Published on October 12th, 2006 | by Jules Yap


how to paint plastic?

ikea trones shoe storage“so i have the trones for shoe storage at my landing strip. i bought them in cream as they matched the wall and sort of disappeared. now i’ve gone and painted that wall a light brown color.

i really need help on painting the trones. how can I do it? will the paint stick? is it better to spray paint or can i use the same paint that i used on the walls and apply it with a roller?” - peacelamp

as the trones shoe storage is plastic (polypropylene), i would suggest that you buy paint made for plastic, rather than use your wall paint which may not adhere. krylon fusion for plastic is a possible one and comes in an easy to use spray can. but colors are pretty limited so you may not get an exact match to your light brown wall.

how to paint:

  1. clean the surface real good with a mild detergent, rinse well and dry. make sure that it is completely dry.
  2. spray on a thin coat, covering it evenly.
  3. let it dry thoroughly and then apply again. applying multiple thin coats of the krylon paint will prevent runs and drips.

but if you’re keen to make the storage stand out rather than disappear, you could try stencils. or decorative painting with plaid paint for plastics. a simple trim in perhaps a darker brown could be potentially chic.

have fun!

related post:
> view all other hacker help questions

More hacks on

ted’s terrific sideboard
potholder makes good as pinhole camera

The Author

Jules Yap

"I am Jules, the engine behind IKEAHackers and the one who keeps this site up and running. My mission is to capture all the wonderful, inspiring, clever hacks and ideas for our much loved IKEA items".

12 Responses to how to paint plastic?

  1. Jessie St John says:

    I’ve wide used crafting tape (Reflections from Michaels) on mine to add color and interest. It’s removable and a great way to,try something out before making the paint commitment.

  2. John says:

    Hi, I want to use corrugated plastic to make cut outs for Christmas. Having a problem making the paint stick. Used Penetrol, but it too just peels off. Washed it down with Acetone and all sorts of thinners.
    Any Ideas please. John

  3. magma says:

    i have ikea children’s plastic chairs and table and i want to paint them a different color? can i do that ?

  4. Anonymous says: this paint is more for professionals at the moment (people with spray guns) but I know he has spray cans available (just not advertised).

  5. MeridianHG says:

    PP plastic has a release agent that is still in the plastic, the only way to get it out is to heat up the plastic until the agent comes to the surface, then spray a 50/50 alcohol water mix and wipe off with a rag. US Paint was paint specially made for PP plastic, as does Meddling Kid. I work with PP plastic all day and paint a ton of it.

  6. Jesse says:

    adhere your stenccil to the cake cover, prime with plastic primer, then paint.

  7. trish says:

    I want to stencil on a plastic cake cover, what is the best paint for this project?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Polypro plastic can only be paited with special adhesion promoters and flex agents in the final paint. Nothing sticks to polypro, there are no known paints the produce a chemical bond to it. It is a pure physical bond.

    Make sure you use a plastic adhesion primer and sand the every inch of the surface with 320.

    You can paint PP but the finish will flake off if flexed or scrached.

    BTW: vinyl dye doesnt work on PP.

    Acrylic, ABS, Polycarb are easy to paint due to the solvents in paint attacking the base material. This causes a chemical bond rather than a physical one.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hi, thanks for your guide, I can’t get that paint here in the UK, but did find some paint especially for painting plastic at

  10. Disco Jess says:

    You can use a spray paint primer, that is made for plastics. I think they called it plastic primer. Then you can use your regular paint over the primer.

    Hope that helps.

  11. Lisa says:

    Has anyone used these painting techniques outside? I have some plastic kid furniture I want to paint. Thanks

  12. Jules says:

    received this tip from derrick – “one of the problems you mentioned with the krylon fusion paint was the lack of color choices. i’ve got an easy fix for that.

    use flexible primer. it can be found at almost any auto parts store. it is used to paint plastic bumpers and other plastic parts on cars. it usually can be found in white, black, or green. after you apply it, you can then use any spray paint that you like, which gives you much greater choice in terms of colors.

    ikea used to have these wall pods that were for children. they only came in bold, basic colors. i used this technique to paint them in earth tones for my living room and tossed dvds and cds into them.”

    thanks, derrick!

Leave a Reply

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

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Back to Top ↑