How to Paint Styrofoam

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.

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

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.


Step 1

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

Video of the Day

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.


To use spray-paint on Styrofoam, select a paint specially designed for Styrofoam products. Apply the paint in a well-ventilated area. Spray-paint goes on thinner than paint on a brush, so the original foam texture may still be visible through the paint.

If you don't mind a hole in the Styrofoam, a skewer or toothpick pressed into one end creates a handle by which to hold the project while painting. Toothpicks may be used to create a tripod to hold a painted object off the table; simply stick the toothpicks through the bottom of the foam in a triangular formation.


Video of the Day

references & resources

Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...