Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic? Expert Opinion

The answer is yes, you can use acrylic paint on plastic, but it’s not straightforward. You need to consider some essential points, from selecting the plastic-type to spending hours finding the matchable paint type.

There are multiple types of acrylic paints available in the market as many people want to sell their brands. Acrylic spray paints are most compatible with all kinds of plastic. Here I provided some essential considerations to read and follow, especially if you are a newbie and want to make your plastic paint project successful. I also provided a complete detail on what’s the best paint for plastic.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic
Spray paint on plastic

Types of Plastics that You Can Paint with Acrylic Paint

Acrylic paint works best only for specific plastic types. Here are some plastic types that you can use for acrylic paint for ideal results:

  1. Garbage Cans
  2. Storage Containers
  3. Baskets
  4. Flower pots
  5. Bottles and jars
  6. Closet organizer
  7. Toys
  8. Home decor plastic products
  9. Furniture

Some types of plastic don’t stay shiny for a long time. I recommend using a primer and sealer for long-term glossy results to solve this issue.

How can you use Acrylic Paint on Plastic?

After finding the answer can I use acrylic paint on plastic, people are curious to know how to use it on plastic items. Here are some necessary considerations which are required to keep in mind before starting the paint on plastic:

  • First, see the surface area you want to paint, and buy paint as needed.
  • Make sure to consider and put the required amount of time you will take to paint the plastic surface area.
  • Make sure to select the best quality paint, specifically made for plastic surface paint. The reason is that plastic is not adhesive enough to stick with any color for a long time. To avoid any painting issues later, it’s essential to make the necessary considerations beforehand.
  • There are multiple types of acrylic paint itself. Using acrylic spray paint for the plastic surfaces is suitable specifically for the larger surface areas.
  • Before applying the paint, you must prepare the surface using paper and primer. In this way, the surface becomes adhesive to the acrylic paint so that you can paint a larger surface area in less time.
  • Sometimes sealing the plastic surface after the paint is also crucial for long-term painting results to make the surface durable and free of painting spots

How to Make the Acrylic Paint Stay on Plastic for a Long Time?

Acrylic paint does not stay sticky on the plastic surface for a long time. Preparing the surface and applying the primer are not the only ways that help to make your plastic cover attractive. Still, a good primer and ideal sandpaper can do wonders. Moreover, some volatile organic compounds allow you to effectively fulfill your malleable paint desires.

It’s not only about selecting the primer or the paint. However, you need to check if the plastic is compatible with the specific color or not. For example, polypropylene is not easy to paint, no matter what the quality of the acrylic paint you are using.

Similarly, many other plastic surfaces are not compatible with acrylic paint. Painting polyethylene is not easy as well. However, preparing the surface, sanding it, and applying acrylic spray paint are ideal steps and are helpful to paint these plastics.

How to Paint Plastic with Acrylic Paint?

Although it’s easy to paint acrylic paint on plastic, you must consider some necessary points while following it. The first and most important thing is to prepare the surface for painting. You must follow three main steps to prepare the surface, sand, and apply a primer. Most people skip the second step, due to which they face long-term glossy painting issues.

Step 1: Preparing the Plastic Surface

Preparing the surface to gain a glossy appearance at the end is necessary. You can use soap and warm water to prepare the surface if it’s not much dirty and old. However, if the surface is facing several challenges, then you must follow some specific chemicals and solvents that allow you to clean the surface quickly. As you are now using chemicals, taking some of the necessary safety precautions, including wearing gear and gloves, is good. Here are the steps to prepare the surface:

  • First, clean it with an old cotton cloth to remove the most considerable dirt and other unwanted particles.
  • Now wash it with soap and warm water; you can use a brush on the surface to remove unwanted particles, including oil, mold, and spots.
  • Rinse the surface with warm water or open tap water and allow it to dry.
  • If the spots and unwanted particles are still there, you need to cover the surface with alcohol, oil, or grease.
  • Again rinse it with warm water and allow the surface to dry.
Preparing the Plastic Surface
Preparing the Plastic Surface

Step 2: Sanding the Surface

It’s not only about sanding the surface with any sandpaper piece. However, the selection of the sandpaper is more critical as it will do the rest of the task. For this, I recommend using 180 to 220-grit sandpaper. Rub the surface enough with this sandpaper and clean it with a dry towel or any piece of old cloth available at your home.

