Painting a guitar with acrylic isn’t difficult. Old Fenders used to have acrylic paintjobs on a lot of custom pieces, actually. If you don’t believe me, take a look at an older model and see if you see ‘Lucite’ listed on it. If so, you are looking at an acrylic paintjob!
Painting a guitar with acrylic is just a matter of sanding, painting, and sealing and can be done with most acrylics. You’ll just want to make sure that if you are new to painting and refinishing guitars that you don’t rush yourself. It’s harder than it looks, so take your time!
I’ll talk a little about this and also give you some tips for beginners and we’ll also go into how to seal your work when you are done. Without further ado, let’s talk about how to paint a guitar with acrylic paints!
Can I paint my guitar with acrylic paint?
Yes, you can! Acrylic paint is safe for both acoustic and electric guitars and it looks great! Customizing your guitar with acrylic paints also gives you an amazingly wide palette that you can take advantage of to take the look of your guitar to the next level.
The trick is going to be disassembling the guitar, then giving it a light sanding before you start. After that, you want to apply a little wood primer just to make sure that your acrylics are going to properly stick.
Next you can stencil on the design that you are looking to paint, just to make sure that it comes out nice, and tape off any areas that you need to protect at this time. After that, paint it up with your acrylics and be sure to give it a proper seal to make sure that your hard work doesn’t end up flaking or otherwise deteriorating prematurely.
For some painting tips from an artist, check out this 3rd party link for painting Ukuleles and Guitars. It’s a great read and has some info that you’ll want to hang on to, so be sure to take a peek.
How should a beginner paint a guitar?
The most important tip for beginners is that you should really take your time. Painting a guitar is harder than it looks and so you want to make sure that you do it slowly and with attention to detail. Disassemble the guitar, taking pictures with your phone so you can reassemble it easily, and carefully tape off places that you don’t want errant paint to end up.
Other tips to keep in mind are as follows:
- Don’t expect perfection, painting guitars is a skill that you learn and your first paint job will likely be ‘okay’, but not perfect. You can always start over and you’ll get a little better each time.
- Smoothing and sanding before you actually paint will help you to have a smoother finish when you have finished the job. Remember, that surface has to be smooth to begin with, and that might take grain filler and a bit of light sanding.
- Watch videos on the process before doing it yourself. You can read all that you like, but seeing it actually done is going to fill in some important blanks for you so that you have a more complete idea of the process.
How do you seal a guitar?
The two easiest and most popular ways to seal up your acrylic paintwork on your guitar are going to be spray-on varnish and regular, brush-on varnish. If you want it extra glossy, you can also try some Krylon products instead. Krylon has a nice finish and is very popular with guitar painting enthusiasts because of the shiny look that you’ll get once it cures.
Just be sure to follow the labelling, because while it is dry enough to touch after 10 minutes, it will take longer for the Krylon to fully harden and cure so that it is 100% dry. Once the coat of your choice dries, then you can reassemble your guitar and play it to make sure that everything sounds okay.
If it sounds good and it looks good, then you are done!
Some final words on how to paint a guitar with acrylic
Acrylic paints are safe on both acoustic and electric guitars and the color palette will blow your mind. Just remember do disassemble and sand properly for best results and not to expect perfection if you are a beginner – practice makes perfect. Finally, don’t forget to seal in your acrylic work so that it doesn’t flake away before your last show and then you should be golden.
Congratulations… you now know the basics of painting your guitar with acrylics!