Get a Smooth Finish: How to Apply Polycrylic with a Roller


Hey there, Reader! Are you ready to take your DIY skills to the next level? If you’re looking for a simple and efficient way to apply polycrylic with a roller, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re tackling a furniture refinishing project or adding a protective coat to your woodworking masterpiece, using a roller can make the process a breeze. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps of applying polycrylic with a roller to achieve a flawlessly smooth finish.

Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to appreciate the beauty of working with polycrylic. This water-based protective finish offers excellent protection against wear and tear, water damage, and scratches. It’s the ideal choice for protecting your hard work and preserving the natural beauty of wood. Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to apply polycrylic with a roller!

how to apply polycrylic with a roller

Roller Selection and Preparation

Choosing the Right Roller Cover

When it comes to applying polycrylic with a roller, selecting the right roller cover is crucial. A high-quality synthetic roller cover with a medium to long nap is best for achieving a smooth and even finish. The nap refers to the thickness of the fibers on the roller cover, and a longer nap allows for better paint pickup and release.

Before you begin, make sure to clean the roller cover thoroughly to remove any loose fibers. Dip the roller cover in water and roll it on a clean surface a few times to get rid of any lint or debris. This will ensure that you have a clean and smooth application surface.

Prepping the Roller

Now that you have your roller cover ready, it’s time to prep the roller itself. Start by sliding the roller cover onto the roller frame and secure it in place. Many roller frames have a threaded end for easy attachment. Make sure the roller cover is tightly secured to avoid any wobbling or spinning during application.

Next, give the roller cover a quick spin to check for any loose fibers. If you notice any shedding, remove them by running your hand along the roller cover in a single direction. This step will help prevent any unwanted fibers from getting caught in the polycrylic and marring your final finish.

Applying Polycrylic with a Roller

Preparing the Surface

Before you start applying polycrylic with a roller, it’s important to prepare the surface you’ll be working on. Start by ensuring that the surface is clean, dry, and free from any dust or debris. Wipe it down with a damp cloth or use a tack cloth to remove any remaining particles.

If you’re working on a previously finished surface, lightly sand it with a fine-grit sandpaper to improve adhesion. This will help the polycrylic bond better with the existing coat and ensure a smooth and long-lasting finish.

Applying the Polycrylic

Now it’s time to apply the polycrylic with your roller. Start by pouring a small amount of polycrylic into a paint tray. Dip the roller cover into the tray, rolling it back and forth to evenly distribute the polycrylic on the roller cover.

Begin applying the polycrylic in smooth and even strokes, working in the direction of the wood grain. Avoid pressing too hard on the roller, as this can create unwanted lines or streaks. Instead, use a light and even pressure to glide the roller smoothly across the surface.

If you notice any bubbles forming during application, gently roll over them in the same direction to eliminate them. This will help ensure a flawless and bubble-free finish.

Tips and Tricks for a Perfect Finish

Work in Small Sections

To achieve the best results, it’s recommended to work in small sections. This will allow you to maintain control over the application and ensure that the polycrylic doesn’t dry too quickly before you can smooth out any imperfections.

Use Thin Coats

Instead of applying one thick coat, it’s best to use multiple thin coats of polycrylic. This will help prevent drips, streaks, and air bubbles, giving you a smoother and more professional-looking finish. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

Keep a Wet Edge

When working with polycrylic, it’s important to maintain a wet edge. This means that as you apply the polycrylic, you should overlap each new stroke with the previous one while the polycrylic is still wet. This technique helps create a seamless finish and prevents visible lines or marks.


Congratulations, Reader! You are now equipped with the knowledge and skills to confidently apply polycrylic with a roller. Remember to choose the right roller cover, properly prep the roller, and prepare the surface before applying the polycrylic. Work in small sections, use thin coats, and maintain a wet edge for a smooth and flawless finish.

We hope this guide has been helpful in your quest for a perfect finish. If you’re hungry for more DIY tips and tricks, make sure to check out our other articles on Happy crafting!

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