Can You Bake Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is easily the most popular painting medium in the world. You can find it at almost any art supply store, it’s more affordable than oil paint, it forgives if you make a mistake, and it dries relatively quick. A lot of 3D artists use acrylic paint to add color to items like clay, glass, or stone.

One of the questions that I’ve been asked recently is, “Can you bake acrylic paint?” Yes, you can bake acrylic paint. Since acrylic paint is a water-based pigment, it dries very quickly in the oven. This means that you don’t have to worry about it becoming sticky or runny under the heat.

As long as you use a decent quality acrylic and bake it at the right temperatures, you’ll have no problems! 

Acrylic paint is usually the top choice for potters who are working with clay or artists who are painting stoneware or glass. As somebody who’s painted and baked their fair share of terracotta pots, I have a bit of experience in the matter. Below, I’m going to explain everything that you need to know about baking acrylic paint the right way and how to do it safely. 

Baking Acrylic Paint: What You Need To Know

When it comes to making 3D sculptures, pottery, or stoneware, artisans typically use one of three different types of pigment to add color and designs to the otherwise dull objects:

  • Epoxy paint. 
  • Latex paint. 
  • Acrylic paint. 

Personally, I’ve never used latex paint. I have used epoxy paint a couple of times and it’s great if you want your pottery to have a bit of added glossy sheen. However, most of the time I prefer to paint my pottery with acrylic paint instead as it’s easier to find and is relatively inexpensive. Acrylic paint works just as well on glass or stoneware (such as plates or bowls) as it does on pottery. 

After I’ve completed the initial baking of the pottery, I pick out which colors that I want to use and give it a nice thick coat. Since I’m working with 3D art, I try not to make it too runny in order to avoid the paint dripping down. Once I’m finished, I place my painted pottery (or glass) in the oven. My final step is to add a layer of glaze on top of the paint and then bake it once again for long-lasting results. 

Is It Better To Paint The Object Before or After Baking? 

Some artists prefer to paint their pottery and let the acrylic dry naturally before glazing it. Using this method, you only have to bake your piece once. However, I prefer to take the extra time and use the “paint-bake-glaze-bake” method instead. 

The main advantage of baking the acrylic paint onto the pottery is that it helps the fresh paint form a strong bond with the surface of the clay. This prevents the paint from chipping or peeling in the future and also speeds up the drying process. 

Another key advantage of baking the acrylic before adding the glaze is that it ensures that the paint is 100% cured. This means that when I add the glaze, it has a good surface to stick to. 

One of the problems that I ran into during my early days of painting pottery (before I started double-baking) is that I would apply the glaze before the acrylic was finished curing. This would often result in bubbles and cracking under the glaze, which ruined the appearance I was looking for. Now that I bake my acrylic before glazing, I haven’t had any problems. 

Can You Bake Any Acrylic Paint? 

Now that I’ve shown you some of the advantages of baking acrylic paint, it’s time to address another important question, what type of acrylic can you bake? 

In truth, you can paint ceramics and bake with any acrylic paint. That being said, though, I always recommend using a “heavy body” acrylic paint. Some of the cheaper acrylics that you’ll find at your local discount store have higher water content and don’t have much pigment. This can often result in a faded shade of color or can result in the paint dripping and causing a mess. 

Using heavier acrylic paint (which typically costs a little bit more) ensures that the color will still be bright and vibrant after baking. Additionally, you won’t have to apply as many coats of paint to achieve the same result, meaning that you’ll actually use less paint than if you baked a lighter acrylic. 

Should I Bake Between Coats of Paint? 

Although it’s not required, baking your pottery between coats of acrylic paint can definitely speed up your job. For instance, let’s just say that you want to start by painting your bowl or mug with a blue background before overlaying some neat patterns in another color. 

Normally, you would have to paint the background and then wait an hour or two before painting the second layer of designs. By baking the pottery between coats, you’ll speed up the entire process and you can paint your second coat on a perfectly dry surface without having to wait so long for it to dry naturally. 

What Type of Oven Should You Use To Bake Acrylic Paint? 

Luckily, you don’t need a special oven to bake acrylic paint! You can use a regular household oven. The only advice that I would caution you with is to use an oven that you don’t plan on cooking with right after, as the baking process can release some harmful chemicals while drying.

After you bake the acrylic, I recommend leaving your oven open for 20 minutes or so to air it out before attempting to cook any food inside. 

What Temperature and Time Should You Bake Acrylic Paint At?

For best results, preheat your oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, place your pottery in the oven and bake it for 15-30 minutes. Smaller pieces typically dry in about 15 minutes, while larger pieces may take up to 30 minutes to dry. When removing the pottery from the oven, make sure to use oven mitts, so you don’t burn your hands! Once it cools, you’ll have your very own masterpiece