LAST UPDATED: November 11, 2020
The Best Paints for Plastic (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
Take painting to a whole new level with these top-rated paints for plastic
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PUBLISHED ON November 11, 2020
Paint can be a delightful thing, as you take something generic and make it something original and exclusively yours. You can use paint for plastic to customize something plain or bland, or to breathe new life into something old, faded, or used. Paints can also be used to protect your favorite items from harmful UV rays, which cause it to fade, then turn it brittle, and fall apart. Alternatively, you might want a rubberized coating on a plastic item that’s uncomfortable or lacks grip.
Regardless of the reason, we have an assortment of suggestions to help bring perfection to whatever you are working on. If you want your project to look perfect, you may want to consider using a primer, where you apply a protective coat, sand it smooth, then apply the paint. It’s all in the details (and the lasting power).
To ensure that your project stands out from the crowd, make sure to use only top-quality paint designed for use on plastic. Here are some of our top picks.
This paint touts an oil-based formula that provides an opaque coat on plastic surfaces. Drying quickly, it makes painting efficient.
- Accurate and speedy application
- Leaves behind a satin-style result
- Opaque formula reduces imperfections
- Can covers only 12 square feet of area
- Works best as prep for another coat of paint
Offering a thick coat that goes on easily, this paint dries quickly and keeps rust away. The dark color matches most vehicles.
- The paint dries quickly
- Seal to keep moisture out
- Spray nozzle is easy to control
- Limited options for colors
- Paint works fine on plastic, though is best for metal
Giving users a unique coating for plastic, this spray goes on thick and leaves a protective layer. The can is easy to control, making light work of painting.
- Paint stays fairly elastic after drying
- Protects the plastic from scratches and damage
- Peels away instead of requiring washing
- Can go on too thick or too thin
- Incomplete coverage can leave parts exposed.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Paint for Plastic
- Dries quickly for faster results. Plastic paint typically takes far less time than other paints to cure. This lets you finish the project sooner, adding value through efficiency.
- Doesn’t usually require primer. Some paints need a top coat, though plastic paint usually includes it. This saves a step and lets you get straight to the paint job.
- Lightweight paint for on-the-go needs. Usually, paint for plastic is lighter than other options, making it less demanding to bring with you for off-site projects.
- Easy to wash off when required. Should you want to change the design, there are paints for plastic that can easily be removed. This way you can adapt the design.
- Durable and crack-resistant results. Once the paint dries, it creates a lasting hold that isn’t prone to cracking or flaking. This improves the appearance of the end result.
Types of Paints for Plastics
This type of primer paint refers to those which include a priming agent. With this chemical added to the formula, you don’t need to apply a base coat and wait for it to dry. Instead, you can place the paint directly onto the plastic and trust it to adhere lastingly. Either the single-coat paint will be clear or have a distinctive color. Since this paint is designed to stick to plastic and not to itself, it is important to choose the correct color. While clear paints leave behind a sheen similar to the liquid form, the colors dry lighter.
When dealing with paints for plastics, aesthetics are important. Whether it is to improve the decor’s appearance or to coordinate a new addition, this type of paint focuses on looks. While it may not last as long and is almost always meant for indoor use, it offers incomparable precision. You can find this type of paint as a spray, a marker, or a liquid. Each is meant to go on smoothly and incorporates measures to prevent streaking. You can expect a steady flow and focus on the color. Usually, this type of paint requires no primer.
There are paints for plastic designed to add a sheen to the surface, without impacting the existing design. The functional type of plastic paint is usually held in a large, fluid container. That said, you can also find this sort of paint in an aerosol spray can. The focus gears towards quantity and efficiency of application. Typically, functional paint requires more time during the curing process. This is because it tends to go on thicker than other options. Plus, since it’s used for a purpose, a thorough coat is requisite.
With roots in the United States, Rust-Oleum commenced operations in 1921. Focusing on sea-caused rust, this company proceeded to craft a massive line of coatings and paints. It showcases products for personal and professional use. One of its best-received products is the Rust-Oleum Black Matte Spray Paint.
