Experimenting with Painting Plastic


Having young children, I frequently wind up with these plastic boxes from various foods that I would like to find some way to make pretty and re-use.  As my go-to thing for making things pretty is paint, I have tried in the past to just paint them, but the paint always peels off.  This time I tried something new:  a few layers of gesso.

The above shows my box with several coats of gesso.  Unfortunately, as I added additional layers of gesso, some of the older layer would come up in places, so I did not get completely even coverage.  When I got them as well-covered as I thought I could, added paint.  I chose colors my daughter would appreciate.  I also used a layer of Delta Ceramcoat varnish to make it glossy.

 I noticed, however, that the inside showed my uneven gesso coverage.  Oh, well.  I figured if this box stood up to the test of use and time, I would figure out how to fix that problem later.

Inside of box–you can see uneven white and even some pink coming through.

So, after it was all dry and ready to go, I gave it to my daughter with instructions to tell me when/if the paint started to chip.  Within two weeks, the paint was chipping, and I don’t think she opened it that often.  Here’s what it looked like:

So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board as far as how to make plastic boxes pretty for storage.   Have any of you found a good way to make your plastic pretty?

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4 thoughts on “Experimenting with Painting Plastic

  1. Would it help to give the plastic a rub with fine sand paper to give it a bit of texture for the paint to stick to? How does acrylic paint fare (as it’s kind of plastic itself)?

    • I should have mentioned that–I have tried, but without much success. The finer types of sand-paper didn’t get enough traction on the plastic, and the coarse stuff just put in bad grooves. I might have to play with it again–perhaps with some wet/dry sandpaper. It might make a difference.

    • Oh, I hadn’t actually thought about that. I used it to paint some shelves in Tink’s closet. I wonder if acrylic paint would stick (and stay) to a Fusion basecoat. Hmm… Might have to experiment.

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