 Note: You can again rinse the surface with warm water if you see the largest unwanted particles on it. 
Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic
Sanding the Surface

Step 3: Applying the Primer

A primer helps to make the surface even and smooth for the paint. In my experience, Some of the colors are highly soft to use, and they don’t need a primer. However, I recommend using it as its primary purpose is to make the surface smooth enough that it can grab the paint evenly.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic
Applying the primer

Apply primer on the surface evenly so that no spots are left on the plastic cover. You can follow the usage method on the precautions mentioned in the primer spray bottle. It’s good to use primer as a spray as most of the primers come in the market with a bottle spray. However, if it does not go in its form or bottle rush, you can apply an even coat of it using a paintbrush.

Step 4: Applying the Paint

Applying the paint on a plastic surface is very easy. The reason is that now you have prepared the plastic cover by following the above steps, and it will show you the results without any hurdles. If the paint is available in the spray bottle, you can apply it directly to the surface. Just make sure to stir the bottle and mix the color well. If the paint is not available in the form of a bottle, you can put the paint in a large beaker and then start painting on the plastic with the help of a brush.

  • There are some sections of the plastic parts on which you don’t want to apply paint. Seal or cover those sections by using tape.
  • Also, wear gloves and glasses to protect them from being affected by the paint.
  • Don’t apply the thick acrylic paint layers on the plastic, as it can degrade the beauty of the surface.
  • Allow the first paint coat to dry completely if you want to apply a second coat of paint
  • After you have completed the paint layer on the plastic, allow it to dry before its use. 12 hours is enough to dry an acrylic paint on the plastic coating.
Applying the Paint
Applying the Paint

Step 5: Applying a Sealer

A paint sealer is good to use to protect the surface from scratches and chemicals that can affect the paint’s glossy appearance. This product seals the surface, making it safe from outer substances, items, and chemicals. Most people don’t prefer to use it intentionally or unintentionally. I recommend using it if your main aim is to maintain a shiny appearance for a long time.

How to Use Acrylic Spray Paint on Plastic?

Acrylic spray paint is good to use on plastic material because it sticks to it for a long time. Here are the essential steps for how you can paint plastic using acrylic spray:

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

The preparation process to apply acrylic spray paint is the same as I mentioned above. Just follow the guidelines and prepare the surface. Use sandpaper and a primer to get high-quality results. For more information, read the label given on the spray bottle.

Step 2: Using a Primer

You can use any standard primer in the acrylic paint on the plastic application. However, when it comes to knowing about acrylic spray paint, you need to search and buy the primer specifically made to apply the spray acrylic paint. Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer Spray is perfect for this purpose.

Step 3: Apply Spray Paint

Applying the spray paint differs from applying the paint available in a bottle or can form. Stir the spray paint bottle well such that the color mixes well. Now start using on the surface so that you are similarly standing beside the surface.

Apply Spray Paint
Apply Spray Paint

Don’t apply thick layers of spray paint; use it evenly on the surface. Allow the color to fry for 12 hours if you want to apply a second coat. In the end, allow the paint to dry for 24 hours before the final usage of the surface on which you used the acrylic spray paint.

Best Primers to Use for Acrylic Painting on Plastic

There is no doubt that multiple primer brands are available in the market, which can help you to make your acrylic paint on plastic journey successful. But I need to select the one with more benefits and fewer cons. Here are some top-rated primers which can help you to enjoy the plastic paint process:

1. Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer Spray

It is a famous and easy-to-use primer for acrylic paint on plastic material. Available in whitish color, it offers a shiny finish. The quality provided by this primer is top-notch, and it is durable enough to meet your long-term plastic painting needs. Once you use this primer, you don’t need to repaint the surface repeatedly.

2. Vallejo Grey Primer Acrylic Polyurethane

It comes in grey and has a bottle instead of the sprayer. It’s a ready-made primer; don’t mix it with water, alcohol or other substances. This Vallejo primer is helpful to prime small plastic items like a can, bottles, a lid, or any other plastic material. I highly recommend this primer for small acrylic paint projects

The Best Acrylic Paint Sealer for Plastic

The best sealer not only helps to seal the paint but also makes the plastic surface shiny for a long time. Here are some best sealers that are based on high quality and affordable prices:

1. Aleene’s Spray Gloss Acrylic Sealer

This sealer is of good quality and is cost-effective. Making the surface glossy for a long time helps to hide the thick paint spots on the plastic cover. There is no need to effort much while applying this sealer as you need to open and use it as a spray. A spray bottle is enough to complete your medium-range projects.

