Is Acrylic Paint Food Safe?

Acrylic paint is almost unavoidable if you’re involved in arts and crafts. However, if you are painting items that come into contact with food, you may have wondered whether acrylic paint is food safe?

Pottery is one of the most popular things to paint among crafters. However, before doing so yourself, you need to be careful with the paint that you use. As some paints are dangerous when ingested, even after they’ve dried.

Acrylic paints are not food-safe. Besides a small number of acrylic paints labeled as food-safe, most should not be used for painting items that come into contact with food.

Why Is Acrylic Paint Unsafe for Food Ware?

There are a couple of reasons why acrylic paint is unsafe for food items.

Bitter Taste

Besides the potential health issues, acrylic paint has a highly bitter aftertaste that will overpower any meal that you prepare using a dish painted with acrylic paint.

Digestibility Issues

Acrylic paint contains many chemicals that are not safe for human consumption. Our digestive system does not know how to process them. At best, you will experience stomach pains and cramping. At worst, you may experience a severe bout of food poisoning.

Toxicity Issues

Acrylic paint contains many chemicals that are toxic when ingested, which is why you should never let it come in contact with your food. The chemicals can cause reactions from skin allergies to stomach aches.

Many acrylic paints are non-toxic. While these varieties contain relatively fewer toxins than toxic acrylic paint, that does not mean that they are safe to ingest. No type of acrylic paint should be near your food.

What to Do If You Accidentally Eat Acrylic Paint

The first thing to do is to check if the paint is toxic or non-toxic. This will help you determine the severity of the situation.

If the paint is non-toxic, do your best to get rid of any traces of the paint. Wash your hands with soap and water. Gargle your mouth and throat with mouthwash. To settle your stomach, drink some water and eat a small snack. You may still experience mild effects such as a skin rash or stomachache, but they will likely pass with time.

If you accidentally ingested toxic acrylic paint, call a doctor immediately and ask for their advice.

Is There a Food-Safe Paint?

If you can’t use acrylic paint for dishware, then what can you use? You don’t have to resign yourself to plain bowls and mugs. There are food-safe paints on the market, such as edible color spray.

However, most food-safe paints don’t paint as well as acrylic paint and can leave your surface with unpleasant streaks. They’re also far more expensive than other types of paint. If you want to be safe, you can use these paints, but be prepared that the results may differ from what you expected.

Is Acrylic Sealer Food Safe?

Acrylic sealer is not food-safe. It is not FDA-approved for food uses because the sealing agent contains toxic chemicals.

How Do I Make Painted Items Food Safe?

You can use acrylic paint on items that will come into contact with food, as long as you do the extra steps necessary to protect the surface.

Once done painting, heat it in a microwave for two minutes, let it cool, and then heat it again for a minute. This helps seal the paint.

Finally, apply a food-grade sealant to your item, keeping the acrylic paint in place and preventing flaking. Examples of food-grade sealants include carnauba wax, food-grade mineral oil, and shellac.


Acrylic paint is not food-safe. Therefore you shouldn’t use it to paint food ware. 

You can use acrylic paint on items that will come in contact with your food as long as you bake it off after painting and finish with a food-grade sealant such as shellac. Avoid acrylic sealer as it is not food safe either.

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