Acrylic paint can be used on a guitar. To get the finest results, you’ll need a thorough understanding of paint options and how to best prepare acrylic paint. You must also consider the chance that the acrylic paint will depreciate the value of the guitar.
You may come out with a really cool guitar painted with everything you can imagine to paint on it if you go into your projected painting knowing the risks you’re taking and doing the proper prep work. Let’s get started.
Preparing Your Guitar for Painting
Preparing your guitar to paint is likely more crucial than any other part of the process, including the type of paint you use. Both acoustic and electric guitar bodies go through the same procedure:
Remove strings knobs and other parts
If your acoustic neck is removable, remove the neck along with all strings, electronics, and knobs.
To prepare your guitar, remove the strings first to create an uncluttered canvas. If your guitar already has stickers or a design on it, you’ll need to remove them before painting over it. You can do this by carefully sanding down the instrument, taking care not to harm the wood beneath the present design.
Sand the wood
When sanding the body, you must take extra precautions. A power sander should not be used. There are simply too many things that can go wrong. You might not realize you’ve oversanded a location until you notice the interior of your guitar is visible. You won’t have a good, flat surface to accept the paint if you rush through it, and you’ll be disappointed with the result.
Apply a coat of primer
When painting acoustic or electric guitars, there are some major distinctions in how well you do some of it and what you ought to pay attention to. Apply a layer of wood primer to your instrument and let it dry completely before proceeding. I recommend letting your guitar air dry overnight. If necessary, you can add a second layer after it has dried completely.
Cover the parts you won’t paint
You can use masking tape to cover the sections of your guitar that you don’t want to be painted, and then paint over it with acrylic paint of your choice. Making preparations of your guitar before painting over it assures that the paint won’t crack and chip after the painting is complete, which is the last thing you’ll want to see.
Paint the guitar
After the wood primer has dry, lay out your design and, if necessary, draw a guide on your guitar with a pencil.
Seal the paint
You’ll want to seal over your painting when the acrylic paint completely dried to safeguard it. Spray Sealer is a must-have since it protects the paint and the instrument against chips, cracks, and even UV radiation.
How to Paint a Guitar with Acrylic Paint
As previously stated, much of the procedure will be the same whether you’re working with an acoustic or electric guitar, so let’s take it one step at a time.
Prepare your guitar first
As previously said, prepare your guitar by removing all strings and hardware. Once everything has dried, you may remove the pickups fully and solder them back in. Arrange all gear in a box or anywhere else where it won’t get mixed up or go missing.
Sand the Entire Body
We’ve already talked about sanding the guitar’s body. Just remember to treat your acoustic guitar with care. When sanding with heavy equipment, electric guitars can potentially be destroyed.
Prime it with a wood primer.
Apply a wood primer, which is simply another type of wood preparation. Primer protects the wood, allowing the paint to remain longer and cling to the instrument better than it would if the wood had not been treated. Gesso, regardless of brand, is generally your best pick for usage with acrylic paint.
After the primer has dried, sand it with fine paper and apply a second layer. The paper you use should be no finer than extra fine, which is 360 grit. Move on after drying and sanding. There’s nothing wrong if you wish to add a third coat.
Create Your Own Design
Directly on the primed surface, draw your design. If you want clean, crisp lines, masking tape is a good option. Good luck if you’re freehanding something. Once again, planning is your ally.
Note that with an electric guitar, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with a pickguard, so be prepared. It would be a shame to paint a beautiful, elaborate design only to have a pickguard cover it and hide it from view.
Paint the Design
If you make a mistake, I suppose you can just paint over it, but that may result in an uneven surface once everything has dried. Make sure you keep a close eye on the guitar’s neck. If you get paint on the area where the neck sits, you may not be able to fit the neck back into position after everything is dry and reassembly begins.
You may wish to apply more than one layer, just like you did with the primer, but this will depend on the appearance you desire for the instrument.
Seal the Acrylic Paint
You’ll want to seal the paint job once it’s entirely dried.
You can brush on a sealer, but unless you’re an expert at brushing on paints and paint-like materials, spray sealers are more likely to give you a nice, even finish. Your paint finish will break significantly sooner if you don’t use a sealing coat, and it will most certainly start flaking off.
Consider your options because you can go with a matte or glossy finish, which is entirely dependent on the sealer you choose.
