Finding the best paint for plastic can be a little bit daunting if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
But if you pick the right paint, you have the opportunity to breathe new life into anything from your UPVC front door to outdated plastic garden furniture.
You do have to be careful in deciding though. Plastic is an ultra flat surface so you’ll want to choose a paint that adheres well to the surface, is easy to get an even coverage, and ultimately looks great.
With that in mind, we’ve used our experience to track down the best paints for plastic currently available and extensively tested them. The result is this handy guide which covers areas such as UPVC front doors, the best weatherproof plastic and the best black paint for plastic. Read on to find out which paint is best for you.
Best Paint for Plastic Overall: Rust Oleum Plastic Paint
Our best paint for plastic overall goes to Rust Oleum Plastic Paint. While you may find that some plastic surfaces are too difficult to get paint to adhere to them, you won’t have this problem with Rust Oleum as it works as both a paint and primer in one.
If you’re accustomed to painting with brushes, you might also be wondering “what’s the best brush on paint for plastic?” Again, we would recommend Rust Oleum All Surface Paint. Its advanced formula has been created specifically for brush application meaning you won’t get the brush marks often found when applying lower quality paints.
Rust Oleum All Surface also comes in a variety of different colours including cardinal red, matt white and emerald green giving you endless opportunities to customise the plastic surfaces and items in your home.
Being weatherproof, you can use this paint on exterior objects as well as interior making it a valuable all-rounder. The fact that it can be applied to different surfaces means you can paint different objects with the same paint to have them fit in with your overall colour scheme.
- Very easy to apply even for amateur painters
- Provides a high quality finish regardless of surface
- The colour stays the same after application
- Despite its thin consistency it doesn’t drip at all which is essential for plastic surfaces
Best Paint for Plastic Doors: Frenchic Al Fresco
We’ve gone for something a bit different with our pick for the best paint for plastic doors.
While there are other all surface paints that would work well for UPVC front doors (you could even use Rust Oleum All Surface Paint as mentioned above), the Frenchic Al Fresco range offers something unique and having tried it ourselves we can confidently say it’s one of the best we’ve used.
This particular paint is weatherproof, is perfect for outdoors (that’s why it’s called Al Fresco after all) and like most all surface paints, works wonders as a durable and hard wearing exterior paint. The main difference you’ll find with this paint however is its unique and chic chalk finish that can truly transform the look and feel of your entire home.
The paint has virtually no odour and the fact it gives off minimal VOCs makes it so safe that it’s received an EN:71-3 certificate which essentially makes it safe to use on children’s toys.
Frenchic Al Fresco is also easy to apply using either a brush or a paint sprayer. While a paint sprayer arguably does a better job, the self-levelling properties of the paint means you’ll be left with little to no brush marks as it flattens out. Of course, when painting an entirely flat surface like UPVC you’ll want to take extra care to ensure you’re not creating any build up of paint as it could start to run.
- It’s self-priming, self-sealing and self-levelling to ensure you’re left with even coverage with no marks
- Can be applied using either a brush or a paint sprayer
- Low odour and low VOC making it more eco-friendly
- It’s durable and will stand up well to British weather
- It’s UV resistant so will keep its original colour for longer
Best Acrylic Paint for Plastic: Hycote
Based on air-drying acrylic resin, Hycote is perfect for a variety of surfaces and performs exceptionally well on plastic due to its excellent adhesion and durability.
Coming in a 400ml spray can, it has enhanced covering power making it ideal for use on multiple DIY projects offering customers great value for money.
During our testing, we found that this acrylic paint gives a great even coverage, a consistent spray pattern and ultimately a perfect finish if used on plastic that has already been primed.
In terms of colour choice, you can choose from a solid variety including a matt black, gloss white, blue, orange and red. One of Hycote’s defining features is that it has high durability and unmatched colour retention although using a few coats will definitely help with the longevity of the paint.
- Is highly durable and resists colour fade
- One of the quickest drying paints on the market
- Suitable for application on a variety of surfaces
- Offers great value for money
- The coating is a little bit thin so applying at least 2 coats is a must
Best Black Paint: Rust Oleum Direct to Plastic
Aside from brush-on paint, one of the most popular ways to paint plastic is to use a spray paint that comes in a can. Using a spray can give the benefit of avoiding brush marks, especially when it comes to painting on a flat surface like plastic. With that in mind, we’ve chosen Rust Oleum’s Direct to Plastic spray paint as the best black paint for plastic overall.
The issue with brushing on a black paint is that brush marks become more pronounced, especially if you’re painting over a white surface. Rust Oleum’s spray paint completely avoids this by offering a paint that has superior adhesion, an even spray pattern and a thickness that is just about perfect.
