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Acrylic Vs. Enamel Paint

There are many types of paint available in the market today. Some are used for arts and crafts while others are used for bigger things, like painting houses or buildings. Enamel & acrylic paint can both be used as household paint effectively. Knowing the difference between the two is important though so you will know which one is appropriate for which projects.



What is Enamel Paint?

Enamel paint is the kind of paint that is usually used for the household and other do-it-yourself projects. It used to be purely oil-based but recently, water-based enamel paints have become available as well. Enamel paints are durable and
become hard, glossy, and opaque when dry. Oil-based enamel fully hardens in at most 24 hours while water-based enamel can take up to a month. Oil-based enamel paintenamel dries from the inside so you’ll know by touching it when it’s completely dry. Water-based enamel, on the other hand, starts drying from the outside. This means that even if it feels dry when you touch it, you can’t be completely sure that it has dried yet. Oil-based enamel also gives out a strong odor when used and takes a long time to dry. It can be cleaned by paint thinners and mineral spirits. Water-based enamel is easier to apply and takes a shorter time to dry. Cleaning it is easy too since it’s washable with water.

Depending on the paint’s type, it can be applied by brushes, rollers or spray equipment. The method of application and the drying time also depends on the paint’s type.  However, it’s good to remember that in most cases it’s better to apply multiple thin coats rather than a few thick ones, regardless of the dry time.

Enamel paint must only be used in properly ventilated areas because of the fumes it emits. Furthermore, the colors take a while to adjust and dry. Enamel paints can also be either urethane or polyurethane, and water-based or solvent-based. They also come in different sheens and some may even be resistant to heat.

Although this type of paint is generally used in kitchens and bathrooms, artists may also use them on copper and glass surfaces. They are also the best kind of paint to use on non-porous materials such as metal, plastic, and resin. In short, this kind of paint is applied on surfaces that are humid or always used. This is because they are resistant to moisture and can be washed several times without ruining the surface. You may hear things about enamel being washable but this is a common misconception. These washable products, also known as “flat enamels”, are actually different from the regular enamel paint.

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paints are mostly used by artists or for arts and crafts. Unlike enamel paints which come as oil- or water-based, acrylic paints are solely water-based. They dry as matte, but a glossy finish can be painted over it if preferred. They are also safer than enamel paints since they do not emit any kind of fumes. They can therefore be used anywhere—even in places without ventilation. Acrylic paints also dry much faster than enamel ones, and they are easier to clean. In fact, in can be cleaned by only using soap and water. If left on the palette you worked with, it can also easily be peeled off when it dries. Acrylic paint can also take up to 24 hours before drying up as long as it is covered.

Acrylic PaintSince acrylic paints don’t dry out completely and because they swell with moisture, it is best to use them on surfaces where air can freely pass through. This can be a better choice than enamel paints if you are painting things like wooden furniture since they cannot trap moisture. If you want to use it on non-porous materials like plastics and metals, you first have to coat the surface with a sealing base coat. Better results may occur if you have both an undercoat and an overcoat to help the surface avoid moisture. It is also better to use enamel paint on objects that would require repeated handling. However, if you prefer to use acrylic paint, make sure that you also have special sealers so that they won’t break down easily.

Like enamel paints, acrylic paints give better results if applied in thin coats since it can be used to highlight details of the surface. In order to apply fine layers, you can thin them by mixing them with water and acrylic medium. However, make sure that you use both instead of just using water because this will make the paint weak.

AcrylicThere are many kinds of acrylic paints: artist’s quality paints, student quality paints, and craft paints. Craft paints are more opaque and have more fillers than both artist’s and student quality paints. They actually have the lowest quality among the three. Artist’s quality paints, on the other hand, have better colors and less fillers than the other two. This is actually the best pick among the three. Acrylic mediums like extenders and thinners can also help you create different effects for your project and extend the paint’s handling qualities. Acrylic paint can be applied by using either regular brushes or airbrushes.



Different types of paints are better for different types of projects and surfaces. Some paint would work well on one surface while others would not be suitable for that same surface. Don’t look at this as a battle of Enamel vs. acrylic, but rather as education for which one is better for each situation. It is better to know their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to using them for your furniture in order to achieve the best outcome.

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