How to Paint Styrofoam

Styrofoam is notoriously difficult to paint if the wrong type of paint is used or the foam isn't coated with a primer first. Some types of paints and spray-paints may chip quickly off after drying or damage the foam. Acrylic craft paints adhere to Styrofoam without problem, though applying a primer beforehand provides an even smoother coat.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspaper
  • Painter's tape
  • Latex or acrylic primer
  • Disposable plates
  • Paintbrush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Plastic cups
  • Polyurethane sealer or decoupage medium
  • Foam brush

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Step 1

Cover the work surface in newspaper. Set the Styrofoam atop the newspaper.

Step 2

Cover any areas of the foam that you do not wish to paint, such as the sides on a flat block, with painter's tape.

Step 3

Squirt or pour some acrylic or latex primer onto a disposable plate. Prime the Styrofoam by applying a smooth coat with a paintbrush. Allow the primer to dry completely. Apply a second coat if the foam is still visible through the primer, and then allow that coat to dry as well.

Step 4

Squirt a bit of acrylic paint into a disposable plate. Paint the Styrofoam with a paintbrush using smooth, even strokes. After the first coat dries, apply a second if the primer is still visible through the paint, allowing it to dry completely between coats.

Step 5

Paint additional details on the foam, if desired, using artist's brushes and a second color of acrylic paint.

Step 6

Seal the project by applying a coat of a polyurethane sealer or decoupage medium with a foam brush to help protect the paint.


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