One of the biggest questions in home improvement or craft projects is expertise which paints to use for specific projects. Each kind comes v pros and also cons the make them ideal for certain uses. As soon as it comes to the two most typical household paints, you might wonder around the difference between acrylic repaint vs. Enamel. Those the appropriate one to use, anyway?The primary difference between acrylic and also enamel paints is the base and how lock used. Acrylic is water-based, while enamel is oil-based. Both paint types have benefits and disadvantages and also are extremely versatile, therefore the choice typically comes under to her project.

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In this article, we’ll display you what you deserve to use each paint kind for and explain the differences between the paints. Look because that our optimal picks in acrylic and enamel repaint at the finish of the article as well.


Quick NavigationAcrylic paint Vs. Enamel: fast SummaryWhat is Acrylic Paint?What is Enamel Paint?What is the actual Difference in between Acrylic and also Enamel Paint?Do You need to Prime or Seal Acrylic and also Enamel Paints?Which repaint is far better for paint Models?Can girlfriend Mix Acrylic and Enamel Paints?Can You repaint Enamel end Acrylic?Can You paint Acrylic over Enamel?Best Acrylic and Enamel Paints for your ProjectConclusion

Acrylic Paint Vs. Enamel: quick Summary

Acrylic paint and enamel differ in countless ways, together as:Paint type: Acrylics room water-based paints, while enamels have the right to vary.Primary uses: Enamel is highly durable, making it good for metal. Acrylic repaint is much more versatile. You have the right to use the for virtually any surface.Durability: Enamel paint is much more durable and also long-lasting, specifically in high moisture settings.Cost: Price-wise, acrylic paint is the an ext affordable option.

What is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic is a water-based paint, which is commonly non-toxic. The repaint dries quickly and has a matte finish. It i will not ~ crack or fade easily, making it perfect because that both indoor and outdoor items. You can use that on:WallsCeilingsFurnitureCanvasWoodCementMetalFabricPaperCardboardCraftsA large upside come acrylic repaint is that you deserve to paint end it as much as friend want, so it’s much easier to exactly mistakes or include paint layers.The repaint is additionally resistant come ultra-violet rays, so that holds up fine in the sunlight. This makes it an excellent for outdoor walls.However, acrylic repaint is no waterproof. Most brands are rather water-resistant, yet the porous repaint does not hold up well in a wet environment. You’ll most likely need come seal the repaint to help protect it.Another fence is the acrylic paint often requires a primer. You might have come take additional steps to acquire the surface prepared before adding the acrylic paint, depending upon your project. Any type of item you usage outdoors will most likely require a primer.
Pros:Dries quicklyMatte finishWater-based paints tend to it is in safe and non-toxicEasy come cleanYou have the right to paint over itThe many flexible mediumSuper affordableLots of vibrant colors and shadesCons:Fast dried times typical you must work quickerYou deserve to see brush marks on the surfaceRequires an ext layers because that the ideal color depthSomewhat water-resistance, however not waterproofProvides much less coverageNot an excellent at adhering to smooth surfacesSome projects require a primer, such as outdoor items and plasticDifficult to eliminate after that driesMay peel gradually without a sealant

Types of Acrylics

Most acrylic paints room water-based other than for Tamiya paints. Over there are numerous acrylic types, such together exterior acrylics to resist harsh weather conditions or spray paint. Part brands even offer acrylics with an enamel finish, which are much more eco-friendly than traditional enamels.The kind of acrylic paint you buy depends on your project.The common varieties of acrylics include:Professional-gradeArtist-gradeStudent-grade

What is Enamel Paint?

Enamel is an opaque repaint with a high gloss end up that dries hard. This paint is long-lasting and durable, so it’s generally used for metal surfaces or painting indoors.The only paint as hard as enamel is a lacquer, i beg your pardon is much an ext toxic. Studies display that exposure come the lacquer can increase your risk of cancer in the aero-digestive tract. Many world opt for enamel over lacquer because that this reason.Enamel is perfect for painting:MetalCopperWoodGlassWallsSome plasticsMost people choose enamel repaint for indoor walls, an especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Some enamels space moisture-resistant, make them fantastic for humid rooms and also surfaces that need constant washing.But over there are also negatives to paint indoor walls through enamel. Enamels have tendency to come in under colors, and also the paint can turn native white to yellow in time with small sun exposure. Enamel additionally shows bumps and also flaws in her walls. Acrylic won’t reflect the sunlight, making the a far better paint selection for bright rooms.Pros:Long-lastingConsistent coverage in a few coatsThe most long lasting paint as well as lacquerExcellent for painting bathrooms or kitchensGreat because that metalGlossy, long lasting finishWaterproofDoesn’t need you to use primer firstCons:Must use safety precautions and also ensure suitable ventilationStrong odorRequires repaint thinner because that cleaningSometimes toxicTake longer to dryFewer color choices availableExpensive

