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How to Paint Clear Plastic

Things You'll Need:

  • Newspapers
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Bucket
  • Dish soap
  • Warm water
  • Scrub brush
  • Towel
  • Ammonia or paint thinner
  • Cloth
  • Spray paint for plastic
  • Clear spray paint

Paint is one of the easiest and quickest ways to change the look of an object. If you have an item made of clear plastic, you can easily paint it with a product that is designed to bond to the plastic. Traditional oil-based and latex-based paints do not adhere well to plastic and will easily scratch off. Spray painting the clear plastic surface will ensure that there are no visible brush strokes.

Move the clear plastic object to an outdoor location and set it on a layer of newspapers. If the object is not movable, spread the newspapers or a plastic drop cloth over the floor to protect it from paint.

Fill a bucket with 1 gallon of warm water and add 2 to 3 teaspoons of dish soap. With a scrub brush use the soapy water to wash the clear plastic. Rinse it with clean water and dry with a towel.

Pour 1 tablespoon of ammonia or paint thinner onto a cloth and thoroughly wipe the entire surface of the plastic item. This removes surface oils that will interfere with adhesion of the paint.

Shake the spray paint can for one to two minutes to thoroughly mix the color.

Hold the spray can 6 to 12 inches away from the plastic and press the nozzle to paint. Move the can in a side-to-side motion and lift your finger off of the nozzle at the end of each stroke.

Allow the paint to dry for one to two minutes and apply a second coat if desired.

Apply a clear coat of spray paint onto the entire surface of the plastic within four hours of the final colored coat. Allow the clear paint to dry for 60 seconds and apply another clear coat. For best results apply four coats of clear paint to seal the plastic.

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