It can be a lot trickier to spray paint plastic than most other surfaces. Many spray paints aren’t good at sticking to plastic and will chip, peel, or scrape away resulting in a much worse problem than you started out with. There are some specific spray paints that are best suited for these surfaces, and you won’t want to skimp out on the right paint for the right plastic.
Picking the right paint for any job is complicated and easy to mess up. We’ve sorted through the most popular and most effective brands and models to determine the best spray paint for plastic. Make sure you pick the one that best matches your project’s needs to get the most realistic and authentic look.
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Our top pick for the best spray paint for plastic is the Rust-Oleum 211338. It’s one of the best spray paints available today that can restore old plastic furniture to like-new condition without the need for any primer or base coat. All you have to do is clean the furniture and let it dry, then apply an even coat of Rust-Oleum to get a consistent and glossy finish.
Rust-Oleum 211338 dries very quickly, so you’ll be able to handle your furniture about a half an hour after applying the first coat. For a shinier and sturdier finish, you can apply a second coat as soon as the first coat dries and allow the piece to sit for another 30 minutes. It’s best used outdoors as, like many spray paints, it has a rather strong odor that can hang in the air when confined in small spaces.
Krylon K08970000 SUPERMAXX
Krylon is one of the trusted names in spray paint. Their SUPERMAXX all-in-one formula primes and paints in one step, and then offers strong long-lasting protection. Applied properly and evenly, no sanding or shaping is required to achieve your desired finish, whether you prefer a matte, glossy, or metallic look.
The Krylon SUPERMAXX spray paint is easy to apply and dries quickly so even an amateur can handle simpler paint jobs. It comes in a variety of attractive colors so you can get the most natural look for all of your favorite plastic furniture. However, SUPERMAXX can do more than just plastic. This all-around spray paint is also made for use with laminate, wood, metal, and even masonry.
ColorBond (1876) Infiniti G37
For auto interiors, you’ll need to be particularly careful with your choice of refinishers and paints. ColorBond (1877) Infiniti G37 is one of the most popular auto coloring agents on the market boasting like-new finishes on even the dingiest and ragged surfaces. The Infiniti G37 helps to maintain the robust feel that you enjoy when painting vinyl, creating a strong molecular bond to hold in colors.
This top-rated auto spray paint is designed for use with auto leather, vinyl, and plastics. It bonds in around 10 minutes and dries in as little as 2-3 more minutes. All you have to do is clean your interior surfaces, let them dry, and apply the ColorBond. Just be aware that for the best results you may need to apply multiple coats.
Warning: This particular spray paint is not for external automobile use.
Dupli-Color CP199 Clear Adhesion Promoter
For external auto use, Dupli-Color CP199 Clear Adhesion Promoter is one of your best friends before a fresh topcoat and wax job. This all-in-one formula improves the adhesiveness of lacquer and enamel topcoats to both plastic and chrome auto surfaces. The manufacturer even suggests it works for interior auto applications.
The Dupli-Color CP199 is dry to the touch in as little as 20 minutes and can be readily handled after just an hour. It doesn’t require any base coat, as it acts as the primer as well as promoting the adhesiveness of other spray paints. A single can will cover up to 14 square feet giving you all the coverage you need to complete most common jobs.
You can also use Dupli-Color CP199 on other outdoor plastics like your furniture so long as it’s ABS plastic. If you aren’t sure, you can apply some of the primers in a discrete spot on the furniture to test it before spraying down the entire piece.
Tips for Buying Spray Paint for Plastic
Like any paint job, you’ll need to make sure that the spray paint you pick is appropriate for the type of plastic you’ll be painting. Some spray paints (auto paints and refinishers, in particular) are only good for very specific materials used in the applications they’re designed for. For example, an auto interior spray paint is great for auto leather and plastic, but shouldn’t be used on metallic or wooden surfaces.
Most spray paints are relatively inexpensive, but like anything, you get exactly what you pay for. Unless the price is a significant burden, it’s always worth spending a few more dollars to get a higher-quality spray paint rather than a budget paint. Low-cost paints are low-quality paints that are more prone to weathering, peeling, and cracking. You’ll wind up repainting pieces touched up with low-quality spray paints more often and still wind up spending more money on paints.
Preparing Your Plastic Spray Paint Job
Any spray painting job can be messy, and plastics like furniture and automotive assemblies are sometimes large and hard to work with. You never want to work with spray paints indoors. You can cause significant and permanent damage to carpets and walls as well as interior fixtures and furniture. Always find a clear, open, well-ventilated area in which to work with your spray paints.
Even outdoors, you’ll want to protect the ground. Adhesive paint can ruin a concrete driveway or cause harmful damage to the environment. Use a large tarp or plastic sheet to protect the ground around your work area. Don’t work on a windy day; you want to have full control over the direction of your spray, and a lot of wind can carry paint right out of your work area.
Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty or even ruining. Despite your best efforts, you’re likely to catch some spatter, especially if you’re working on a larger surface area. Some spray paints can have quite strong odors and may even be harmful to your respiratory health, so it’s critical that you work in a well-ventilated space and avoid breathing fumes as much as possible when working with spray paints of all kinds.
How to Spray Paint Plastic
When you start painting, move slowly and work over specific areas of your furniture or fixture at a time. Spray from a few feet back from the object to allow the paint to spread in the air and fall gently onto the plastic. Spraying from close up or in a direct manner will cause an uneven and abraded look to the dried surface. Coat as much of the object as you can from top to bottom, working around it in an even fashion until you’ve covered the entire thing. If you’re painting the bottom, allow the object to dry before flipping it over to repeat the process.
Different paints will dry at different rates. Cheaper paints may advertise that they’re faster drying, but this is a cheap benefit that doesn’t enhance the quality of a good paint job. If your paint takes longer to dry, allow it the time it needs, and inspect it when it’s done. Sometimes a paint job, particularly on plastic, will require a second coat to have a more new-looking finish. If you’re not sure how your paint will behave, you can always test it on some junk plastic before applying it to a real project that’s important to you.