prime the surface using the above steps- lightly buff it with sandpaper and apply a primer coat.

Make sure you give the base enough time to dry. If it’s still tacky when applying the paint, it won’t stick correctly and could flake off later.

Mix the acrylic paints you want to use on your palette, then fill in your object with color using a small brush. Make sure to apply thin, even layers of paint across the object. Then, give it at least 30 minutes to dry between the layers. When the previous layer isn’t sticky anymore, that’s when you can add the following one.

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If you have an airbrush at home, you can also use that to apply your acrylic paints in an even, solid layer.

Finally, continue painting until you have multiple layers of color built on the object. Acrylics don’t show up well on plastic, so they require more layers of paint to get the results you want. Give the finished piece ample time to dry before you move it.

Does Acrylic Paint Work on PLA Prints?

PLA is a very popular filament material for many reasons. It’s easy for beginners to use, and you can paint on it with your acrylics. Many different types of acrylic paints also have wonderful adhesion to this type of plastic.

You can follow the same steps to ensure the paint sticks to your PLA prints. You’ll want to make a few test prints until you get a more accurate feel for the best way to paint your creations. Different acrylics can react differently to PLA, although most do stick to it fairly well after you lightly sand the surface.

PLA tends to have a glossy surface, making it harder for the paint to stick. However, you don’t have to lose that shine- you can always add a layer of gloss to the object after you finish painting it with your acrylics.

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In short, acrylic paint works perfectly with PLA objects! You’re sure to find various uses for this printing material. It’s also very common in the printing world, making it easier to find.

How Do You Paint PLA With Acrylic?

Painting your PLA prints with acrylic is very simple. Start by sanding the object, applying your base coat or primer, then working with the acrylic paint in thin layers. 

You’ll need to have patience when painting your PLA figures. You can’t rush it, or you’ll end up with layers that are too thick and don’t dry correctly. Instead, make sure you take your time. The more time you can give your acrylic paint to dry between layers, the better it will stick to the object.

You don’t need to take many unique steps to paint over PLA with acrylic paints. It can be very time-consuming, so make sure you’re ready to commit to the project and don’t mind the wait.

Can You Paint PLA Without Primer?

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You can paint directly on PLA without using a primer layer. Although, the paint may stick better if you decide to use it.

If you don’t want to apply a primer, you should at least make sure to sand the object first. This process gives your paint a textured surface to grip onto. You’ll want to paint the object light, solid color for the base coat.

Once the base coat of acrylic paint dries, you can move on to applying the acrylic paints as usual. You’re sure to enjoy coming up with all sorts of designs!

Best Paints for 3D Printing

When it comes to 3D printing, you have plenty of options for paint. Many artists enjoy using acrylic or enamel paints because they’re easier to work with. However, you should check that the paint you choose can stick to the plastic.

Beginners should use acrylic paints first. These paints are cheaper, easy to use, and let you practice without worrying about wasting costly materials. Plus, acrylics are very easy to clean up with water if you make a mess. Once you have the hang of painting on a 3D-printed item, you can move on to using enamel paints instead.

My favorite and top pick is always Arteza Acrylic Paints. They have so many different colors, and the quality is amazing! I usually use Arteza Paints for all my projects.

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Some other paints that work well on PLA and ABS include lacquers. These paints add more gloss, so you’ll want to try using them when you want to make your printed object very shiny. 

Overall, many different types of paint can stick to a printed object’s surface. Beginners should choose acrylics in most cases. You can always move on to using other materials later, so don’t worry!

Final Thoughts

To summarize, you can always use acrylic paints on your printed objects. Acrylic paints do have a difficult time sticking to the plastic, so you’ll need to make sure you properly prepare the surface for painting first.

As you gain more experience, working with acrylics on 3D items becomes a lot easier. A whole new world becomes available to you since you can print and paint anything! Overall, this skill is very worthwhile to learn.

Make sure to follow all my tips and recommended products to ensure your 3D painted project turns out great! Also, don’t forget to check out my other articles for all your painting Q&A’s. Happy painting!