Can You Use Acrylic Thinner With Enamel Paint?

Whether you’re restoring a classic car or touching up something around the house, painting can make a huge difference. But before you start that paint job, it’s important to make sure you understand the different types of paint and when to use them, especially when it comes to acrylic thinner and enamel paint.

Can You Use Acrylic Thinner With Enamel Paint
Acrylic thinner

Enamel paints have been a favorite among artists for a long time due to their highly durable water-based composition. On the other hand, acrylics are easier to work with as they dry much faster than other types of paint. So while combining both together may seem counter-productive, find out if this is really the case in our blog. So, can you use acrylic thinner with enamel paint? Read on to learn more.

Can You Mix Acrylic Thinner with Enamel Paint?

The short answer is yes. Acrylic thinner can be combined with enamel paint to create a wash effect or a thin layer of coverage over your surface. But, keep in mind that this combination will not produce a glossy finish as traditional enamel paints do.

Enamel paint
Pre thinned enamel paint

The acrylic thinner will break down some of the resins in the enamel paint which will cause it to lose its glossy quality. If you need a glossy finish, stick with using traditional enamel paints without any thinner added. You can use an acrylic primer with enamel paint.

Steps To Use Acrylic Thinner With Enamel Paint

Prepare Surface for Painting:

Before applying the paint, you need to make sure that the surface is properly prepared. This includes cleaning it with a degreaser and sanding it down evenly with fine-grit sandpaper, all essential steps that will save you time, hassle, and even money in the long run.

Enamel painted model
Enamel painting a scale model

Start Mixing:

Once you’ve prepared your surface for painting, begin by mixing one part enamel paint with one part acrylic thinner until it reaches a creamy consistency. Pour some of the acrylic thinner into a container or cup and mix it into your enamel paint before applying it to your painting surface.

You can mix the two together in any ratio that suits your needs. In any case, keep in mind that too much thinner can lead to an undesired result, such as an overly thin coat or uneven coverage on your painting surface.

Dry the Mixture:

Allow your mixture time to dry fully before moving onto additional coats, typically 24 hours should suffice but depending on conditions could be longer. Once all coats have been applied allow sufficient time (typically 72 hours) before handling/using your project piece.

Be sure to stir thoroughly after each addition of thinner in order to ensure an even mixture of both products before painting your surface. Also, always wear safety goggles and gloves when working with enamel paints as they contain harmful chemicals which could cause skin irritation or breathing problems if inhaled or exposed directly to the skin without proper protection gear.

Inspect Finished Work:

As a final step, once all coats have been applied and allowed time to dry completely, make sure you inspect your work for any flaws or imperfections and touch them up accordingly until you are satisfied with the results you have achieved.

Benefits Of Mixing Acrylic Thinner With Enamel Paint

Airbrushing with enamel paint
Airbrushing with enamel paint
  1. One of the main advantages of mixing enamel paint with acrylic thinner is that it will help thin out the consistency of the paint so it’s easier to work with when applying coats onto surfaces like metal or wood furniture pieces or walls inside homes or offices buildings etc.
  2. Also, using a combination of both products will create a longer-lasting finish where colors won’t fade quickly over time due to its combined strength from both products which helps resist chipping better than if only one product was used alone.
  3. Also, using this method also helps cut down on costs since less product needs to be purchased overall since their combined strength makes up for what either one would have lacked alone, making them much more efficient overall.


In conclusion, while you can mix acrylic thinner with enamel paint, it’s important to understand what results in this combination will yield before starting your project. By understanding what type of finish each one provides and when they should be used, you can ensure that your project turns out just as you intended.

So before you get started on your next big painting project, take some time to familiarize yourself with these two materials so that you know exactly how they should be used together (or separately). Good luck.