Will Acrylic Paint Wash Off in the Rain?

Acrylic paint is one of the most versatile art mediums available, and it’s perfect for creating outdoor works of art. The good news is that acrylic paint resists water very well when dry. However, it’s still essential to protect your artwork from the elements so you can enjoy it for years to come.

Acrylic paint may wash off in the rain, but if it does, it’s more about combining the elements rather than just the rain. Heat exposure, wind, and humidity paired with rain can damage your acrylic pieces of art. But you can take a few steps to ensure your acrylic art lasts for as long as possible.

Will Acrylic Paint Wash Off in the Rain? Below, I’ll go over the reason acrylic paint is likely to damage in the rain. Then, I’ll discuss a few strategies to help your acrylic piece of art keep it sealed from rainy conditions. 

Acrylic Paint and Rain

Acrylic paints are water-soluble, meaning they can be removed from a surface by water. This may take days, weeks, or years, but eventually, the acrylic paint won’t be what it was meant to be. 

Things may not entirely fall off of your canvas or woodwork. However, acrylic paint exposed to the elements may chip or come off, but this will be because of a combination of factors.

If you want to paint something outside and know that it might get wet in the rain or snow (or if you’re just curious), then you’ll want to make sure your outdoor acrylic paint is waterproofed first. If not, and the weather turns suddenly rainy while you’re painting on your piece, you’ll have some unexpected results when the moisture hits your painting surface!

The Elements Affect Your Acrylics in Many Ways

It’s not just the rain, either!

When those spring showers come through, there may not be much left! Imagine a garbage can or compost pin decorated with colorful acrylic paint. The heat may make the acrylic paint heat up in the hot summer, leaving it a little rubbery. Then, the wind of the fall may blow those pieces away. Whatever’s left may freeze up and chip by the winter.

In addition, acrylic colors will likely fade in the sun and rain. This is why it’s recommended that you use other paints for outdoor projects or even match the paints up to the texture you’re working with. Glass paint is different from wood paint, which is different from ceramic paint. Pick the paint that matches your project best! 

It Also Depends on the Surface of Your Artwork

It also depends on the surface you have your acrylic paint on.

Acrylic paint can be used on almost any surface, including glass, so it’s great for indoor projects. However, it doesn’t absorb into porous materials like wood and canvas that well. So, if you use acrylics outside on a surface that wears out quickly (say, if you’re painting your house), chances are that there will be some wear left behind after it rains.

Not that you’d try to paint your house with acrylics! However, this still is important when painting other things. Wood, canvas, outdoor furniture – no matter what you’re painting, the acrylic paint may stay for a while and not be washed away immediately. However, constant wear and tear will eventually affect the paint, which may begin to chip. Additionally, colors will definitely fade

However, acrylic isn’t the worst to paint with for outdoor surfaces. Watercolors just won’t work, and oil paints are an even worse option. 

In fact, as compared to oil paintsOpens in a new tab., acrylics are less likely to fade over time (but will still fade with constant exposure to elements). They also have a more consistent texture and color throughout the project. You won’t have to worry about things like streaks or unevenness. 

Use acrylics on projects that don’t get too much direct sunlight for the best results. If your painting will be exposed to bright sunlight over an extended period, consider using an alkyd-basedOpens in a new tab. paint instead of an acrylic one—it will last longer under those conditions.

How To Protect Your Acrylic Paint in Outdoor Conditions

Acrylic paint is water soluble when wetOpens in a new tab. but becomes waterproof when dry. This means that while it can withstand a bit of rain or moisture, it will eventually wash away. However, there are some tricks you can use to make your acrylic paint more resistant to the elements.

Using a Sealant To Protect Your Work

To make acrylic paint more water resistant, you can apply a sealantOpens in a new tab..

Seals are easy to useOpens in a new tab. and can be applied with a brush or roller. They come in various forms—some have texture, while others are very smooth—and they’re available at most hardware stores. If you decide to use your own sealer formula, ensure it’s tested for safety and won’t harm your surface. 

Sealants can be applied over acrylic paints or on their own. However, when using them over existing paint surfaces (such as walls), it’s essential to test them first to see if they’ll cause damage or discoloration. You can do this by testing the sealant on an inconspicuous area first before applying it everywhere else.

Using Exterior Paints for Outdoor Work

Using outdoor exterior paint (think Behr or Sherwin-WilliamOpens in a new tab.) will make any outdoor artwork nearly waterproof because it factors in things like humidity. Acrylic paint can often be washed off with a bit of soap, elbow grease, and warm water (or enough rain), but if you want to ensure that your artwork is protected from rain or other moisture, use an exterior acrylic or oil-based paint instead of the regular kind.

If you don’t have access to these products at your local hardware store, plenty of websites will sell them directly to you.

Priming Your Surface Before Work Begins

Priming is the first layer of paint you put on a surface. The purpose of priming is to create an even surface for your paint and help prevent cracking or peeling later in time. When painting a surface, it’s essential to prime the area before applying the finish coat.

Priming also makes your finished product more durable by creating an invisible barrier between your new color and whatever lies beneath it—this helps prevent damage or wear that could cause cracks in your newly painted artwork. 

Final Words

To conclude, due to wind, rain, sun, and weather exposure, acrylic paint will fade over time. It’s important to remember that the more you use your acrylics, the faster they will fade.

Things may not wash off as if you used watercolor or finger paint, but they’ll chip away over time nonetheless.

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Ines is a self-taught artist based in the UK. Originally from Caracas, she has dabbled in the world of arts and crafts in a diversity of ways participating in city intervention projects, sustainable practices’ open exhibitions, and her illustrations being featured in anniversary editions of literary magazines.

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