Can you Paint Plastic? – Find Out Here

Randy Charles
Professional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years...Read more

Are you struggling to get paint to adhere properly on plastic surfaces? Due to its smooth texture and chemical composition, painting plastic can pose some unique challenges.

Paint Plastic

This blog post will guide you through the ins and outs of successfully painting any plastic item with ease.

Stay tuned if your next project involves turning an ordinary piece of plastic into something extraordinary!

Preparing the Surface for Painting Plastic

To prepare the surface for painting plastic, start by cleaning it thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris.

Cleaning the surface

Start with a clean surface. Dirt and oils can stop paint from sticking to plastic. Follow these steps to clean the surface:

  1. Use a cloth to wipe away dust.
  2. Wash the plastic object with warm water.
  3. Add dish soap to cut through grease and oil.
  4. Scrub hard spots with a soft sponge or rag.
  5. Rinse off well so no soap is left.
  6. Dry completely before you start painting.

Sanding glossy surfaces

Sanding glossy plastic surfaces gives the paint a better grip. Here are steps to help you:

  1. Pick a fine-grit sandpaper. A higher number means finer grit.
  2. Rub the sandpaper gently on the plastic. This helps create tiny scratches.
  3. Make sure to cover all areas you plan to paint.
  4. Don’t push too hard as it can damage the plastic.
  5. Wipe away dust and other small bits with a dry cloth.
  6. Rinse off any leftover grit with warm water and dish soap.
  7. Ensure the surface is dry before you apply paint.

Wiping down with mineral spirits

Mineral spirits help prep your plastic for painting. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Place the plastic in a well-ventilated area.
  2. Put on gloves to protect your hands.
  3. Dampen a cloth with some mineral spirits.
  4. Wipe the entire surface of the plastic with the damp cloth.
  5. This will remove any grease and dirt stuck on the plastic.
  6. Rinely with clean water.
  7. Dry off the surface using a clean cloth.

Painting Plastic Techniques

Painting plastic can be done using various techniques such as using spray paint, applying with a brush, and ensuring multiple coats for better coverage.

Using spray paint

Spray paint is a good option for painting plastic because it gives an even finish. Here are some tips for using spray paint on plastic:

  1. Start by cleaning the plastic surface with soap and water. This will remove any dirt or grease that could affect the paint adhesion.
  2. Protect the surrounding area by covering it with newspaper or a drop cloth.
  3. Shake the can of spray paint vigorously for about one minute to ensure that the paint is well-mixed.
  4. Hold the can about 10 – 12 inches away from the plastic surface, and apply a light coat of paint using quick, sweeping motions.
  5. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying additional coats. This will help to prevent drips or uneven coverage.
  6. Apply multiple thin coats of spray paint, rather than one thick coat, to achieve a smooth and even finish.
  7. If necessary, use fine-grit sandpaper between coats to remove any imperfections and create a smoother surface.
  8. When you’re finished painting, allow the final coat to dry completely before handling or using the item.

Using a brush

You can use a brush to paint plastic surfaces. Here are some tips for using a brush:

  1. Use a small, high-quality brush with synthetic bristles.
  2. Dip the brush into the paint and gently tap off any excess.
  3. Start by painting in one direction, using smooth, even strokes.
  4. Apply thin coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
  5. If you notice any drips or brush strokes, lightly sand the area and apply another coat.
  6. For better adhesion, consider using a plastic-specific primer before painting with a brush.
  7. Clean your brush thoroughly with soap and water after each use to maintain its quality.

Applying multiple coats

Applying multiple coats of paint is important when painting plastic. It helps to ensure even coverage and a more durable finish. Here are some tips for applying multiple coats:

  1. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. This can help prevent the paint from becoming tacky or sticky.
  2. Use thin coats rather than thick ones. Thin coats dry faster and are less likely to drip or run.
  3. Apply the paint in light, even strokes, overlapping each stroke slightly to avoid missed areas.
  4. If you notice any imperfections or unevenness after the first coat dries, lightly sand the surface with fine-grit sandpaper before applying the next coat.
  5. Depending on the type of paint you’re using, you may need to apply three or more coats to achieve full coverage and a solid color.

Tips for Painting Plastic

Choose the right type of paint for plastic surfaces, properly prepare the surface by cleaning and sanding, and use a sealant for added durability. Find out more tips for painting plastic objects in this blog post.

Choosing the right type of paint

When painting plastic, it is important to choose the right type of paint. Look for paints that are specifically designed for use on plastic surfaces, as they offer better adhesion and durability.

Enamel paints and spray paints are popular choices because they stick well to plastic and provide a smooth finish. Acrylic paints can also be used, but they may require a primer or sealer for proper adhesion.

Make sure to read the labels or consult with a paint specialist to ensure you select the best type of paint for your project.

