How to Seal Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use

Do you love painting outdoors but find your work is fading too quickly? Fear not! This blog post will show you how to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use. The key to a long-lasting finish is using the right acrylic paint and taking care of it once it’s dry.

In this article, we’ll cover everything from what materials are necessary to how often to reseal your paintings, so they last for years. So whether you’re an avid artist or just starting, this is an excellent resource for all things related to sealing acrylics!

How to Seal Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use

8 Reasons Why You Should Seal Acrylic Paint:

  1. To change the color of a paint that has changed tone after drying. For example, acrylic paints will naturally darken as they dry. You can prevent this by sealing them with a clear acrylic sealer before exposing them to UV rays from the sun or fluorescent lighting.
  2. Paint may fade, bleed and lose its opacity when exposed to moisture and UV rays. You can minimize this by adding a sealer on top of your acrylic paintings
  3. Minimize the absorption of oil from oil-based paints when using an acrylic painting
  4. To achieve a hard, abrasion-resistant surface on mixed media projects such as collage or sculpting with plaster or clay
  5. To preserve the original color of mixed media projects when storing for an extended period
  6. For an added glossy effect to your paintings or drawings, especially if you are using handmade paper, pastels, or charcoal. You can also use this technique to achieve an opaque look on top of watercolor paintings without having the report turn yellow from the layers of paint over time
  7. To add a protective layer on top of acrylic paintings when varnishing will not do, such as when working with delicate surfaces, photographs, and assorted materials. You can also use this technique to seal finger paints for children’s art projects.
  8. Prevent oil paints or oil pastels from bleeding through the painting or paper when applying them to a textured surface. You can also prevent paint from seeping into handmade pieces, fabrics, and other porous surfaces.
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12 Ways on How to Seal Acrylic Paint for Outdoor Use:

Here is the step-by-step guide on how to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use. If you follow any of these methods, you’ll have a nice coat of clear acrylic sealer that will last for years.

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1. Use an Acrylic Varnish

Varnish comes in gloss, matte, or satin finishes. It is made with either acrylic or vinyl resins, and it has good exterior durability. The downside of varnish is that the dry time can be slow, so you have to allow several days for multiple coats to cure completely.

2. Use a Water-Based Polyurethane

Outdoor finishes come in matte and glossy finishes and provide a tough, durable barrier to the elements. They are suitable for use on non-porous surfaces such as glass or metal but not so great for porous surfaces like wood since they may be yellow over time.

3. Use a Low-VOC Water-Based Epoxy

Epoxy finishes come in 2 parts and must be mixed before application. The first part is the epoxy itself, and the second is a hardener, which you need to incorporate into the first part to activate it. Apply two coats of epoxy using a high-quality brush. The cost for a good quality exterior epoxy is about $35 a gallon.

4. Use Oil-Based Stain

Oil-based stains are made with either alkyd or modified alkyd resins and oil. They provide excellent color but will darken the wood slightly over time. These paints dry relatively quickly to a hard finish that resists water penetration. They are available at home centers and paint stores. In addition, oil stains can be top-coated with a water-based or an epoxy coating.

5. Use a Gel Exterior Varnish

Varying in levels of clarity from transparent to opaque, gel varnishes last longer than regular exterior varnish but need multiple coats and a long time to cure. If you’re looking for a transparent finish, the gel is your best bet since it penetrates deeper than other varnishes.

6. Use a Latex Stain

Latex stains come in semitransparent and opaque finishes and can be applied to wood decks, concrete patios, and masonry. They dry fast, so they’re easy to use without waiting for one coat to dry before applying the next. Latex stains are water-soluble, so clean-up is quick with soap and water.

7. Use an Acrylic Latex Paint

Latex paints are available in cake-like sheens like satin, semigloss, or gloss finish, although you can also find them in paint/primer combos. These paints dry very quickly but are not recommended for wood decks since they don’t protect against water penetration.

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Latex paints are available in cake-like sheens like satin, semigloss, or gloss finish, although you can also find them in paint/primer combos.

8. Use an Oil-Based Exterior Paint

Oil-based paints come in both matte and semigloss finishes. These paints are thick and can be opaque or transparent depending on the sheen, which is determined by how much oil is mixed. Oil paint takes longer to dry than latex, but it offers excellent protection against water penetration. They’re great for anywhere you might see a little moisture, such as pool decks or patios.

9. Use a Clear Wood Finish

Clear wood finishes, which are often called oil varnishes, come in thinned and undiluted finishes. These finishes penetrate deep into the wood’s pores, leaving a thin layer that has good water resistance and durability. They’re popular because they offer a tough finish without compromising the wood’s natural beauty.

10. Use Water Repellent Stain

Water-repellent stains contain silicone, which fills in pores and grain, so water can’t penetrate it as easily. It also has ultraviolet light inhibitors to slow down the breakdown of the stain and paint due to the sun. These stains come in semitransparent and opaque finishes, and they’re great for wood decks, patios, fences, and other surfaces that get a lot of exposure to the sun.

11. Use an Acrylic Coating

Clear acrylic or polyurethane coatings offer good protection against water penetration, fading, and blistering due to moisture. You can apply them with a brush or roller on new wood, but it’s best to pressure wash first since they won’t soak into bare, dry wood if the wood is older than six months.

If you’re applying the coating inside your home on furniture, be aware that these products release some odors, so they need to be used in well-ventilated areas.

12. Use a Deck Oil Finish

Oil finishes, which are often called stains, come in semitransparent and transparent finishes. They penetrate deep into the wood, leaving a thin layer that resists moisture penetration but doesn’t offer good protection against UV damage or water stains.

These finishes are often combined with penetrating stains for a different look and with provide better protection. Oil finishes can take weeks or months to cure, so storing them in a shaded, cool area is best.


With all the great projects you have lined up to paint outdoors, you must seal your acrylic paints before painting. If not appropriately sealed, outdoor acrylics may fade in a matter of weeks or months, depending on their exposure and how much UV light they’re exposed to. So don’t forget this step when prepping for your next project!

Remember to use one coat only no need for more than that as these products are designed for durability and protection from weathering effects such as fading and chalking. Just make sure it dries completely before applying another layer; we recommend waiting at least 48 hours after application before doing another coat.

We hope this blog post on how to seal acrylic paint for outdoor use has been helpful. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

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