How to Paint a Water Bottle

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You can paint a water bottle if it is properly conditioned for adhesion. If your bottle is made of plastic or stainless steel, it cannot absorb the adhesives within paint. To ensure a lasting finish, roughen the bottle using the proper materials and techniques. Abrade plastic bottles to help them hold a primer base. Use an acidic etching primer on stainless steel bottles, or peeling will prove inevitable. Choose an enduring topcoat for your bottle, or fading and chipping may eventually ensue.

Things You'll Need

  • Water-based soap
  • Nylon sponge
  • Towel
  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Professional painters' tape
  • Canvas drop cloth
  • Acrylic spray primer or acidic metal-etching primer
  • Acrylic spray enamel
  • Set the bottle in a bathtub and scrub it with soap, using a coarse nylon sponge. Rinse the water bottle under the tap; dry it with a clean towel.

  • Scour plastic water bottles with sandpaper until they have a subtle grit. Don't paint smooth plastic water bottles, or the finish will chip away.

  • Take the bottle outdoors or into an open garage and place it atop a canvas drop cloth.

  • Add an appropriate bonding primer based on the bottle's composition. For plastic water bottles, select a flexible acrylic primer. If your bottle is made out of stainless steel, use an acidic metal-etching primer. Apply the primer using techniques that will ensure a finish free from flaws: Hold the can eight inches from the water bottle as you apply brief, intermittent bursts. Don't spray long, saturating streams of primer onto the bottle, or runs and sags will show up in the finish. Let the bottle dry for two hours.

  • Paint the water bottle just as you primed it. Don't use standard latex paint, which won't hold up on surfaces prone to handling; instead, apply an acrylic enamel. Let the final enamel finish dry for two hours.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't work in an unventilated area.
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