Painting with acrylic on aluminum

24 Feb 2009

Q: I wish to paint with acrylics on a raw aluminum surface. Which surface preparation/priming is necessary? Also, I may not cover the entire surface with paint. What type of varnish or sealant should I use on the acrylic-painted portion and on the raw aluminum portion?

A: Metals are smooth and need to be treated to develop a tooth that will accept paint. I suggest sanding the metal to create the tooth. Aluminum accepts acrylic paint because the metal and the acrylic have similar reactions to changes in temperature, and a paint-aluminum reaction provides a very good adhesion. You may also want to sand the unpainted areas to accept the final acrylic varnish.

--by Camille LaPointe-Lyons

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