Written by Dale Richardson - Updated: June 23, 2023
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Polyvinyl acetate (PVA) glue works as a great pouring medium. The question, though, is whether or not you can (or should) paint over it with acrylic paints. If you came here wondering if you can paint over PVA glue, you're in the right place. Today we're going to talk about whether or not you can, whether you should , and give a few helpful additional tips, just to be safe.
Can you paint over PVA glue? The short answer is yes.
While the basic question has been answered, there are a few things to keep in mind. Let's dig into it, shall we?
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PVA is rather popular with painters due to its texture and composition when mixed with acrylic paints, and its sturdy yet flexible dried state. Add in that it's surprisingly inexpensive and easy to make at home, and you can see why people may want to do so.
In short, yes, you can paint with acrylic over PVA glue. However , professional painters (for homes) don't use PVA for a reason.
Specifically, professionals don't use PVA because it can cause damage when used to seal the plaster. Additionally, there are just better, more specialised products out there that are designed to do what we're talking about - it's called primer. Add in that paint can peel and chip very quickly if treated with PVA before application (improperly), and you can see why this is a slightly complicated answer.
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Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's talk about what to do and not do if you decide to use PVA for a painting.
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Do not use PVA on a wall before it's painted. The paint will sit on top of the PVA rather than mixing andwill peel.
Instead, use 3 parts of paint to one part water, allowing it to soak into the plaster. Allow it to dry, and then paint the topcoats as usual.
When drying PVA, it's okay to try and speed up the process, but do it right:
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While painting over PVA has its bad side, doing so properly can actually turn out really well. If you're struggling to afford the primer you need to paint your home (or canvas), PVA is a good, DIY alternative that is affordable and easy to use. It's important that it's allowed to dry properly, and isn't painted over directly.
Instead, allow it time to dry, and if possible, make a pour-over solution (as shown above) to make things easier. If you're using acrylic paints, PVA can help as a primer, bringing more vibrant colours to life. But if you're using water-based paints, you're going to have a bad time. PVA acts as a waterproofed surface and can result in chipping, flaking, or outright dripping. If you choose to use PVA as a primer or gesso substitute - don't rush it. All good things come with time, and a perfect coat of paint is an excellent example of that statement.
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