Can You Spray Polycrylic? What You Need to Know

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Polycrylic can give your woodwork, furniture, and floors a beautiful finish while also protecting them from scratches and blemishes. But when it comes to applying this protective coat efficiently, what is the best method? Can you spray polycrylic seamlessly?

While the thought of brushing or spraying polycrylic can be intimidating for those new to the craft, I’m here to offer some guidelines. Trust me, with the right approach, you can achieve seamless results!

Characteristics of Polycrylic

Polycrylic is a water-based alternative to the popular oil-based polyurethane. It’s made by Minwax Company and it’s known for being an effective yet affordable product on the market. 

Spraying polycrylic will allow you to achieve a crystal-clear, protective finish perfect for woodworking, cabinets, and furniture. Its advantage over polyurethane is that it remains clear even when used over light paint, making it the ideal choice for painted furniture finishes. 

Can You Use a Sprayer for Minwax Polycrylic?

You can spray Minwax polycrylic to protect your woodwork with sprayers like an HVLP gun. To use it efficiently, remember to clean your sprayer, dilute the polycrylic with 10% water, test spray on cardboard, and then start spraying. Uncured polycrylic can be cleaned with water. 

polycrylic and paint spray

Can I Apply Polycrylic With an HVLP Spray Gun?

Yes, you can certainly get a smooth and accurate finish on furniture or surfaces with HVLP spray guns. Using this technique does not yellow whites, but it takes some practice to get the perfect results. To prevent any sputtering of Polycrylic, add about 10% water before use for best coverage.

Minwax’s Advice and Direction

Polycrylic Finish generally provides a glossy, wet-look shine or satin sheen. If you follow the guidance of Minwax, it’s recommended to stir the finish both prior to and during its application. Using gentle strokes with a soft synthetic brush and applying in thin coats often yields the best results.

Once the next coat dries, sand lightly with 220-grit fine-grade paper then remove all dust before applying another thin coat layer. Typically, three coats can suffice for optimal results. 

In addition, it’s not advisable to use steel wool with polycrylic. It can compromise the product’s quality. It’s also essential not to add water or attempt to dilute the Polycrylic Finish beyond how it’s already premixed.

Read Next: What Grit of Sandpaper is Equal to 0000 Steel Wool?

Polycrylic in an Aerosol Can

To achieve a glossy, semi-glossy or satin finish on your surfaces quickly and effortlessly, you can try Polycrylic in aerosol form.

chair spray painted with Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Spray

This specialized product from Minwax Company is specially formulated for spraying. It comes in an easy-to-use can that will help you get the job done fast. Always remember to apply thin coats of this spray and make sure they dry completely before sanding lightly between each coat. 

Also Read: Should You Sand Between Coats of Paint?

Is it Better to Spray or Brush Polycrylic?

Spraying polycrylic on the surface can help provide even coverage without any visible brush marks or strokes, making it ideal for amateur DIY projects. Plus, its low to no odor makes it a great choice for home decorating solutions. 

I recommend spraying polycrylic rather than brushing it. The application is pretty simple and direct. Let me walk you through the steps for spraying this finish:

Steps to Spray Minwax Polycrylic

Step #1: Clean Your Sprayer of Choice

First, keep your spray gun clean. Even a tiny bit of dirt can cause clumpy, uneven output when spraying, not the desired result. Do yourself a favor and soak it in water after each use to ensure a smooth finish and consistent results every time.

Step #2: Fill the Sprayer With Polycrylic Thru the Nozzle Cup With a Strainer

If you want a perfect finish for your project, it’s essential to ensure the Polycrylic is strained and that your spray gun is clean. Otherwise, clumps of dried-up product can appear during spraying, spoiling both the finished result and the painting experience! 

filling spray container with paint

To avoid any unwelcome surprises along these lines, make sure to sift through the solution with a strainer before loading it into the immaculate weapon. Doing so will give you the best results possible every time!

Step #3: Add 10% Water to the Cup

Before spraying Polycrylic, it is essential to add 10% water to thin the mixture. When starting with this product, ensure you measure and mix carefully. Too much or too little can affect spraying performance. 

But as your experience increases, try ‘eyeballing’ it instead. Don’t forget to give the solution a good stir for at least one minute. If not done correctly any additional water will remain on top of the Polycrylic which could lead to an unsatisfactory outcome.

Step #4: Test the Mixture on a Surface

Before applying the first coat, it is important to practice and adjust your spray gun settings. To get the best result, seek help from product manuals for guidance on setting up your gun to apply Polycrylic thinned so that only small amounts of coating come out with medium airflow. 

spray painting MDF board

Testing various surfaces such as cardboard or plastic cloth will let you know when you have achieved an even distribution that won’t run downwards and cause drips. Don’t worry, uncured polycrylic cleans up with soap and water.

