Can You Paint a Guitar With Acrylic Paint?


If you want to channel your artistic creativity to your guitar, the best way is to paint it. It will provide a unique look that perfectly matches your personality and style. As a person who wants to paint their guitar, you may think, ‘can you paint a guitar with acrylic paint.’ You’ve come to the right place.

Yes, acrylic paint is possible to use on your guitar. With the right process and a good understanding of acrylic paint, it will provide the best result for your guitar possible. Make sure to follow the proper instructions on how to apply acrylic paint to your guitar.

This article will discuss some of the things you need to know when painting a guitar with acrylic paint. Aside from that, this article will also talk about the instructions on applying acrylic paint on acoustic and electric guitars.

Acrylic Paint on Your Guitar: Everything that You Need to Know

One of the best advantages of using acrylic paint on your guitar is the color will last for a long time. Another advantage of acrylic paint is it can easily dry (20 minutes). However, you would need to follow the proper steps to achieve this.

Don’t use acrylic paint when you don’t have the patience to do the right preparation process. When the process is not done correctly, it may affect the sound of your guitar. Acrylic paint is great for both acoustic and electric guitars.

For best results, it is best to use lacquer paint for an enamel finish on electric guitars. Enamel paints have oil and water, so using water-based paint on these guitars is best. It will also dry faster than oil-based enamel.

With hollow-body guitar, acrylic paint has a greater impact on the tone. Wood is much thinner compared to an electric guitar. Wood is only 1/10-inch thick, while the electric guitar is two-inch thick.

Arteza Acrylic Paint: Best Paint to Use for Your Guitar

A well-recommended acrylic paint to use is the Arteza Acrylic Paint. With this kit, you can get an exciting selection of colors. Here are some colors that you can get:

  • Lemon Yellow
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Crimson Red

This brand of acrylic paint is considered premium. The paint features a smooth and highly pigmented color. You can ensure that you will get true and consistent shades. It is also non-toxic and ACMI-certified. With this said, you can have peace of mind when using it.

You can purchase the Arteza Acrylic Paint on Amazon for an affordable price.

Acrylic Painting Your Acoustic Guitar: The Instructions You Need

When it comes to painting your acoustic guitar with acrylic paint, it will take effort and patience. Updating and painting your guitar will take time and can be completed in weeks. Make sure you don’t rush the process, as you might not get the desired result.

The following section will provide instructions on how you can paint your acoustic guitar with acrylic paint.

Have Your Workspace Prepared

The first thing that you need to do is prepare your workspace. Painting your guitar indoors is the safest place since you can avoid attracting bugs. Get a study table and place your guitar on top. Aside from that, you can place other tools and materials you will need for this project.

Using a work mat or any cloth to cover the table is best so that your guitar won’t slip while you paint.

Handling Your Guitar’s Hardware

Once you have prepared your desired workspace, it’s time to remove the hardware parts of your guitar. Here, you should remove the following hardware:

  • Output Jack
  • Strap Buttons
  • Pickguards
  • Studs
  • Other Knobs

Here you would also remove all the strings, electronics, and the neck of the guitar. Remove the neck when possible, as some guitar doesn’t have this option.

When doing this, make sure that you label the parts. To complete painting your guitar, it may take a couple of weeks. Labeling each part and wire will avoid confusion when it’s time to reassemble the instrument.

Preparing Your Guitar: The Sanding Process

When all of your guitar parts have been removed, it is time to prepare your guitar. This step would include sanding the guitar’s wood and applying the primer. You will also choose the type of acrylic paint you will use.

Remember that wood is thin, so you must be careful about how you sand the body. Don’t use a power sander for acoustic guitars since too much can go wrong. One is you can sand a particular spot too much, leading to a hole in your guitar.

Sanding is an important when it comes to painting guitars. Make sure that you add another finish before you add the acrylic paint. If you don’t do this, the paint will flake off eventually.

Once this happens, you may not like the result. When it comes to the perfect sanding, patience is key. So, be sure not to rush through the process so you won’t mess up the result.

When sanding, you must ensure you get every last paint, sealer, varnish, or other things off. Sanding too much can lead to some real damage to your guitar.

