Asked on Jan 25, 2015

Why doesn't polycrilic work over acrylic paint?

Jan Vire
by Jan Vire
I was painting an Arkansas Razorback stool for my nephew's son who was turning four. I meticulously painted a Razorback and the wording to go along. I then looked online to make sure of my choice for a sealer. First, I tried Minwax water based oil polycrylic. Immediately, the red paint ran into the white, ending up with a pink and white Razorback. NOT GOOD! I had to carefully sand off the poly and repaint all of the red and white. Hours of work! Then, I bought Minwax water based polycrylic. $9.00 The red immediately started to run, again. Finally, I tried Valspar gloss spray finish. Success! My question is, why didn't either of the Minwax products work? Is it only red acrylic paint that is adversely affected? Has anyone had similar problems or, hopefully, better results? Help! I usually like Minwax products.
This is the final (happy) result.
  8 answers
  • Christina Christina on Jan 25, 2015
    What kind of paint did you use under the final clear coat?
  • Eileen Eileen on Jan 25, 2015
    it may be that the paint was not fully dry. the polycrylic is water based and may have dissolved the paint.
  • Jennifer Emick Jennifer Emick on Jan 25, 2015
    The solvent in the poly dissolved your paint!
  • SK on Elderberry SK on Elderberry on Jan 27, 2015
    In my little world I wouldn't put an oil based polycoat of any kind over a water based paint. Polyacrylic will dissolve plastic and that is what acrylic paint becomes when actually dry. Although you used a water based poly the second time, there are time red will run under any kind of top coat. Wax seems to be the best alternative when this happens. It could also be the quality of base paints you might have used. I have had runs with cheaper brands. When I stick to water based chalk paints and water based top coats I never have an issue. I am sure there are those out there whom have had different results as mine. I hope you can find the answer. We would all like to know. sk
  • Bonnie Bonnie on Jan 27, 2015
    The polymers in the paint don't bond. You can contact Minwax on their website to ask for solutions.
  • Ciara M. Ciara M. on Jan 28, 2015
    That sounds so frustrating! It looks great though! I believe the issue might have been that the paint felt dry to the touch, but was not fully cured. Polycrilic can be used over most surfaces including both oil and water based paints. Just to be on the safe side, next time you do a detailed project it wouldn't hurt to give it a thin coat of Mod Podge over the design part and then when thats dry go for the polycrilic coat.
  • Jan Jan on Jan 29, 2015
    OMGosh this looks fabulous---you did a fantastic job---actually I am having same problem---on something that stays outside can not be moved even to paint---did 2 items---then temp changed (cooler and occasional rain) and now am getting a haze on one of items shows bad on black details---not sure if humidity or temp---or if I tried to seal too soon---so frustrating---I am going to try the Valspar---now thinking I have to go back and repaint---and then wait---and then seal---have read all the comments---so glad you posted this
  • Hazel Bellars Hazel Bellars on Aug 27, 2018

    i have painted cast iron bed with chalk paint. what would be the best sealer to cover it