Opening in 1802 in the USA, Dupont has a wide range of chemical products for everything from agriculture to industry. With brands such as Krylon, it offers a diverse supply of paints for industrial needs and art projects alike. Among its most popular offerings is the Krylon Chalky Finish Spray.
A relatively new company, Montana prides itself on social responsibility. Products range from primers to paints for art, business, and more. The company puts a heavy focus on markers and spray paint. Of the many offerings, Montana Acrylic Paint Markers are a fan favorite.
Paint for Plastic Pricing
- Under $10: Paints in this category tend towards artistic supplies. In this range, you can also find smaller spray cans. These paints are geared towards smaller projects and precision needs.
- Between $10 and $30: In this range, you can find paints of all types. Usually, you get a reasonable supply of paint. You can get paint in cans, as a spray, or high-end markers.
- Over $30: Paints in this price range have substantial quantities, making them suitable for large projects. You may find spray sets and liquid cans, though fewer art supplies.
The key feature behind any kind of paint is how it goes onto the surface. There are different ways to apply paint, each geared towards a different type of project. Spray applications tend to go onto a broader area and dry fairly quickly. Markers have a straightforward application, going on smoothly and steadily, though applying to a smaller area. Paint in a can goes on by brush or roller. Different tasks require different applications.
An important feature of paint for plastic is the primer. Most of these paints feature a primer that’s included in the paint’s formula. Ensure that this is a part of the paint since, without it, you can’t apply the paint directly. Primer refers to a base coat, used to improve the adherence of the paint. When it is incorporated into the liquid or spray, you can save time and prevent issues with cracks.
Paint can get heavy, though there are a lot of options for plastic that feature lightweight containers. Consider where you plan to do the work to assess how much of a priority this feature is to you. If you need something portable, spray cans and markers tend to have the best success. They are compact and lightweight. Closer-to-home work can accommodate a heavy can instead.
All things come to an end, but the goal of a quality paint for plastic is to prolong the effects. This feature refers to the length of time the dry paint will hole (without being washed away manually). Durable paint holds its form and keeps a bright color despite exposure to air and sunlight. It resists cracks and streaks and keeps the plastic surface looking good for longer.
- Quantity: Something to keep in mind is how much paint you are going to need for the task at hand. Each selection indicates a rough surface area you can expect out of the container. Cross-reference this against the size of the plastic surface to make sure you have enough paint. Markers for vehicle decals are usually exempt from this consideration.
- Color: Paint for plastic is often a matter of appearance. Consider the colors available and understand that when paint dries, the color lightens. When you’re planning on accentuating your car, for instance, make sure that the color after drying stands out against the base hue.
- Drying Time: Depending on your situation, the duration of the curing period is a major factor. Usually, paints that dry more quickly tend to work better since there is less opportunity for moisture or debris to get into the paint as it dries. Generally, markers dry fastest followed by spray cans. Paint-on options take the most time to finish.
- Product Safety: Especially if you are going to work in a more poorly ventilated place, it is important to opt for something free of VOC chemicals. Pick paint that limits chemical additives. A lack of odor doesn’t mean the chemical is safe. Double-checking the ingredients to avoid harm is a helpful step to take.
- Shelf-life: If you don’t plan to use the paint all at once, be sure to check its shelf life. This refers to how long the paint can sit in your garage without drying out or separating. Check the expiration date and use the contents before it goes bad. Some options like wheel paints last longer than others like oil-based formulas.
Best Paint For Plastic Reviews & Recommendations
If you want a convenient paint and primer in one, then the Rust-Oleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint is just the paint you are looking for. Instead of having to spray primer separately and wait hours for it to dry before you can spray paint, Rust-Oleum gives you a quick yet simple solution; it claims you can get your project done in half the time with double the coverage. Having primer in the paint increases its adhesion to the surface you spray it on and can help level out minor imperfections. The paint is designed to be applied on a variety of surfaces including wood, plastic, and metal. It comes in a 12-ounce can and is available 16 colors to suit your project.
Though the paint is effective, it isn’t crafted exclusively for plastic. That said, it works effectively when used on clean, dry polymer surfaces.
The Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Spray Paint should be in everyone’s closet as it is useful to seal and protect almost anything without altering its original color. When coated with it, the paint will provide a permanent, protective gloss coating that will not yellow with age. It is ideal for use with wood, metal, glass, plaster, ceramic, dried silk flowers, wicker, papier mache, and even paper. When applied, it dries quickly and will be dry to touch within 10 to 15 minutes and can be handled after two hours. (Some reviewers note that acrylic paint takes longer to dry on plastic than on other materials.) For optimal results, the paint should only be used in conditions between 50 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Each can is 11 ounces and will cover as much as 15 to 18 square feet of area. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use.
Despite this paint sticking well to plastic, it doesn’t offer any color. Still, it works excellently as a base or a top coat to get the shiny look you desire.
With 18 creatively named colors to choose from, if you plan on doing a custom design project on plastic the Apple Barrel Matte Finish Acrylic Craft Paint Set is what you are going to need to get it done. Each color comes in a two-ounce bottle with an easy-open top so you can open it with one hand. Now, if you buy the second assortment as well, you‘ll have 36 colors at your creative disposal. The formulation of this paint set is designed for use on most materials including wood, Styrofoam, plaster, terra cotta, and tin. It can be applied by brushing, stamping, stenciling, or sponging. The paints are all non-toxic, water-based, and made in the US. Cleaning up paint messes can be done easily with soap and water.
While this paint is useful on diverse surfaces, there is a fairly limited quantity. Without the aerosol application, you may run out quickly so use it for detailing to make it last.
The Rust-Oleum Specialty Plastic Paint uses a special oil-based formulation, which does not require using a primer prior to applying it, allowing it to restore or renew your item in a convenient single step. The formulation also makes it suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Each can contains 11 ounces of paint and will cover approximately 10 square feet. Not only can it be used to bring old plastic items back to life, but it also offers additional protection on your newly purchased and often heavily sun-bleached items like plastic mailboxes, lawn chairs, and tables. The downside is that it is only available in black. You can use this paint on anything from metal to plastic, making it highly versatile.
Though you can use this paint for outdoor applications, it becomes more susceptible to damage in those settings. If possible, keep the work in a dry spot without too much sun exposure.
The Performix Plasti-Dip Multi-Purpose Spray Coating offers a different type of protection compared to most spray paints as it offers a rubberized coating in a can. The main incentive for this coating is to provide your hands with a custom non-slip, comfortable, and protective grip. It resists moisture, acids, abrasion, and corrosion. Also, it can be used to insulate against electric shocks, dampen sound, and reduce vibration. The application is semi-permanent as you can peel it off if you decide you no longer like it. Red, black, and clear are the only color options. Performix highly recommends avoiding direct sunlight, high humidity, and breezy conditions when spraying for the best results, and applying three to four coats. Each can should cover between five and ten square feet of area.
Even though this paint is tough, it can also be tricky to strip away if you need to make adjustments. For the best results, be precise in your initial application.
If you are looking for a paint that can adhere to plastic fibers, the Dupli-Color Aerosol Spray Paint is a good way to go. It comes in an 11-ounce container that forces the paint outwards using pressurized air. Thanks to the fine nozzle, you can still get a high level of precision. It also helps to prevent missing the mark while you’re working. The paint comes pre-primed, meaning you don’t have to put down a base coat. You can get it in many different color options and either as a single can or in a six-pack. Each of the paints is easy to mix and dries fairly efficiently. To be safe, it’s best to leave it untouched for the full hour. It creates a bold hue that stands out well and resists damage.
Though this option works well on most surfaces, it is primarily designed for textiles and vinyl. That said, it adheres well to plastic and is ideal for polyester painting.
For those times when you need to craft a decal onto a plastic surface, the Ch Haicheng Acrylic Paint Markers give you the accuracy you need. These markers are filled with paint. The set comes with a dozen markers, each of a different color ranging from black to silver, gold to orange, you can easily create powerful imagery. Since there is no spraying or pouring, you can easily create fine lines through the two-millimeter tip. The flow is unrestricted and the end result prevents issues related to flaking and cracking. You can use these paint markers on all types of plastic. They dry quickly, thanks to the limited flow while remaining bright and energetic. Provided you cap the markers after use and shake them when it’s time to work, you get efficient arts and crafts products.
