Acrylic paint is a very versatile and convenient paint that you can use for almost any art project. So I wondered if I can bake acrylic paint onto surfaces like ceramic and glass. So I contacted popular acrylic paint manufacturers and asked them whether I can bake acrylic paint. Here is what I have found.
You cannot bake acrylic paint unless it is recommended by the manufacturer. Most big acrylic paint manufacturers did not recommend baking acrylic paint due to possible damage to the paint film, production of toxic fumes, or that process not being tested by the manufacturer.
Although you find many others on the internet recommending baking acrylic paint, all the manufacturers I contacted did not recommend baking acrylic paint or warned against it.
Can you heat set or bake acrylic paint?
You cannot heat set or bake acrylic paint, as it can break the acrylic paint film and produce toxic fumes at high temperatures. There can be other effects of this that were not discovered as manufacturers haven’t tested baking acrylic paint. Some manufacturers warned against baking acrylic paint.
I have contacted Golden Paint, Blick Art, Daler Rowney, Liquitex, and Chroma Atelier which are renowned acrylic paint brands in the industry to get their opinion on baking acrylic paints on surfaces like glass and ceramic.
Scott Bennett from Golden Paints said “Do Not Bake our acrylic products. Not at all. It will not help them and in fact, at higher temperatures will cause them to degrade and release toxic fumes.”
Mark Cann from the Liquitex support team said “Heavy body or soft body acrylic paints should not be subject to baking as it can damage the film.”
Patrick, product specialist for Blick Art Materials said “We recommend baking any paint only if it is recommended by the manufacturer. The reason why most acrylic paint brands including us do not recommend baking acrylic paint is that most manufacturers haven’t tested baking acrylic paints. So we do not know what might happen”
“We also do not recommend baking our acrylic paint,” said Jennifer from Chroma Atelier acrylic paint.
Is it safe to bake acrylic paint?
It is extremely unhealthy or unsafe to bake acrylic paint. It can produce toxic fumes such as formaldehyde which are intensely irritating to humans. Fumes have a bad smell which can give you headaches. Therefore never try to bake acrylic paint in a closed area without good ventilation.
Since heating acrylic paints is unhealthy, do not use the home food baking oven for this if you decided to bake acrylic paint anyways. You can use a toaster oven or a regular oven only if they were not used for cooking. This is due to toxic fumes that can be produced upon heating.
One thing that needs to be clear here is baking acrylic paint does not make it stick to a surface permanently. This will be further discussed in the below section.
What happens to acrylic paint when heated?
Heating acrylic paint is like heating plastic, producing bad smells and fumes. Heating damages acrylic paint film and causes poor adhesion even if heated above the melting point of 320 °F (160 °C) of acrylic paint. The paint film dries onto the surface but peels off in contact with water.
So, if heating is not the solution, you might wonder what can harden acrylic paint.
Acrylic paint can be fully hardened or cured when the paint is allowed to dry for 1 – 2 weeks. If applied on a prepared surface with primer acrylic paints stick well. Add a top coating for extra protection. This process does not require heating but hardens acrylic paint while helping with bonding.
Here I want to highlight what the Golden Material specialist said about heating/ baking acrylic paint. Here is how it went, “We cannot recommend heating our products at all in an oven, as this will only degrade the acrylic and not help with adhesion onto those surfaces. However, there are special paints available for this you might find online. They must say specifically that they are meant to be baked at a certain temperature to cure them.”
So, if you want to heat set paint the best option would be using paint specifically made to bake and cure. It will be further discussed in this article. This process is more straightforward than baking acrylic paint.
Results of baking/heating acrylic paint
Although it forms a health risk, with all precautions taken and good ventilation, I decided to see what happens to acrylic paint when baked. For this, I painted a few stripes of paint on a ceramic tile piece in different thicknesses. It was then allowed to dry for 20 minutes but did not allow to fully cure (fully curing may form better surface adhesion).
I used a hot air gun to blow air to the painted ceramic tile. The air temperature was around 200°C. It is higher than the melting point of acrylic paint which is 320 °F (160 °C). I was holding the hot air gun for around 10 to 15 minutes. During this time paint dried up into an even finishing on ceramic. It almost looked like paint cured fully onto the ceramic with better adhesion.
I let the heated ceramic dry for around 20 minutes. Then decided to test adhesion by spraying some water onto painted ceramic and rubbing. In the moment of truth, the paint never adhered to the ceramic. It peeled right away upon contact with water and rubbing.
However, the very thick paint swatches were dry and hardened. The very thick ones had moist paint inside. When you heat acrylic paint with moisture it starts to bubble and blister. Therefore it is a best practice to allow acrylic paint to fully dry before heating by any chance.
In short, never try to bake acrylic paint because it does no good.
Can you bake acrylic paint in the oven?
Acrylic paint cannot be baked in an oven that is used to cook food. It emits harmful fumes as same as other plastics. The fumes may induce headaches as well as a health risk. The best option would be using other bakable paints that are specifically made for that purpose.
How to bake acrylic paint on ceramic?
The experiment I did and explained in the previous section was done on ceramic tile. But I did not have any luck with paint adhering to it. Upon adding water it peeled right away. This means heating does not help acrylic paint with better adhesion but it does the opposite.
There will be a particular temperature your acrylic paint brand is recommended to use. Being above or below that temperature will not help acrylic paint.
