The Best Way to Paint Cardboard

Written by ryan lawrence
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The Best Way to Paint Cardboard
Treat cardboard like bare wood. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Painting cardboard is not particularly difficult as long as you understand the fundamentals of paint preparation. Cardboard is really just heavy-duty paper; however, unlike the sheets of paper you can paint water colours on, bare cardboard isn't especially suited for lasting painted finishes. To promote a lasting finish, treat the cardboard like bare wood. Apply a coat of bonding primer that will contribute to better adhesion and a longer-lasting finish.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tack cloths
  • Canvas dust sheet
  • Latex primer
  • Synthetic polyester paintbrush
  • Polyester paintbrush
  • Latex paint
  • Acrylic paint
  • Craft brushes
  • Stencils

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  1. 1

    Wipe dust from the cardboard using tack cloths. Skipping this step could lead to peeling due to adhesion difficulties.

  2. 2

    Set the cardboard on a canvas dust sheet. You may also use a cheaper plastic dust sheet; however, these tend to allow paint to pool.

  3. 3

    Coat the cardboard with latex primer using a polyester paintbrush. Apply a light coating to prevent ugly sag marks. Let the cardboard dry for two hours.

  4. 4

    Wash the brush in the sink or bathtub, using running water only.

  5. 5

    Paint the cardboard in the same way you primed it, using the clean brush. Let the cardboard dry for two hours. Touch-up any skipped areas if necessary.

Tips and warnings

  • If you'd like to paint cardboard for artistic purposes, apply an acrylic paint, using craft brushes. For a durable, longer-lasting finish, choose a latex paint.
  • You can generate sharp, professional looking patterns and designs on cardboard by using stencils. Purchase stencils at your local craft store.

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