Acrylic painting is a versatile and affordable way to create art. It can be used on numerous surfaces, including most types of wood, provided that the material is appropriately primed and sealed.
The best wood sealers for acrylic painting are various varnishes, finishes, coatings, and Mod Podge. As a general rule, combinations of these products create the best results. If the painting cracks or if the wood warps, different mixes should be considered.
If you’re interested in acrylic painting on wood, take a look at the following sealers to make sure you keep your art as safe as possible.
Is There a Sealant for Acrylic Paint?
Painting can take many resources that make dents in the budget. Acrylic paints are great for savings and for exploring styles across surfaces. The durability of works done in acrylic paint will depend on the sealant used as a finishing touch.
There are several sealants for acrylic paint:
- Matte varnish/enamel spray
- Medium gloss/gloss varnish
The best choice of sealant will depend on the work surface you are using and the materials involved, especially if you are combining media.
Best Wood Sealers for Acrylic Painting
Acrylic paint differs from traditional paint by using a pigment encased in a suspension of polymers mixed with stabilizers and plasticizers. It was derived from acrylic resin in the early 20th century.
It is water-soluble, and it also becomes resistant to water once it’s dry. This makes it a great choice for surfaces like wood, as long as it is sealed.
|High-gloss or matte options are affordable
|Easy to layer
|Can require ventilation
|May dry with yellow tones
|Can have strong fumes
|It can take a while to dry
There are plenty of options to seal acrylic paint on wood. These categories all include products popular with artists, and we’ll offer you an overview below to help you pick up the best product for you.
Varnishes are the traditional sealers used for acrylic painting. While some should be avoided on acrylics, especially if they include solvents, there are plenty of new types that can be excellent wood sealers.
The best types of varnishes for this purpose are polycrylic or polyurethane. If you choose a polyurethane varnish, remember always to pick one that includes water rather than solvents.
Water-based varnishes work well with acrylics, while solvent-based ones can damage the painting when you apply them.
The main draw of this type of sealer is the glossy finish some of them create. If you opt for a gloss medium or gloss varnish, you will get an ultra-glossy result that will make your painting shine.
Gloss varnishes are easy to find, and they create some of the best finishes. You can choose the level of gloss and whether you prefer a satin look. This will make the colors of your acrylic painting pop while keeping them safe.
If you’d rather stick to a matte sheen and an even more affordable type of varnish, you should opt for an enamel spray. Some of the benefits of using enamel sprays include:
- Quick-drying time allows the application of coats in quick succession.
- You can use them even when it’s cold.
- It applies easily, and you can find them in most shops.
If you choose enamel sprays, make sure you apply them somewhere well-ventilated as they can have potent fumes. The smell may linger for a little while in the room where you use them, so be prepared to air it out for a while.
Achieving an attractive sheen over the painting can be done with enamel sprays, but it won’t look as intense as the gloss varnishes.
It may also take upwards of six coats to be seen. If you’re interested in this category overall, let’s take a look at a few of the best products it offers.
This popular choice comes in six versions: gloss, high gloss, matte, satin, Soluvar gloss, and Soluvar matte. Liquitex Varnish is a non-toxic product that dries into a water-resistant surface.
It prevents yellowing, and it can be easily mixed with acrylic paints from the same company.
Sargent Art Acrylic Gloss and Varnish
As another of the bestsellers in this category, this offering from Sargent Art is a non-toxic varnish with a glossy and waterproof finish. It’s an excellent choice for acrylics because it combines with them in a safe way that makes your paintings shine.
It has almost no smell to it, so there’s no need to ventilate the whole house. When applying it, be aware that there might be an initial purply haze to the painting underneath, but that will vanish as it dries. You’ll be left with a lovely gloss and vibrant colors.
Finishes are great lightweight options to give a final sheen to your acrylic paintings on wood that also keeps them protected. They are usually clear, and many of them are suitable for outdoor and indoor use.
Finishes add durable layers of protection to your painting without warping it or damaging it. They have a smooth and pleasant glossy application.
They also dry quickly, so you can layer various coats without having to wait around for hours, but you’ll most likely be happy with the first application.
Finishes aren’t only suitable for wood: they also apply well on stone and cardboard, among others.
If you have any leftover finish once you’re done with your acrylic on wood projects, you can always experiment further with what results you can achieve on other materials.
If you’re interested in the luster and protection you can get from finishes, let’s look at some of the best options in the category.
When you purchase one, remember to look for specific non-yellowing ones, as some standard ones can dry with those tones and change the look of your acrylic colors.
Aleene’s Spray Gloss Finish
This is one of the top-rated finishes, and it’s all due to the quality of the product. Aleene’s Spray Gloss Finish is a highly durable option that applies quickly and easily.