Bear in mind that these markers only work for details. Larger-scale projects would require a more substantial supply of paint, so stick to the small stuff.
Looking to finesse that project that’s kept you up late in the garage? The Individuall Premium Acrylic Paint Set is an optimal way to achieve that goal. The acrylic formula creates a firm hold on plastic surfaces. Since you can use it on other materials as well, it saves you from having to find matching colors in different sets. The eight different tones mix well for customized looks. All of the chemicals are safe to use despite being heavy-duty. Given the amount of paint included, you get a sufficient supply to handle pretty much any small or medium-scale project. You can use these paints indoors and outside without worrying about ventilation needs. Quick to dry and not prone to cracks, these are a popular plastic painting option.
The only drawback is the limited supply of each color. If you need to cover a large area in one hue, it can be tricky, though for brightness and energy this is an ideal selection.
The Smartt Color Art Acrylic Paint Markers are a preferable choice for those looking to take decor to a new level. Since the paint inside the markers attaches well to plastic, there is no worry about priming or lasting effects. Once it dries, the paint doesn’t chip or crack easily. Instead, it leaves behind a smooth finish that highlights the artwork itself. The set comes with 18 markers, each of a different tone. All the tips are less than a centimeter wide and won’t fray or tear. Offering a fluid motion that prevents streaks and lines, these paint markers are very easy to use. The grip is effective and comfortable, designed to keep you in control. The paint isn’t toxic and free of harmful chemicals. It is safe to use regardless of whether children or pets are nearby.
While these markers are handy for artistic applications, they create thin lines that can take a lot of work when filling in the outline. Set aside a few moments to ensure you can get through the project in a timely fashion.
For times when aesthetics are on the back burner and it’s all about function, Liquid Rubber Waterproof Sealant is a favorable choice. The paint is designed to be entirely waterproof and holds tightly to all types of surfaces. You can use it on plastic, a useful feature if there is a protrusion near a hinged seam. The can of paint comes with enough supply for multiple projects. When it dries, the paint is see-through, letting you go over the top for an added dash of color. Free of VOCs and dangerous additives, there is no need for extra attention to ventilation. This paint is tough, despite being safe. Resistant to ultraviolet rays, water, and abrasion, it is a powerful coat to keep your plastic items safe.
Though this paint is very useful, it isn’t an aesthetic tool. Working instead to coat your items and keep water and debris out, it is a plastic paint that can actively improve the quality of your possessions.
- Clean and dry the surface before using the paint to ensure a smooth finish.
- Always leave the paint for the recommended drying time to prevent flaws.
- Provide a source of air and limit the humidity in the environment when you work.
- Choose the best quality paint you can to ensure a higher quality result.
- Make sure that your paint is well-stirred to prevent issues with colloidal imbalance.
- Check the expiration date on your paint to avoid using a flawed product.
- Use only clean painting supplies to prevent streaking and flaws in the hue.
Q: How do you get paint to stick to plastic?
Plastic paint is designed specifically for use on polymers. The formula is crafted to adhere to the smooth surface of plastic without creating flaws. The best way to ensure success is to clean and dry the plastic before you get started.
Q: Can you use acrylic paint on plastic?
There is usually an acrylic component to paint on plastic. Because the formula is meant to adhere to a wide range of surfaces, it is an effective solution for coloring plastic surfaces. For the best results, ensure that the surface is clean and has sufficient time to dry.
Q: Is there a primer for plastic?
Though there are primers available, usually the primer is included in the paint itself. Primer is just a chemical that ensures the proper adhesion of the paint. Since this is already factored into the paint’s formula, it typically doesn’t require a primer.
Q: Does chalk paint stick to plastic?
Chalk paint doesn’t stick well to plastic, though it may be able to stick to the layer of plastic paint. Usually, it’s a texturing device that can be done after the fact. Because of the water-soluble construct of chalk, it is best to focus on more compatible paints.
Now that you’re fluent in the nuances of paint for plastic, you can get started. Opt for the quality of Rust-Oleum Painters Touch 2X Ultra Cover Spray Paint or save with Rust-Oleum Rim and Bumper Paint. There’s an option for everyone.