Acrylic Painting on Walls: Tips & Best Practices
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 9 min read


1. Choose the Right Paint

2. Prepare Your Wall

3. Select Your Brushes

4. Plan Your Design

5. Start Painting with Light Colors

6. Incorporate Darker Colors

7. Blend Colors Effectively

8. Add Textures and Details

9. Protect Your Painting with Sealant

10. Clean Up and Maintain

If you're considering a creative project, you may be wondering, "can you use acrylic paint on walls?" The short answer is, yes, you can. Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that's perfect for creating custom wall art in your home. However, it's important to understand the basics before you start your project. Let's dive into our first step: choosing the right paint.

1. Choose the Right Paint

Selecting the appropriate paint is the first step in your wall painting journey. Here's what you need to know:

Type of Acrylic Paint

Not all acrylic paints are created equal. For wall art, you'll want to use a high-quality, heavy-bodied acrylic paint. This type of paint is thicker and more vibrant than other types, making it ideal for wall applications. Brands like Golden and Liquitex offer excellent heavy-bodied acrylic paints.

Color Selection

When it comes to color, the world is your oyster. Acrylic paint comes in a wide variety of hues, allowing you to create any design or pattern you can imagine. However, it's important to consider the mood you want to create in your space. Cool colors like blues and greens can create a calming atmosphere, while warm tones like reds and oranges can energize a room.

Paint Finish

Acrylic paint comes in various finishes: matte, satin, and gloss. Matte finishes provide a non-reflective surface, satin offers a slight sheen, and gloss gives a shiny, reflective surface. The finish you choose will depend on your personal preference and the overall look you want to achieve.

In conclusion, you absolutely can use acrylic paint on walls, but make sure you're selecting the right type, color, and finish to ensure your project's success.

2. Prepare Your Wall

Once you've chosen your paint, the next step is prepping your wall for painting. Here's how to do it:

Clean the Wall

Before you begin, make sure to clean the wall thoroughly. You can use a mix of warm water and mild soap to remove any dirt, dust, or grime. Rinse with warm water and let the wall dry completely. This ensures that your paint adheres properly and your end result is as smooth as possible.

Prime the Wall

If your wall is dark or has strong colors, you should prime it first. A good primer will give you a neutral base to work with and ensure that your acrylic colors show up true and vibrant. You can use a standard latex primer for this job.

Tape Off Areas

Use painter's tape to mark off any areas you don't want to be painted, such as trim or adjoining walls. This will help you keep your lines sharp and clean. The FrogTape brand is known for its reliable, no-bleed performance.

Remember, the better your preparation, the better your final result will be. So don't rush this step, take your time to properly prepare your wall for painting.

3. Select Your Brushes

Now that your wall is clean, primed, and ready for painting, you need to select the right brushes. The type of brush you use can greatly affect the outcome of your painting. Here's what you need to know:

Choose the Right Size

Brushes come in various sizes, and the size you need depends on the detail level of your design. For larger areas, go for a broad, flat brush. For smaller details, a smaller brush will give you the precision you need. For instance, a 2-inch brush can cover large areas quickly, while a 0.5-inch brush can help you with intricate details.

Pick the Right Material

Brushes are typically made from either synthetic or natural fibers. Synthetic brushes are great for acrylic paints as they retain their shape well and don't leave brush marks. Look for brushes made with nylon or polyester fibers for the best results.

Consider Brush Shape

Brushes come in different shapes like flat, round, filbert, and more — each suited for a specific painting technique. Flat brushes are versatile and can be used for both broad strokes and fine lines. Round brushes are great for detailing, while filbert brushes are ideal for blending and creating soft lines.

Selecting the right brushes may seem a bit daunting, but remember, the more you paint, the better you'll get at knowing which brushes work best for you. So, do you think you can paint your wall with acrylics now? Of course, you can! Let's keep going!

4. Plan Your Design

Before you dip that brush into the acrylic paint, it's important to have a clear plan of your design. Here's how you can go about it:

Sketch It Out

A good first step is to sketch your design on paper. This helps you visualize how it'll look on the wall. You may be wondering, "Can I use acrylic paint on walls directly?" Yes, but having a sketch helps avoid any unexpected surprises.

Use a Grid System

Transferring your design to the wall becomes easier with a grid system. Divide your sketch and wall into equal squares and focus on one square at a time. This way, you can maintain the right proportions and details.

Test Your Colors

Plan your color palette and test the colors on a small patch of the wall. This gives you a feel of how the colors look together and how they appear on your wall. Remember, acrylic paint tends to darken as it dries, so keep that in mind when mixing your colors.

With a well-planned design and the right color palette, you're setting yourself up for a successful painting project. Now, let's get to the fun part — painting!

5. Start Painting with Light Colors

Now that you've planned your design and tested your colors, it's time to start painting. But where to start? Here's a pro tip: always start with the light colors. Here's why and how:

Avoid Color Bleeds

Light colors, when painted over, don't bleed into darker colors. This means you can safely paint over mistakes or make adjustments without the fear of ruining your artwork. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls for multiple layers? Absolutely!

Build Your Base

Using light colors first helps establish a base for your painting. Think of it as laying the foundation of a house — it provides the groundwork for everything that follows.

Create Depth and Dimension

Light colors also help create depth and dimension in your artwork. By starting with lighter colors, you can add shadows and highlights later, giving your painting a more realistic look.

So, grab your brush, dip it into your chosen light color, and let's get that wall covered with beautiful acrylic paint!

