Can You Apply Polycrylic Over Chalk Paint?

Polycrylic spray is a common topcoat used to seal various paint types and surfaces. But can you use polycrylic over chalk paint? Here is the answer to that.

Polycrylic can be used over chalk paint to make the chalk durable and vibrant. The polycrylic finish when dry forms a protective film on the chalk paint that makes the chalk resistant to moisture, scratches, and solvents.

Not just that, polycrylic on chalk will make the chalk color vibrant creating the perfect chalk finish.

But that’s not all. How do you apply polycrylic over chalk paint? And how many coats of polycrylic do you need on chalk? Let’s go deeper to find out.

How Long Should Chalk Paint Dry Before Applying Polycrylic?

The chalk paint has to dry for at least 2 hours before you can apply polycrylic over it. This gives the chalk enough time to cure and harden. The chalk paint cures when the solvent is completely evaporated from the paint particles.

It takes between 1 hour and 6 hours for chalk paint to cure. On average, the chalk paint will cure 2 hours after its application.

If you apply polycrylic over chalk paint that hasn’t cured, the polycrylic topcoat will not adhere properly and can peel off after a few weeks. This is because polycrylic is a water-based topcoat and it will be affected if moisture is still inside the chalk paint coating.

Before applying polycrylic or any top coat on chalk paint, you need to wait for the chalk paint to dry first. Luckily, chalk paint dries very fast due to its water-based nature.

Chalk like all other latex paints uses water as its solvent. When the water is fully evaporated from the paint particles, then polycrylic can be applied over it.

Chalk paint also dries quickly because the paint is thin. Chalk paint isn’t thick and the paint is usually applied in light coats. This makes the paint dry quickly. On average, chalk paint will dry enough to touch in minutes. But dry to touch doesn’t mean the chalk can be sealed yet.

If you seal chalk too soon, then the resulting finish will not stick well. The finish will also turn white because of moisture in the paint coating.

Tip: You can speed up the drying time of the chalk by using a hairdryer.

How Many Coats of Polycrylic Over Chalk Paint?

For chalk-painted surfaces that will see a lot of action like tables and desks, apply 3 coats of polycrylic to seal the chalk paint.

For chalk-painted surfaces that will not see a lot of action like decorative objects, apply 2 coats of polycrylic. Too much polycrylic over the chalk paint will make the finish cloudy and unclear.

When it comes to applying top coats like polycrylic over chalk, 3 coats is the maximum to go for. More than 3 coats and the finish will turn cloudy. Less than 2 coats and the chalk finish will not be properly sealed. Here is why-

Polycrylic finish is water-based. If you apply more than 3 coats, then the resulting finish will be unclear and cloudy. This is because each coat you add after the third coat will blur the finish.

Also, if you add less than 2 coats, then the polycrylic will not seal the chalk properly. This will make the chalk paint vulnerable to moisture and scratches that can damage the paint.

Polycrylic as explained earlier is water-based. So you need at least double coats of polycrylic to protect the chalk underneath. If you apply just one coat, then the finish will not be strong enough to be resistant to factors that can ruin the paint.

Can You Mix Polycrylic and Polyurethane?

You shouldn’t mix polycrylic and polyurethane. This is because both topcoats have different chemical formulas and solvents.

Polyurethane is usually oil-based while polycrylic is water-based. Mixing an oil-based topcoat with a water-based topcoat will ruin both finishes and make them unusable. If used, the resulting finish will not have a uniform color or paint consistency. This will make the finish look amateurish.

However, water-based polyurethane can be mixed with polycrylic. This is because both topcoats have similar solvents. But I wouldn’t advise you to do so. This is because water-based polyurethane has some different features from polycrylic.

For instance, polycrylic dries faster than water-based polyurethane. Also, water-based polyurethane is usually thicker than polycrylic. If you mix both topcoats under the assumption that they have the same solvents, you will struggle to maintain paint consistency.

Instead, it’s better to use one over the other. Polyurethane is commonly used over polycrylic to improve the durability and water-resistance of the polycrylic finish.

This is because oil-based polyurethane when dry forms a glossy ultra-thick protective film that prevents water-based topcoats like polycrylic from adhering to it.

Can I Put Oil-Based Polyurethane Over Polycrylic?

You can put oil-based polyurethane over polycrylic. This is because the polycrylic finish is water-based. This means polycrylic when dry doesn’t form a glossy sheen that will prevent paint adhesion. Oil-based polyurethane will stick well to polycrylic.

Polycrylic spray is usually water-based and one common feature with water-based topcoats is that they aren’t as durable or strong as oil-based topcoats. So after applying polycrylic on a surface, you can apply up to 3 coats of oil-based polyurethane on the polycrylic to improve durability and moisture resistance.

Oil-based polyurethane will also stick properly to polycrylic because of the polycrylic’s water-based nature. All water-based paints either topcoats or base coats can be painted over with an oil-based paint. This is because water-based paints when dry are usually textured. The textured nature allows for proper paint bonding.

Final Words

Overall, you can use polycrylic over chalk paint to create a strong and vibrant finish. You just need to ensure the chalk paint is properly prepped and ready to receive the polycrylic finish.

Polycrylic over chalk will make the chalk finish resistant to factors that can damage it like moisture and chipping.

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