What type of paint will cover a plastic picture frame?

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What type of paint will cover a plastic picture frame?
Paint inexpensive plastic frames to match any decor. (plastic frame image by Ivan ivashin from Fotolia.com)

Sometimes it is difficult to find the perfect frame in the perfect colour, but the slick surface of plastic makes it difficult for some paints to adhere. With the right paint, you can easily transform any frame to complement the decor of your home.

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Even with the right paints, you still need to prepare your frame. Remove the glass and clean the frame thoroughly, removing all dust, dirt and grime.

Plastic-Specific Primer

In the past, you had to sand plastic, and hope that a latex primer would stick to it without melting the plastic. You can now buy specially formulated spray primers made to adhere to plastics. They provide a base which can be coated with any latex paint.

Why You Need a Primer

Primer is not paint. Anthony Karl Erdelji from Dr. Faust's Painting clinic explains, "Primer on a microscopic scale is made up of tiny rough particles that grip the surface of the figure and in turn help the paint to grip the primer." He adds that you should ensure the primer is plastic specific, as chemicals in regular primers can melt plastic.

Paint Options

You can paint a primed frame with any latex paint. Spray paint is easy to use, and gives a smooth finish, especially on intricate frames. Unfortunately, colour options are limited. Use foam brushes with regular paint for a smoother finish.


A painted frame should be as durable as any painted surface. Unfortunately, many plastics have flex to them, and paint will crack and chip if you bend or twist the frame.

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