It will be a clear sheen that will turn glossy as it dries, providing a luxurious effect when you spray it on. It has some of the best durability among wood sealers.
Minwax Polycrylic Protective Finish
This water-based option is safe to use, easy to clean and doesn’t have an intense smell. This polycrylic protective finish is non-yellowing and comes in various versions:
- Ultra Flat
If you have a big acrylic painting on the wood job, then you can opt for this product to get a high level of protection that looks great.
If you need more applications, you can add more than one coat, though it is recommended to wait around two hours to do so. You should also consider lightly sanding the wood between coatings if you have the possibility.
The finish will be fully dry within 24 hours of applying the last coat that you need, and you’ll be able to enjoy your chosen effect, from matte to gloss.
Coatings are another type of sealer that works great with acrylic paint on wood. They are usually the most suited to wood, glass, metal, plaster, drywall, and ceramic materials.
They apply quickly, and they also dry quickly. One of the few downsides is the potential for a strong smell from the fumes that would need to be adequately ventilated.
Coatings are great at providing a glossy sheen to your work, but you shouldn’t overdo it by applying too much. The coating will become a permanent part of your work and won’t suffer from any yellowing.
If you’d like to invest in coating sprays for your project, you could consider some of the following top-rated choices.
Krylon Acrylic Coating Spray Paint
This popular option from Krylon is great against moisture and smudges. It helps improve contrast levels in your painting, and it can be used on a variety of materials, from papier mache to silk flowers.
This acrylic coating benefits from ultra-fast drying. You can touch your work within fifteen minutes, and you can handle it within two hours without any worries about damage.
Yellowing will also be prevented, and you will get to enjoy your acrylic painting on wood for a long time.
Mr. Super Clear Protective Finish
This acrylic coating from the famous brand Mr. Super Clear is one of the top-rated wood sealers for this type of painting.
It provides complete protection with one application and even prevents damage from UV rays. It even has a lovely matte finish that will add an air of sophistication to your finished product. You can also find other glossy versions.
Mr. Super Clear Protective Finish is one of the strongest sealers on the market today, so you should take care when applying it and not overdo it.
Your work will face no yellowing or discoloration from light, and the consistently high ratings for this product will keep you worry-free.
Mod Podge is one of the superstar wood sealers on the market. It is an all-in-one option that fills the role of adhesive and sealer at once.
You may have noticed the popularity of this product in the crafting world, and that’s because it can be used to glue and seal various pieces of clothing or costumes, and even jewelry.
The matte and gloss versions of the Mod Podge are the most popular, and they both come in water-based solutions. This provides an excellent solution for acrylic paints on wood, giving them long-lasting protection and a high-quality finish.
You should be prepared that Mod Podge smells strongly of glue, but it’s not too overwhelming. You are encouraged to ventilate the space properly when you are done, and protective masks are always a great idea.
Mod Podge is durable and provides in-depth protection. It also comes in various sizes, including big containers that can keep you in stock for a long time.
Preparing the Wood for Sealing the Acrylic Painting
The most important step before sealing the wood is to prepare the wood. In advance of applying the acrylic paint, you should select your piece and prime it. This is a crucial step if you are using raw wood.
Here is a short guide on what to do to prime the wood you’ll be using:
- Take the time to sand the wood and wipe it when you’re done.
- Apply primer with a paintbrush all over the surface you’ll use for your painting.
- Once that is done, you can proceed to paint and then seal.
Why Seal Wood Acrylic Paintings?
When you use acrylic paint on wood, it is highly recommended to seal it once you’re done. This isn’t a compulsory action, but it is the best one to protect your work for an extended period, especially from light damage and moisture, as well as chemicals and the expected wear.
Beyond the durable protection that sealing offers, you can also benefit from your choice to enhance your work. While the art is the most important part, the finish will be a great addition, whether you opt for a matte, a gloss, or a satin one.
Sealers are also great to use to make sure no moisture from the acrylic paints gets into the wood, which could cause the surface to warp.
This could end up distorting the artwork. They will also avoid cracks or peeling across the artwork and preserve it in pristine condition.
The best wood sealers for acrylic painting are numerous, and they will meet your specific needs at any time. You will be able to choose from traditional varnishes and finishes, coatings, and the ever-popular Mod Podge that continues to be a bestseller.
There are plenty of sealants for acrylic paint to preserve it from damage, even if you apply it on wood. Feel free to browse through the options available to you and choose what’s right, from the level of gloss to the smell to the ease of use.
The right choice will keep your work in ideal condition, especially if you apply it after priming.