Rubber is a durable material that many people like to use in their arts and crafts, or as decorations around the home, both indoors and out. One of the biggest concerns with using this material is whether it’s possible to paint rubber.
You can paint rubber by following the proper preparations and techniques. There are four types of paint that you can use on rubber – acrylic, removable, exterior, and commercial marine. Which paint you choose will depend on what you’re painting.
We’re going to discuss everything you need to know about painting rubber, including which type to use and what steps you need to take to prepare your rubber item for painting.
How to Pick the Right Paint
When painting rubber, you’ll need to figure out where you’ll be using the painted piece once it’s done. Using the wrong paint can have disastrous results.
If you plan to put your item outside, you’ll want to be sure you’re using a paint that is resistant to the elements and sun. Paint that isn’t meant for outdoor use can crack and peel, ruining your design.
For items you’ll be redecorating multiple times, such as holiday decorations, it’s easier to use a removable paint. This type of paint can be peeled off with ease so you can repaint the item a different color later.
But if you’re painting something to use as decoration indoors, acrylic paint will work. However, if you’re going to be using the object a lot, acrylic paint will chip and peel.
Why It’s Important to Use the Right Paint
Painting rubber is a simple process that doesn’t need many steps. The two most crucial parts of the painting are picking the right paint for your project and proper preparations.
Trying to apply paint to a surface that hasn’t been prepared correctly can cause undesirable results. You can end up with cracks, unpainted spots, or peeling of the paint.
The same issue occurs if you use the wrong paint type for your surface. Items that will be outdoors will not retain the painted appearance if you use paint meant for indoor use, such as acrylic.
Items that will be indoors and will not be used much won’t need strong, durable paint to save money using cheaper paint.
Types of Paint for Rubber
AcrylicAcrylic is a versatile type of paint that can be used on many surfaces, including rubber. This paint is typically used more for arts and crafts.
If you’re planning to use your painted rubber object indoors as a decorative piece that won’t be getting a lot of moving or touching, acrylic paint would be the appropriate paint type.
However, if you’re planning to paint a rubber item that you’ll frequently use, acrylic won’t be the way to go. This paint is more for decorative purposes than durability.
Frequent use of an item that has been painted with acrylic often leads to the paint cracking and peeling, resulting in a mess of a paint job. Only use acrylic on things that you won’t be touching or using.
How to Use Acrylic Paint
Out of all the paint types, acrylic is one of the easiest to use. Acrylic paint is typically applied with a paintbrush, so it’s great for detail work and small items. If you’re painting a large surface, you could use a roller, although that would mean a lot of paint.
To paint a rubber, follow these steps:
- Prep item for painting. Wipe off the entire surface, including any cracks, with a warm, soapy rag.
- Rinse the rag thoroughly and wipe off the surface again, remove all the soap residue.
- Allow the object to dry before applying paint. Paint will not stick on a wet surface.
- Apply the first coat of paint. Let dry completely.
- Next, apply the second layer of paint. Dry thoroughly.
- Finally, cover your project in a single layer of paint sealant, which will keep the paint on the object without cracking or damage.
RemovableRemovable paint is an excellent option for objects that you’ll want to repaint. Holiday decorations are a great example. This type of paint can be applied with ease. When you’re ready to change the color, you can use a razor blade to peel the paint off the surface.
However, this paint will stay on the object for as long as you want without damage. It will not peel or crack over time. The paint will only start to separate from your object when you start peeling it away.
Removable paint can be applied as a spray, making it easier to cover large surfaces. But it might be challenging getting into tight areas.
To apply removable paint, you should follow these steps:
- Prepare the object for painting by cleaning the entire surface with a wet, soapy rag.
- Rinse the rag clean of soap, then use the rag to rinse the object completely of all soap residue.
- Give your object time to dry completely before applying your first layer of paint.
- Spray on your first layer of paint, being sure to get into the cracks and curves.
- After the first layer has dried, spray on a second coat of removable paint.
- Wait for the paint to dry then place your item out for display.
Once you’re done applying a removable paint to your object, you won’t need to seal your top layer. Doing so will make the paint more difficult to remove when you’re ready to repaint it later.
ExteriorIf you’re painting something that will be kept outdoors, your best option is to use an exterior paint rather than acrylic or removable paint. Exterior paint is designed to withstand the elements, such as rain, snow, wind, and sun exposure.
Exterior paint can be applied as a spray, with a brush, or with a roller. You will not need to use a sealant to protect the paint, as it is durable enough on its own. You will need to use an exterior primer to help the paint stick to the surface.
You will need to take a few extra steps when preparing to use exterior paint:
- First, you will need to wash off your object entirely with soap and a rag.
- Rinse the rag thoroughly and then rinse off any soak from the object.
- Let the object dry completely of water.
- Before using exterior paint, apply a layer of exertion primer to cover the entire object.
- Allow the primer to dry completely.
- Next, apply your first layer of exterior paint to your project.
- Allow drying thoroughly.
- Once your first layer is dry, you can apply your second layer.
- Let the object dry completely then place as decoration.
The most durable type of paint you can use is commercial-grade marine paint. This is the paint you most often see used on pools and boats. But it can also be used for rubber.
Using marine paint means there’s less chance of the paint getting damaged, like cracking, peeling, or fading under direct sunlight. This type of paint is extremely weatherproof.
When using commercial-grade marine paint, there is no need for primer before or a sealant afterward. The paint is durable enough to survive damage without extra protection.
There you have it. Everything you need to know about how to paint rubber. You need to pick the right type of paint to get the best results. Using the wrong kind of paint can lead to a paint job that peels, chips, and fades.
There are four types of paint you can use to paint rubber: acrylic, removable, exterior, and commercial marine. Always be sure you clean your product correctly before applying your paint. Some paint types require multiple layers, a primer before, or sealant, after so read all directions before use.