You can paint beads with a variety of different types of paint. However, if you want the finish to remain durable, you will need to employ specific preparation techniques, or the paint will ultimately flake. In addition, because beads can be made from wood, plastic, glass, metal and stone, you should choose a particular type of paint, based on the composition of your beads, or you may end up with disappointing results. The right combination of prep work and the appropriate paint will promote an attractive finish that will remain durable over a long period of time.
Wash the beads with dish soap and rinse them with wet rags. Dry the clean beads with towels.
Promote adhesion by abrading plastic beads with sandpaper. Scour the beads until they have a slight grit. Skip this step if the beads are wood, glass, metal or stone.
Move the beads outdoors or to a ventilated area. Cover portions of the beads you do not want painted with painter's tape and lay them on fabric dust sheets.
Coat the beads with acrylic latex primer. Hold the can 8 inches from the beads as you apply. Use a galvanised metal etching spray primer on metallic beads. Do not prime glass beads. Wait four hours for the primed beads to dry.
Coat the primed beads with acrylic spray enamel. Hold the can 8 inches from the beads as you apply. Use glass spray paint on glass beads. Wait six hours for the finished beads to dry.
Never prime unsanded plastic beads, or the finish will fail Never paint bare wood, plastic, metal or stone beads, or the paint will peel. Do not use acrylic latex primer on metallic beads, or the paint will peel. Do not use acrylic enamel on glass beads, or you may have problems with adhesion.