How to Paint Tolex

Updated February 21, 2017

Tolex is a flexible vinyl material used as part of some amplifiers and guitar cases. Like other flexible vinyl surfaces, Tolex can be difficult to paint for a pair of reasons. Unlike porous materials, Tolex is incapable of absorbing paint adhesives. Even if you are able to get ordinary latex or oil paint to bond to your Tolex, these coatings will crack and flake, because they aren't suited for pliable surfaces. Fortunately, you may paint your Tolex as long as you use a special finish made for flexible, nonporous materials.

Wash the Tolex with soap. Move the sponge in a circular motion. Rinse the Tolex with wet rags. Dry the flexible vinyl with towels or wait an hour for it to air dry.

Shield areas of the amplifier or guitar case next to the Tolex, using painter's tape/masking paper. Place the amplifier or guitar case on a dust sheet.

Coat the Tolex with flexible vinyl spray paint. Don't hold the can too close, or sagging will result. Maintain 8 inches between the Tolex and spray nozzle as you apply to promote a neat, flawless finish. Allow the Tolex to dry for two hours.


Even if you can't see dust, it may still be present. Never paint unwashed Tolex, or the finish is likely to peel. Maintain 8 inches between the Tolex and spray nozzle, or unsightly sagging will occur. Don't use latex or oil paint on Tolex, as these finishes aren't flexible enough to move with pliable vinyl.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Coarse sponge
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Heavy-duty fabric dust sheet
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Masking paper
  • 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.