Will Acrylic Paint Stick To Plastic?

There has been a huge spike in the number of people taking up acrylic painting recently due to it being an excellent way to express your self, get creative, and pass time time while also having a low cost of entry when compared to some other types of painting. Due to so many beginners getting into the acrylic painting space right now, we have noticed more and more questions being asked with each passing month.

Recently, there has been a huge spike in the number of people reaching out to ask if acrylic paint will stick to plastic or not so we have decided to make this the main focus of todays article. As we know a large number of our readers are beginners, we will be going over a range of different things that come into play when using acrylic paint on plastic that you should be taking into account for the best possible results.

Please also note that there are actually seven different types of plastic at the time of writing with many of them performing differently to having acrylic paint on them. If you have purchased your plastic at an arts and crafts store then the label should tell you exactly what type of plastic it is. If you are painting on an old random piece of plastic that you have found in your home then finding out the type of plastic you have and if acrylic paint will work with it may be a paint.

Will Acrylic Paint Stick To Plastic?

The majority of acrylic paint formulas will stick to most types of plastic but the end result can vary widely depending on the type of plastic you use as well as the quality of your acrylic paint. The higher the quality of your acrylic paint, the better your results will tend to be on most plastic surfaces though.

We usually recommend that you always go with the best quality acrylic paints for your arts and crafts sessions but we understand that many people have budgets that they have to stick to. Thankfully though, you are able to pick up a set of decent acrylic paints for much cheaper than most people initially think with them usually only being $10-$20 more than the cheap, low quality formulas.

Although the performance of some of the better acrylic paint sets on the market is still questionable on some types of plastic, it does still drastically improve your end result across all plastic types. It actually makes your acrylic paint artwork on some plastic types such as those used in plastic bottles look considerably better than they would if you had used a low quality acrylic paint too.

How Do You Get Acrylic Paint To Stick To Plastic?

Although most of the reputable acrylic paint formulas should stick to plastic without issue, cheaper acrylic paints and some types of plastic can have issues. This is where a paint primer comes into play so you apply your primer to the plastic, leave it to dry, and then apply your acrylic paint to the primer.

Depending on what you are doing, this may not be economically viable as you will have to purchase an acrylic primer to get it to work sometimes. Thankfully, most people in the arts and crafts space will already have a primer that they can use and they tend to only be around the $10 project so cans usually be picked up for any serious projects without taking much of a hit on your budget.

As we touched on earlier though, a set of decent acrylic paints is usually the best option as they help to prevent issues with peeling, flaking, and color fade while also making sure that they will stick to plastic. Rather than adding a paint primer to your collection, the majority of beginners will usually be better off ensuring that they are using the best possible acrylic paint.

Do You Have To Use A Primer For Acrylic Paint On Plastic?

You don’t have to use a paint primer with your acrylic paint on plastic in many cases provided you are using a set of high quality acrylic paints. The better your paints, the better the ingredients and higher chance of their pigment sticking to plastic without you needing to use a primer first.

If you do feel that you are struggling to get your paints to stick to your plastic then a high quality acrylic primer can be an excellent addition to your arts and crafts or home decor kit. Although there are a number of home made alternatives that some people do use as a paint primer, we usually recommend against them as they usually only last a few months at most and are usually only used for arts and crafts on none serious projects.

Again, putting your money into your core tools and products, in this case a high quality acrylic paint will usually offer you a better result than cheaper acrylic paints. In some cases with some of the plastic types out there, simply upgrading to higher quality paints will remove the need for a primer as the ingredients in the paint will help to get it to stick to your plastic surface without issue.

What Can I Use To Prime Plastic For Acrylic Paint?

Technically, there are a number of substances that you are able to use as a primer for your acrylic paint on plastic. There are a number of homemade primers that people use as well as a number of professional products not necissarily intended for use as a primer but can be used but an actual paint primer usually offers the better performance.

When it comes to the paint primers on the market, people are currently spoiled for choice as there really are a number of excellent products out there. In our opinion though, the Vallejo acrylic primer is the best option for most cases and will offer you the best possible performance with your acrylic paint on your plastic.

Not only is it cheap, but it is also very easy to use, and also offer you excellent performance on most plastic types without issue. Keep in mind though, as we mentioned earlier in the article, there are seven different plastic types and two of them can be problematic for primers and acrylic paints.

Should You Use A Sealer On Acrylic Paint With Plastic?

Although a sealer is highly recommended if your acrylic paint on your plastic will be left outdoors and exposed to the elements, it is not essential for indoor artwork in most cases. If you do like in a house with pets or small children though, using a sealer for indoor artwork can be a good idea too.

Unlike with the actual paints and the primer covered above, your sealer will sit on your acrylic paint once they are dry so doesn’t touch the actual plastic. This opens up the sealers that you are able to use with your paints and allows you to use an excellent high quality sealer without you having to worry about it working with plastic.

Keep in mind that the edges of your acrylic paint on your plastic may cause your sealer to over lap onto the plastic but many of the modern sealer formulas should work with plastic anyway. This allows you to quickly and easily protect your acrylic paint based artwork on your plastic from the elements with minimal effort required on your part.

What Can I Use To Seal Acrylic Paint On Plastic?

Although there are a number of products that you are able to use to seal acrylic paint on plastic, we feel that Aleene's acrylic sealer is top of the pile and should be your primary consideration. It is cheap, easy to use, and works well on acrylic paints of all qualities while also offering excellent protection.

We know that many of our readers will already have an acrylic sealer product in their arts and crafts collection though and if this is the case then there is no need to go out and purchase a new one. On the flip side of that though, some people who do already have an acrylic sealant in their collection may have one that under performs, especially when used on plastic.

As we touched on earlier in the article though, if you are planning to keep your acrylic paint artwork indoors and not having it exposed to the elements, you may not actually need to seal your art work anyway. In some cases, not using a sealer can be the best route to take and will not determinate from the quality of your art.

Does Acrylic Paint Stick To Plastic Well If You Do Everything Perfectly?

Even if you do everything perfectly, there are two types of plastic that are problematic for acrylic paint to stick to and will always cause issues. These can still be an issue even if you use a paint primer to preparer the surface of your plastic prior to applying your acrylic paint too.

If you purchase plastic from your arts and crafts store or your local home decor store then this should not be an issue for you. Even if you choose a random piece of plastic from your home then the odds are in your favour that your acrylic paint will stick to your plastic without issue too.

We just wanted to point this out as we often see people presuming that all plastic is the same and it is far from it. The chemical compounds in the different types of plastic really do change how the acrylic paint will bond with it and in some cases, make it a total paint to get your paint to stick to the plastic.


That brings our article going over if acrylic paint will stick to plastic or not to an end. Although decent quality acrylic paint will stick to most types of plastic without issue, cheap acrylic paint can have issues and there are two types of plastic that tend not to work well with acrylic paint too. The best thing that you can do to improve the results of your artwork when using acrylic paint on plastic is to try and ensure that you are using the best quality acrylic paints that your budget will allow. Then you can look at adding things such as a primer or sealer.

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