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Thursday, December 8th, 2022

Can You Paint Oil Over Acrylic? | Oil Paint Guide Right Now

Can you paint oil over acrylic

Art is a form of expressing one’s feelings. 

It has transcended across time, becoming a part of our daily lives. Wherever we go, we always get to see various forms of art. Take a look at your wallpaper. Isn’t it a form of art created by some artist? Or it may be a strategically clicked picture by a renowned photographer. Or it’s a selfie, and well, you are a work of art, too! 

If you take a closer look, art is limitless, and so are the different artistic techniques and methods associated with art. So, can you paint oil over acrylic? Don’t worry beginners tend to get lost in the world of art and aesthetics. That’s where we come in. 

After extensive research, we have curated this blog to guide you on the various oil paints for professionals, especially acrylic and oil paints techniques, as well as complete oil paints how to guides for beginners so you can bring life to your artwork. 

FUN FACT | Did you know, there is a type of paper called yupo, which modern painters are shifting to from traditional paper? We have an existing article on how to paint on yupo paper to curb your curiosity. 

So, you can relax and enjoy this read. 

Types Of Paints

Can you paint oil over acrylic

Paints have the ability to transform any room or canvas into an artistic masterpiece. But have you ever wondered what the different types of paints are? There is a variety to choose from, and we are here to guide you. 

Based on our research, paints are divided into two main categories – oil paint and acrylic paint. Here’s a simple informative guide on the two most commonly used paints and their applications: 

Oil Paints

Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint formulated by mixing pigment particles with drying oil such as refined linseed oil. Linseed oil is well known for being flexible and highly resistant to cracks, making this oil best suited for making oil paints. 

Moreover, one can change the viscosity of the paint by modification. In most cases, solvents such as turpentine or white spirit are used to make the paint more resistant and durable for a longer period of time. In order to improve the glossiness, some artists prefer to add varnish to the oil-based paint. 

Applications And Tips To Remember While Choosing Oil Paints:

    • Oil-based paints offer a rich finish, boast water-resistant properties, and are long-lasting and durable.
    • It is highly recommended for trim work.
    • It is best suited for walls, windows, metals, doors, and stained surfaces for durability.
    • It is also easy to apply and use.

Benefits Of Using Oil Paints:

    • Attractive glossiness
    • Ideal for high moisture rooms (ex. kitchen and bathroom)
    • Long-lasting

Acrylic Paints

In contrast to oil paint, acrylic paints are well known for being a fast-drying paint as they are made of pigments suspended in various other solvents like stabilizers, silicone oil, deformers, and many more, as well as acrylic polymer emulsion. In general, acrylic paints are a kind of water-based paints, but some tend to resist water when they dry up. 

Moreover, the final acrylic work can either resemble a gouache, a watercolor, or an oil paint, depending on the amount of water diluted with the acrylic paint. Modifying the paint with acrylic gels, acrylic medium, acrylic gesso, and paste can also alter the dynamics of the paint. 

Applications And Tips To Remember While Choosing Acrylic Paints:

    • Acrylic paints have strong adhesion to a wide range of materials such as wood, masonry, metals, and plastics.
    • It can dry very fast (it tends to take 5-20 minutes).
    • It can also retain color and resist the harmful effects of UV rays and the Sun.
    • Acrylic paints have a creamy, water-based consistency and smoothness.

Benefits Of Using Acrylic Paints:

    • Water-soluble
    • Affordable
    • Quick-drying
    • Versatile as you can mix it with different mediums to get different results.

Can You Paint Oil Over Acrylic?

Over the last few years, artists have debated whether they should paint oil over acrylic or not. After years of research and testing, it has been proven that high-quality acrylic gesso and paints provide excellent adhesion to oil paints.

Additionally, adhesion is rarely an issue when it comes to mixing oil paints with acrylic gels, gesso, and mediums. Keeping this in mind, we still recommend carefully modifying the two paints to get better results for your artistic photos and images on your canvas. 

Guidelines To Remember While Using Oil Over Acrylics

Here are some methods and techniques to remember while using oil over acrylic to get the best results on your canvas:

1. Protect Natural Fiber Substrates

While painting, we recommend applying three to four coats of acrylic gesso or two coats of acrylic medium. Papers, canvas, and linen tend to soak the oil from the oil paint, and this could result in premature deterioration of natural fibers. Wood substrates are highly resistant to oil penetration, but we still recommend applying acrylic sizing between the wood substrates for better protection against absorption. 

2. Let The Acrylic Layers Dry Fully Before Applying An Oil Coat

Based on our research, acrylic paints take a longer time to dry based on the number of coats an artist has applied to the surface. Thinner coats can dry easily within three to four days, while thicker coats tend to take a longer time to dry. We recommend waiting till the coats have completely dried up before applying the oil paint. 

3. Avoid Using Any Soft Or Spongy Acrylic As A Base

Since acrylic paints have the ability to stay flexible for an indefinite period, layers of oil paints on top can become fragile over the decade. Further, soft or spongy acrylic paints take a longer time to become rigid, and therefore it is recommended to avoid them as the base for oil paints. 

