Oil-Painting vs. Acrylic Paint: Which is Better?

Do you ever stand in front of an art gallery, or in front of a friend’s newly completed painting, and wonder what the difference between acrylic paint and oil paint is? Do you know which one is better?

In this guide, we’re going to explore the differences between acrylic and oil paints, and we’ll let you decide which one reigns supreme.

What Is Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paint is a type of synthetic polymer-based paint. It is fast-drying, water-resistant, and has a high degree of durability. Acrylic paint was first developed in the 1930s and has since become one of the most popular types of paint for both amateur and professional artists alike.

Its versatility and relatively low cost make it a great choice for a wide variety of applications.

Acrylic paint is made up of tiny pigment particles suspended in a polymer binder. When the paint is applied to a surface, the binder helps to hold the pigments in place and provides a protective barrier against moisture and other environmental factors.

Acrylic paint dries very quickly, typically within minutes, and is resistant to fading and chipping.

While acrylic paint can be used on a variety of surfaces, it is most commonly used on canvas or paper. It can also be used to create three-dimensional objects such as sculptures. Acrylic paint is available in a wide range of colors, including both traditional and fluorescent colors.

Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned artist, acrylic paint is a great choice for your next project. Give it a try and see for yourself!

What Is Oil Paint?

Oil paint is a type of paint that consists of pigments suspended in a drying oil, typically linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint can be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnishes are often added to increase the glossiness of the finished product.

Oil paints have been used for centuries for their vibrant colors and durability, and were the primary medium used by painters until the advent of acrylics and other synthetic paints in the mid-20th century.

Today, oil paint is still widely used by artists, although it has been largely supplanted by acrylics and other synthetic paints for many applications.

It remains the preferred medium for many painters, particularly those working in the traditional style.

Oil paint is available in a wide range of colors, including both traditional and contemporary shades. It can be mixed with other media such as watercolors and acrylics, or used on its own.

Oil paint dries slowly, which allows the artist to work on a painting for an extended period of time.

Comparison Between Acrylic and Oil Paints

There are many differences between oil and acrylic paints that can be difficult to understand, but once you know the basics, it becomes much easier to choose which type of paint is right for your project.

Here is a brief rundown of the major differences between these two types of paints:

Drying Times

Oil paints take much longer to dry than acrylics. This can be an advantage if you want to take your time with a painting, or if you need to layer colors. However, it can also be a disadvantage if you are working on a deadline.


Oil paints have a richer, more luminous color than acrylics. This is due to the fact that oil paints are made with pigment suspended in oil, whereas acrylics are made with pigment suspended in water.

Cleaning Up

Acrylics are much easier to clean up than oil paints. This is because acrylics dry quickly and can be easily removed with soap and water. Oil paints, on the other hand, take considerably longer to dry, and require turpentine or paint thinner for cleanup.


Oil paints are more durable than acrylics. This is because the oil in the paint forms a protective barrier over the pigment, which helps to preserve the color and prevent it from fading. Acrylics, on the other hand, do not have this protective barrier, and as a result, their colors may fade over time.

Exterior vs. Interior Use

Oil paints are better suited for exterior use, due to their durability and resistance to fading. Acrylics, on the other hand, are better suited for interior use, as they are easier to clean up and their colors will not fade over time.

Application Methods

Oil and acrylic paints can be applied in a variety of ways, including brush, roller, or spray. Acrylics can also be thinned with water and used in airbrushes.


Oil paints have a natural luster that can be enhanced with the addition of a varnish. Acrylics, on the other hand, do not have a natural luster, but can be given a glossy finish by adding a silicon-based resin.

Paint Area

Oil paints can be used on any paintable surface, including wood, metal, glass, and ceramic. Acrylics, however, should not be used on surfaces that will come into contact with food or water, as they are not food-safe.

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VOC Amounts & Odor

Oil paints have a high VOC content and produce a strong odor when used. Acrylics have a lower VOC content and produce a less offensive odor.

In conclusion, there are many differences between oil and acrylic paints. The type of paint you choose should be based on the specific requirements of your project.

What Are the Pros and Cons of Oil Paints?

