How to Paint Acoustic Foam

Updated February 21, 2017

If your acoustic foam panels are old, faded or outdated, it is possible to paint them. However, it is important to keep in mind that painting may compromise the ability of the acoustic foam to absorb sound frequencies. Using the correct kind of paint and painting technique will keep these compromises to a minimum.

Attach the hose to your vacuum cleaner and vacuum the panels to ensure they are free of dust particles and other contaminates that will interfere with the paint layer.

Dilute water-based primer with water. Use 2 to 3 parts of water for every 10 parts of primer. Acoustic foam is typically grey and needs to be primed white before painting with colour. Diluting will allow the primer to absorb into the foam, keeping the foam’s surface pores from becoming clogged.

Paint the primer onto the foam with a bristle brush and use the bristles to work the primer into the foam. Do not paint thick layers. Again, this will help prevent the pores from being filled. Allow the primer to dry once finished. You may want to use a spray primer, however many aerosol products will disintegrate foam.

Dilute water-based paint with water. Use 2 to 3 parts of water for every 10 parts of paint. Paint the foam with a thin coat--again taking care to not fill the foam’s pores. Alternatively at this stage you can use spray paint, as the primer has created a barrier that will prevent it from eating away at the foam.

Things You'll Need

  • Vacuum with hose attachment
  • Water-based primer
  • Bristle paintbrush
  • Water-based paint or spray paint
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About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.