How to Paint Chipboard

Updated July 05, 2018

Chipboard letters and shapes are increasingly popular embellishments for scrapbook covers and pages, jewellery boxes and other craft projects. Chipboard is a pressed paper product, generally made from recycled materials. You can purchase pre-cut shapes or sheets at craft stores or you may use the backs of writing pads for thinner shapes.

Sand the edges of the shapes and brush away the dust. This will prevent the paint from making the rough edges unattractive.

Apply a coat of gesso to all of the chipboard surfaces. Allow it to dry thoroughly.

Paint the shapes with a thin coat of acrylic paint. It may be necessary to apply a second coat to cover the primer completely. Allow the paint to dry completely between coats.

Apply a thin coat of varnish to seal and protect the paint.


If you are unable to find gesso at a craft or home improvement store, apply a coat of acrylic varnish and then a coat of white acrylic paint to seal and prime the surfaces. Add glitter or ink to the painted shapes before varnishing. Add dimensional embellishments like buttons after the varnish has dried.


Multiple thin coats work better than single thick coats of paint or varnish, as a thicker coat may bubble from trapped air. Skipping the initial priming step will result in a duller paint colour. You will also need many more coats to cover the piece, as it will absorb the paint.

Things You'll Need

  • Chipboard shapes
  • Sandpaper
  • Gesso primer
  • Sponge brush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Acrylic varnish
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About the Author

Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.