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Best Paint to Use on Plastic

We've gathered some of the best paints to meet the challenges of adhesion, coverage and durability for a range of specific applications on plastic.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

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What’s the Best Paint for Plastic?

When painting plastic, adhesion dynamics can vary greatly, so you’ll get the best results using a product specifically made for your application. We’ve gathered some recommendations from a range of first-hand reviews for use on a variety of different projects. The best examples hit the mark for application properties, adhesion, durability and cost.

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Best General Use on Plastic and Single-Coat Coverage

Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover is a highly rated spray paint option for many surfaces, including plastic. (Rust-Oleum American Accents is a similar paint with similar properties, if you’re looking for additional color options.) The oil-based formula is made to resist chipping and adhere to a range of surfaces like plastic, wood, plaster, metal, masonry and unglazed ceramic. Most colors can be found online for $4 to $6 per can, and economical six packs are available as well.

One DIY user said, “I love to do furniture makeovers. I painted a lot of stuff using different paints, but this project so far was the fastest and most easy to complete. I used four cans and it covered all the angles.”

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Vehicle Interior Hard Plastic, Vinyl and Leather

ColorBond LVP Leather, Vinyl & Hard Plastic Refinisher Spray Paint is an interior paint that gives you a budget alternative to refurbish or customize auto interiors. The flexible coating resists cracking and peeling, and is available in more than 90 color options to match many manufacturers’ interior colors. If you’re just looking for black, you may want to check out SEM 15013 Landau Black Color Coat. Most colors can be found in the $15 to $20 range for a 12 oz. can.

One user said, “Ease of use and durability of the finish makes this a no-brainer must-have kit when respraying your car’s interior.”

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Vehicle Exterior Color Matching

Look at NAPA paint products for an excellent DIY color-matching option on your vehicle exterior, including plastic panels. Their high-quality paint can give you what you need to restore chips, scratches or even whole body panels. A robust clear coat protects against rust, UV degradation and provides a buffer against future scratches.

If a NAPA store in your area offers aerosol paint mixing services, you can get aerosol paint cans custom filled with your exact manufacturer color by paint code or color-chip match. You can get the paint mixed in a two-part application for best color matching (you’ll need a basecoat paint and separate clear coat) or, for more convenient application, get it mixed in a one-part formula. Prices may vary depending on the option and your color, but expect to pay around $35 per 16-oz. can.

For black exterior trim or bumper parts, you may also want to check out SEM 39143 Trim Black Aerosol.

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Small-Scale Model Paint

Testors enamel 1/4 oz. 1100 & 1500 series model paints come in an impressive array of colors, as well as color sets for particular themes like vehicles, aircraft and camouflage. So it’s good for your plastic model projects as well as creative small-scale needs. These paints contain finely ground pigments for smooth application, and the oil-based formula dries quickly and adheres well to almost any surface.

Individual bottles can be purchased for around $2 to $4 per one-half oz. bottle plus shipping, or look for themed kits that include 10 or more colors and cost less than $20. Your best bet for finding a wide selection of colors or kits will be at a local hobby store.

One user said, “Excellent product. I have been building models for many years, and I always try to use Testors products. The selection of paint colors is outstanding.”

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Brush-On Primer

Rust-Oleum Specialty Plastic Primer is an oil-based coating that promotes adhesion and durability for your top-coat. It is one of the few plastic paints on the market that comes in a can so you can apply it with a brush or a sprayer. It’s recommended for use on polypropylene, polystyrene, PVC, resin, fiberglass and hard vinyl plastics. It comes in white only. Online pricing at multiple outlets appears to fluctuate from $17 to $30 for a 32 oz. can. Right now, the best price is around $15 for a can, at Menards.

One user said, “I needed to cover some grungy white PVC pipes in an area where using spray paint would be very difficult. The paint covers well, it does not leave brush marks, and it is touchable in a few hours.”

Nick Wiesneski
As a writer, handyman, and general Renaissance guy, I draw on my broad set of skills and experiences to bring clarity to my writing. I enjoy putting my skills to use for good, helping people, and solving hard problems.‚Äč I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and enjoy finding big and small adventures with my wife and two daughters. I recharge my batteries with fresh air and exploration of the great outdoors by foot, or boat, or four-wheel-drive. Personally and professionally, I try to leave it better than I found it.