By applying the paint in a steady motion while slightly overlapping each stroke, you can get a perfect modern finish on anything from plastic garden furniture to plant pots. It’s also suitable for interior use and looks particularly great on objects like storage boxes or plastic soap holders.
Perhaps one of its most revered features is how well it adheres to plastic. During testing, we found that we didn’t even need to apply a primer first. We simply cleaned the plastic surface thoroughly then followed the instructions on the tin for application.
- Provides a beautiful black finish
- Has incredible adhesion qualities and in most cases won’t even need a primer
- Can be used on interior or exterior surfaces
- Gives life back to plain or stained plastic surfaces
- To get the best finish you can’t really deviate from the instructions – preparation is definitely key with this paint
Best Waterproof Paint for Plastic: Zinsser
Joining Rust-Oleum as one of the two brush-applied plastic paints to make our list, Zinsser is a high quality exterior satin and is our pick for the best waterproof paint for plastic.
When painting exterior plastic surfaces, it’s obvious that the paint has to be waterproof. But some paints are more durable than others and require a lot less maintenance. Zinsser AllCoat is firmly in this category.
Once applied, a vapour-permeable and water-shedding coating is formed giving it excellent resistance against rain and severe weather conditions. This makes it especially useful for application on windows and frames. In addition to its famed durability, the paint contains a useful biocide that protects it from mould, mildew and fungal degradation.
In terms of practicality, it ticks all the boxes. It’s easy to apply, has incredible adhesion, self-seals and once fully cured (after about a week) provides peak protection ensuring you don’t need to maintain it as often.
- Is durable and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance
- Can last up to 15 years if applied properly
- Is re-coatable very quickly meaning you can finish your project within a few hours
- It protects against cracking, peeling and blistering
- It doesn’t come in a great variety of colours although if you want to go out of your way, you can tint it yourself
What Paint to Use On Plastic?
When choosing paint to use on plastic, focus on picking something that has the strongest adhesion. Acrylic based paints are usually a good choice as are oil-based or water-based paints if used with a primer first.
Fortunately, there are many paint manufacturers who will specify whether their paint is suitable for plastic or not so just looking up the information available should help you.
Of course, all the paints listed in this best paint for plastic guide work well on plastic surfaces.
How to Paint Plastic Surfaces
Painting plastic surface doesn’t need to be too difficult. While the ultra-flat surface can pose some problems such as brush marks and over-concentration of paint on corners and edges, using the appropriate paint and being a little bit careful with your workmanship will help.
With that in mind, here are some simple steps to help you get the best finish…
Step One: Prepare the Surface
If you’re familiar with our blog, you’ll know how we (maybe too much) go on about how preparation is everything. I’m afraid the broken record strikes again on this occasion.
Making sure the surface is thoroughly clean means you’re going to be applying the paint onto the surface only, not on grease or grime and this ultimately is going to help the paint key to the surface.
- Use a degreaser like sugar soap and mix it with some warm water
- Using a lint-free cloth, start scrubbing down the surface vigorously, ensuring it’s completely clean
- Rinse off the soap with some clean, cold water
- Make sure the door is completely dry
- Give the surface is light sand down with fine sandpaper – this will help the new paint key to it. If sanding down older surfaces, make sure you use a dust mask during this step
- Using a clean, lint-free cloth, wipe away any excess dust
- If using a primer, now’s the time to apply it
Step Two: Apply the Paint
We recommend two methods when painting plastic – using a brush or using a spray can/sprayer
If using a brush
Using a brush is our preferred method as it’s what we’ve always done. Unlike wood, there’s no grain to brush with so painting side to side or up and down doesn’t really make a difference with plastic. During the first coat you might notice a few brush marks due to the contact with the surface but don’t worry – these will be gone once you’ve applied the second coat and given the surface a couple of weeks to fully cure.
As always, just follow the instructions on the tin regarding re-coat time.
If using a spray can
A spray can is arguably easier to use when painting plastic, especially if you’re a beginner. All you really have to do is:
- Keep the can moving at a constant speed
- Slightly overlap each spray pattern for perfect consistency
- Repeat the process for the second coat
It’s worth mentioning that when using a spray can to paint plastic, you should always do it outdoors when possible to avoid any inhalation of fumes.
Painting plastic gives you the opportunity to take something plain or run down and give it a new lease of life. While many people avoid painting their plastic furniture or doors due to the assumed difficulty, it’s actually pretty easy even for a beginner to get a good finish.
If you have some old plastic pieces of furniture you’re thinking of binning – give painting them a go – it might just leave you with a pleasant surprise.
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Want to learn more about different paints? Feel free to take a look at our recent “best front door paint” article!