How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Denim


Acrylic paint, also known as “acrylic emulsion,” is a fast-drying type of paint that comes in two forms: oil-based and water-based. This type of paint can be used on different surfaces, including wood, metal, fabric, and plaster. Acrylic paints are often preferred to other types because they’re easy to clean up with soap and water.

They also dry quickly – which means you can work faster without worrying about ruining your project by leaving it out too long. In this article, I will discuss how to seal acrylic paint on denim. So let us get started.

How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Denim

Step-wise Guide on How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Denim:

Step 1 :

Make sure you have thoroughly washed and dried your jeans in hot water and keep them away from sunlight or any other ultraviolet light source for at least a week. The washing process would ensure that the fabric is free from any dirt or oil, which may prevent the adhesion of paint to the surface. Also, it dries out the denim completely so that paints do not bleed onto one another while drying.

Step 2 :

Line up your tools near enough to the work area to stay organized. You will find yourself running here and there when painting time comes! I usually start with the brush handle on one side and the rest of the brushes lined up above it (covered), so they don’t get stained even before use! You can also arrange the tools you plan to use for a particular design, like the measuring tape, stencils, etc.

Step 3 :

Read through all the instructions and guidelines carefully to get an idea of how long it would take you for each step. Then, don’t try out anything without knowing what there is at stake! The last thing you need is to waste your precious denim because of some silly mistake! You can even practice with some old clothes before painting something valuable in front of you!

Step 4 :

Clean and Organized Workspace

Now comes the most important part – prepping up your work area! A clean and organized workspace would allow you to focus more on grabbing that perfect shade or dirtied-up look altogether rather than running around hunting for items from one corner of the studio to another!

I usually place all my stencils on top of an old newspaper to not get stained; you can also place a cloth or paper towel underneath your denim/clothes to keep them from getting dirty. Many people prefer placing their clothes on top of newspapers to avoid stains, but I prefer to spread out my tools and materials first before starting with the painting itself – let me tell you why!

Step 5 :

This step is essential to achieve a professional look with flat-effect paint jobs! If you have got any chunks that are still attached (like dirtied parts from rolled cuffs), make sure you remove these too before applying any paints. This will save you from applying too many layers on top of each other and give your denim a really sharp look!

Step 6 :

Take a paper towel or some thick cloth and apply some rubbing alcohol onto it to wipe out the dirt stuck in all those nooks & corners, else paint would not adhere evenly and would have tiny spots around your jeans – now that’s something no one wants to see on their perfectly painted pair of denim!

Step 7 :

Now is the time for adding depth to your artwork by selective application of acrylic paints with a flat finish (such as matt/flat latex), which generally come in color tones like black, gray, dark blue, etc.! You can even use white pastel chalks for certain parts of your artwork to make it look like the clothes have been dug up from some archeological site!

Step 8 : 

Once you are done with the base paint, you can start adding different color tones on top of one another for a more vintage look! It is equally important to make sure that all your paints mix well and don’t leave any lines at the edges of each layer. If you have used a white or yellow undercoat earlier, making sure that even these colors blend incorrectly would also prove essential.

Step 9 : 

Ensure that your brush has dried out completely before using them again. Else they might end up shedding loads of bristles and ruining your finished product! For this purpose, allot enough time for drying between each layer.

Step 10 :

Apply a spray fixer to avoid your paints from smearing off anytime someone touches them! You can also use a matte coat of varnish if you want to get rid of any glossiness! For extra protection and durability, you may even consider using an acrylic sealant that locks the paint in place just about anywhere you apply it!

Step 11 :

A little goes a long way when it comes to adding clear matt color over top of white ones to add more depth and make it look like dirty denim; you must also ensure that all colors mix nicely, or else there will be streaks forming here and there (this is why I always spread out my tools first).

Step 12 :

While dabbing away the clear color, avoid going back to the same spot over & over again since that would result in a gleaming end product! Even if you have applied your fixer already, do not rub too hard, or you might end up with unnecessary areas of shine.

Step 13 :

Apply a generous amount of fabric softener directly onto the painted area while spreading it out evenly with your fingers – this will make sure that paint dries out completely, and nothing sticks to it; now that’s something I love about acrylic paints!

Step 14 :

Once you are done painting every corner of denim/old clothes, allow them to dry for some time before throwing them in your washing machine on a regular cycle (do remember not to place any other clothes along with them).

Step 15 :

If you are placing your painted denim and other clothes in the washing machine, then it will be better to place them inside a pillowcase to avoid any damage to the paint from rubbing against each other. Also, allow enough space for free movement while they get tossed around by the spinning drum!

Precautions While Performing How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Denim:

Use Water-based Acrylic Paint

1. Make sure to protect the pants from any dirt or oil before you start painting them. Dirty paint will ruin your design and make it look patchy, so be careful where you are standing while painting your jeans.

2. If possible, use water-based acrylic paint rather than oil-based, as this does not wash off when it gets wet. Acrylic paints can be washed out with water, so they’re a little easier to clean up if you get paint on yourself or something else while you’re working.

3. Use a pre-made sealer solution or make your own to protect the paint you are planning on applying.

4. If you plan on working outside, try to do it during a nice day with low wind speeds and no chance of rain shortly. You don’t want to ruin all of your hard work because it started raining while your pants were drying!

5. Denim is not very sturdy, so be careful about what tools and materials you use to apply the paint and then seal it with this method. Work slowly (but steadily), rest often, and watch for knots or other areas that might start ripping before they should!

6. Denim paints can only be applied by hand with brushes or rollers. They can not be applied by airbrush or any other kind of paint spraying method.

7. The paints will start to look a bit dull after being sealed with the alcohol and acrylic sealer mixture. Don’t try to layer more paint over them in an attempt to save them! If you did get some on your clothing or skin when painting, it should wash out fairly easily after it has dried up a little more (so don’t go jumping in the pool right away!)

Frequently Asked Questions of How to Seal Acrylic Paint on Denim :

Why Sealing It?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions related to acrylic paints. Water-soluble inks are great for temporary tattoos or t-shirts, but what about paintings on fabric that need protection from the washing machine, sun, or rain? In addition to keeping your design looking great over time,

it helps protect the fibers of your garment from damage caused by abrasion and light, as well as ink transfer (when using white ink). The good news is any expensive cost for this process will be saved many times over when compared to the price you’ll pay for having your garment professionally dry cleaned or laundered.

What Should You Know Before Sealing?

There are many sealing products on the market, but I’ll focus on water-based sealers because of their eco-friendly properties and ease of use. If there is any chance your design will be touching skin after the wash, don’t forget to test for any allergic reaction first. The method used in this tutorial isn’t intended to ‘lock’ non removable paint into the fabric (such as painting directly onto a t-shirt).

This technique is good for clothing that has already had acrylic paints applied (perhaps some months ago) and now needs protecting against further wear and fading before washing or storage afterward. As with anything that involves chemicals, read all instructions carefully! Packaging instructions are usually more conservative than you need. Remember that most paints are acrylic and thus water-based unless otherwise specified.


I hope this article has been beneficial for learning how to seal acrylic paint on denim. Ensure all the precautions while performing the process. Thank you and have a nice day!

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