Painting plastics – when, why and how to do it right?

Painting plastics is a process that may seem easy at first glance. If you have individual pieces for home use and have the appropriate equipment, you can varnish the components yourself. For mass production, it is necessary to establish cooperation with a professional painting plant. Regardless of the chosen method of applying a varnish coating, you must always ensure the selection of appropriate varnish products, proper surface preparation and precise application of varnish layers. Only then will the finished surface be durable, aesthetic and maintain its perfect appearance for many years. So how to varnish plastics? Check out our guide and find out more.

Why paint plastics?

There are many situations in which painting plastics has a very practical justification. Let’s start with home methods for painting plastic and the reasons why it is worth choosing this method of renovating plastic elements. You can decide to paint plastic yourself for various reasons:

  • swing seat repair,
  • damaged plastic garden table top,
  • renovation of housings for electronics and household appliances.

Whenever we want to renovate the surface of a plastic part, it is worth considering painting. In order for the new paint coating to stay on the plastic surface, you must properly prepare for the painting process. However, we will mention this later in the article.

In the case of industrial painting of plastic components, the reasons for painting are completely different. It is primarily the desire to distinguish the product and protect it against damage and the effects of UV rays that cause fading. Moreover, painting plastic allows the aesthetic appearance of plastics to be maintained for many years, which is particularly important in the automotive industry and household appliances.

Application of plastic varnishing in practice

Nowadays, painting plastics is a technique used in many industries, especially in industries such as: industry, automotive, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, production, and dentistry. Plastic painting is used wherever products made of plastic need to be properly protected, e.g. against the effects of external weather conditions.

Get to know examples of practical use of plastic varnishing:

  • cosmetics packaging,
  • plastic toy parts,
  • car body and interior decors,
  • housing for household appliances,
  • electrical installation industry – e.g. electrical sockets,
  • motorcycle accessories,
  • and many others…

Painting plastic is a frequently used method that allows you to protect, renovate and highlight the advantages of products made of any selected plastic.

How to paint plastics?

You can choose any method to paint plastic, but it is best to use a professional painting shop. This is a guarantee that the paint coating will be durable and applied with perfection.

However, if we want to paint individual pieces at home, popular methods of coating plastic with varnish are:

  • acrylic paints for plastics – they are perfect for painting PVC elements, and are additionally resistant to UV rays,
  • spray paint – these are also acrylic paints, although intended for spray varnishing, which allows for perfect surface coverage,
  • structural varnishes – they are an ideal choice, especially if we want to hide the imperfections of the plastic and additionally protect its surface against damage.

Classic acrylic spray paints can be used at home, while professional varnishes are dedicated to spray painting plants, e.g. using the wet-on-wet method.

Painting plastic – what problems can be encountered?

Plastics are easy to process mechanically, but they are also poorly resistant to thermal and chemical factors. There are many problems that can be encountered when applying a paint layer to the surface of selected plastic elements, including:

  • greasiness of the material (often encountered if the injection process is carried out using silicone-based release agents),
  • too much regranulate, causing brittleness of the material and strong reaction to the thinner,
  • visibly strong defects after the injection process, such as flow lines, sink marks, weld lines, visible traces of ejectors or the injection point.

Possible cavities can be dealt with by using filling primers. Then it is also necessary to smooth the surface by mattifying it. In the case of old paint coatings, we recommend using a professional acrylic paint solvent. Thanks to this, the plastic will not be damaged and the paint coating will be removed. Poor quality solvents may react with the plastic, causing damage and melting of the material. Before you start cleaning the plastic from the paint coating, make sure that the solvent you choose is safe.

Painting plastic – 3 steps to a perfect surface

The process of painting plastics is not complicated, but you need to be properly prepared to create a perfect surface. The three standard steps are:

  • Cleaning, mattifying and degreasing the surface (or just blowing with ionized air if the material was properly manufactured),
  • Varnishing elements,
  • Drying and seasoning.

Of course, the process can be much more complex, especially if heavily damaged plastic elements are being painted, e.g. car bumpers after a collision.

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