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What Kind of Paint to Use on a Plastic Tablecloth?

Updated February 21, 2017

If you have a plastic tablecloth that needs to be spruced up for a party, then it is easy job to do with just a little paint and some fun sponge shapes. In painting a plastic tablecloth, however, the biggest obstacle you will run into is making sure you have the right kind of paint to go on plastic. Hosting parties can be stressful enough; the last thing you need is for the tablecloth's peeling paint to embarrass you in front of your guests.

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Plastic Primer

Plastic primer is an added support that will help paint stick to plastic, but it is not always needed. It can be purchased at any paint store, home improvement store or Wal-Mart. It is typically sold in spray cans. Duplicolor and Rustoleum both make reliable plastic primers.

Duplicolor Krylon Fusion Spray Paint

Duplicolor Krylon Fusion Spray Paint will stick to most things, including plastic. It is not necessary to use the plastic primer with Krylon Fusion Spray Paint. It comes in multiple colours and costs about £3 a can.

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paints, usually sold in the artist or painting section of a craft store, will stick to plastic. Before using the oil-based paint, however, it is recommended you use the plastic primer first. Oil-based paints take longer to dry than an acrylic paint; it has more odour. It will also not come out of anything it touches, so wear old clothes and paint the tablecloth in an area where you don't have to worry about spills.

Folkart Acrylic Paint for Plastic

Folkart and Apple acrylic paints for plastic from Plaid Enterprises will adhere, but it will take about 24 hours to dry, depending on the humidity. These acrylic paints would be especially nice to use if you are putting shapes or designs on the tablecloth, because if you do not like what you have put on, you can quickly wipe it off and start over before it begins to dry. Plaid offers more than 100 colours of acrylic paint to choose from in several different lines.

Acrylic Paint with Medium

Acrylic paint with medium added to it helps thin the paint and helps it to spread more evenly, allowing it to dry more quickly. The medium acts as a glue and will help the paint adhere to the plastic tablecloth. The plastic primer is recommended for the acrylic paint. Acrylic paint can be purchased at any craft store. Deco Art and Winsor & Newton both offer acrylic craft paints with medium (see link in Resources). For example, if you are using an acrylic paint with medium, it will be listed on the bottle. The label will read "Medium for Acrylic Paint."

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About the Author

Kelly Nuttall is a student at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. She is set to graduate in the spring of 2011 with her bachelor's degree in technical communications. She has been writing for various websites since March of 2009.

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