Time to Apply Fillers, Wood Sealers, and Primer Coat

Once the sanding is done, fill all the bumps and holes with a filler material. You can purchase filler in stores and online. Spread the filler material around the body of your guitar. When that’s done, leave it to dry and then cool.

When it is dry, sand one last time with a finer grit. It will smoothen the surface and then wipe the dust from the sanding you have done. When the following process is done, it’s time for wood sealers.

Choose white sealer when your chosen paint is a light color and gray sealer for darker paint. On the grain of your guitar, be sure to apply and spreat the sealer. Do not scrub the surface and be sure to leave it be for ten minutes.This way it can dry properly.

Two to three coats would be enough for your wood sealer and let your guitar dry in a well-ventilated area. Take about one or two days to dry your guitar. Once dry, apply about two to three coats of primer. Choose a primer you think will work great with your guitar.

Time to Paint Your Guitar: The Fun Part is Here!

Start with applying thin coats of paint. Doing this will prevent the paint from dripping all over the place and can dry quickly. If you choose to do more than two coats of paint, dry it for an additional two days and apply more if you want.

Once the color is done, be sure to apply the clear coat. It will provide a shiny and clear finish. Apply two to three coats and do this in an hour to dry your guitar properly. Don’t touch your guitar for two to three weeks for a richer color.

Polish and Reinstall the Parts: The Final Step

When everything is dried and done, it’s time to polish the surface. You can use guitar polish or car polish at this point. It will make your guitar shinier. Use a microfiber or dry and soft cloth to drench with the polish.

Ensure to apply the polish gently and do this in a circular motion. Wipe any excess polish with a dry cloth to avoid scratches.

Lastly, put your guitar back together. Fix the wires, knobs, output jacks, and stubs. Then, reinstall the neck and make sure that you screw it carefully.

Painting Your Electric Guitar: The 101

For your electric guitar, it’s pretty much the same process as an acoustic guitar. The only difference is the sanding process. You would start by preparing your guitar by removing the hardware and taking the neck off the guitar.

To remove your guitar strings, use wire or string clippers to get the job done. Remove the studs and make sure you organize as well as label the parts.

Another difference in instructions from the acoustic guitar is applying wood finish. Since electric guitars are not usually made from wood, it is not needed. When everything is said and done, put everything back together.

The following section is how you would sand an electric guitar in preparation for the painting process of your electric guitar.

Sanding Your Electric Guitar: Remove Any Existing Finish

You can start by working on sanding the existing finish of the guitar. There are two options on how you can complete this process:

  • Sand the finish completely
  • Rough up the finish

If you are using acrylic paint, it is best to rough the finish rather than sand it completely. It is also best to remember that a thick coat of paint or finish will damage or diminish your guitar.

Unlike acoustic guitar, you can use an orbital sander with electric guitars. It is great in removing most of the finish. It is also great for working over the entire body of the instrument. Always use circular and smooth strokes when you are sanding it.

Using a paint stripper is not advisable in this process as it is extremely toxic and a messy process. It also doesn’t have the capabilities of removing any rock-hard polyurethane that manufacturers usually use.

Make sure you use sandpaper for fine crevices to get the job done. Curved areas on the guitar can be difficult to sand. Be sure to use coarse grit sandpaper or coarse grit sanding sponge for the hard-to-reach places.

When you are done sanding, vacuum up the mess. Remove the finish of the guitar and then smooth the body down. You can use the hose attachment to remove most of the dust. You can use compressed air to spray the dust away for additional dust that a vacuum can’t remove.

Aside from that, you can also use moistened cloth or damp cloth with water to remove the dust.


There are plenty of ways to customize your guitar, one of which is by painting your guitar. Using acrylic paint will ensure the color will last for a long time. Knowing the right process will ensure beautiful results. Play with style by painting your acoustic or electric guitar!

Sourav Biswas

Music is my life and I love to play guitar so much. It's been a part of me for as long as I can remember. I grew up in a musical family, and my parents were always supportive of my passion for music. I am also a freelance writer who has been writing for over 10 years. I have written for both online and offline publications, including Amazon and Medium.

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