Painting plastic has always been a headscratcher as the surface is not one that easily adheres paint to it. Even the best paint can drip off the plastic and take forever to dry. And in the rare instance that it does dry, chances are it will peel or chip off the plastic item you painted.
So, if you’re wondering, will watercolor paint stay on plastic, then the answer will disappoint you because watercolor won’t stay on plastic.
Watercolor paint needs an absorbent surface to stick to, and plastic is the opposite of that. However, you can use watercolor paint on synthetic paper with a little preparation and a suitable spray. Synthetic papers are designed to have the endurance of plastic and the feel of traditional paper but aren’t plastics.
Table of Contents
- 1 Can You Use Watercolor Paint on Plastic?
Can You Use Watercolor Paint on Plastic?
Watercolor artists prefer watercolor to acrylic paint or any other paint. The transparent texture that you get from the mixture of paint and Gum Arabic binder is unique to watercolor paint only.
But watercolor paints are best used on porous surfaces like paper and canvas. And now that art is expanding faster than ever, watercolor is now a multi surface paint that can be used on wood, fabric, and even glass. But there is a chance that it will peel off from the painted surface.
Yet painting on a plastic surface is one department where this paint couldn’t make headway. Painting on plastic has been popular recently not only because of the increased number of plastic furniture but also because artists and DIYers can do so much with plastic items.
But watercolor does not stick to plastic surfaces. And even if you paint on clear plastic, it will take forever to dry and eventually chip off.
Synthetic papers have been one of the new paint options for artists looking to diversify their art. These papers feel and look like traditional paper while acting like plastic. Unlike traditional paper, synthetic paper is much stronger and resistant. Although the surface is non-porous, it works with watercolor, acrylic, oil, and a number of other paints.
Is Watercolor Paint Only Used on Watercolor Paper?
Watercolor paints are best used on watercolor paper. On top of that, if you use low quality paper, it will only ruin your painting. When using cheap paper, there’s also a chance of the paper getting ruined when brushed aggressively.
But watercolor painting style goes beyond the watercolor canvas and paper. There are so many different types of arts and crafts you can do with it. Kids use pan watercolors to draw and create fun DIY projects.
And with so many different styles of watercolor paintings, they are often used for designing gift boxes, clocks, wall décor, etc.
You can use watercolor on fabrics, wood, and even glass in creating such designs. However, for tougher surfaces like wood, you need some preparation before you can apply paint. You need to sand the entire surface you wish to paint on.
Afterward, the surface needs to be dusted with a soft cloth so that when a painting is completely dry, the paint sticks to the surface with ease.
Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Plastic?
If you wish to paint plastic with acrylic paints, then you need to go through a series of steps. And you need more sealants and primer to get a glossy finish. If you try to paint it on any other surface, you will be left with sticky and wet paint.
1 / Cleaning the Plastic
The process starts even before you apply your first layer of paint. Whether you’re painting a plastic cup or an extravagant plastic container, cleaning the plastic with mild dish soap is your primary task. You can also use rubbing alcohol for further cleaning it.
Once you’ve cleaned it, let it dry completely. Any remnants of dust or dirt could ruin your whole painting.
2 / Apply Primer
You can use any Primer of your choice. Primers are the base coat that helps paint layers stick better on the surface. As plastic has a shiny surface, using a primer improves the overall quality of the paint.
When it comes to primers, Gesso primers are always a safe choice. But the decision depends entirely on your preference. You can also choose between spray cans or liquid primers. If you’re brushing, then make sure to use a clean brush.
3 / Using Acrylic Paint
Acrylic paints are available in a variety of forms. You can use acrylic paint stick, regular spray paint,or acrylic craft paint. But spray paints are often a favorable choice for plastic containers or materials as you can apply them in thin coats.
One thick coat of paint could take longer to dry, so using lighter coats makes the process easier.
Once you’re done selecting your paint colors, use painter’s tape to hide the areas you don’t want the spray to hit; doing this saves a lot of time and paint.
The best way to paint on plastic is using several light coats as you let the paints dry completely before applying the final coat to smoothen out the surface. You can use paint markers to paint and add in the smaller details.
If you’re painting indoors, make sure you’re in a well ventilated area. All paints have some levels of toxic compounds. And if it’s inhaled in large quantity, it could make you sick.
4 / Using the Sealant
The final task is using a sealant to prevent the paint from cracking or peeling. On top of that, they also give the gloss finish you want. You can use any clear sealant. But for acrylic paint, acrylic sealer spray is a good possibility. The sealant is made to be compatible with acrylics.
You can buy your sealant according to the finish you want, gloss or matte. And that’s the end of the steps. All you need to do is let the finished painting dry.
What Is the Best Paint to Paint on Plastic?
Plastic Spray paint is the best choice when it comes to any plastic materials. The spray paint works on everything from plastic bottles to furniture or even plastic wrap. The Spray Paint can be found online and at any arts and crafts store.
But make sure you’re buying the ones which are specifically designed for plastics. Also, these are perfect for small projects like painting your lifelike plastic eggs, i.e., Easter eggs.
In terms of applying the paint, the steps are similar to that of using acrylic paint on plastic. You need to start by preparing the surface appropriately. Once the surface has been cleaned, you need to roughen up the material. Use sandpaper or a liquid sander to rough up the plastic. Doing so will help the primer stick to the paint better.
Up next is the priming. When choosing a primer, you need to select one for painting plastics. However, using any primer that the paint is compatible with should do the job.
The following steps are similar to the steps mentioned above. You need spray from a distance and apply coats in phases. Remember, even spray paints designed for plastics need time to dry.
So, the answer to the question whether will watercolor paint stay on plastic is a NO. The opposite nature of the two makes them incompatible to the point where a plastic palette is used for water coloring. Since the color doesn’t stick to plastics, the palette can be used for long hours to paint and then cleaned with ease.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot of different ways to paint on plastic which we mentioned above. So, if you’re painting plastics, go with the plastic spray paint.