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DIY Chrome Paint for Plastic

Plastic storage bins, planters and decorative items are easy to come by and inexpensive. But they don't have a lot of pizazz. If you want chrome to match your design style but can only find things that you like and can afford in plastic, pick up some paint. Painting plastic is a lot easier than it sounds. Speciality paints designed just for slick surfaces like plastic make it easy to get a speciality finish on almost any surface. Metallic paints make it easy to transform plastic into chrome.

Clean the plastic item with trisodium phosphate (TSP) to remove residue from the surface and dull the shine of the plastic.

Sand the plastic with fine-grit sandpaper to create some "tooth" in the surface. The texture will allow the primer to adhere. Wipe away sanding dust with a damp tack cloth.

Move the plastic item onto a tarp outside.

Prime the plastic with a bonding primer in a spray can. Hold the can of primer 6 to 8 inches from the object. Move the spray in a steady back-and-forth motion to completely coat the plastic. Allow the first coat to dry to the touch. Apply a second coat. Allow the final coat to dry for four hours.

Spray paint the object with chrome paint. Choose a paint that is formulated for or adheres to plastic. Apply a thin coat of paint. You will still be able to see the primer through the first coat of paint. Let the first coat dry to the touch. Apply a second and third coat of paint. Allow the final coat to dry completely.

Apply spray polyurethane topcoat to the chrome-painted object. Spray polyurethane will add an extra layer of protection against scratches. Spray two to three light coats of topcoat.

Allow the object to cure for seven days. Do not handle or use the item during this time. You will know the paint is fully hardened when you can no longer make a mark in the paint with your fingernails.

Things You'll Need

  • Trisodium phosphate
  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Spray primer
  • Spray paint
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About the Author

Lisa East Hunter is a consultant and freelance writer in Phoenix. Her background in marketing and technology led her to explore all avenues of writing. She is currently dividing her time between freelance writing and her consulting business. Hunter has a Bachelor of Science in management information systems and marketing.