What Is Acrylic Craft Paint and How to Use

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If you were going to be doing a painting, I suggest using acrylic paints. But, if you are going to do crafting projects that need to be painted, you may want to use acrylic craft paint instead.

Craft paint is also good for beginner painters. This is because it is a lot like regular acrylic paint (with a few differences) and it is less expensive.

Craft paint is ideal for most arts and crafts projects, for several reasons. In this post we are going to take a look at some of the many uses for craft paint, the difference between craft paint and artist paint, and the tools you need to work with craft paint.

Keep reading to learn more about acrylic craft paint.

What Is Craft Paint?

Craft paint, also referred to as acrylic craft paint, is a water-based paint that is specifically formulated for use in a variety of craft and DIY projects. This versatile medium can be applied to numerous surfaces, including wood, canvas, paper, and ceramics. 

Available in an array of colors and finishes such as matte, satin, and metallic, craft paint allows artists and crafters to achieve a range of effects and styles. It is prized for its quick drying time, ease of use, and strong adhesion to different materials. 

Due to its affordability, accessibility, and wide range of color options, craft paint is a popular choice for arts and crafts activities, DIY home decor projects, and other creative pursuits.

Acrylic Artist Paint Vs Acrylic Craft Paint

You may be wondering what the difference between acrylic paint and craft paint is. After all, they are both acrylic paints, right? Yes, both are acrylic paints, but there are some differences.

First, artist acrylics are more concentrated. This means the colors are going to be richer, deeper, and more vibrant. Artist paint is also easier to blend than craft paint.

Craft paint can be used to create regular paintings, and I often suggest that beginners use it before moving on to traditional acrylic artist paints. This is because craft paints are a lot less expensive, and you get more paint in a bottle than you do in most small artist acrylic paint tubes.

Why Do I Like Using Acrylic Craft Paint?

I love using acrylic craft paint for arts and crafts projects. Why? Well, one of the main reasons is because it is so easy to use.

Craft paint is a lot thinner than acrylic artist paint. This means that it is going to be easier to spread with the brush, and it flows better.

Craft paint is non-toxic. This is water-based paint, and there aren’t a lot of harsh chemicals to worry about if you have allergies or sensitivities.

Another thing I like about craft paint is the price. It is less expensive than artists’ paint. It is also a lot easier to clean than artist acrylics or oils. You don’t need any solvents to clean messes from craft paint.

Cleaning brushes is easy after using craft paint. All you need is a bit of water. If the paint is dried, some mild dish soap will get the brushes nice and clean.

Supplies Needed When Using Craft Paints

One of the great things about working with craft paints is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on expensive art supplies. I do recommend using quality brushes though, no matter what type of paint you are working with.

Other supplies you will need when working with craft paints include a water cup, a paint tray with a cover, paper towels, and a silicone mat or a drop cloth.

How to Use Craft Paint

One of the things I like the most about craft paint is that it is so easy to use. It can be used on all kinds of surfaces and it can be used for just about any crafting project you can think of.

You need to be careful when choosing the type of paint and the colors you are going to use. The colors will usually be found on the bottom of the bottles rather than on the labels.

The best way to know exactly what the color will look like is to look at the paint through the bottom of the bottle. This is the true color, whereas the color on the bottom label may be a bit different.

Always keep in mind that the paint dries a little bit darker than it appears in the bottle. There isn’t a huge difference, but you need to know this if you are trying to match certain colors.

#1. Prep the Surface

Before you begin painting with craft paint, you must prep any surface that you are going to be painting on. Different surfaces require different prep work.

  • Wood – Sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper and wipe away any dust.
  • Glass and mirrors – Wash with warm water and soap, followed by a rinse with warm water. Dry thoroughly before painting.
  • Canvas – Prime the canvas if it isn’t pre-primed, and wipe the primed canvas clean before paInting.
  • Plaster – Clean with a damp cloth before paInting.
  • Plastic – Clean the surface with soap and water. You will need to use craft paint that is specifically for plastic.

#2. Use Good Brushes

When working with craft paints, be sure to use good-quality brushes. I suggest using brushes with soft bristles.

Cheaper brushes tend to lose their bristles, and usually, they end up on the painted surface. It is difficult to remove these stray bristles, but this won’t happen when you use quality brushes.

#3. Don’t Use Too Much Paint

It is important to not overload your brush with paint. The paint should only be visible on the brush from the mid-point to the tip.

Never load the brush so the paint is up to the metal ferrule. You can always pick up more paint later if you need to.

#4. Prime Dark Items with White Paint

When painting on dark surfaces it is a good idea to prime with white paint first. Otherwise, you may end up needing to apply several coats of paint.

You will save a lot of time and money by priming with white paint. Also, the paint will adhere better if the surface has been primed.

#5. Use a Sealer

Craft paint often feels different than acrylic artist paint after it has dried. It can have a bit of a chalky feeling if it is a matte finish.

If you use paint that has a satin or gloss finish you don’t have to worry about using a sealer on top. But, if it is matte paint and you want a glossy finish, you will need a sealer. I like using Mod Podge and Sculpey glaze for this purpose.


Craft paint has many uses. I love it for all of my crafting projects. I have even been known to use it for actual paintings on canvases.

If you are just getting into painting, you may want to use acrylic craft paint before spending more on acrylic artist paint. There are some differences of course, but if you should decide you don’t want to get into painting, you won’t have wasted a lot of money on products you may never use again (although I’m sure you will find many reasons to use craft paint).

*image by anabgd/depositphotos