Can You Spray Paint Plastic? Let’s Reduce the Eco-Impact

pexels cup of couple 8014607 Can You Spray Paint Plastic? Let’s Reduce the Eco-Impact

Our love-hate affair with plastic is a modern-day conundrum. No matter how much we detest plastic, it’s still an ubiquitous entity that makes up most of our lives. 

And since we really can’t do much about plastic, we can surely upgrade the older pieces to reduce the environmental impact of producing more plastic.

Because of its smooth and non-porous nature, it’s nothing unimaginable to think of the question: Can you spray paint plastic? 

Here’s your short and simple answer:

Yes, you can spray paint plastic, but you need to use a special type of spray paint that is specifically designed for plastic surfaces. Regular spray paint will not adhere properly to plastic and will likely peel off.

But we’re definitely not leaving you in the middle of nowhere. We’ve got some tricks up our sleeves to help you overcome the challenge of painting plastic that is notorious for being sleek and impermeable.

Let’s learn how you can be a part of the upcycling movement!

Supplies For Spray Painting Plastic 

Just as they say, “A craftsman is only as good as his tools.”

Here are some supplies that you need to make your job easier:

  1. Spray paint: Choose a spray paint that is specifically designed for plastic. There are many different brands and colors of spray paint available, so you can find one that will match your project perfectly.
  2. Sandpaper: Sanding the plastic will help the paint adhere better. Use fine-grit sandpaper (180-220 grit) to avoid damaging the plastic.
  3. Drop cloths: Drop cloths will protect your work surface from overspray.
  4. Painter’s tape: Painter’s tape will help you create clean lines and prevent paint from getting where you don’t want it.
  5. Gloves: Gloves will protect your hands from the paint.
  6. Newspaper or cardboard: Newspaper or cardboard can be used to protect your work surface from overspray.
  7. Rags: Rags can be used to clean up spills and drips
  8. A well-ventilated area: Spray painting should be done in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling the fumes of the paint.

Steps to Spray Paint Plastic

Here are the basic steps that can help you upgrade all your older items to completely new:

Preparing the Plastic Surface for Painting

Proper surface preparation is the key to a durable and flawless finish.

Start by cleaning the plastic surface thoroughly with soapy water to remove dirt, grease, and any existing paint or coatings. Once it’s squeaky clean, allow it to dry completely.

Next, it’s time to give that plastic surface a bit of a rough-up. Sanding creates a slightly textured surface, providing better ‘teeth’ for the paint to grip. Use fine-grit sandpaper and go easy – you don’t want to gouge the plastic.

Choosing the Right Spray Paint for Plastic

Don’t just grab any can of spray paint from the hardware store. There are specific paints formulated for plastic surfaces, ensuring that your masterpiece won’t peel off after a few weeks.

Popular brands like Krylon Fusion, and Rust-Oleum Specialty Paint for Plastic are excellent choices. They’re designed to bond with plastic and provide long-lasting coverage.

When it comes to finish, the world is your oyster. Choose from gloss for a shiny finish, semi-gloss for a subtle shine, satin for a smooth, low-luster look, or matte for an eggshell-like finish.

Spray Painting Technique: The Art of Light, Even Coats

Shake the can vigorously for at least a minute to ensure the paint is well mixed. Hold the can about 12 to 18 inches away from the plastic surface and move it steadily back and forth, keeping your hand level.

Apply light, even coats, rather than thick, gloppy ones. Thick coats can lead to drips, runs, and an uneven finish. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how you can avoid paint drips.

Seal the Deal – The Final Part

Now comes the fun part – adding color and style with your spray paint! Choose a color that complements the decor of your room or expresses your unique personality.

Apply the spray paint in thin, even coats. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next.

For a smoother finish, lightly sand the final coat with fine-grit sandpaper once it’s completely dry. If you want to add extra protection and shine, apply a clear sealant. How to seal spray paint on plastic 

Can You Spray Paint Plastic Without Primer

We already know that it’s challenging for paints to adhere to plastics, and you need spray paint specifically designed for the purpose. 

However, if you’re spray painting without plastic paint (sometimes that’s all you have and the project is too small to invest in another spray can), you need a medium to help normal spray paint adhere to the plastic’s non-porous surface. 

And that medium is primer. Primer helps the paint adhere to the plastic and prevents it from chipping or peeling. 

However, if you are using spray paint that is specifically designed for plastic, you can skip the primer step. This is because plastic spray paint is formulated to bond directly to plastic without the need for a primer.

Troubleshooting Common Spray Painting Issues

Even the most seasoned spray painters encounter hiccups along the way. Don’t panic – we’ve got solutions to common problems.

  1. If your paint is peeling, it’s likely due to poor surface preparation or using the wrong type of paint. Sand the surface again and start over with a primer specifically designed for plastic.
  2. Drips and runs can occur if you apply too much paint at once or move the can too slowly. Keep your coats light and move your hand steadily.
  3. Uneven coverage is often caused by spraying from too far away. Maintain a consistent distance between the spray can and the surface for more even results.

Overspray and Safety Precautions

Overspray, the mist of paint that goes beyond the intended target, can be a pesky problem. To minimize overspray, choose a well-ventilated area to work in and cover surrounding objects with drop cloths or plastic sheets.

When spray painting, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. Wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a respirator, to avoid inhaling harmful fumes.

Plastic Items You Can Spray Paint

Here are the most commonly asked questions about plastic items that can be spray painted. 

Can you spray paint plastic chairs – of course you can!

Can you spray paint plastic cups – easy peasy, lemon squeezy, read our steps above and revamp your cups your style. 

Can you spray paint plastic car parts – Yes, you can spray paint plastic car parts. In fact, it is a popular way to customize or repair plastic parts such as wing mirror caps, bumper strips, and spoilers. Here’s our guide to revamp your car door handles. Keep them shiny and rust-free!

Can you spray paint plastic bottles – just like everything else, this too can be painted. 


What kind of spray paint will stick to plastic?

Just any other spray paint won’t stick to plastic. It is important to use spray paint specifically designed for plastic. 

Does paint peel off plastic?

Yes, paint can peel off plastic if it is not applied correctly, or when wrong paint is used.  

How do you permanently paint plastic?

To permanently paint plastic, you either need a paint designed for plastic or need to use a primer and a topcoat. Read our steps above for thorough guidance. 

Can you spray paint plastic for outside?

Yes, you can spray paint plastic for outside, but it is important to use a paint that is specifically designed for outdoor use. Outdoor spray paints are more durable and weather-resistant than indoor spray paints.


Spray painting plastic is a transformative art form, allowing you to breathe new life into old objects and create unique pieces that reflect your style. Moreover, it’s also a great way to take a step to reduce footprint. After all, mother earth belongs to all of us and keeping it happy and healthy is everyone’s responsibility. 

Embrace the process, experiment with different colors and techniques, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they’re just stepping stones to mastering the art of spray painting plastic.

Get your spray, get creative, get painting! 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *