Can You Spray Paint Plastic Chrome?

Can You Spray Paint Plastic Chrome

Are you curious about the possibilities of giving your plastic chrome items a fresh, new look with spray paint? In the article “Can You Spray Paint Plastic Chrome”, you’ll find out just how achievable this is. Learn about the process, the tools you’ll need, and the steps to ensure a durable, fantastic finish. Get ready to bring a new lease of life to your favorite plastic chrome items with just a can of spray paint!

Can You Spray Paint Plastic Chrome


Before starting any painting project, proper preparation is crucial. You’ll get better outcomes if you’re meticulous about your preparation process. The same rule applies when you want to spray paint plastic chrome.

Cleaning the surface

First and foremost, you need to clean the surface of your plastic chrome, regardless of how clean you think it might already be. Use a mild detergent and warm water to gently wash away any dirt or grime that has accumulated over time. Make sure to wipe away any soap suds and leave no residue behind, drying the surface thoroughly after cleaning. The cleaner your surface, the better the paint will stick.

Sanding the plastic chrome

After cleaning, the next step of preparation requires you to sand down the plastic chrome. Sanding the surface helps create little grooves and abrasions for the paint to grip onto, increasing the longevity of your paint job. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (around 400 to 600 grit) to avoid creating deep, noticeable scratches on the surface. After sanding, wipe down the surface again to remove any dust generated during the process.

Priming the plastic chrome

Finally, your plastic chrome is ready for priming. A good primer is vital as it provides a solid base for your paint to adhere to and helps bring out the color of the paint. You should go for a primer that’s specially formulated for plastics to endure a smooth application and strong adhesion. Apply the primer in a consistent, thin coat, ensuring you cover the entire surface. Let the primer dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Choosing the Right Paint

Opting for the right paint will bring out the best in your painting project.

Selecting the appropriate type of paint

Not every paint is suitable for plastic chrome. You need to choose a paint type that can adhere well to plastic surfaces while offering a durable finish. Acrylic enamel paint is a great choice as it is durable and provides a smooth finish. It’s also available in numerous colors. You can also opt for specially formulated spray paints designed for plastic surfaces.

Considering the finish

The finish of the paint can significantly affect the overall look of your plastic chrome. If you want a glossy, shiny look, choose a high-gloss paint. Alternatively, for a more subtle, understated look, opt for a matte or satin finish.

Determining the color

Color is generally a personal preference and might also depend on what the specific piece of plastic chrome is used for. Whether you prefer a bright, noticeable color or a more muted, classic tone, ensure the color you choose aligns with your taste and the overall visual aesthetic you are aiming for.

Spray Painting Techniques

Proper painting techniques can make a real difference in the final outcome.

Applying thin coats

One key method for achieving a smooth, attractive finish is applying thin coats. This helps to avoid paint runs and provides a more even color across the surface. It might take you a bit more time as you will need more coats, but trust us, it’s worth it!

Using even strokes

When spray painting, using even, consistent strokes will help prevent streaks and uneven coloration. Start spraying just before the object and don’t stop until you’ve sprayed beyond it. This technique, known as “leading” and “trailing”, can provide a more even distribution of paint.

Allowing sufficient drying time

Between each coat of paint, it’s vital to allow sufficient time for the paint to dry. Rushing the process can lead to muddy colors, smudges, or bubbling of the paint. Each paint can has instructions regarding drying times, and it’s a good idea to adhere to these.

Applying the Paint

There are generally two methods of applying spray paint – using a spray gun or using spray paint cans.

Using a spray gun

Though it requires a bit of practice, a spray gun can be a good choice for painting larger surfaces. It allows you to control the flow of paint, resulting in an even, neat finish. Make sure to move the spray gun back and forth in a sweeping motion, maintaining a consistent distance from the surface to avoid pooling or running of the paint.

Using spray paint cans

Using spray paint cans is comparatively easier and ideal for smaller jobs. It’s less messy and requires minimal setup. While using spray paint cans, remember to keep the can moving to avoid over-saturation in any one area.

Can You Spray Paint Plastic Chrome

Tips and Tricks

After mastering the basics, here are a few extra touches to step up your painting game.

Using a clear coat

Applying a clear coat just after painting can act as a protective layer and further enhance the glossiness of the paint. It adds a professional touch and helps maintain the appearance of the plastic chrome longer.

Practicing on a test surface

Before jumping directly onto your project, it’s a good idea to first practice on a test surface. This not only helps improve your spray painting skills but also gives you an idea of how the final color and finish will look.

Protecting the surrounding areas

While spray painting, it’s crucial to protect the areas you don’t want to be painted. You can use painter’s tape and drop cloths to cover the surrounding areas before starting your project.

Maintenance and Longevity

Even after the paint job is done, good maintenance and care can extend the life of your painted surface.

Caring for the painted surface

Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, which can fade the color over time. Wipe the painted surface with a soft, non-abrasive cloth to keep it clean and dust-free.

Avoiding harsh chemicals

Harsh cleaning agents can harm the painted surface. Opt for milder cleaners or simply a damp cloth for cleaning. Abrasive scrubbers should also be avoided as they can scratch the surface.

Regularly inspecting for damage

Over time, look for any signs of chipping, peeling or discoloration. Address these minor issues immediately before they spread and require a larger touch-up job.

Pros and Cons

Like every process, spray painting plastic chrome has its benefits and potential drawbacks.

Advantages of spray painting plastic chrome

Spray painting is a cost-effective solution. It offers you a variety of colors and finishes to choose from, enabling you to completely customize the look of your object. The process is fairly easy and provides instant results. It can also be a fun DIY project.

Potential drawbacks of spray painting plastic chrome

On the downside, spray painting can be messy. It also requires careful preparation and practice to do it right. Moreover, it might not be as durable as other methods like chrome plating.

Alternatives to Spray Painting

If spray painting is not your cup of tea, you have other options as well.

Vinyl wrapping

Vinyl wrapping is an alternative method where a thin film, resembling paint, is adhered to the surface. This can mimic the appearance of spray paint but is generally a more costly option.

Chrome plating

Chrome plating is a method that involves coating the item with chromium, giving a highly shiny finish. It’s typically more durable than spray paint but comes with a higher cost and requires professional help to complete.

Replacing the plastic chrome part

In some cases, if the chrome plastic part is too worn or damaged, it may be best to simply replace the part. However, this is typically the most expensive option.

Safety Considerations

Safety should never be ignored, especially when working with paint and similar substances.

Working in a well-ventilated area

Proper ventilation is key to ensure you are not inhaling the paint fumes, which can be harmful. Make sure to work in an open space or a well-ventilated room.

Wearing protective gear

Safety goggles, masks and gloves can prevent the paint from coming into contact with your eyes, mouth, nose and skin. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Following manufacturer’s instructions

Each product comes with usage instructions that should be followed closely. These include shaking the paint can before use, testing the paint on a small area first, and suggested drying times.


Spray painting plastic chrome can drastically change its appearance, breathing new life into it. It’s a cost-effective and flexible way to customize your belongings and to spruce them up. However, this task requires patience, time, and a fair bit of practice. Ensure you take all the necessary steps, from preparation to safety, to make the process a successful one. And don’t forget, if all else fails, you have other alternatives to consider! Happy painting!

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