How to Paint Acrylic Sheets

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Paint acrylic sheets to make distinctive sun catchers, cabinet door inserts and other decorative additions to your home or garden. You can paint acrylic sheets using translucent or opaque paints, depending on the desired look of the finished piece. Translucent paint works best if you plan to hang a painted acrylic panel in a window or if you are making lighted wall art. Opaque paint works best if you are refacing cabinet doors or making a painted water wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Glass cleaner
  • Clean, soft rag
  • Acrylic sheet
  • Design template
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Cotton gloves
  • Glass paint pens/liquid leading/self-adhesive leading strips
  • Glass paints/stained glass paints/enamel paints
  • Paint comb
  • Artist’s brushes

Clean both sides of the acrylic sheet with glass cleaner.

Position the acrylic sheet on top of the desired design template. Your design template can be a coloring book page, a photo, a magazine cutout or a stained glass outline. Omit this step if you plan to paint the acrylic sheet in a solid color.

Clean the side of the acrylic sheet that’s facing up with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol removes fingerprints and readies the acrylic for the paint. Make sure that you do not touch this side of the acrylic again with your bare hands. Wear cotton gloves when handling, tracing and painting the acrylic sheet. Your bare hands leave oil and prints on the acrylic which can be visible through the paint.

Trace the design outline onto the acrylic panel with glass paint pens, liquid leading or self-adhesive leading strips. Allow liquid leading to dry before painting, the strips are ready as soon as you press them in place along the outline. Glass paint pens are translucent; you can leave them in the design or paint over them with the same color of opaque enamel paint. Liquid or self-adhesive leading strips are most often used if you are painting a stained glass style acrylic sheet.

Paint the open spaces between the outlines with glass paint or stained glass paint for a translucent finish. Paint the open spaces with enamel paint for an opaque finish. Apply glass and enamel paints with an artist’s brush. Apply stained glass paints through the applicator tip attached to the paint container. Smooth stained glass paints with a paint comb.

Allow the paint to dry completely. Most glass paint calls for baking the paint to set it. Rather than place acrylic sheets in the oven, place them in direct sunlight for several hours to set the paint. Air dry most enamel and stained glass paints.

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