Is Acrylic Paint Permanent? Let’s Find Out

  • By: Artistic Bees
  • Time to read: 5 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Acrylic paint is a go-to choice for artisans and hobbyists for its significant uses. People love to use acrylic paint for its shiny effects, vibrancy, and versatile nature. Acrylic paints are the most beginner-friendly medium and very easy to use. As it is a water-based color that is also fast-drying, many people wonder, is acrylic paint permanent?

Acrylic paint becomes permanent after drying out completely. It might be water-resistant as well to a particular temperature. However, that doesn’t make it thoroughly water-proof. Thus, acrylic paint isn’t considered permanent paint, but one can make it long-lasting by sealing and top coating the paint according to the surface materials.

To make your art exhibition-ready, you need it to be a long-lasting piece of work. You must be wondering, is it possible to preserve it for years? Yes, it is. You can protect it for centuries. How? Let’s find out.

What Kind Of Paint Is Acrylic paint?

It is a water-soluble acrylic polymer emulsion. This polymer consists of pigments that produce colors. Acrylic paint is packed with elements like stabilizers, synthetic resins, silicon oils, and defoamers. However, most of them are water-based and become water-resistant once they’ve dried.

Acrylic paints are available in different types. Some of them are permanent and remain the same even after washing. Some paints wash away easily. How long the paint will last depends on the quality of the materials you are using while painting.

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last?

If you prepare the painting surface and coat it properly, acrylic paint will last long. Acrylic paint was invented nearly a century ago (in 1950); it’s not been experimented on yet, though it is said that it can last for more than 500 years if it’s appropriately protected.

Washable acrylic paints can be washed away easily. But if you want to make it permanent, you need to use some sealant ingredients and coat the painting properly. In general, professional paintings last for 20 years and more. Though the vibrance of color may fade away with time, acrylic paints are surprisingly resistant.

How Can You Make Acrylic Paint Permanent?

To make acrylic paint permanent, you need to seal the paint properly. What kind of sealing product you will be using, like varnish or topcoat, depends on the painting and surface material. It protects your painting from sunlight, UV-ray, dust and preserves the vibrancy of color.

These are the most used products to make acrylic paint permanent:

  • Acrylic Sealer or varnish
  • Gesso
  • Mod podge
  • Acrylic spray sealer or a hairspray
  • Shellac
  • Lacquer

Using these materials, you can easily make your acrylic paint permanent. To be more accurate, you can follow these steps on how to apply them:

Step 1: Prepare your surface and make sure it’s clean before starting painting. Apply primer if you are painting on a canvas or wood.

Some surfaces require light sanding to allow the paint to adhere. You can also use a combination of water and leather bleach or a degreaser for glass or metal surfaces.

Step 2: Then comes the painting part. Apply your paint in thin coats, and allow each layer to dry first.

Select the ideal type of paint according to your medium, such as you can use leather paints as it performs well on most of the mediums.

Step 3: After drying completely, you can start coating your painted surfaces with sealants. To give it a perfect finish, apply several coatings.

Most of the sealers dry quickly. Still, it would be best if you waited up to 48 hours. You may also use a heat-set or water-proof spray to make it last longer.

Applying this process will help you to make your acrylic paint permanent. Following this, you can extend the life of your acrylic paint.

Making Acrylic Paint Permanent On Different Mediums

You can use special additives to make your acrylic paint last longer. But there are different types of mediums, and they act differently from acrylic paints. Also, there are several types of acrylic paint, and they bond differently on other surfaces.

Here are some tips on how you can choose your surface and apply suitable paint to it to make it more permanent:

On Woods

Wood is one of the most popular and widely used craft mediums for paintings. If you prepare the surface of the wood correctly, it becomes permanent once the paint has dried out. The varnishing and heat-up processes also help it survive longer. One can also topcoat it with sealing elements to protect the painting from fading away.

If the wood piece is unsealed or untreated, apply primer or light sanding for better results. It will protect the wood workpiece from scratches and other things. You can also use your acrylic paint directly on the wood. It will bond just like before. But it may be fed away easily in this case.

On Plastics

Painting on plastics can be a little complicated as the painting ingredients don’t stick on the plastic surface easily. You have to apply a primer or sand it lightly before putting a painting on it. Different kinds of plastics vary from different acrylic paints.

It is recommended to apply primer and seal with topcoats to ensure the longevity of the paint. It will help to stick the paint on the surface no matter what kind of plastic it is. You may use a heat process and sealant products to make the paints last longer.

On Fabrics

If you want to make your paint permanent on a piece of fabric, you have to heat the paint after finishing or mix additives to the paint materials. Acrylic paint can mix with fabric mediums to make the paint permanent. For the heating process, you can heat it with an iron as well.

Sometimes people accidentally touch their clothing with paint. If the paint was mixed with special fabric sealing additives, then the result is the same. It will leave a permanent stain on your clothes. But if you haven’t mixed the additives, then you can easily wash them off.

On Concretes

People love to paint their walls with acrylic paints. But the concern is, does it last long like other wall paints? Well, concrete is one of the best mediums to paint. And even if you don’t use any additives or sealing elements with it, the result is quite the same. The paint will be permanent on it and last for 20 or more years.

However, if you still want to have the best output, add sealant additives and sand lighters with it. It will make the painting more long-lasting. And make sure you have a clean surface before starting your painting.

Can You Wash Off Acrylic Paint?

If you want to remove any permanent paintwork, you need special methods for it. You can use denatured alcohol to remove permanent dried acrylic stains. Pour this on your fabric or any medium and rub it gently. Denatured alcohol is the most effective method to remove permanent acrylic paint.

Well, if you have not applied any additives, you can easily wash them off by simply using any dish detergent or soap. And in case it doesn’t work, you have to wash them several times.


A simple step can make your painting a thousand times better. All you need to do is follow these steps carefully and transform your painting into a top-notch exhibition piece for your friends and guests.

Even your next generation can enjoy your painting if it’s kept appropriately. Hopefully, this article on is acrylic paint permanent helped youclear up your queries.