6. Incorporate Darker Colors

Once you've laid a solid foundation with your lighter colors, it's time to bring the drama — let's incorporate darker colors. Here's how to do it effectively:

Add Depth with Shadows

Dark colors are great for adding shadows, which can give your painting a sense of depth and realism. Using darker shades of your lighter colors, you can make objects appear three-dimensional. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls to create shadows? Yes, and it's a great way to bring your paintings to life!

Highlight Details

Dark colors can also help highlight details in your painting. If you're painting a landscape, for example, use dark colors to define trees, houses, or mountains. It's all about contrast, and dark colors can help the other elements in your painting pop.

Create Mood and Atmosphere

Finally, dark colors are key to creating mood and atmosphere in your artwork. A darker blue can suggest a somber night sky, while a deep red can evoke a romantic sunset. Remember, painting is not just about depicting a scene—it's about conveying a feeling, too.

So, can you use acrylic paint on walls to create a mood? With a mix of dark and light colors, absolutely!

7. Blend Colors Effectively

Now that you've got your light and dark colors in place, it's time for some magic — blending. When you're painting on a wall with acrylics, blending colors effectively can make a world of difference. Here's how:

Use the Wet-On-Wet Technique

One of the most useful ways to blend colors is the wet-on-wet technique. This involves applying a fresh (wet) layer of paint onto another still-wet layer. The colors will naturally mix and create a smooth transition. This technique is especially effective when you're trying to create gradient effects. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls using the wet-on-wet technique? Absolutely!

Create Transitions

Blending is also important when you want to create transitions between different elements of your painting. If you're painting a sunset, for example, you might want to blend the reds of the sun with the blues of the sky to create a beautiful purple twilight zone.

Correct Mistakes

Finally, blending can be a lifesaver when you make mistakes. If you've applied a color that's too dark, for instance, you can blend it with a lighter color to soften it. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls to correct mistakes? Yes, and blending is the key!

Blending colors effectively can take your wall painting from good to great. So, don't be afraid to experiment and see what works best for your design.

8. Add Textures and Details

Once you have your base colors and blends in place, it's time for the fun part — adding textures and details. This is where your wall painting truly comes alive, transforming from a simple painting into a captivating piece of art. So, how can you use acrylic paint on walls to achieve this? Let's dive right in:

Use Different Brush Techniques

Different brush strokes can create different textures. For instance, a dabbing motion can create a rough, stippled effect, while sweeping strokes can create a smoother, brushed look. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls to create different textures? Definitely! Just remember to switch up your brush techniques as needed.

Incorporate Palette Knives

Palette knives aren't just for mixing colors. They can be used to apply paint in a way that brushes can't, creating unique textures and effects. For instance, you can use the edge of a palette knife to create thin lines, or the flat side to create broader strokes.

Add Details

Finally, it's time to add the finishing touches. Details like shadows, highlights, and fine lines can really make your painting pop. And the great thing about acrylics is that they're perfect for this kind of precision work. So, can you use acrylic paint on walls to add intricate details? Absolutely!

Adding textures and details can elevate your wall painting, turning it into a stunning piece of art. Remember, the devil's in the details, so take your time and enjoy this part of the process.

9. Protect Your Painting with Sealant

After pouring so much effort and creativity into your wall painting, the last thing you want is for it to fade or get damaged. That's where sealant comes in. A good sealant can protect your masterpiece from dust, sunlight, and everyday wear and tear. Can you use acrylic paint on walls and then apply a sealant? Yes, absolutely, and doing so can extend the life of your artwork significantly. Let's look at some key steps:

Choose the Right Sealant

Just like with paint, not all sealants are created equal. A high-quality acrylic sealant is usually the best option for wall paintings. It can protect your art without altering its appearance. Just make sure to choose a sealant that's compatible with acrylic paint.

Apply Sealant Evenly

Applying sealant is a delicate process — you want to cover every inch of your painting, but without applying too much. A wide, flat brush is usually the best tool for this job. Take your time, and ensure the sealant is spread evenly across the surface.

Let the Sealant Dry

Once you've applied the sealant, it's crucial to let it dry completely before touching your painting. This can take several hours or even a full day, depending on the brand and type of sealant you've used.

By protecting your wall painting with sealant, you ensure that it stays vibrant and beautiful for years to come. Remember, a masterpiece is worth protecting!

10. Clean Up and Maintain

Now that you've completed your wall painting and secured it with a sealant, it's time to turn your attention to clean up and maintenance. This is a critical step to keep the longevity of your artwork and the cleanliness of your space. Can you use acrylic paint on walls and still keep your room tidy? Of course! Here are some handy tips to follow:

Clean Up Your Painting Tools

First things first: clean your brushes and other tools. Acrylic paint can harden quickly, making your tools difficult to use the next time around. Rinse them under warm water, making sure to remove all paint. For stubborn dried paint, using a brush cleaner can be helpful.

Maintain the Wall Painting

Maintaining your wall painting is as simple as dusting it occasionally and keeping it away from direct sunlight. Remember, too much exposure to sunlight can cause the colors to fade, even with a protective sealant.

Repair Any Damage

Despite your best efforts, sometimes damage can occur. Don't worry — small imperfections can usually be fixed with a bit of touch-up paint. If the damage is extensive, you might have to repaint a section of the wall. So, always keep some extra paint on hand for such instances.

Cleaning up after your painting session and maintaining your artwork will ensure that you can enjoy your wall painting for many years to come. It's the final touch to the question "Can you use acrylic paint on walls?", and the answer is a resounding yes, with a bit of care and maintenance.

If you enjoyed our tips and best practices for acrylic painting on walls, then don't miss the opportunity to further develop your skills with Rachel Christopoulos' workshop, 'Improve Your Acrylic Painting Skills'. This workshop will help you refine your techniques and unlock your full potential as an acrylic painter. Dive in and take your art to new heights!