What Paint Will Stick to Plastic and How Should It Be Painted On?

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The most commonly recommended paint for plastic surfaces are latex-based paint, which may be brushed or spray painted on. Since most plastic surfaces are smooth, setting up and preparing the surface prior to painting will help make the paint adhere to the plastic surface better.

The following painting technique will help paint stick to plastic surfaces.


  • Latex paint
  • Latex primer
  • Polyester paintbrushes (if not using spray paint)
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Rag
  • Ammonia
  • Soap
  • Sponge
  • Plastic bowl

Step 1

In the plastic bowl, mix soap with 3/4 cup of ammonia in a gallon of water.

Step 2

Wash the surface of the plastic item that will be painted with the solution thoroughly.

Step 3

Rinse the plastic item well making sure that the soap is completely washed off. The primer will not adhere to the plastic item if there are still any soap residue left.

Step 4

Use the rag to wipe down and dry the plastic item.

Step 5

Using the 320-grit sandpaper, sand down the surface that is to be painted. Do not use too much pressure and continue sanding until the plastic no longer has a shiny surface.

Step 6

Brush or spray on the latex primer on the plastic item and allow for it to dry overnight.

Step 7

Once the primer has dried properly, use the other polyester brush to apply the paint or spray on the latex paint.