Can I Paint Enamel over Acrylic?

Painting over old furniture is one of the best ways to make it look brand new again.

However, if there’s already a layer of acrylic paint on the surface, can you paint over it using enamel paint? It depends on a few different factors.

So here’s everything you need to know before painting over acrylic paint.

What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is water-based, non-toxic paint used in DIY projects. Acrylic paint is popular because it’s versatile enough to adhere to many surfaces, from furniture to wood. It also leaves a distinctive matte finish that you decorate with textured topcoats or finishes.

What Is Enamel Paint?

Enamel paint is an oil-based paint with a distinctive glossy finish. Once it dries, it creates a hard coat with a shiny finish. DIYers and crafters value enamel because of this polished finish and durability. Enamel works best on hard metal surfaces and indoor walls exposed to moisture.

Although Enamel paint has many benefits, it is less versatile than acrylic and often comes in fewer colors. It is also more dangerous to use, and you will need to take more precautions to avoid inhaling toxic fumes.

What Is the Difference Between Acrylic and Enamel Paint?

Acrylic and enamel paints are different due to their chemical composition. Acrylic paint is water-based, whereas enamel paint is oil-based.

When deciding between acrylic and enamel paint, you should also think about safety. For instance, enamel paint gives off toxic fumes as it dries, and its dry time is much longer than acrylic paint. If you have children or pets in the house, acrylic paint is a safer option.

Can You Paint Enamel Over Acrylic?

You can paint over acrylic paint with enamel as long as the surface is smooth and not sealed with a topcoat. Otherwise, you will need to prep the surface before painting.

If the paint has chips or bubbles, it will ruin the texture of any layers of paint you apply later on. To ensure that your work does not go to waste, sand away any imperfections before painting.

A topcoat or sealant can also ruin your paint because it makes it difficult for the enamel paint to bond to the surface. If you can’t remember whether you applied a topcoat to your acrylic, sprinkle a few drops of water on the surface. If the paint absorbs the water, then there is no topcoat, and you can paint immediately. If the water rolls off or pools on the surface, then there is a topcoat. You will need to sand off the top coat before painting.

For best results before painting over acrylic with enamel, apply a primer even if you don’t have to sand. This will help the enamel paint bond to the surface.

Can I Paint Acrylic Over Enamel?

You cannot paint acrylic over enamel. Acrylic paint is water-based, and enamel paint is oil-based. The two solvents do not mix, making it difficult for acrylic paint to bond to the enamel-painted surface.

Enamel paint also has a hard, shiny gloss once it dries, which repels stains and moisture. Unfortunately, this means that it also repels your efforts to paint over it with acrylic paint.


Acrylic and enamel paint differ significantly in their chemical composition, durability, and usage. However, you can paint over acrylic paint with enamel to add a glossy finish.

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