can you apply acrylic paint over oil paint – Quick guide

Working with oil and acrylic paint is fun and amazing for an artist. Both these techniques are different from each other in terms of detailing, drying, and many more. You must have the same thinking to mix both of them to get the properties of both of them to enhance your paintings. Well, this blog article has been written to help you whether you can paint acrylic over oil or oil over acrylic.

This has been observed that acrylic paints dry so much fast and things get done so quickly that you don’t have to spend a lot of time on a single picture. On the other hand, oil paint takes a longer time, you have to wait for the drying of your painting. Sometimes, it can take more than a month for an oil painting to dry completely if you put thick layers of paint.

Most artists start with acrylic because it is beginner’s friendly. Later, when they come to know about the qualities of textures, they usually switch to oil painting to make it more professional. But when they enter oil painting, they come to know all the hurdles and the patience required for this art. They always want such a trick through which they can do both of them at the same time and at the same painting.

Table of Contents

Can I do acrylic over oil?

You need to understand that oil painting contains those paints which are oil-based. Oil is a viscous material that doesn’t hold any other material over it, especially water. If you are thinking about coating layers of water-based paints over oil-based then it will not be going to work.

If you will try to do that, oil paint will go to peel off from the surface because oil cannot absorb the properties of water. But you can do acrylic over oil.

Before starting, you need to understand a few major things about both of the techniques.

Difference between oil paint and acrylic paint

Oil paints are so much popular and artists are using them since painting exists. Oil paints are made up of a mixture of oil and pigment. You can even create layers and differentiate them from each other through oil painting. It is also known as the art of professionals because only those artists use to make oil paintings which are very familiar with it.

The addition of oil gave a glossier and shiny look which looks wonderful and attractive. You can even adjust the consistency by adding different mediums according to your need. In addition, oil paint has so many substitutes and different strategies can be used to create oil paintings. For example, blending can be done by using liquid white which is also included in oil paints.

There are uncountable advantages of oil paints but some are disadvantages that lead you to think about weather you have to do oil painting or not.

Oil paints take a lot of time to dry. Normally their average drying time could be between 3 to 7 days and they can even take longer to dry. They are also expensive for an artist to afford oil paints. Especially, some of the brands offer oil paints that cost more than 100$. A beginner cannot afford it.

To do an oil painting, you must have to spend at least 1000$ to get all the accessories. But after all, it is the most famous traditional way of painting. There are some specific surfaces on which you can do oil paints because oil will not go to stick on them or your painting will get ruined after some time.

Acrylic paint is quite much cheaper and easy to understand. You have to use water instead of oil because water and oil have different properties and both of them cannot work the same.

The main edge of acrylic paint is that it dries super faster and easier. You don’t have to be worried about the quality of your painting as you can paint acrylic over any surface. It can be thin and used watercolors which is an approach for beginners.

Moreover, acrylic paint does not require any kind of additional mediums like solvents but they are not water resistant. Suppose, you have created a painting after giving it a lot of time and suddenly water fell on the surface. In this case, you are gonna lose your painting and you cannot even restore it to its original form.

How do oil over acrylic?

To do oil over acrylic is possible but acrylic over oil is not possible. To understand this, you can even try it yourself by painting half of the surface with oil paint and half with acrylic. Now, draw layers of both acrylic and oil paint on both of them. You will see visible results of why you can’t use acrylic over oil.

To do oil over acrylic, there are three main steps to follow:

1. Use prime on surface

It’s important to use a primer on the surface even if you are going to use acrylic paint over the surface. Priming can help you to coat a better layer of paint which will be more adjustable.

You can use gesso to prime the surface of your canvas. Just simply take your brush and coat a thin layer of it over the whole canvas.

2. Apply acrylic paint

After preparing your canvas, you can apply acrylic paints. For this purpose, you can use any color which you want. Some of the artists create the whole painting by using acrylic paints and at the end create detailing by using a thin layer of oil painting. This technique is also helpful because it not just reduces time but also creates a good painting.

3. Apply oil paint

Wait for the acrylic paint to dry completely. Now, you can paint over it with your oil paints. But make sure to apply it only on the top of the acrylic, not the other way around. You can create any highlights or even you can paint the whole surface.


What happens if you paint oil over acrylic?

There are not going to be any impacts on your paint and painting. You just have to coat two layers of acrylic and then simply use oil paint with some glazing mediums.

Can I paint with oils over acrylic gesso?

Yes, you can use an acrylic gesso for oil painting. Just coat the same layer of gesso and use oil paint over it. It is not going to create any impact.

Is it true that most professional artists prefer oils over acrylics for painting

Yes, this is true because professionals always want to create a unique piece of art and they always want to work on larger and more time-consuming artworks. that’s why they prefer oil over acrylics to get most of the benefits.

Is acrylic paint oil based?

No, acrylic paint is water-based not oil.


Both acrylic and oil painting has different methods and tricks but artists always want to merge both of them to get the benefits of both of them. that’s why they want to use oil over acrylic or acrylic over oil. But we have seen that acrylic over oil painting is not possible but we can do oil over acrylic by following some simple steps.

If you have any questions, you can ask us in the comment section. We will definitely add them in the comment section to help others as well.

Leave a Reply