As we learn more about metal painting, there are new types of paints that have become popular. Some people call these non-traditional metals, but they’re definitely not traditional!
Acrylic is one such paint medium. It can be mixed and layered just like regular oil or water colors and it will stick to most any surface. Acrylic comes in many different formulas, levels of opacity, and brands that vary in consistency.
Some thinner versions are similar to liquid glue, while others are almost solid. The thickness factor makes a difference in how it dries and what effects you want to create.
There are also clear acrylics that do not contain pigment. These are used for highlighting parts of the piece or as a base coat to help protect the metal from the next layer.
Acrylic is a versatile material that can be worked with quickly and easily. However, does this mean it is better than other types of metals? Definitely not! Having experimented with both materials, I can tell you that each has its place.
This article will talk about some tips and tricks using acrylic as a primer for steel and iron.
How to properly clean paint off of metal
When cleaning your painted metals, make sure you are very careful not to remove any of the protective layer that covers the surface. This is an important step as you do not want to damage the coating or risk exposure to the metal underneath.
Acrylic paints can easily be removed from most types of metal using warm water and a non-scratch drying agent. Using alcohol instead of dry agents will only hurt your painting!
Using too much water may also cause wetting and seepage of the underlying material. For this reason, it is best to use a hairdryer to quickly heat up the area and apply some slight vacuum pressure to help pull the excess moisture out.
Never scrape the acrylic off of the metal work with a sharp object as this could break down the top coat and expose the raw metal.
How to bake metal with paint
When painting metals, whether it is to cover up another color or to create an interesting design, there are two main types of paints you can use.
Regular acrylic paint is not suitable for most metals. The chemicals in the paint will react with the metal, removing protective layers and creating a weaker surface.
Acrylic gel coats are usually very thin (less than 1/8 inch) and are typically only used as a primer coat to prevent oxidation.
Oil-based oils like olive oil or mineral spirits are good alternatives if you are trying to apply a light layer of paint. These liquids can be mixed together and spread onto the metal using a brush or spray gun.
Metal artists must be careful when working with oily materials because these substances are easily melted away by heat.
How to fix scratches in paint
When working with metals like aluminum or copper, it is important to be careful how you handle them. Scratches can sometimes occur due to mishandling of the material.
Acrylic paints are particularly vulnerable to scratching when wet. That is why some people may notice that their acrylic paintings have small scratches later.
Luckily, there are ways to get rid of this without having to start over! These tips will work whether your painting is still wet or dry.
How to choose the right paint for metal
Choosing the correct painting medium is an integral part of creating your new design project! Painting with acrylics is one of the most popular media types, as you can easily mix colors and it will not burn out like other materials such as oils or watercolors.
Acrylic paints are typically thinner than oil or watercolor paints, which means you do not have to work very much per area. This makes them well suited for working in larger sizes and moving around less of the piece.
As mentioned before, acrylics will not stick to metals, so when preparing to apply the paint onto your surface, make sure you test the spray on a small section first to see if it has enough adhesion to hold up. If it does not, then try sanding or buffing the surface down slightly to help give it some traction.
Will my paint damage the metal?
While some people believe that acrylic paints can’t be used to coat metals, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, using regular quality acrylic colors as thin coats of protection is one of the best ways to ensure your finished piece will last.
Acrylics are designed to dry very quickly, which means you don’t have to worry about applying too much liquid or having bubbles and wrinkles where two liquids come together. This also means there is less chance of over-wetting or hazing the surface of the material being painted.
If you want to use other types of paint instead, we would recommend sticking to fewer items and spending more time making sure everything lines up properly.
Is it worth the time and effort?
Recent studies suggest that using regular, non-acidic acrylic paint as your medium is not only possible but may actually damage metal surfaces! If you love to create artwork with metals such as jewelry or furniture, this information should be considered before starting to experiment.
Acidic paints contain free hydrogen atoms which bond with other elements including zinc in some types of metal (such as aluminum) creating neutral molecules. This reaction forms an oxide layer which helps protect the surface of the material. When the painted item is exposed to water or wet conditions, the moisture can react with the acid left over from the painting to form salts.
These reactions will cause the metal to lose its protective coating and possibly even weaken the material completely.
Do I need special equipment?
While many people believe that acrylic paint is only good for painting paper, metal or other non-porous materials, this isn’t true! In fact, there are some very cool ways to use regular acrylic paints to create beautiful looking designs in metals!
Acrylics contain an ethyl alcohol solvent as well as polymers that dry down to form a hard, protective surface layer. This means that you can mix up some nice colors of paint and let it sit until it dries, and then buff off the excess and your new design will stick like glue!
There are several companies that produce high quality painted metal sheets that are designed to be attached to each other or used alone to make interesting decorative pieces. Some examples include:
We would recommend trying out some test patches first before investing in lots of new supplies! Luckily, we have some tips for you here.
How to start
Starting with metal is the most basic way to begin painting with acrylics. You can use any shape, size or material of brush that you like!
Acrylic paint comes in many different varieties of quality. The kind of acrylic paint you use makes a difference in how it behaves when painted onto metals.
Some types of high-quality acrylic paints will not stick to freshly polished aluminum or copper sheets. These paints are designed for use on other materials such as canvas or wood. They will also dry very quickly which helps facilitate easy manipulation of the paint once it has been applied.
Types of low-quality acrylic paint that do work on metals include those liquid polymer additives that gel slightly before drying. When brushed on, these gels help the paint adhere to the surface. This may result in some flaking off of the paint later however.
So what should you look for when buying new brushes or tubes of acrylic paint? Make sure they state no animal products or chemical solvents used in production. Many cheap brands cannot be used on metals due to differences in texture.