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Can You Use Acrylic Paint as Nail Polish?

Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by SulaBeauty Staff

Have you ever wondered if you can use acrylic paint on your nails? You would be surprised to know that we can use non-toxic acrylic paint as nail polish. How amazing does that sound? Imagine being out of particular nail color, and you suddenly remember that you can use acrylic paints instead.  

I mean, I’d be thrilled to try this. So, in this article, I will tell you if we can use acrylic paint on nails, how we can use it, and its pros and cons. 

Is It Safe to Paint Your Nails With Acrylic Paint? 

Before experimenting with any new thing, it’s natural to wonder if the experiment will cause any damage. Thus, you must know that it is entirely safe to use acrylic color on nails as long as it is non-toxic, and you need to remember to use a clear base coat before applying the acrylic color on your nails doesn’t leave any stain.  

Acrylic paints are water-based, and therefore, they are easy to remove; you can use Acetone or nail polish remover to remove it from your nails.  

Why Would a Person Use Acrylic Paint Instead of Just Regular Nail Polish? 

Using acrylic paint for nail arts is an amazing choice as it is easy to wash off if the design doesn’t come out as you anticipated. And then, you can easily re-do it. Also, acrylic color dries quickly and doesn’t include any toxic chemicals. They are inexpensive and come in more quantities. 

Whereas traditional nail polishes take longer to dry and cost more than acrylic paint. Also, nail polish contains solvent and requires the use of Acetone to remove it.  

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Top of Regular Nail Polish? 

You can utilize acrylic paint on top of traditional nail polish to create nail art. Nail artists in parlors make use of acrylic color and paint brushes for nail art. If you can draw on nails and love art/design, you’ll be able to do nail art using acrylic paints; it’s not that difficult. 

Also, you’ll benefit from easily changing nail art by rubbing it under tap water if the nail design goes wrong. And not to forget, it will dry quickly, which is convenient if the design includes drawing fine lines, they won’t smudge. You’ll be able to seal the acrylic colors on your nail polish using a topcoat.  

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Fake or Acrylic Nails? 

You can make use of acrylic paint on most nails, including acrylic nails, gel nail polish, traditional nail polish, and press-on. Acrylic paint is proven to bond with plastic found in press-on nails and polymer material found in acrylic nails or fake nails.  

You can create designs on your acrylic nails, but you’ll need a smooth surface to draw using non-toxic acrylic color, so make sure to draw on the base coat of traditional nail polish. It will help seal the art on your nails and protect it from peeling.  

Can You Use Acrylic Paint for Stamp Nail Art? 

Yes, stamp art is another kind of nail designing where you can transfer the design from a plate that works like a stencil. The plate includes small designs engraved in it; people have to apply nail polish on a particular design and then, using a quick press, transfer the design on your nails.  

This method requires fast-drying paint so that the design doesn’t smudge, and acrylic paint is a suitable option for this approach. It will dry in a few seconds, which can be later sealed using a top coat to keep it in place.  

Can You Seal Acrylic Paint on Nails with Clear Polish? 

You can seal acrylic color on nails using a clear polish, and most people prefer doing this. When acrylic color dries on your polish or your nailbed, use clear nail polish to seal the acrylic paint. As non-toxic acrylic paints are water-based, they can easily wash off when brought in contact with water, so it is highly recommended to use a top coat of clear polish to keep it intact. 

Also, acrylic paint has a matte finish when it dries, and therefore doesn’t look appealing if left unsealed. A clear coat will give acrylic paint a glossy finish with a nice shine that will look gorgeous and will last long. 

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Gel Nails? 

Yes, you can use acrylic paint on gel nails. Make use of acrylic color to create designs on gel nail polish once they are appropriately cured under a UV/LED lamp. Remember to use acrylic color only if the gel polish has hardened or else, it will get smudged and pretty bad; you’ll have to re-do it. And don’t forget to use a top coat after the acrylic paint dries to seal acrylic paint with gel nail polish to prevent any damage. 

How to Use Acrylic Paint on Nails? 

  1. First, get rid of residual oils from your nail bed using regular nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol. As you know acrylic colors can stain nails therefore, i advise you to use a good quality base coat underneath. I would recommend this base coat from Essie 
  2. Now, choose acrylic or different colors to mix up to create nail design. You must prefer non-toxic acrylic color only; I’d recommend these colors from CaliArt
  3. Now, apply the first layer of acrylic paint to your nails. You’ll have to apply two coats as acrylic paints are water-soluble and, therefore, don’t have enough strength compared to traditional nail polish.  
  4. After applying the first coat, let the paint completely dry. You can do acrylic nail art above the coats if you’d like.  
  5. And lastly, seal the acrylic color using a top coat or clear coat to prevent any damage and give it shine.  