Oil paints have been used by artists for centuries, and for good reason. They provide a beautiful, smooth finish and allow for a great deal of control when painting. On the downside, oil paints can be smelly, messy, and difficult to work with. Here are some pros and cons of oil paints to help you decide if they’re right for you.


  • Oil paints provide a smooth, professional finish.
  • They give the artist a great deal of control.
  • Oil paints dry slowly, giving the artist time to make changes.


  • Oil paints can be smelly and messy.
  • They can be difficult to work with.
  • They require a longer drying time.

Pros and Con of Acrylic Paints

When it comes to painting, there are a lot of different materials that can be used. Acrylic paints are becoming increasingly popular because they offer a lot of benefits. However, like anything else, there are also some drawbacks to using acrylics.

Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of acrylic paints:


1. Acrylics dry quickly. This is a big advantage if you are working on a project that needs to be completed quickly.

2. Acrylics are versatile. They can be used for a variety of different projects, including painting, airbrushing, and even nail art.

3. Acrylics are non-toxic. This is a big advantage if you have children or pets who might be tempted to eat the paint.

4. Acrylics are relatively inexpensive. This makes them a great option for people who are just starting out with painting.

5. Acrylics are available in a wide range of colors. This gives you a lot of options when it comes to your project.


1. Acrylics can be tricky to work with. They can be difficult to control and may not always produce the results you are hoping for.

2. Acrylics can be messy. This is especially true if you are not used to working with them.

3. Acrylics can be toxic if ingested. This is something to keep in mind if you have children or pets who might be tempted to eat the paint.

4. Acrylics can be flammable. This is something to keep in mind if you are working with any kind of open flame.

5. Acrylics can be difficult to remove. This is something to keep in mind if you are working on a project that needs to be perfect.

Can You Paint Acrylic Over Oil Paints?

Yes, you can paint acrylic over oil paints, but there are a few things you need to take into consideration first. Make sure the surface is clean and free of any dirt or grease before painting. If the surface is not clean, the acrylic paint will not adhere properly and may peel off.

You also need to make sure the oil paint is completely dry before painting over it with acrylic. If the oil paint is still wet, the two paints will mix together and create a muddy mess.

If you’re painting on a canvas that has already been painted with oil paint, you’ll need to prime the canvas first with an acrylic gesso.

This will create a barrier between the two paints and help the acrylic paint adhere better.

Once you’ve taken these steps, you can go ahead and paint over the oil paint with acrylic. Just keep in mind that the paint may not adhere as well to an oil-painted surface, so it’s important to take your time and apply several thin layers of paint rather than trying to put on one thick layer.

Can You Paint Oil Paint Over Acrylic?

You can paint oil paint over acrylic, but there are a few things you need to do first in order to make sure the two paints adhere to each other. First, sand the surface of the acrylic paint until it is smooth.

This will help the oil paint bond to the surface. Next, apply a layer of gesso or primer to the surface. This will create an even surface for the oil paint to adhere to. Finally, paint your oil paint over the surface as you would normally.

Additionally, when you are finished painting with oil paint, you will need to clean your brushes with mineral spirits or paint thinner. Do not use water to clean your brushes, as this will cause the oil paint to become gummy and difficult to work with.

Do You Need to Seal Acrylic or Oil Paintings?

Acrylic and oil paintings can last a lifetime if they are properly cared for. Part of proper care is knowing when and how to seal the painting. Most acrylic and oil paintings need to be sealed at some point to protect the paint from dirt, dust, pollution, UV rays, and other environmental hazards.

Sealing also prevents the paint from losing its color and fading over time. It is important to use the right type of sealer for your painting so that it does not damage the paint or the canvas.

If you are not sure whether your painting needs to be sealed, ask a professional art conservator or consult the artist who created the painting.

In general, newer paintings and those that will be on display in high-traffic areas or outdoors should be sealed.

How to Seal Acrylic or Oil Paintings?

To seal an acrylic or oil painting, first clean the surface of the painting with a soft, dry cloth. If the painting is very dirty, you may need to use a mild soap and water solution. Once the surface is clean, allow the painting to dry completely.

Next, choose a sealer that is appropriate for the type of paint and the surface of the painting. For example, if you are sealing an oil painting on canvas, you would use a different type of sealer than if you were sealing an acrylic painting on wood.