Step #5: Spray it on Your Project

To avoid those pesky drip marks, start spraying the Polycrylic slightly before hitting your main target area. I usually start the spray from about 6 inches away, then gently approach the surface, all the while maintaining consistent pressure on the trigger. This ensures a smooth, even coat every time.

By employing this method, you can achieve an optimal spray pattern and attain the desired results.

Tips to Achieve a Seamless Finish When Spraying Polycrylic

Achieving a smooth finish with polycrylic is possible when the surfaces are lightly sanded. Make sure that the base coats of polycrylic have dried before you start to sand to ensure better adhesion and reduce dust particles from settling on your project. 

My Top HVLP Spray Gun Recommendations for Polycrylic

1. Wagner Spraytech Flexio 590 Handheld HVLP Paint Sprayer

When it comes to expedient and proficient paint application, I’ve found the Flexo 590 paint sprayer to be a top performer. It’s perfectly suited for achieving that impeccable finish on a variety of surfaces, be it ceilings, walls, cabinets, fences, or furniture.

The package comes impressively equipped with two nozzle options. There’s the Spray nozzle tailored for those larger tasks, and for those intricate details, you have the detail finishing nozzle which ensures precise outcomes.

The box also contains unthinned materials that allow you to use exterior & interior paints without thinning them out. It can cover up an 8’ x 10’ surface in just 1 minute when using stains or merely 5 minutes if applying latex paints! 

It is considered the best HVLP spray gun by many DIYers. You can enjoy working up to 8 gallons per hour while saving yourself time & energy.

2. YATTICH Paint Sprayer

The YATTICH Paint Sprayer guarantees a professional-looking finish with advanced technology. The integrated HVLP nozzle sprays high volumes of paint per hour while the two included guns let you perfect your details and cover large areas easily. 

This is an improved model based on a 500W paint sprayer! The all-copper 700-watt [1] high-power motor, as well as the high-efficiency operation speed, saves energy and time. 

The rear foam cushion prevents the paint from running rearward, blocks the nozzle, and improves spray uniformity. With adjustable pressure features to manage feather, mixing, and overspray along with quick cleanup times.

3. Central Pneumatic HVLP Gravity Feed Air Spray Gun with Regulator

The Central Pneumatic HVLP air spray gun truly stands out, largely due to its adaptability. Whether you’re diving into automotive tasks or engrossed in hobby-related endeavors, it handles a gamut of applications—from base coats to primers, enamels, urethanes, and beyond.

This all-purpose gravity feed spray gun employs high-volume, low-pressure technology for high output with minimal overspray. This type of spray cannon is better for the environment and saves money on materials. 

What sets this HVLP spray gun apart is its adjustable fan design and volume control. They provide the user with an added layer of customization and precision. Just remember to thin coats of paint according to manufacturer instructions before straining it through this powerful machine’s nozzle.

Can I Spray Polycrylic Indoors?

To ensure your safety when spraying Polycrylic indoors, use a reliable respirator. It’s also important to promote air circulation, so I suggest keeping your room or garage doors open. However, you also need to consider the temperature conditions to ensure you’re working safely.

Proper ventilation not only ensures your safety but also contributes to a better finish.

spraying Deft DFT257 Clear Water Based Polyurethane

You won’t have to worry about cleaning up at home as uncured polycrylic cleans well with water.

Can I Spray Polycrylic Over Paint?

Polycrylic is an excellent choice of spray for a range of paints, particularly water-based and lighter shades. Being water-based itself, Polycrylic will remain a clear coat over time so you can be sure your paint job won’t be yellow!

Can I Spray Polycrylic Over Chalk Paint?

Polycrylic makes a great top coat for chalk paint, but ensure that the surface hasn’t been waxed first. Wax is the final layer and should always be applied after Polycrylic, if desired. Adding it prior to polycylic may lead to chipping or peeling of your finish.


Can you use polyurethane in a paint sprayer?

You can achieve a professional-looking finish with your next project using an HVLP spray gun to apply polyurethane. Spraying offers better results than brushing, providing you with a smooth and streak-free surface for any indoor or outdoor job.

Can I apply poly over Polycrylic?

Applying polyurethane over dry polycrylic provides a strong, durable finish. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the color of wood may be slightly altered as a result of applying this next coat or protective layer.

Is Minwax Polycrylic waterproof?

Minwax company’s thin polycrylic products may not be the most suitable choice for a waterproof coating, as it is water-soluble and can’t stand up to wet environments. It’s best used indoors on interior surfaces such as furniture, cabinets, and trim. 

See Also: Is Sandblasting Wood Good?


Now that you know you can spray polycrylic, you can get a flawless and glossy finish on various surfaces without breaking the bank. Using the Minwax Company polycrylic spray with HVLP helps make coating an effortless endeavor. 

Don’t forget to dilute the product for the best results. You can now start your spray-finish journey with ease!

Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You've probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.
Robert Johnson

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