Is Acrylic Paint Food Safe? The Expert’s Guide

Acrylic paint is not food safe. From tongue to stomach, this paint will make every vital organ (involved in the digestive system) uncomfortable. Consuming it in serious amounts can also lead to diarrhea and other stomach issues.

Are you trying to paint your plate on which you eat or the mug you drink with? Or are you planning to make your food colorful with this paint? 

Thinking about safety and wondering is acrylic paint food-safe?

Although acrylic paints are not hazardous, the chemical fumes might get exposed in your meal  from the kitchenware and cause severe stomach issues. 

However, there are safer alternatives to using acrylic paint on objects that come directly in contact with your meal. We’ve discussed them at the end of this article. 

Why Is Acrylic Paint Not Food Safe? 

Acrylic paint is a great medium to create art masterpieces. 

You might think of decorating your eating plate or mug with it, but it’s certainly not safe enough. If you even dilute or thin the paint with water before applying it on your utensils, the paint won’t be water resistant. 

So, liquid food in the kitchenware will activate the chemical fumes and they will mix up with your meal.

The pigment of all acrylic colors is deposited into acrylic polymer emulsion and plasticizers, defoamers, silicone oils, stabilizers, or metal soaps.

And these ingredients are not FDA-approved and should not be mixed with food items directly. 

The taste of acrylic paint is bitter. After drying up, it will make your tongue surface rough and loaded. 

Consuming acrylic paint can also cause digestion problems and other health issues like- diarrhea and stomach pain.

If you’re one of those who love to play with different paints, you can use polyurethane over acrylic paint (in case, you needed to know it!).

What Are the Harmful Ingredients of Acrylic Paint?

Acrylic paints come in contact with the below-mentioned ingredients while it’s in the making stage. From the following discussion, you can get an idea why these substances make acrylic paint “not food safe.”

Acrylic Polymer Emulsion 

It’s an additive and made of many chemical compounds, like – methacrylate, 2-Ethylhexyl acrylate, butyl acrylate, acrylic acid, methyl acrylate, etc. And it works as a binder for acrylic paints, making it improper for food contact.  


Though there are many food-grade defoamers, the ones used for acrylic paint are definitely not food-safe. 


Various types of stabilizers are available in the market, and it is unknown which ones are used for acrylic paints. However, they might interrupt your intestine’s regular activities. Thus, it is safe to avoid ingestion. 

What Happens If You Accidentally Consume Acrylic Paint?

Consuming acrylic paint might make face these health risks:

  1. Minor to heavy stomach ache
  2. Vomiting or nausea
  3. Stomach upset

If you accidentally consume acrylic paint, there are some measures you’re to take until the doctor or medical help shows up. 

To Dos:

  1. Clean your mouth thoroughly by wiping and rinsing out
  2. Drink a lot of water, approximately half a glass every 10 minutes
  3. Try to vomit if you’ve consumed too much of it

Note: Consider calling medical help as soon as possible. 

Is Acrylic Sealer Food Safe?

No, acrylic sealer isn’t food safe. It doesn’t have the FDA approval to be applied on food utensils or surfaces that come directly in contact with your meal. 

Shellac on the contrary is a food safe sealer since it doesn’t contain any Indian lac bug. (1) Plus, it’s water resistant. Hence, no liquid food would be able to activate the chemical fumes of this sealer. 

Food Safe Paints and Sealers for Food Utensils 

Most of the paints are not food contact safe. But we’ve tried to compile the best ones you can use on items like trays, plates, bare wood, wooden countertops, concrete or ceramic countertops, cake stands, and terra-cotta. 

However, you must use food-grade sealants over food-grade paints to make them durable and usable. 

Milk paint

Milk paint is made with safe, natural ingredients. Most significantly, it contains zero VCOs and it’s filled with all organic elements which are non-toxic and food-safe. 

Natural linseed oil paint

This paint is particularly made for helping artists with painting kitchen utensils. It’s an all-natural paint which doesn’t harm the human body, even if it’s consumed. 

  • Rustoleum 8400 Food & Beverage Alkyd Paint

Rustoleum paint is specifically designed to be used on kitchen utensils. It’s made with non-toxic natural ingredients. 

Farrow and Ball Modern Eggshell (40% sheen)

It is an eco-friendly, washable, wipeable, and durable paint. It doesn’t get activated by the touch of any liquid and it’s toxin-free. So, it can be considered food safe. 

Chalk Paint along with chalk paint lacquer 

We love how this paint doesn’t contain any harmful quick drying solvents. The white spirits  in it entirely evaporate out once it dries. Thus, you’re left with nothing but a food safe paint layer. 

Food Contact-Safe Paint Sealers Are:

Epoxy Coating

Epoxy coatings are FDA-approved and best, making paints food safe. And the FDA-approved epoxy coating brands are- ZDSPoxy and Max CLR. 

Clear Synthetic Sealer

Although this sealant isn’t FDA approved, it is considered to be food safe since it contains all-natural, toxin-free ingredients.   The good transparent synthetic sealer brands are – Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Lacquer, AFM Acriglaze, and AFM EXT. 

Paints That Are Safe for Direct Food Contact

If you are into coloring food and making them look more eye-catching, there are some really good options than acrylic paint. 

You may have seen colorful drinks, sweets, or other foods. Different people utilize different methods for adding color to their dishes. 

Here are some safe paint/colors for decorating your dish:

Food Color

Nowadays, a lot of food coloring is available in the market. You can find almost all ranges of colors. And the most known food coloring brand is Foster Clark’s food color. However, before using any brand, research its pros and cons to know if it’s ideal for you. 

Edible Food Color Spray

Sprays are best for decorating any food item easily. You use food color spray to decorate any chocolate, ice cream, cake, or other dishes.

Chocolate or Caramel

Melted chocolate and caramel are also great choices for decorating food. You can simply melt chocolate in a microwave or stove, and make designs on your dish. 

And to make caramel, take an equal amount of water and water in a pot, and boil until melted. Then you are good to go!

Other Options

Pearl dust and metallic food color are the two most popular items for decorating desserts. They are mostly used on cakes to give them a fancy and wholesome look.

Be enough careful when you work with acrylic paint. Don’t randomly mix this or that paint with acrylic paint because not every kind of paint will go with it. For instance, you can’t mix alcohol ink with acrylic paint because there are limitations. 

Can I make acrylic paint food safe? 

Yes, you can make acrylic paint food contact safe. And the process is-

  1. Color your desired surface (plate, tray, mug) with acrylic paint and let it dry overnight
  2. Put the kitchenware in a cool microwave, preheat it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and then bake it properly.
  3. Then take out your kitchenware and let it dry completely.
  4. Lastly, use food-grade sealant over it and again sit it for a day/days (as instructed by the sealant manufacturer) to make it usable. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Why is water resistant acrylic paint not safe? 

Acrylic is the best water resistant paint ever. But for drying faster, it contains some solvents and stabilizers. When you heat your acrylic painted kitchenware, those fumes might get exposed in your meal and cause misery. 

Can I paint a chopping board with acrylic paint?

Generally it seems ok to paint a chopping board with acrylic paint since we don’t heat it and there’s no chance of the chemical fumes getting exposed in your food. But we can’t overlook the potentials of micro plastic particles getting into your food. After all, the dried layer of acrylic works like a thin plastic layer. So, it’s a no-no. 


So, you received answers to the question – is acrylic paint food safe? Additionally, you know how to make it food safe, as well as great alternatives. 

Acrylic paint can be used on food-contact surfaces if it is baked off after application and the object is covered with a food-grade sealer. However, it is better to avoid using acrylic paint on surfaces that will come into touch with food.

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