It's possible to paint on rubber, but if it's not done correctly, the paint will eventually chip off and peel away. The paint you use depends on your painting project.
Before painting on rubber, make sure you clean the rubber thoroughly and let it dry completely.
Removable Rubber Coating
If you want the option of removing the paint from the rubber after a period of time, use a removable rubber coating. This type of paint, which you can find in spray form, works well for projects in which you aren't sure if you want the paint to be permanent, yet it is still highly durable and will not peel away on its own.
Removable rubber coating can be a choking hazard. Do not apply it to children's toys, pet toys or other items that could be chewed or inserted in the mouth.
For indoor items made of rubber that will not get a lot of wear and tear, use acrylic craft paint. You may need to use two coats, and be sure to let the paint dry thoroughly between coats. After the paint is completely dry, seal it. Find a paint sealer in the paint department at a craft or home improvement store.
If you plan to paint an item that will remain outside, use a durable, non-toxic outdoor paint. Before starting the painting project, coat the rubber with an exterior primer to help the paint adhere, and let it dry completely. You can either brush on the paint or use spray paint.
If you're painting an outdoor item, such as a tire that will be used as a tire planter, use a light paint color. Dark colors absorb more heat and make the rubber hotter to the touch; whereas, light colors reflect light and are cooler to the touch.
Commercial-Grade Marine Paint
For maximum durability, use a commercial-grade marine paint, the kind of paint used for boats and swimming pools. This type of paint has the highest resistance against fading, cracking and chipping since it's made to withstand harsh elements.
If you are painting a swimming pool that has already been painted, the type of paint you use depends on the kind of paint that was used previously. If your pool was painted with synthetic rubber or acrylic paint, you should use premium acrylic paint or water-based acrylic paint. If your pool was painted with chlorinated rubber paint, use premium acrylic paint.
- Do not ingest paint.
- Keep paint out of the reach of children.
- Always read all directions and warnings on your paint.
Jayne Elliott has a Bachelor of Arts in English: creative writing from Miami University. She has worked in film and advertising. When she's not writing, she's exploring creativity through craft projects and recipe creation. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and baby boy.