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Is Acrylic Paint Oil Based?

When painting, you want to make sure you use paint that fits what final results you want to achieve. There’s a big difference between oil and water paints, so make sure to choose carefully! However, there’s some confusion on what acrylic paints consist of.

So, is acrylic paint oil-based? Acrylic paint is not oil-based; it’s a water-based paint. The pigments that give the paint color stay suspended in a water-based polymer. The polymer makes acrylic behave very differently from oil paints and even watercolors.

You’ll need to keep in mind that acrylic paints aren’t oil-based. You’ll want to handle them differently than other types of paint. If you want to learn more about why acrylics aren’t oil-based, let’s keep reading!

Is Acrylic Paint Oil Based or Water Based?

Acrylic paints are water-based. They don’t contain any oils but instead use acrylic resin and chemicals to hold the pigments. The chemicals in acrylic paints give them their unique features.

These acrylic paints behave differently from oil paints because of their ingredients. You can thin acrylics with water and paint using them like watercolors, which doesn’t work well with oil paints. Plus, acrylics dry quickly into a hard plastic-like substance. 

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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Acrylics are also suitable for kids to use. Since they dry quickly, young children can easily work with them. Oils take days to dry, which works great for artists who want to change their art, but can become a mess with children.

Is Acrylic Paint Always Water Based?

While most acrylic paints are water-based, not all water-based paints are acrylic. Acrylic paints specifically consist of polymers suspended in water and other chemicals. Watercolors don’t use polymers but are still water-based paints.

Once your acrylic painting dries, it also becomes resistant to water damage, unlike watercolors. This feature makes it best for collage, mixed media, and other types of crafts. Artist quality acrylics are vibrant and give you a very professional final result.

Is House Paint Acrylic or Latex?

House paints can be either acrylic or latex. Although they’re not used as often for painting homes, acrylic paints tend to last longer than latex ones. Latex paints are usually a homeowner’s first choice.

Latex is also water-based paint but is more suitable for painting large areas than acrylic. You can buy latex paint in large batches at a much lower price. Plus, latex paints work when painting both the interior and exterior of a home.

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You may use acrylic for painting your home when you want to add more protection to the outside. Acrylic is very flexible so that it can expand or contract with your house. Lastly, it is very resistant to the sun and weather.  

How Can I Tell if Paint Is Oil Based?

If you’ve mixed up your paints, you’ll want to know whether it’s oil or water-based paint before you start using it. Luckily, there’s a test that you can use!

It’s called the Acetone test. Take some acetone and soak a cotton ball or rag in the liquid. Then, rub it on the dried paint. If the color doesn’t come off, then it’s oil-based paint.

If you don’t have Acetone on hand, you can also wipe the paint off with a damp cotton ball. It’s oil paint if it doesn’t stain the cotton ball at all. Water-based paints could leave some pigment on the cotton ball, although some may be resistant to water.

However, you might not need to do this if you still have the paint containers. You can check their labels for whether they’re oil paints or not. If you don’t see anything that gives you a specific answer, you can also google the paint brand online.

Can You Paint Oil Over Acrylic House Paint?

You can paint oil over acrylic, but not the other way around when it comes to house paints. However, many professionals recommend that you don’t combine the two. If the oil paint doesn’t adhere to the acrylic surface well, your color will chip!

Acrylic paint can’t stick to oil paint at all, so it will quickly flake off if you try it that way. You may have good results when putting oil paint over acrylic, but it depends on its materials. 

The gesso that modern painters use to prep their canvas for oil painting is actually acrylic. The gesso provides the canvas with protection, gives the painter a reliable surface to work with, and lets the oil paint stick to the canvas. You can think of a coat of acrylic house paint in the same way.

Is Exterior Acrylic Paint Oil Based?

Exterior acrylic paints aren’t oil-based. They still use acrylic resin and water as their main components. The chemicals in the paint work well on the outside of homes because they can move with the building as it adjusts during temperature changes.

Acrylic paints are usually better suited for houses since they’re faster drying and less harmful to the environment when compared to oil paint. Acrylics also are easier to clean and won’t stain the ground if they drip. 

However, you can still find oil-based options for your home. The paint will cost more and take longer to dry, but it could be worth it for you.

Acrylic Paint vs. Oil Paint

Acrylic and oil paints serve very different purposes. Many beginners choose to work with acrylics because they’re easier to use and dry quickly. Over time, many artists move from acrylics to using oil paints.

Oil paints need more time to dry, which is better for large paintings that need more detail. Oil paints also allow you to use more advanced painting techniques, making them popular among artists.

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Acrylics are also harder to mix and blend to get different shades, which oil paints efficiently. Additionally, both use very different ingredients. Acrylic uses acrylic polymer emulsion to hold the pigments. Oil paints use oils that come from linseed or animals.

You’ll want to consider what you want from the paint when choosing between the two. Acrylics are usually better suited for crafts and other home projects.

How To Seal Acrylic Paint

You can use varnish to seal your acrylic paint. The varnish protects the acrylic from the sun, yellowing, chipping, and dust. If you don’t seal the painting, it’s much easier to damage.

Krylon is a great spray-on varnish that keeps your paint from flaking, chipping, and even fights against UV rays!

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Make sure you apply the varnish in thin layers to seal the paint, with plenty of time to dry between. You want the layer to be fully dry before applying another layer. Doing so ensures that your painting gets the best possible protection.

You can also use Mod Podge to seal the paint if you don’t have any varnish at home. Mod Podge dries clear and offers plenty of protection to acrylics. It also provides a smooth, shiny finish.

Final Thoughts

In short, acrylic paints are not oil-based- they’re water-based paints. They behave very differently from oil paints. For example, acrylics dry faster, have a plastic-like texture, and you can thin them down with water.

Overall, you’ll want to remember that acrylics aren’t the same as oil paints. You’ll need to handle them very differently- even down to the types of brushes that you use! However, both paints are fun to use, and you’ll quickly learn the differences between them as you paint.

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

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