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Apply the sealer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In general, you will need to apply a thin layer of sealer to the surface of the painting using a soft, dry cloth.

Allow the sealer to dry completely before displaying or storing the painting.

Acrylic Paint Vs Oil Paint On Canvas

When it comes to choosing the right type of paint for your canvas, it really depends on what look you are going for and what your personal preferences are.

Acrylic paint is a synthetic polymer made of plastic materials. This type of paint dries quickly, which can be beneficial if you want to work on multiple layers at once.

They also have a wide range of colors available. However, some artists feel that acrylics can appear “flat” and lack the luster of oil paints.

Oil paints are made from pigments that are suspended in a drying oil, such as linseed oil. This type of paint dries slowly, which gives you more time to work with the paint and blend colors. Oil paints also tend to have a richer color than acrylics.

However, they can be more difficult to work with because of the slow drying time.

So, which type of paint is right for you? It really depends on your own preferences and what look you are going for. Experiment with both types of paint to see which one you like best!

How to Apply Oil Paint On Canvas

When it comes to applying oil paint to canvas, there are a few different ways that you can go about it. Each method has its own set of pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that will work best for your painting style and technique.


One of the most popular methods for applying oil paint to canvas is by using a brush. This method allows you to have more control over the amount of paint that you apply to the surface, and it also gives you the ability to create thinner or thicker layers of paint depending on your needs.

Palette knife

Another option for applying oil paint to canvas is by using a palette knife. This method can be a bit more messy, but it does give you more texture and dimension in your paintings.


Finally, you can also apply oil paint to canvas using a sponge. This is a great option if you want to create a more textured surface, but it can be difficult to control the amount of paint that you’re applying.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to remember that oil paint dries slowly. This means that you’ll need to give your painting plenty of time to dry before adding any additional layers of paint on top.

How to Apply Acrylic Paint On Canvas

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that can be used on a variety of surfaces, including canvas. Whether you’re creating a abstract painting or a landscape, applying acrylic paint to canvas is relatively simple. Here’s a basic guide on how to apply acrylic paint to canvas.

1. Choose the right type of canvas. Canvas comes in a variety of types, such as stretched, board, or rolled. Stretched canvas is the most popular type for paintings, as it’s already prepped and ready to go. Board canvas is also easy to work with, while rolled canvas requires a bit more preparation.

2. Prepare your workspace. Make sure you have all the necessary supplies within reach, including a palette, paints, brushes, and water. Cover your work surface with a drop cloth or old newspaper to protect it from paint splatters.

3. Sketch out your design. Before you start painting, it’s helpful to sketch out your design on the canvas with a pencil. This will give you a roadmap to follow as you start painting.

4. Start painting! Begin by mixing your paints on the palette, then start applying them to the canvas using your brushes. Work in small sections and build up the layers of color gradually. Don’t worry about being perfect – part of the beauty of acrylic paint is that it’s forgiving and easy to fix mistakes.

5. Finish up. Once you’re satisfied with your painting, let it dry completely before framing or displaying it. And that’s it – you’ve successfully applied acrylic paint to canvas!

Acrylic Vs Oil Paint On Wood

When it comes to painting on wood, there are a few different types of paint that can be used. Two of the most popular types are acrylic and oil paint. So, what’s the difference between these two types of paint?

Acrylic paint is water-based, meaning that it is easier to clean up and is less toxic than oil-based paints.

Acrylic paint also dries much faster than oil paint, so you won’t have to wait as long for your project to dry. However, acrylic paint doesn’t provide the same level of durability as oil paint.

Oil paint is more durable and provides a higher level of protection against wear and tear. However, oil paint can be more difficult to work with, and it takes longer to dry.

How to Apply Acrylic Paint On Wood

Acrylic paint is a versatile medium that can be used on a variety of surfaces, including wood. When painting with acrylics, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to achieve the best results.

1. Choose the right type of paint. There are two types of acrylic paint: artist quality and student quality. Artist quality paint is thicker and more pigmented, while student quality paint is thinner and less pigmented. For most projects, student quality paint will be sufficient.

However, if you are looking for a higher quality finish, artist quality paint may be a better option.

2. Choose the right type of brush. When painting with acrylics, it is best to use synthetic brushes rather than natural brushes. Synthetic brushes are less likely to absorb the paint and will provide a smoother finish.

