Want to spruce up your plastic patio chairs or those plain flower pots? Maybe your kids have outgrown some of their plastic play animals and you’d like to repurpose them. Whatever the case, just because it’s plastic does not mean it’s a lost cause. Here are the basics of painting on plastic.
What Can I Paint?
- Outdoor furniture
- Bottles and jars
- Storage containers
- Closet organizers
- Easter eggs
- Trash cans
- Light switch covers
- Mirrors and frames
- Plastic foliage and flowers
- Décor accents
Tip: Check your storage shed for those outdoor items you no longer use. Visit local thrift store for outdated plastic items such as wall hanging, frames, and figurines. Turn that trash into treasure with a fresh coat of paint.
Drop cloth, old sheet or newspapers
Fine grit sandpaper
Spray paint designed for plastic
Craft paint designed for plastic
How to Paint Plastic
Prep your item:
Clean your item thoroughly with warm water and mild dish soap. Be sure to remove any grime or greasy residue. Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft cloth or towel. Wipe down the entire surface with rubbing alcohol and allow to dry.
Spread out a drop cloth or old sheet in a well-ventilated area, and set your item in the center.
Use a fine grit sandpaper to remove any and all shiny surfaces from your item. Be careful not to press too hard so as not to scratch the surface. Plastic is nonporous and removing its shiny surface will help your paint to adhere. Use a soft, clean brush or cloth to remove all dust from the sanding process.
Paint your item:
- Once your object’s surface is completely clean and dry, block off areas you don’t want painted with painter’s tape.
- Before painting, read the directions on your can of spray paint. Generally, you’ll need to thoroughly shake the can before starting, and in-between applications.
- To ensure you have a good can of paint, or even that it’s the right color, do a test spray on a piece of cardboard, newspaper or your drop cloth.
- To apply, position the nozzle toward your object, and spray a light, thin layer of paint. With this first layer, your object should not be fully covered. Give each layer a few minutes to dry before adding the next one. It should take multiple thin, even layers to refresh your item’s color without over-painting.
- Allow your item to dry completely before displaying or using.
- As an alternative to sandpaper you can purchase a product called liquid sander. Home Depot carries one called Klean-Strip. It cleans and removed shiny surfaces at the same time, helping to create a suitable surface for new paint. This product can be used indoors.
- Use paints that are specifically formulated to adhere to plastics. There are several available on the market such as Krylon Fusion for Plastic®, Valspar® Plastic Spray Paint, and Rust-Oleum Specialty Paint For Plastic Spray.
- If using regular spray paint then your item will need to be primed. Use a specially formulated primer such as Rust-Oleum Specialty Plastic Primer Spray or Krylon Indoor/Outdoor Plastic Primer.
- If you are painting smaller objects or need to add small details, you may find it easier to brush on your paint. Martha Stewart Crafts™ Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint can be used on plastic, and DecoArt Glass Stains are formulated to dry clear, making them ideal for recycled plastic bottles, clear cake stands and other see through plastic items.
Need some ideas?
Here are a few creative painted plastic projects you might like:
- Animal Storage Jars
- Painted Resin Patio Chairs
- Plastic Spoon Mirror
- Outdoor Child Table Makeover
- Painting Plastic Flower Pots