4. Stay Away From Textures And Sharp Peaks

Just like the previous point, gels and paste can soften if exposed to increasing temperatures. Moreover, ridges, sharp peaks, and pointy mounds could compromise the flexibility of the acrylic paints and make the oil overcoat brittle. 

5. Multiple Layers = Better Stiffness

Increasing the stiffness of the base has proven to be highly beneficial for oil paints. Adding multiple layers of acrylic paints can increase the stiffness of the base and improve the rigidity of the oil paints for a longer period. This is especially important while working with flexible support and thinner acrylic paints. 

6. Matte Or Gloss Surfaces? 

During our research, we observed excellent adhesion toward both surfaces. But in most cases, a matte surface provides better adhesion and toothing for any system. For better results, we recommend using matte acrylics over a glossy acrylic base for additional toothing and adhesion to your oil paint coat. 

7. Avoid Highly Absorbent Acrylic Paints

Lastly, some acrylics have a higher tendency to be absorbent such as the Golden Absorbent Ground. Such paints can easily draw out the excess oils from the top coat, leaving the layer more matte and friable. Moreover, this could result in potential cracking or flaking. Applying a layer of thinner acrylic or thinner oil paints could help in reducing the absorbency of these surfaces while making them more desirable for oil paint use. 

Paint Oil Over Acrylic Frequently Asked Questions

Paint Oil Over Acrylic Frequently Asked Questions?

In this section, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions related to acrylic paints and oil paints. 

Is It Possible To Paint Acrylic Paint Over Oil-Based Paint?

Under most circumstances, acrylic paints or water-based paints can easily peel off from the oil-based paint base, and therefore it is advisable to avoid such a method. The formula of acrylics doesn’t bond well with oil-based paints. Taking the right precautions and steps could help in achieving the right outcome. 

Which Is The Most Commonly Used Support Medium for Oil Painting?

In most cases, linseed oil is commonly used as a support medium for oil painting. The chemical structure and composition of linseed are best suited to achieve the desired results, but certain precautions should be taken. We recommend a certain amount of thinning of the solvent or the use of cold-pressed linseed oil to reduce drag and achieve a smooth finish. 

What Types Of Medium Can Be Used With Oil Paint?

    • Turpentine
    • Oils from walnuts
    • Oil from linseed which is an excellent source for omega-3 acids
    • White spirit
    • Environmental-friendly solvents

What Steps To Keep In Mind While Painting Over Acrylic Paints?

Here are some steps you should follow while painting over acrylics… 

    • Before painting over acrylic paint, make sure to dry it completely
    • Remember to sand out any texture you want from the acrylic paint
    • Use multiple coats for better stiffness and firmness
    • Always wait till the humidity falls down and then dry the first coat
    • Always use small containers to store your gesso

How Often Should You Clean Your Paint Brush?

Based on our research, we recommend washing your paintbrush as often as possible for better longevity. Make sure to clean them thoroughly every time you decide to paint something new. Watercolors and acrylics can be easily removed with water. On the other hand, it is recommended to use chemical solvents to clean oil-based paints from your brush. 

What Colors To Get As Beginners?

As a beginner, we would recommend getting red, yellow, and blue along with white. Make sure to pick a warmer and cooler version of the primary colors, as it would give you better results once you start mixing them. In this way, the color combinations are limitless, and you can experiment to your heart’s content! 

What Should You Paint On?

Painting has no limits, and you can paint on any surface as long as it provides proper toothing and grip to your paint. Acrylics are best suited for canvas, paper, wood, cards, and many more. The use of primer is mandatory while using oil paints since they tend to deteriorate the paper or thread of the canvas. 

Which Paint Is More Affordable?

Generally, oil paints tend to have a higher maintenance cost than acrylic paints. Acrylics, however, are easier to use, and painting mediums are not mandatory. 

But on the whole, oil paints require various painting tools and solvents, which add to the maintenance cost. In addition to this, you will need to get a primed canvas or primer if you want to use oil paints. 

Which Paint is Best Suited For Craft Projects?

Based on our research, Acrylic paints are best suited for paintings and craft projects. Also, they are well known for drying fast, and you can apply them on most surfaces. 

Can you paint oil over acrylic

Paint Oil Over Acrylic Final Verdict

Now that we are nearing the end of our informative blog, we hope you have a better idea of the different techniques and methods of painting your art. Different paints add to various dynamics of your art, and they can bring life to your imagination if used correctly. 

But before we wrap up, let us summarize a few observations when it comes to acrylic paints and oil paints. Acrylics are easy to use and require less maintenance cost. Plus, they are well suited for quick craft projects. 

On the other hand, oil-based paints are highly water-resistant and durable for a long period. But, we also suggest taking a few precautions and steps while painting oil over acrylic paints. 

That said, we’ll be signing off now, but stay tuned for more informative articles. Until next time! 

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson

Ann Hutchinson is the heart of the team, senior editor and our Head of Product Reviews which means she sets the testing parameters of each group review ensuring that tests resemble everyday use.

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