Types of Enamels

Most varieties of enamel repaint are oil-based. However, there are likewise newer water-based enamel brand on the market.The main difference in between oil-based and also water-based enamels is exactly how long they require to dry. Dry times variety from eight come 24 hrs for oil-based, while water-based enamels typically dry every the way in much less than eight hours.The downside is that oil-based enamels create a strong odor, therefore it’s an essential for you to administer plenty of ventilation. Oil-based paint poisoning deserve to take location if enamel paint fumes gain into her lungs.Many brands recommend girlfriend wear security gloves to handle the paint as result of the glossy finish. Friend should likewise clean her brushes and also work area with paint thinner to malfunction the paint.Water-based enamels, top top the various other hand, are easier to clean. All you need is soap and also water. Water-based paints are typically considered more secure to use. However, castle may lack the durability friend see with oil enamels.

What is the actual Difference between Acrylic and Enamel Paint?

Understanding the differences in between the paints help you make an educated decision the next time girlfriend purchase repaint for a project. Let’s dive right into the difference between the two household paints in much more depth.

Paint Chemistry

To know why paints action the way they do, we very first need come talk an ext about paint chemistry. The 4 main repaint properties friend should recognize include:Pigment: A powder that offers opacity and also color.Binder: provides adhesion and also holds colours particles.Solvent: A tool like oil or water the disperses the various other properties.Additive: This ingredient modifies the paint’s natural properties, such together flow control agents, driers, etc.The key difference between the paints comes down to the solvent. Many acrylic paints use water for the base, while enamels have tendency to use oil. However, there are exceptions. Some brands develop water-based enamels. Others do acrylics through an enamel finish.

Primary Uses

Although over there are many ways you have the right to use both paints, some applications are far better than others. The chemical makeup of each repaint determines the major use.Enamel paint is more waterproof, do it right for her home’s outdoor items or locations where humidity is prevalent, like on kitchen and also bathroom cabinet or walls.Enamel paint is generally used for:Outdoor wallsKitchenBathroomsDoorsWindowsAppliancesWoodMetalPlasticGlassWhere enamels perform well for outdoor furniture and metal, acrylics flourish on at home furniture or porous surfaces. Acrylic also does better at smaller sized indoor projects.Acrylic paint is best for:Outdoor signagesIndoor wallsPublic muralsPaintingsArchitecturalArts and also craftsIn arts and also crafts, acrylic is often the repaint of choice. It’s much safer for youngsters to use as well.

Dry Time

Acrylic paints dried much much faster than enamel, no matter what type. You can expect acrylic paint to feel dry come the touch in ~ a few hours and completely dry approximately eight hours. Enamels take a minimum that eight hrs to dry, v some species requiring closer come 24 hours of dried time.However, acrylics additionally require a primer in most cases. Making use of enamel paint can be quicker for your as whole project due to the fact that it doesn’t need primer or sealant.


Enamel paint offers a gloss finish, while acrylics room matte. Girlfriend can constantly paint over acrylic after the dries with another paint to include a glossy finish. Every paint form also comes v exceptions, as brands market a wide range of modifications. You can buy enamels in differing finishes, consisting of matte, satin, and semi-gloss.The finish is mostly as result of the paint. Enamels space sprayed, rolled, or brushed on. You probably won’t watch the brush clues on the repaint surface. Expect consistent coverage through enamels. Acrylics show brush marks.


Although the durability of acrylic paints varies, enamels have tendency to be the an ext durable option. The reason is that the brush marks the repaint leaves at the surface, which deserve to crack and peel if you nothing seal it.Enamels type a hard and also durable topcoat. It’s rust-resistant and waterproof. These features don’t come with acrylics.Some world like to usage acrylic for painting models because you have the right to complete an easy touch-ups, it’s easy to clean, and the paint is widely easily accessible at craft stores. But acrylic modeling repaint is additionally not as sturdy as enamel.

Color Variations

Acrylic paint offers more color variations due to the flour pigmentation added to the paint. The water base helps the repaint last too. Enamels might turn yellow end time.Professional-grade acrylics room the many expensive option because they’re the best. They have vibrant, long-lasting colors due to the higher color pigment level in the paint.However, go through enamel because that your version paint. Enamel model paint offers more vibrant colors and also durability. Plus, you don’t need to use a primer.

