How To Make Acrylic Paint Look Glossy

How To Make Acrylic Paint Look Glossy

Acrylic paint is a type of permanent water-soluble paint that people generally use to paint in their homes. The chemicals contained in acrylic paint allow the paint to have much greater elasticity. This means the paint can expand and contract as the temperature in the home fluctuates.

Acrylic paint is a popular choice for walls because it offers superior intensity, something you don’t generally find with latex and oil-based paint options. Acrylic paint also dries faster, doesn’t have an unpleasant order like other paint types, and is resistant to fading and peeling.

When learning how to make acrylic paint look glossy, you will find you need to use a gloss varnish. Once the painting is done, and the paint is dry, apply a high gloss varnish. Polyacrylic varnish is good for most surfaces.

Read on for the step-by-step process of how to make acrylic paint look glossy.

Materials You Will Need

  • Glossy acrylic varnish
  • Paper plate or metal tray
  • Stiff bristled brush

Before going into the steps below, you want to make sure to wipe down your walls with a lint-free cloth to remove any dust, dirt, or debris that can show up as you begin painting.

Step 1

Pour some glossy varnish onto a paper plate or metal tray. Make sure it is a varnish suitable for acrylic paint. Acrylic resin varnish tends to be glossier, stronger, and clearer than acrylic polymer varnish. So, to achieve the high gloss finish you want after painting, choose an acrylic resin varnish. Now dip the brush into the varnish.

Make sure the brush is clean and dry before dipping it into the varnish. Liquitex makes a product considered a gloss medium and varnish that can be mixed right into the paint you are using on your walls, allowing you to skip a step. You can also use it as your final coat of varnish when you are done painting.  

Step 2

Apply smooth, even strokes of the varnish to the surface of the acrylic paint, making sure to paint in the same direction. You mustn’t overlap brushstrokes as you may mark up your walls with unintended brushstrokes.

Step 3

Allow a few minutes for the varnish to dry completely. Then, apply a second coat if needed. Never apply varnish to a wall that is not dry. For the best results, consider waiting at least 72 hours, depending on the thickness of the layer you have applied and if the space is well-ventilated. If you varnish over a wet wall, it can create a mess and can ruin the paint job.

Benefits Of Varnishing Over Acrylic Paint

When you varnish acrylic paint, it can protect the walls from dirt, scratches, and dust. Varnish will also provide your newly painted acrylic walls with a glossy finish. Acrylic painters also often do an isolation coat, which adds another protective layer between the acrylic paint and the varnish on the walls.


The isolation coat is an additional coat between the acrylic paint and the varnish that separates the two. It is a clear and non-removable coating. It isn’t entirely necessary to do an isolation coat when painting your walls, but when it comes to conservation and extending the life of your paint job, it is definitely something you may want to consider.

The Benefits Of Acrylic Varnish

Acrylic varnish over your newly painted walls can help even out and smooth the acrylic paint. It is also often formulated with UV protection, which can help prevent your new wall color from fading over time.

Acrylic varnish also prevents dust and dirt from building up and getting trapped in the paint as it dries and can easily be removed if you must eliminate stains on the surface of the walls.

In some cases, acrylic varnish can begin to yellow over time. You can remove the varnish and apply a new, fresh coat to your acrylic painted walls if this happens. You do not have to redo the entire paint job.

The best way to make your acrylic painted walls look glossy is to apply an acrylic varnish. As you can see from the steps above, it is incredibly easy to do.

Other Options for Achieving A Glossy Finish To Acrylic

There are different techniques to make acrylic paint shine. However, most painters prefer to use a varnish to give them the glossy finish they desire. It also effectively protects the painting. When choosing varnish, you can choose a glossy, satin, or matte varnish finish. There are even painters and homeowners who choose to combine the different varnish types.

Artistic Resins

You may want to use an artistic resin or acrylic medium instead of a varnish. No matter which option you choose, make sure the material you use is designed for the painting you are doing in the home. Otherwise, the paint may become discolored as time goes on.

Epoxy resin is another way to achieve a glossy and professional-looking sheen on your walls while also making your color choice pop. ArtResin epoxy, for example, can be used and will not act as a solvent on the acrylic as long as the surface you are applying the resin to is completely dry.

Acrylic Medium

Artistic resins can be thick and are not for all kinds of acrylic paints. When applied in thicker layers, epoxy resin can also begin yellowing. Another option is to use an acrylic medium that is more UV resistant than epoxy resins. Keep in mind that there may be a color shift when using acrylic mediums.

The use of acrylic media is recommended:

  • When you are working on a smooth surface
  • When painting on hard boards
  • If a glossy finish is desired

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you protect acrylic paint?

Varnishes are generally used to protect acrylic paints. All kinds of varnishes give a glossy finish to the paints and protect them from dust and dirt.

How do you store acrylic paint?

If you have leftover acrylic paint after painting the walls in your home, you want to store the paint in a cool and dry location away from direct sunlight. The temperatures where the paint is being stored should also remain above freezing. The darker and dryer the area is, the better.

What if you have matte or eggshell paint in a can and want to make it glossy?

You can purchase a polyacrylic varnish if you have matte paint or eggshell paint that you want to make glossy. It is a clear, water-based finish that can turn any matte wall into a glossy wall. You can also pour some varnish into the flat paint you have and stir. Then, test it before applying it to make sure it is the right level of gloss you want.

Why is it advisable to varnish acrylic paint?

Varnishing protects the work from dirt, dust, and environmental pollution. It also helps to unify the appearance of the paint job, giving it a glossy, matte, or satin finish.

How To Make Acrylic Paint Look Glossy
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