What Kind of Acrylic Paint to Use on Nails? 

I would highly advise you to choose the non-toxic version of acrylic colors over toxic acrylic paint. They will not cause any damage to your nails and can easily be removed using Acetone.

Non-toxic acrylic paint doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that can harm your nails or skin. Also, buy those acrylic paints of good quality and have a nice thick creamy consistency.  Check this Arteza Acrylic Set, it includes some amazing vibrant colors. 

Using a good quality nail polish base coat before applying acrylic paint as nail polish on your natural nails is always good. It provides adhesion between the acrylic paint &  and also protects acrylic paint damage. 

How to Get Acrylic Paint Off of Your Nails? 

Now, I’ll answer one of the frequently asked questions, i.e., how to remove acrylic paint from the nails?

There are two conditions: if you were using acrylic color for nail design and if it’s still wet then, you can wash it off under running water. 

And if you are dealing with dry acrylic paint on your nails, then, you can make use of acetone-based nail polish remover. It will help remove the paint easily in a few seconds. Take a small amount of remover on a cotton ball or a lint-free pad, then slowly try to scrub off the acrylic nail paint.  

Pros and Cons of Acrylic Nail Paints over Regular Nail Polish? 

Many people often get confused between acrylic nail paint and traditional polish, but they are different from each other in a few areas. Nowadays, acrylic nail paints are loved by many people and are getting popular speedily.

Let us talk about some of the pros and cons of acrylic nail paints so that you all get a clear idea of how these two differ from each other: 


1. It Doesn’t Dry Quickly 

Acrylic colors are ideal for color mixing as the paint doesn’t dry instantly; the formula was created keeping in mind that these paints sit on a palette while an artist draws. However, nail polishes have a quick-drying formula, making it inconvenient to mix nail polish for nail designs.

2. You Can Make Literally Any Color 

You can make multiple shades of a particular color and have every color for your nails with acrylic paints. You need three primary colors: red, blue, and yellow; you’ll be able to create your own colors. You need to know a little about color mixing; for instance, you can mix acrylic paint colors like red and blue to obtain purple.  

3. It’s Easier To Paint Designs With 

It is very convenient to create nail designs using acrylic colors as they are water-based and can be easily washed off if the design doesn’t turn out as you anticipated. If the paint is still wet and yet to be sealed with a topcoat then, you can easily change the design as many times as you like.  

However, with traditional nail polish, it gets very messy if you don’t get the design right on the first attempt. It dries quickly, and it gets thick with time, making it very hard to use it to create fine lines, tiny dots, and many more designs.  


1. Its opacity 

The major downside of acrylic paints is their opacity. These paints get streaky when applied to nails and look a little off. But you can fix it by using a clear polish or topcoat once the paint is completely dried. After this, your nail art won’t be streaky much; it will get a nice glossy finish.  

How Long Does Acrylic Paint Last on Nails? 

As we have already mentioned quite a few times in this article, acrylic colors are water-based, and therefore, if not sealed with a good quality topcoat, they won’t last more than a day or two. If you have sealed it then, it should last for a week maximum which is a good time.  

Please don’t confuse acrylic color as nail polish with acrylic nails; they are very different. Acrylic nails last for 4-6 weeks and are done by professionals only.  

Is Acrylic Paint Usable for Stamping Nail Art? 

Yes, it is usable for stamping nail art. It is a good choice for the stamping approach and is also used by nail experts to create nail design/art.

How About Other Nail Art and Acrylic Paint? 

Yes, you can perform nail designs/art using acrylic paint. Nail experts make use of acrylic colors to draw designs with the help of paintbrushes and then seal them with a topcoat. 

You can draw flowers, dots, leaves, bells, etc. 

Is Fingernail Polish Acrylic?

No, nail polish and acrylic paint are different from each other. Traditional nail polish contains a solvent that helps it to dry faster. Acrylic colors are the ones that we use on canvas to paint, these colors can be used to create designs on nails as well and can be used in place of nail polish. 

Will Acrylic Paint stain nails? 

Yes, they can stain nails if you don’t use a base coat before applying the paint. Do not apply acrylic paint directly to your nails; it can damage your nails.

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