Consider these following
Don’t try this on expensive guitars
If you have a five-figure Martin or Taylor acoustic guitar, you probably aren’t thinking of stripping, sanding, and painting it. Stop right now if you’re thinking about it. Most individuals who consider painting their guitars do so to achieve a unique aesthetic, which is fantastic.
Don’t ruin an already aesthetic guitar
If your guitar already has that aesthetic, you might want to reconsider. Your guitar with a signature from a rock god might be worth more than your picture of a dragon on it. Simply think about your project and what it means for you and your guitar. It’s covered in writing and has that hole in the front that instantly identifies it as Willie Nelson’s guitar. Nobody wants him to sand it down and refinish it, though.
If you’re thinking about selling
You should keep in mind that painting over your acoustic guitar with acrylic paint might significantly reduce its value. If you’re thinking about selling your acoustic guitar in the future, painting it is generally not a good idea. Consider it in the same way as you would any other personalized item. They’re a lot more difficult to market than a standard non-customized item.
Preparing Acoustic Guitars
You won’t have a good, flat surface to accept the paint if you rush through it, and you’ll be disappointed with the result.
Sanding, on the other hand, is critical. When you slap a coat of acrylic paint on atop of another finish or coat of paint, the paint will eventually flake off and look terrible. Patience is the essential to a good sanding job.
Because the wood of an acoustic guitar’s body is often very thin, and because that wood is so important to the instrument’s resonance and hence sound, you must be especially cautious when sanding the body.
However, you must be cautious when sanding the body of your acoustic guitar. Make sure you get every last piece of paint, varnish, sealer, or whatever else off of it, but be careful not to overdo it.
A power sander should not be used. There are simply too many things that can go wrong. You might not realize you’ve oversanded a location until you notice the interior of your guitar is visible.
Preparing Electric Guitars
You won’t have to be as careful sanding electric bodies because they’re usually made of solid hardwood. Because the finish on a solid-body electric is bit different, some people recommend removing the paint with a heat gun before sanding.
Because an electric guitar’s body has more nooks and crannies than an acoustic guitar’s, pay great attention to every minute detail. Even a speck of finish or old paint left on the surface can jeopardize your paint job.
Take your time and do things correctly the first time. Still do it by hand, as using a power sander with a delicate musical instrument in the mix is asking for problems.
Can I paint my guitar with acrylic paint?
Acrylic paint is acceptable to use on both acoustic and electric guitars. If you want your guitar’s paint to survive a long time, you’ll need to take the necessary precautions. You should not attempt to paint your guitar with acrylic paint without first completing a thorough preparation process.
What kind of paint to use on a guitar?
Acrylic paint is frequently used to decorate guitars, particularly for decorative purposes like designs or motifs. Guitar paints are often comprised of polyester, polyurethane, and nitrocellulose, which cure with time and become more durable while also improving the sound of the instrument.
How do you seal the acrylic paint on a guitar?
Instead of using a brush-on varnish, try spraying the painted area with an archival spray varnish from an art supply store, which is designed to protect a variety of creative media, including acrylics.
Can you paint an acoustic guitar with acrylic?
Yes, acrylic paint may be used to paint an acoustic guitar. To prevent the acrylic paint from oxidation, use a sealing spray at the end of your project, just like the ones above. Your paintwork will not break or peel off prematurely this manner.
Can you paint a guitar without affecting the sound?
Of course, slathering on excessive amounts of paint could alter your tone, but you’re not going to do that, and if you are, you’re probably working on an art project where the sound of the instrument isn’t important.
Some people believe that painting your guitar with acrylic paint can somehow deaden or change the sound. This is ridiculous. Many guitars have acrylic paint or finishes on them before they leave the manufacturer, and no one claims that this has anything to do with the tone of the instrument.
In contrast to acoustic guitars, painting an electric guitar has little effect on its sound because the electric derives the majority of its sound from pickups and amplifiers rather than the body. If you’re considering of painting your electric guitar, don’t be concerned about its sound being harmed; just do it!
Can you paint a guitar with spray paint?
The guitar must be flawlessly sanded, as well as clean, dry, and grease-free. Cover all surfaces with paper and tape if there is anything we don’t want to paint. The recommended temperature for spraying is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius. It’s critical to keep the paint away from direct sunlight and other external influences.