2. KRYLON Acrylic Clear Acrylic Coating

KRYLON acrylic is another essential and top-rated sealer that is used all around the world. It’s helpful to make the surface resistive against UV rays, sun rays, chemicals, and other substances unsuitable for a shiny plastic exterior. It is a non-yellowing sealer that dries quickly. It also protects the surface from water and extreme weather conditions.

The Best Acrylic Spray Paint for Plastic

Does acrylic paint work on plastic? It depends upon the paint and plastic-type. Here are some paints that work on plastic and offer splendid results:

1. KRYLON Colormaxx Spray Paint and Primer

As the name represents, KRYLON Colormaxx spray paint works as paint and a primer. This two-in-one paint helps to gain a shiny and clear appearance without any spots. It spreads on the surface evenly. This paint comes in 75 different colors, and you can use the one that fits perfectly for your plastic paint projects. It is helpful for both the exterior and interior surfaces without quality issues.

2. Rust-Oleum Spray Paint for Plastic

This spray paint is one of the top-rated and durable paints for plastic. It’s useful for plastic material, which cannot be painted evenly with many other colors. PVC, polypropylene, polystyrene, and vinyl plastics are not easy to paint with many different paints; hence, this Rust-Oleum paint is helpful for these as well. This paint quickly dries in 20 minutes, and there is no need to wait for long hours to apply a second layer of plastic. In short, rust-leum is the best paint for plastic.

Tips for Acrylic Paint on Plastic

The above guide can help you to make the plastic paint journey successful and joyful. Here are some extra tips that are helpful for everyone especially if you are a beginner:

Tip 1: Test Your Paint

Before applying the paint to the plastic surface, you need to test it. To check its quality, use it on a smaller portion and then see the results. Allow the paint to dry, and then see the quality. You can luckily move with that paint if the quality is good and the color gives a glossy appearance. In another case, you need to change the acrylic paint.

Tip 2: Tape for Clean Lines

Using tape is another trick to gain the highest quality with clean-lined results. Use video on the areas which you don’t want to paint. It is also useful when applying a specific paint color on a site. Instead of marking the locations with a pencil, use tape to get crystal precise paint results. Also, remember to remove the tape as soon as possible because it’s unnecessary to dry the pain before its removal altogether.

Tip 3: Sandpaper Alternatives

Traditional sandpapers are not available at most of the marketplaces. Liquid and plastic sanders are the best alternatives you could have. So, if you cannot find sandpaper, you can use these alternatives.

Thankfully, these sanders perform the sanding job more efficiently than traditional sandpaper. These are helpful to quickly remove the unwanted plastic shiny surfaces for the preparation work before painting. Alternative sanders are more useful for heavy and long-term plastic projects.

Tip 4: Alternative to Primers

If you don’t have a primer or cannot arrange it, then you can use a base oil paint that works just like a primer. It is only possible when a primer is unavailable; the best option is still to buy a primer.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint On Plastic?

Frequently Asked Questions- Can You Paint Plastic with Acrylic Paint?

It’s a plus point that the primer and paint color are identical, as both mix well and hence there are no color layers or uneven paint issues. But it would help if you also kept in mind that sometimes the primer and paint are unavailable in the same color. In this case, try to use the primer with a shade lighter than the color of the stain to avoid uneven color issues.

Acrylic spray paint is the most adhesive on the plastic surface. Many other colors are suitable for the plastic cover, including oil-based and enamel paints. The paint type which you are going to use is also dependent on the plastic variety. Some plastic types are not adhesive for acrylic spray paint, while they work perfectly for other colors. So, consider all these points and decide which color is helpful for the plastic surface you want.

A sealer is necessary to use for the sake of avoiding scratches on the surface. Using it is not essential, but we recommend using a sealer to protect the paint from the rays and harmful chemicals.

Using a sealer is a helpful way to make the acrylic paint avoid peeling off. An acrylic sealer helps to protect the surface and make it durable. Due to its quick drying process, you don’t need to wait for hours to use a plastic product.

Wrapping Up- Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Plastic

Hence, acrylic paint can stick to the plastic only if you follow the tips and steps mentioned above. Most people try to save money, don’t use a primer or sealer, and blame the paint brands. Always keep in mind not to compromise on the quality for the sake of saving some amount of money. Carefully use all the essential products and also a sealer to make the surface glossy. Keep reading our latest blogs for more information on painting products and tips.