How to Spray Plastic Surfaces?

Traditional spray paints don’t stick to plastic. However, Krylon Fusion and Rust-Oleum are two common high-quality spray paint brands with a wide range of spray paint products for plastics.

Painting of plastic toys and models
Painting of plastic toys and models

These paints don’t just stick; they blend with the plastic surface to form a great whole.

How Do I Spray Vertical Plastic Surfaces?

If you want a smooth surface, pick the right primer. Some primers are used to fill in nicks and scratches. In addition, they are sandable so that you can smooth the surface before top coating it with paint.

Next, look at how to do effective painting on plastic:

  • Paint each vertical surface first

Move the can parallel to the surface and concentrate on making straight, steady movements, gently spraying the paint. Then hit the horizontal area before starting the second round.

  • Repeat each round in the same order

This will allow each surface to get the maximum drying time before you return. However, if any vertical surface still looks wet, stop.

  • Full drying

It’s better to spend an extra 5 minutes drying now than to sand and repaint later. Do not place your project directly on the workbench or newspaper; the paint will stick it to the work surface.

  •  Avoid cracks

This is hard to do if you spray paint in random order, but easy to do if you have a strategy.

The only sure way to avoid flow marks on vertical surfaces is to spray paint on a light coat and let it dry well before the next coat.

You will get thick and light streaks if you overlap just a little bit. Therefore, you should aim for a 50% overlap, with each pass overlapping the previous one by about half.

Spray Large Surfaces

Spraying on a large surface is slow and can lead to texture problems. 

In dry and warm conditions, spray paint dries almost instantly, so “overspray” may fall on nearby, almost dry paint.

When this happens, you will notice inconsistent texture on the surface.

Here’s how to get the paint into the project faster and get consistent results

Putting the cans together to form a single spray pattern makes it easy to keep it consistent. However, this move may result in dripping on vertical surfaces. So hold one can in each hand and keep the movement consistent.

To speed up your spraying, and practice on a scrap piece of cardboard.

Spray paint the old plastic chair to make it new
Spray paint the old plastic chair to make it new

How To Avoid Breathing Fumes

Spray paint cans fill the air with tiny mists and solvents. This is bad for your lungs and nervous system – really bad. 

Working outside is a great way to avoid inhaling fumes, but it has the disadvantage that the breeze may blow the paint away before it reaches the surface, and falling leaves can damage the finish.

I usually recommend working indoors with windows and doors open.

Also, you must wear an organic vapor respirator. It will protect you from smelling the fumes.


When you start spraying, the nozzle will often spit out some large droplets and then some more when you stop. To keep these splatters off your project, pull the trigger before you cross the target and release the trigger after you cross the edge of the project.

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