Settling the Polycrylic for Acrylic Pouring Debate

We’ve had some discussion in our Facebook group lately about Minwax Polycrylic, one of the most popular sealants used in the acrylic pouring community. I know—I use it myself! It’s been my go-to product for a long time, so when I saw a recent post claiming that Minwax had told one of our group members that it isn’t safe, I decided to do some digging of my own.

The Conversation

I contacted Minwax through their Facebook page, and received a reply about six days later (not a wonderful turnaround). 

Here’s what I asked:

There has been a lot of misinformation spread about your products, and I’d like someone to clarify for us since we’re getting different answers from everyone we speak to at your company.

One of our authors reached out to you about your product, Polycrylic, some time ago. They were told that it was perfectly safe to seal acrylic paintings with Polycrylic, and I can safely say that at least half of our community has used Polycrylic at least once for this purpose.

However, now a member of our group has let us know that she reached out to Minwax and was told that you don’t make any products that can be used for sealing acrylic paint.

Can you please clarify this so we can provide the correct information to the 91k + members in our group?

The reply:

Polycrylic can be applied over latex paint. Other types of paint would have to be tested on your own for compatibility. Having said that, it is best to allow the paint to be cured for 30 days, if new.

Also, it needs to be sanded with 220 grit sandpaper and the dust needs to be removed completely before application. Also, our protective finishes are for use on hardwood surfaces only. Finally, there is a small chance that it will yellow over light or white paint. We hope this information is helpful.

I sat on this response for a few days, because quite frankly, it confused me. 

First, as you all probably know, there really isn’t a difference between latex and acrylic paints. “Latex” has become a generic term for really any commercially used water-based paint—there’s no latex rubber in the paint anymore. Depending on what the paints are being used for, they’re mixed with acrylic resins or vinyl. Vinyl is cheaper, and that’s what you’ll find in most commercially used water-based paint. 

This is where my confusion came in, along with a sentence in the second paragraph about how the product should only be used over hardwood floors. 

Again, I responded and asked for clarification. Does this mean that Polycrylic can only be used over commercial paints like house paint? Furthermore, I asked for clarification about the hardwood surfaces—can it be used over paint, or not? 

Sadly, Minwax has been completely silent since I questioned them again about the products, even after having reached out to their corporate office with no luck. So, here’s the deal with Polycrylic.

Have artists used Polycrylic with good results? Yes. Have some artists experienced yellowing? Also yes. In this case, it can’t really be determined if Polycrylic is or is not safe for use over acrylic paintings—there are too many variables when it comes to what brand of paint you’re using, what your medium is, if you’re adding silicone, or where the piece will be placed/how the piece will be used. What we can say is, test the product first. If you want to use Polycrylic but you’re not willing to find out the hard way that it isn’t safe for your particular painting, the best advice we can give you is to test it out on a smaller piece using the same paint mixture you’re using on a bigger piece. Apply the Polycrylic as directed and try it in the same conditions you anticipate that piece will encounter; full sunlight, shade, humidity, etc. 

Testing out any product is the absolute best way to know if it will work for you!

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8 thoughts on “Settling the Polycrylic for Acrylic Pouring Debate”

  1. You have a great blog!

    I was immediately hooked! Your topics seem to be right down my alley. I cannot wait to explore more in-depth.

    This is my newest project. My Etsy store has been down for a while because of heart problems, so I am trying to make sure these are right before I post them for sale.

    So, I am still trying to figure out what to use to waterproof and make my coasters heat resistant.
    I make them using ceramic tile, decoupages with either napkins, rice paper or scrapbook paper using Mod Podge Dishwasher.
    So far I have tried :
    Mod Podge Dishwasher
    Mod Podge Hard Coat
    Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer
    Rust-Oleum 9061H Varathane Ultimate Polyurethane, Oil Based
    Several other Rustoleum spray sealers and top coats!

    I am wondering if you might know if I use any of the above (not my first choice now) or Environmental Technology 8-Ounce Kit Lite Pour-On, High Gloss Finish and
    Rust-Oleum Automotive 2000 Degrees High Heat Spray, Gloss Clear on top of that
    would I get that glass like finish that is waterproof and heat resistant?

    1. Michelle Rosenbaum

      I have tried the VHT high temperature gloss engine enamel spray paint but found that it doesn’t leave a glass like surface. I love how Resin looks and have tried art resin, EX-74 (Envirotex),Pro Marine, and Counter Culture DIY -acrylic pouring resin-which is heat rated to at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. All failed my cup of hot coffee test all had been cured for several weeks. I too haven’t been able to create my art since November of last year due to hand pain and then surgery. I’m starting back up again and have decided to either make my tiles as hanging art, to put on a small easel or coasters that state not hot resistant.
      Needless to say it’s been very frustrating.
      Hope this helps in some way.

  2. I first started using poly on paper jewelry, was taught to do so by the instructor, Ross Barbera, I was following. Never had an issue, but then paper is wood, lol.

  3. I am SO FRUSTRATED with finishes!!!

    I am constantly having to sand & re-apply finishes on my paintings. They either yellow or mostly get blemishes in the finish. I pack my paintings so carefully & yet I continue to get finish damage every time I unpack them for an art show.

    Can anybody tell me of a product to use that is durable, non-yellowing, & can handle being packed up between shows & holds up in heat or damp weather during shows?

    I’m ready to quit painting at this point. I bought an airbrush, a finish HLVP sprayer, multiple high-quality brushes. I’ve tried sprays, Brush applied finishes, & nothing seems to keep a nice flawless finish. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I don’t want to use Envirotex Lite as it takes to long is is too times consuming & stressful to apply.

  4. Let me just say this about the Employee representing minwax who replied to your query- they’re an idiot.
    The name alone is a dead give-away- P-O-L-Y-“C-R-Y-L-I-C-“-it’s a water based acrylic poly. It works beautifully over acrylic paint. If you only use a drop or two of silicone in your pouring paint, curing the painting is the most important step in getting good results- the longer the better. If you are familiar with the paints you use and are consistent in how you mix them and brands you use, you shouldn’t have any issues. I would wipe the cured painting with a soft rag that ‘s barely damp with soap and warm water. And again with a damp cloth without soap- just warm water, wipe with a soft dry cloth. That said, there’s not a sealer, polyurethane, glaze, resin, or varnish that doesn’t yellow. The biggest factor to yellowing is sunlight/heat. And FYI- Latex paint is made with acrylic resins. Here’s another rule of thumb.: any Acrylic medium can be mixed with any other acrylic based medium. Polycrylic is a medium. As pointed out by this page’s writer, latex isn’t used in latex paint anymore- A form of Poly vinyl replaced it.
    In case you are wondering if you can trust what I’m saying, I was trained as a faux painter by a Scottish master painter in my trade union and I’ve been painting, making, creating and experimenting with art and home improvement paints and mediums for over 30 years

    1. Hi Kim,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment – I don’t think that calling the employee an idiot is necessary, but I get what you’re saying.

      We’re writing information that comes straight from the company so that artists can have information directly from the manufacturer. I’ve used Polycrylic on at least 150 of my paintings, and have never had adverse effects – the point is, it could happen, and artists should be warned that there are some potential drawbacks and issues in using Polycrylic since it’s not made for sealing artwork.

      Thank you for your input!

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