Acrylic Paint Over Polyurethane: Tips And Tricks

Pin by Sheila Braun on mixed media Acrylic pouring art, Acrylic


Polyurethane is a popular finish for woodwork due to its durability and protection against scratches and stains. However, it can be challenging to paint over polyurethane with acrylic paint, as it doesn’t adhere well to the surface. In this article, we’ll share some tips and tricks for successfully painting over polyurethane with acrylic paint.

Preparing the Surface

To ensure a smooth and even painting surface, you’ll need to prepare the polyurethane surface before applying acrylic paint. Start by cleaning the surface with a mild soap and water solution, then sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper to roughen it up. This will help the acrylic paint adhere better to the surface.

Priming the Surface

After preparing the surface, it’s essential to prime it with a suitable primer. Use a primer that’s specifically designed for use on polyurethane surfaces, as it will ensure better adhesion and prevent peeling or cracking of the paint. Apply the primer in thin, even coats and allow it to dry completely before applying acrylic paint.

Choosing the Right Acrylic Paint

When painting over polyurethane, it’s crucial to choose the right type of acrylic paint. Look for acrylic paint that’s designed for use on non-porous surfaces or that has a high adhesion property. Avoid using cheap or low-quality acrylic paint, as it may not adhere well to the polyurethane surface.

Applying Acrylic Paint

When applying acrylic paint over polyurethane, apply thin, even coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying another layer. Avoid applying too much paint at once, as it can cause drips or uneven coverage. Use a high-quality brush or roller to apply the paint, as it will ensure a smooth and even finish.

Drying Time

Acrylic paint dries quickly, but it’s essential to give it enough time to dry completely between coats. This will prevent the paint from peeling or cracking later on. Allow each coat to dry for at least 24 hours before applying another layer.


Once you’ve applied the final coat of acrylic paint, allow it to dry completely before applying a clear coat or sealant. This will protect the paint and give it a glossy or matte finish, depending on your preference. Use a high-quality clear coat or sealant designed for use on acrylic paint.

Cleaning Up

After you’ve finished painting, it’s essential to clean up your tools properly. Use soap and water to clean your brushes or rollers, and store them in a dry place. Dispose of any unused paint or materials according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Painting over polyurethane with acrylic paint can be challenging, but by following these tips and tricks, you can achieve a beautiful and long-lasting finish. Remember to prepare the surface properly, choose the right paint and primer, apply thin, even coats, and allow each coat to dry completely before applying another layer. With a little patience and practice, you can create a stunning finish that will last for years to come.