Levels that VOCs

Most oil-based paints are more toxic 보다 their water-based counterparts. Enamel paint contains a high amount of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which space carbon-based chemicals. VOCs are toxic for personal health and harmful to the environment.Because enamels have actually a solid odor and also give off these toxicity fumes, you must work in a well-ventilated area. You’ll likewise have to safeguard your job-related area and be careful about how you dispose that the repaint after use.Acrylic paints are generally less toxic and have fewer VOCs, so friend don’t have actually the same concerns with making use of them. You may want to use protective clothing to store the paint from her clothing and also skin, though.


With acrylic paint, some surfaces need primer and also sealant to assist the repaint adhere. Steel is the greatest example. The primer requirements to fully dry before applying the paint, so there’s an ext preparation affiliated in making use of this repaint for certain projects.Enamel paint is often applied without a primer. However, some instances may call for you to use primer to aid it critical longer.

Indoor / out Use

Both acrylics and enamels room recommended for inner or exterior use. Even if it is or not you deserve to use the paint will count on her project and the brand, however.Although acrylic paints are an excellent for use indoors and also out, they execute not hold up as well over time as enamels can on external surfaces. Enamel repaint is much more resistant come moisture. It’s likewise easier to to wash the painted surface later.


Water-based acrylics room the paint of selection in the arts and crafts industry because it’s super straightforward to clean. Unlike enamel, friend don’t should use solvents or repaint thinners to clean her workspace. Soap and water are sufficient for any kind of mess.With enamel paint, solvents or repaint thinners failure the oil basic so you deserve to properly dispose the it. Friend can additionally remove enamels with some mineral spirits, a common an approach used for model painting.

Anti-fade UV protection

Acrylic repaint is an ext resistant come ultraviolet (UV) rays due to the water base, making it appropriate for glass or paint exterior walls. Enamels offer less UV defense unless girlfriend prime and seal the topcoat.However, you may find some commercial enamel paints through UV protection.


Both paints room toxic as they dry, yet acrylics are commonly safer. Since enamel paint takes a long time to dry and also the odor is strong the entire time, therefore you’ll need to leave the article to dried in a safe place with many of ventilation because that safety.Most acrylic brand are taken into consideration non-toxic and also safe. They don’t create a solid smell or require you to wear safety tools in all instances. That said, the U.S. Customer Product security Commission states some water-based acrylic paints have actually levels of formaldehyde and also ammonia that irritate if friend ingest it.

Cost and also Availability

Acrylics are commonly cheaper than enamel. Artist and also student great acrylics space much an ext affordable 보다 professional-grade. Girlfriend can discover acrylics space arts and also crafts stores or hardware stores.Enamels room high-quality paint, therefore they cost more. They additionally come in small bottles the expensive paint for painting models, when the enamels for walls or steel tend to come in larger, more affordable gallon containers.

Do You must Prime or Seal Acrylic and Enamel Paints?

Most projects using acrylic paint will call for you to prime and seal the surface, when enamels generally don’t require this step. You might use primer and also sealant to aid enamels become much more weather resistant and also last longer, though.There are likewise enamel and also acrylic spray paints the will need you to slim the paint prior to you can apply it. Some brands market pre-thinned options.

Which paint is better for paint Models?

Although enamels are an ext expensive, castle are often the top an option for painting models. The said, you can use one of two people paint. The a matter of preference.Acrylics are appropriate for touch-ups since you have the right to layer the paint. They additionally come in countless assorted colors and are very affordable. However, enamels don’t call for you to prime or seal. This could make painting your design faster.

Can you Mix Acrylic and Enamel Paints?

When it concerns combining two paints, it’s best never come mix acrylic and also enamel paints. They are fully different in chemistry makeup. They carry out not mix well.For the best results, prevent mixing the two paints. Remove any paint native the surface and start fresh. Friend can also paint enamel over acrylic to add a gloss complete if you very first sand and also prime the surface.

Can You repaint Enamel end Acrylic?

You deserve to paint enamel end acrylic to provide a gloss finish. However, the chemical makeup the the paints could cause the acrylic coat under to climb over time. The basic paint may start to chip and also peel.

Can You paint Acrylic over Enamel?

Technically, you might paint acrylic on optimal of enamel. However it’s not recommended in most scenarios due to the fact that you would need to prepare the painted surface and sand it down prior to laying down the very first coat of acrylic paint.

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Best Acrylic and also Enamel Paints for your Project

Here space a couple of of the finest acrylic and enamel paints. Pick the best one for your project.