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How to paint plastic grills

Updated April 17, 2017

Spraying paint onto the plastic grill of a car may look nice at first, but the paint will crack, peel and come off after only a few days or weeks. Adding a few steps before spraying the paint ensures the paint sticks well and that it will last for years. Anyone can paint plastic grills and have them look professionally done.

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  1. Place masking tape around the plastic grill if it is still attached to the car. If it is separated, place the grill on a flat surface that won't be harmed by paint, or place newspaper underneath the grill.

  2. Sand the grill using a red scuff pad. This scuffs the surface and removes the glossy layer on top of the plastic material. Most plastic grills have a glossy, smooth surface, and the light scuffing allows for better adhesion. Sand in between any bars and in any corners of the grill.

  3. Wipe the grill with wax and grease remover and a towel. This removes any grease from fingerprints or old wax from cleaning products that can harm the paint.

  4. Spray the entire grill with a moderate coat of adhesion promoter spray. Keep the sprayer 8 to 10 inches from the surface of the grill and spray into the corners. Let the adhesion promoter dry for 30 minutes.

  5. Apply three to five coats of paint to the grill. Hold the paint sprayer 6 to 8 inches from the surface of the grill. Keep the coats light so there are no runs in the paint. Let each coat dry for five minutes.

  6. Spray three coats of clear coat paint, using the same techniques as with the colour paint. Let the grill dry for four hours before handling it.

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Things You'll Need

  • Masking tape
  • Red scuff pad
  • Wax and grease remover
  • Towel
  • Adhesion promoter spray
  • Spray paint
  • Clear-coat spray paint

About the Author

Jenny Carver

Since 1997 Jenny Carver has served as editor and freelance writer for many offline and online publications including lovetoknow.com, autotropolis.com, "Hoof Beat News," "Import Tuner" and others. Carver owns a custom automotive shop where she has been doing paint and body work, custom interior work and engine building for over 11 years.

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