Related Article: How Much Does it Cost to Paint a Car?

Properly preparing the surface

To ensure that the paint sticks well to plastic surfaces, it is important to properly prepare the surface before painting. Start by cleaning the surface using dish soap and warm water to remove any dirt or grease.

If the plastic has a glossy finish, lightly sand it with fine sandpaper to create a rougher texture that will help the paint adhere better.

After sanding, wipe down the surface with mineral spirits or rubbing alcohol to remove any leftover debris.

By taking these steps, you can make sure your paint job on plastic surfaces looks smooth and lasts longer.

Using a sealant for durability

To ensure the durability of your painted plastic surface, it is recommended to use a sealant. A sealant creates a protective layer over the paint, making it more resistant to scratches or peeling.

It helps to maintain the color and finish of your painting for a longer period. Look for a sealant that is specifically formulated for plastic surfaces.

Apply it according to the instructions on the product label, making sure to cover the entire painted area evenly.

Allow the sealant to dry completely before using or handling your painted plastic object.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Will acrylic paint stick to plastic?

– Can any type of plastic be painted?

– Do I need to use a primer?

– Can I use a sealant over the paint?

– Is it necessary for the primer to be the same color as the paint?

Will acrylic paint stick to plastic?

Acrylic paint can stick to plastic, but it may need some help. Before painting, make sure to clean the plastic surface and sand it lightly if it’s glossy. Then wipe it down with mineral spirits.

You might also need a primer or sealer to ensure good adhesion. Acrylic paint designed for use on plastic surfaces can be more effective in sticking and lasting longer.

It’s important to follow proper preparation techniques and choose the right type of paint for your project to achieve the best results.

Can any type of plastic be painted?

Yes, you can paint most types of plastic. However, it’s important to note that not all plastics are the same, and some may require special preparation or specific types of paint for best results.

Some plastics have a smooth surface that doesn’t allow paint to stick well, so it’s important to choose the right type of paint and properly prepare the surface before painting.

To ensure good adhesion and durability, look for primers and paints specifically formulated for use on plastic surfaces.

Taking these precautions will help you achieve a professional-looking finish when painting plastic objects like toys, bottles, or even car parts.

Do I need to use a primer?

To achieve the best results when painting plastic, it is highly recommended to use a primer.

A primer creates a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to, improving its durability and adhesion.

Plastic primers are specially formulated with excellent bonding properties that promote better paint adhesion on plastic surfaces.

Using a primer helps ensure that the paint will stick properly and last longer without peeling or chipping.

So, if you want your painted plastic items to look great and stand the test of time, using a primer is definitely worth considering.

Can I use a sealant over the paint?

Yes, you can use a sealant over the paint on plastic. A sealant helps protect the paint from chipping or fading and makes it more durable. It also gives the painted surface a nice finish.

Make sure to choose a sealant that is compatible with the type of paint you use. Applying a thin coat of sealant after the paint has fully dried will help prolong the life of your painted plastic item.

Is it necessary for the primer to be the same color as the paint?

The primer does not need to be the same color as the paint when painting plastic. The purpose of the primer is to create a smooth and even surface for the paint to adhere to. It helps improve the adhesion and durability of the paint.

While some primers come in different colors, it is not necessary for them to match the final paint color. You can use a white or gray primer for most applications.


In conclusion, painting plastic surfaces can be a tricky task, but with the right techniques and materials, it is definitely possible.

Preparing the surface properly by cleaning and sanding glossy surfaces is crucial for good paint adhesion.

Using the right type of paint, such as enamel or specially formulated paints for plastic, along with multiple coats and a sealant, will ensure a durable finish.

By following these tips and being patient with the drying time, you can successfully paint plastic objects like a pro.

So go ahead and give it a try!


Can you paint plastic surfaces?

Yes, you can paint plastic surfaces with the right preparation and technique.

What kind of paint should I use to paint plastic?

It is best to use a spray paint specifically designed for plastics or a multipurpose primer and acrylic enamel spray paint combination.

Do I need to prepare the plastic surface before painting?

Yes, it is important to clean the surface thoroughly and lightly sand it to create a rough texture for better adhesion of the paint.

How many coats of paint should I apply to the plastic?

Applying two or three thin coats of paint will provide better coverage and durability compared to one thick coat.

Should I seal or protect painted plastic surfaces?

To protect the painted surface from scratches or fading, it’s recommended to apply a clear sealer made for plastics after the final coat of paint has dried completely.

Randy CharlesProfessional Painter

Randy Charles is the owner of, a website dedicated to providing information, tips, tricks, and news about all things paint. With over 10 years of experience in the painting industry, Randy has become an expert in the field and is passionate about helping others learn more about painting. He has written numerous articles on the subject and is committed to providing accurate and up-to-date information to his readers.

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