So you’ve been painting with acrylics, and now you want to know if the paint will stick to plastic? Well, we’re here to help! Acrylic paints are as easy to use as watercolor paints. They’ll adhere well to most surfaces, like paper, canvas boards, wood, or even glass, but …
Will acrylic paint stick to plastic? Acrylic paint can be challenging to work with on a smooth, non-porous surface like plastic. Unlike other surfaces where the acrylic paint is applied, it cannot grab onto anything and may peel or chip off easily if not prepared beforehand.
Therefore, the first step for painting on this type of material would be preparation. You will need an appropriate degreaser and cleaner to ensure no dirt or contamination is left behind. In addition, you are required to seal the paint after you are done with the project to make it stay.
So if you have been discouraged as your new project started with a bit of trouble, here’s a reason to boost your confidence again and give it another shot. We have tried to find out as many ways as possible to help your acrylics stick to plastic like it’s made for it.
So, read along and get to work!
How To Paint Plastic Using Acrylic Colors
You may have a favorite plastic item at home, like a piece of furniture or a figurine you’d like to paint. Acrylic paint is an easy way to transform the look and feel of your items. However, it’s essential to prepare for acrylic painting before you get started, because if the surface is too slippery, all your hard work will be wasted!
Before you start painting, make sure to get your gear. The right equipment can help ensure that the paint job goes smoothly and without a hitch. You’ll need an extra-large drop cloth or newspaper for protection around where you will be working. And don’t forget about those corners.
Avoid the use of solvent-based acrylics if you have a sensitivity to toxic fumes. To prevent any issues with this, head to an area with plenty of ventilation or open up your windows for some fresh air.
Tools you’ll need:
- 180-220 Fine-grit sandpaper
- Plastic-compatible acrylic paint (Check out this Amazon link for the best acrylic paint for plastic)
- Dish soap
- Rubbing alcohol
1. Prepare the Surface
Scrub down the plastics to make sure they’re clean and fresh. Use mild dish soap or grease remover if needed, then rinse with water before drying off using a towel. You can also use a cleaner that removes grime, debris, or residue before you rinse it off again.
In addition, you can use rubbing alcohol as an all-purpose cleaner because not only does that get rid of oil from fingerprints on surfaces like plastic, but it is also an excellent sanitizer. With this, there will be no fear of containing germs due to contact with human hands.
The next step is to rough up the surface with your fine-grit sandpaper. This should dull any shiny spots and create a rougher texture for paint adhesion, which will make it more durable in the long run.
After sanding, go over the plastic surface with a clean towel again. Remove any dust that may have gathered while you were working on it. Lastly, you can use soap and water to wash off the surface one last time if necessary or desired before painting begins.
3. Apply A Primer
Primer is an essential step in the painting process – it helps paint stick and provides a more uniform surface for the paint. You’ll also want to use a primer designed for plastic since these are often more durable than other options out there. Many brands come in spray form, and some even offer liquid cans or bottles.
Spraying primer does make it easier. If you go with a spray, make sure to cover up any areas where you don’t want to be painted and spray outside when possible for maximum air circulation. Or, even better, work in a room with good ventilation if indoors.
Suggested Product: Vallejo Acrylic Paint Surface Primer
You can use this Vallejo Acrylic Paint Surface Primer that performs exceptionally well on all surfaces, with excellent adherence to resin, plastics, steel, and even metal.
This product is to be used with a brush. However, it requires a lot of patience because brushing creates bubbles and marks, which must be avoided.
Thin coats with synthetic brushes are ideal, as they allow each layer to dry before adding another coat of priming material. Also, make sure to apply at least 2-3 layers of the primer for more effective results.
Furthermore, it doesn’t take a lot of time to dry. It is easy to use and doesn’t drip while working.
4. Time To Paint The Plastic
The more you know about the rules of painting, the better your art creation will be. You need to prepare some acrylic paints before use, so it is recommended that you always check paint products for directions of usage.
If you are using spray cans, make sure to shake them well so that the paint comes out smooth and even. Now, hold the container perpendicular to the surface and apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat.
If you’re using acrylics on a brush, just mix it with water beforehand so that your application produces cleaner lines without any unwanted streaks or marks. Also, this will create less visible brush strokes in the finished project.
If you’re seeking for a quick way to get done with the job, you’ll need 2-3 coats of paint and wait 15 minutes between each coat. Once the final layer has been applied, leave 24 hours before removing tape or adding any finishing touches like stencils or designs, depending on what look you want.
How To Seal Acrylic Paint On Plastic
Finally, if you want your plastic paint to last a long time, don’t forget the sealant. Sealer adds an extra layer of protection in case it rains or something gets spilled on your art project.
These are available in a liquid or spray form. Spray sealers offer a clear coat that protects the color from wearing off over time. It can be used on almost any surface, but it needs to be applied with care for your art to last long-term. Also, spray options are great because they allow you more control and come in various finishes, including glossy or matte.
Suggested Product: Aleene’s Spray Matte Finish Acrylic Sealer
This acrylic sealer spray provides a protective, clear finish that goes on simply and evenly with no brush strokes or drips. The durable protective finish adds a glossy luster to virtually any indoor or outdoor project.
After the paint has dried completely, apply the sealer. Wait and let the first layer of the sealer dry, then you can use a second coat for a plastic item that will be exposed to more severe conditions.
Pro Tips For Painting Plastic With Acrylics
There’s no harm in taking a few extra precautions and skimming through some pro tips to celebrate the success of your painting project. Take a glance through these tips and tricks!
1. Use Tapes for a Tidier Finish
Painter’s tape is a must-have for anyone who likes to paint. If you want clean lines or without messing up your walls, then make sure to get high-quality painter’s tape that will leave nothing behind. Cheap brands may cost less, but the jagged edges are more noticeable and ruin your work of art.
2. Tape Can Be Removed Before The Paint Has Dried
You don’t need to wait for your fresh layer of paint to dry to remove painter’s tape, but use caution when doing so because it might scuff up what you just finished painting.
3. Cover Other Areas Before Spraying
It is essential to cover all surfaces that you do not want paint on because there are tiny droplets of paint in the air when spraying. These can reach further than what you might think, and if they get onto your clothes or skin, it could be a real pain to wash them off.
4. Use A Liquid Sander
Instead of traditional sandpaper, you could use a liquid sander on plastic. These products are readily available at hardware stores and clean your surface with ease while simultaneously removing the shiny layer often found in paint jobs.