How to paint on flexible vinyl

Updated February 21, 2017

If you would like to paint flexible vinyl, you will have to combat a pair of important issues. First, because vinyl is nonporous, it will not accept paint adhesion. You must abrade the flexible vinyl to provide a tooth for the paint to latch onto. In addition, if the vinyl is flexible, you will have to use a particular type of paint, capable of bending along with the vinyl surface, or you will end up with a finish that eventually cracks and peels.

Clean the flexible vinyl with dish soap, using a coarse sponge. Rinse soap from the vinyl with wet rags. Dry the vinyl with towels.

Encourage paint adhesion by sanding the flexible vinyl with 220-grit sandpaper.

Cover portions of the flexible vinyl you don't want painted with painter's tape. Cover the surface beneath the vinyl with a dust sheet.

Read the labelling on the back of your flexible vinyl spray paint to see if it calls for a base primer. Apply a coat of acrylic latex primer if it does. Hold the spray can eight inches away from the vinyl as you apply it. Wait for 2 hours for the primed vinyl to dry. Skip this step if the can of flexible vinyl paint requires no bonding primer.

Coat the flexible vinyl with flexible vinyl spray paint. Apply the vinyl paint just as you would the primer. Wait six hours before handling the vinyl.


Don't prime or paint over dirty vinyl or the finish may peel. Don't sand the vinyl, using sandpaper with a grit lower than 220, or you may mar the surface with abrasion scars. Don't use plain masking or scotch tape in place of a low-tack painter's tape or paint may bleed underneath. Don't use duct or electrical tape as they both may leave adhesive residue behind. Don't use ordinary latex or oil-based paints as they will not provide adequate flexibility to move with the vinyl.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Coarse sponge
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Acrylic latex spray primer
  • Flexible vinyl spray paint
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About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.