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3. Prepare the wood surface. Before painting, the wood surface should be sanded smooth and then primed with an acrylic primer. This will help the paint to adhere better and will also prevent it from peeling or flaking off in the future.

4. Apply the paint. When applying the paint, start with a thin layer and build up to a thicker layer as needed. Acrylic paint dries quickly, so be sure to work in small sections until you are comfortable with the application process.

5. Allow the paint to dry completely before adding any additional layers or finishes. If you want to protect your painting, you can apply a clear acrylic sealer once the paint is dry.

How to Apply Oil Paint On Wood

Oil paint is a popular medium for painting wood surfaces. It is known for its ability to produce a smooth, even finish. When applying oil paint to wood, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to get the best results.

The first thing to do is sand the surface of the wood. This will help create a smooth base for the paint to adhere to. Once the wood is sanded, wipe it down with a damp cloth to remove any dust.

Next, apply a thin layer of primer to the surface of the wood. This will help the paint stick better and provide a more even coverage. Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting with your chosen oil paint color.

When painting, be sure to work in thin layers. This will help the paint dry faster and prevent any brush strokes from being visible. Allow each layer of paint to dry completely before adding another.

Once you are happy with the final results, seal the paint with a clear topcoat. This will protect the paint and keep it from chipping or fading over time.

Follow the instructions on the can of topcoat for best results.

Now you know how to apply oil paint to wood! Just remember to take your time, work in thin layers, and allow each layer to dry completely before moving on to the next.

With a little patience, you’ll end up with a beautiful finish that will last for years to come.

Which is Easier: Acrylic or Oil Painting?

Acrylic painting is often thought of as being easier than oil painting because it dries quickly and you can easily clean your brushes with soap and water. However, oil painting has its own advantages.

Oil paint takes longer to dry, but it can produce a more luminous effect. And once you’ve mastered the basics of oil painting, you can experiment with a wide range of techniques.

So, which is easier? It really depends on what you’re looking for in a painting.

Are Oil Paintings More Expensive than Acrylic?

There is no simple answer to this question since the prices of oil and acrylic paintings can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the artist’s reputation, the size and complexity of the painting, and the current market conditions.

However, in general, oil paintings tend to be more expensive than acrylics because they require more time and effort to produce.

What Happens if you Paint Acrylic over Oil Paint?

If you try to paint acrylic over oil paint, the acrylic will not adhere properly and may eventually peel off. Before painting with acrylics, be sure to remove any oil paint from the surface. If there is a small amount of oil paint remaining, you can try sanding the surface before painting with acrylics.

Can I Mix Oil Paint with Acrylic?

Yes, you can mix oil paint with acrylic paint. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing so. First, oil paint takes longer to dry than acrylic paint, so your painting will take longer to complete.

Second, the two types of paint have different viscosities, so you’ll need to experiment with the ratio of each until you find the right consistency for your painting.

Finally, oil and acrylic paints react differently to certain chemicals and mediums, so be sure to test out your mixture before using it on your final painting.

Which lasts longer acrylic or oil paint?

This is a difficult question to answer, as it depends on a number of factors. In general, however, oil paint tends to last longer than acrylic paint.

This is because oil paint forms a harder and more durable film when it dries, which protects the underlying paint from damage. Acrylic paint, on the other hand, dries to a softer film that is more susceptible to damage.

There are a number of ways to extend the life of both acrylic and oil paint, however, such as by adding a varnish or sealant.

Additionally, oil paint can be touch-up more easily than acrylic paint, so it may last longer in areas that receive a lot of wear and tear.

Did Bob Ross use oil or acrylic?

Most of Bob Ross’s paintings were done in oil, but he also used acrylics on occasion. He generally preferred oil paint because it allowed him to work more slowly and achieve the soft, blurry effects that he was known for.

However, acrylic paint was sometimes necessary for commissions that required a faster turnaround time. Ultimately, Bob Ross was willing to use whatever medium would help him create the best painting possible.

What type of paint is best for beginners?

The best type of paint for beginners is acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is a water-based paint, so it is easy to clean up and won’t damage your surfaces if you make a mistake.

Plus, it dries quickly, so you can move on to your next project right away.