Heating degrades the acrylic paint film making it even harder to adhere. So the best way to stick acrylic paint to ceramic is by using bisques ceramic, priming it with gesso, and applying acrylic paint. Allow the paint to fully cure for 1 -2 weeks, and seal acrylic paint on ceramic with acrylic clear coating.
Acrylic paint can be sealed by spraying artist acrylic clear coating or automotive acrylic clear lacquer on the fully cured acrylic paint on bisque ceramic(unglazed). Allow the sealant to cure for 1 week. This provides full adhesion to the surface.
I have written a whole article about sticking acrylic paint on ceramic. You can find a step-by-step guide on how to stick acrylic paint on ceramic there. It does not involve any harmful activities such as baking acrylic paint.
It is also important to note that if you do any artwork with acrylic paint on any surface that particular piece will not be safe to eat or drink from the site as acrylic paint is not food grade. Some paints can be used on functional pieces and do not form a health risk.
Better alternatives to acrylic paint to use on ceramic
I asked a Blick Art Material product specialist what would be the best paint to use on ceramic if it is not acrylic paint. What he recommended was Pebeo Porcelaine 150 and Pebeo Vitrea 160 Glass Paints which can be baked on ceramic, porcelain, and glass. Pebeo brand has both acrylic paint and paints for other surfaces.
The Vitrea 160 paints are transparent and the Porcelaine 150 paints are more opaque. Both of these paints are non-toxic when heating but they are not recommended to use on areas that will be in contact with food. They can be heated in the same oven you use to cook.
You can also use Pebeo ceramic paints which are not intended to bake. These are solvent-based paints with a finish of opaque lacquer. However, you cannot use ceramic paints on functional pieces like Porcelain 150 and Vitrea 160 Glass paints. It is solely for decorative pieces.
Not only Pebeo paints. You can find other brands of paint made to use on ceramics. You can pick those paints by asking from the local art shop. They will find what is available and best for you. But if you purchase online you can check the links I have provided to Pebeo paints on Blick Art Materials. Pebeo is one of the best French artist brands.
Baking acrylic paint on other surfaces
Now that you know what paint to use on ceramic surfaces, let’s see how to use acrylic paint or other suitable paint on the below surfaces.
You can check the safety data sheet of any acrylic paint brand available on the website. As an example safety data sheet of Liquitex Heavy Body acrylic paint says, it is best functional in ambient temperatures. Also, avoid high heat for a prolonged period and completely avoid freezing.
Can you bake acrylic paint on ceramic, glass, and porcelain?
You cannot bake acrylic paint on glass, wood, clay, metal, porcelain, salt dough, or any other unusual surface as it cause poor film formation and may produce harmful fumes. Instead, use a paint specifically made for a particular surface and allow baking. Such as porcelain and glass paints.
One of the best brands you can find in porcelain or glass paints is Pebeo. They are Pebeo Porcelaine 150 and Pebeo Vitrea 160 Glass Paints. Pebeo Porcelaine 150 can be used on porcelain, china, ceramic, tile, and more. Pebeo Vitrea 160 Glass Paints can be used on glass, crystal, ceramic, porcelain, china, glazed earthware, terracotta, and more.
Here are thoughts of Golden Paint material specialist Scott, “There will be poor adhesion of our acrylic paints on glass or glazed ceramic. And the final dry surface of our paints is relatively soft and flexible for the intended use on flexible substrates. If you can find a good glass primer that adheres well to glass and can accept our paints then that could be a solution. If the objects are functional you would also then need to add a final topcoat that has a hard and durable surface for the function of the piece.”
Can you bake acrylic paint on wood?
Acrylic paint does not need to be baked on wood. It adheres well to a wood surface that is sanded and primed with gesso. Do not choose wood that is too porous or too hard. It will cause paint to absorb more into the wood or poor adhesion to wood. Seal the final piece with a varnish.
Can you bake acrylic paint on clay?
You do not need to bake acrylic paint on clay. Apply acrylic gesso primer onto fired clay and then paint with acrylic paint. Let it cure for 1 to 2 weeks. Then apply a varnish or acrylic clear coating to the surface if needed. Let varnish cure for 1 week or as mentioned in the product label.
Can you bake acrylic paint on metal?
Baking acrylic paint on metal is not a good idea as acrylic paint does not adhere well and may produce toxic fumes at high temperatures. The best option is painting on a metal primed surface with acrylic paints and sealing the final piece with acrylic clear coating.
I have written an article about sticking acrylic paint on metal and keeping it off. You can find a step-by-step guide that walks you through painting metal with acrylic paint including a video guide.
Can you bake acrylic paint on salt dough?
Do not bake salt dough with acrylic paint. It will not help with adhesion and may produce toxic fumes. Instead, apply gesso primer or an acrylic medium onto the salt dough and let it dry overnight. Then paint with acrylic paint. Finally, seal the piece with acrylic clear coating or varnish.
Make sure you do not bake acrylic paint which is essentially plastic onto something like salt dough which is used by children last it can be harmful to them. Even though you painted salt dough as mentioned above, make sure children do not put them in their mouths as it can be harmful.
Baking acrylic paint does not help with acrylic paint film formation and adhering to the surface. Additionally, it may release toxic fumes upon high heat. These fumes have a bad smell and can give you headaches. The best option to heat set acrylic paint and make them dishwasher safe is using paint specifically made for the surface. It will be directly said on the products page if the paint is bakable.