How to Paint Rubbermaid Plastic Storage Bins

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Rubbermaid storage bins help provide you with much-needed space for stashing toys, out-of-season clothing, craft supplies and more. If you keep the bins out in the open where you see them day to day, dress them up a bit with fresh paint so they don't seem quite so drab or plain. If you'd rather go beyond a basic solid-color paint finish, dress them up with stripes, stenciled designs or even a chalkboard finish for custom labeling.


Clean Those Bins

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No matter how clean the bins look, clean them again to help ensure the paint sticks. Wash the bins inside and out with dish soap and warm water; wash the lids as well. Once they're dry, wipe the plastic down with rubbing alcohol to help remove any greasy residue that may hinder the paint.


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Painting the Bins

To Prime or Not to Prime

Generally speaking, painting a plastic bin requires a coat or two of plastic primer, otherwise the paint won't adhere. Paints designed to use on plastic -- no priming required -- offer a simpler option, although the color selection may be more limited. Prime the plastic with a plastic primer if you can't find the desired color in a dedicated plastic spray paint; otherwise, skip the primer and take the easy route with a plastic-specific paint.


Step 1

Select a well-ventilated area -- ideally outside -- to paint the storage bins. Cover the work surface with a plastic tarp, and then place the bins upside down on the tarp. Place the lids so the outside faces up, a few inches away on the tarp.

Step 2

Shake the spray can and spray each bin, starting each spray burst before it reaches the plastic and ending it beyond the plastic.


Step 3

Overlap the paint with each pass, holding the can 10 to 12 inches from the bins or lids as you paint.


If you must paint indoors, open windows and wear a respirator or dust mask to avoid breathing in fumes.

Design Options

If you seek style beyond solid colors for your Rubbermaid bins, dress them up a bit more by adding designs once the base color is completely cured; follow the recommended curing time mentioned on the spray can, as it may vary by brand.


  • Create stripes or chevrons by laying out the design with bits of painter's tape and painting a new color between the tape strips.
  • Make a chalkboard label area on one side of each bin by taping off a rectangle and painting inside it with chalkboard paint.
  • Create your own stencils for designs, such as a large unicorn or car silhouette for a toy-storage bin, by first drawing and cutting the shape out of contact paper. Place the contact paper "frame" over the desired area of the bin; paint inside the cutout area, and then peel the contact paper off once the paint dries.
  • Use premade stencils by securing them to the bins with painter's tape or with a removable spray adhesive, then painting a new color through the stencil holes.