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What if you paint on rubber and it peels off over time? Or maybe you couldn’t get the paint to adhere to the rubber at all. Considering the difficulty of recycling rubber, it is always a good idea to renew your rubber shoes, boot, tires and rubber trim by repainting them.

If you’re going to spend the time and the money to paint on a rubber item, make sure it will not only look good but also last for a long time. It is because paint, technique, and rubber type will influence long-term results. This article will show you the right way how to paint on rubber, whether it be for an interior or exterior paint spraying project. We will also discuss how to prepare the rubber surface, which paints to use, and what protection to apply to make it more durable.

Spray paint for rubber

Can You Paint Rubber?

The durability of rubber makes it a popular material for use in arts and crafts, as well as for decorations around the home. The main concern about this material is its ability to be painted. Painting on rubber is possible when you follow the correct preparations and techniques.

There is a wide selection of paint available based on what type of rubber you have. Choosing the right material to use when painting rubber is the first step in creating the best result. If you choose the wrong paint, the paint will peel and chip.

So, here are your options to spray paint for rubber surfaces:

best paint For Rubber Surfaces

Exterior Paint For Rubber

Durability is the most important factor when painting outside items. That’s why you need best paint for outdoor rubber that is resistant to the elements.

The rubber material should be coated with an exterior primer before painting to increase durability. By doing so, the paint will adhere better and last longer. Next, let the primer dry completely.

In addition, spray paint for rubber, roll or brush are some of the methods you can use to apply exterior paint.

The KRYLON Color Master is the reliable choice for a fast-drying, durable solution that adds a burst of color to your rubber projects.

This versatile spray paint is formulated for use on a variety of materials such as plastic, metal, and wood, making it perfect for both indoor and outdoor projects. It boasts a quick-drying formula, ensuring your projects are ready in 10 minutes or less. What makes this spray paint exceptional is the innovative Covermax technology, providing excellent coverage and vibrant colors.

However, you should avoid using it on highly flexible rubber items like stretchy gloves or swim caps, as they may not hold the paint as effectively.

Commercial-grade Marine Paint

Marine paint is extremely weather-resistant. If you use marine paint, the paint will not crack, peel, or fade when exposed to direct sunlight. This paint is used for projects involving water, such as painting rubber parts of boats or swimming pools.

Removable Rubber Coating

When you want to remove the paint, the best method of painting rubber is to use a removable coating. They are perfect for projects that require short-term painting. Even though the coating is removable, it is durable and does not chip or peel. This coating comes in spray bottles.

Acrylic Paint

As with spray painting football helmets, acrylic paint is best suited to indoor projects without a great deal of wear and tear.

I often used Apple Barrel acrylic paint for painting rubber surfaces. With 18 vibrant colors in convenient 2 oz bottles, it offers versatility. The matte finish enhances the look, while easy application ensures a professional result.

You need to dry first coat fully before applying a second layer. Next, after applying the paint sealer, let it dry completely and the best part is cleanup process is super easy with just soap and water.

How to paint rubber without cracking quickly?

  1. Wipe away any dirt on the rubber surface because dirty rubber surfaces won’t adhere paint.
  2. The rubber surface must be completely dry before painting, as water will prevent paint from adhering to it.
  3. Pick a paint that matches your painting surface.
  4. Use an exterior primer. Whenever you are going to use the rubber outside, this step will be important in order to ensure that the paint will adhere to the rubber without cracking.
  5. The primer must dry completely before the next layer is applied. 
  6. You can use a brush to apply exterior paint or marine paint to a rubber surface. If the paint is not sufficient to cover the surface, you may need to paint two coats. Be sure to wait until each one is completely dry before applying the next. 
  7. A paint sealer can be applied after the paint has dried to further waterproof the item. It is not mandatory, but highly recommended when an item will be exposed to the elements. 

How to paint rubber tires?


Painting rubber tires can be an enjoyable and creative project, allowing you to add a personal touch to your projects. Below is a step-by-step guide to painting rubber tires:

Materials Needed:

  1. Rubber Primer
  2. Acrylic Paint or Spray Paint
  3. Paintbrushes or Spray Paint Gun
  4. Masking Tape
  5. Drop Cloths or Newspaper
  6. Rubbing Alcohol
  7. Sandpaper (optional)

Step 1: Clean the Tires

Start by thoroughly cleaning the tires to eliminate any dirt or debris. I used a mixture of water and mild soap, along with a brush for cleaning rubber tires. After that, I rinsed it well and left it to dry completely.

Step 2: Sanding (Optional)

If the rubber surface is exceptionally smooth, consider lightly sanding it to provide a better surface for the primer and paint to adhere to. Utilize fine-grit sandpaper and ensure an even application.

Step 3: Apply Rubber Primer

Use a rubber primer to promote proper adhesion of the paint to the rubber surface. Apply a thin, even coat and allow it to dry completely, adhering to the recommended drying times provided by the primer.

Step 4: Masking

You can use masking tape to create distinct patterns or shield specific areas from paint. Use masking tape. Ensure the tape is firmly pressed to prevent any paint bleeding.

Step 5: Apply the Base Coat

Opt for high-quality acrylic or spray paint designed for rubber surfaces. Apply a uniform base coat to completely cover the surface.. If using a brush, employ long, smooth strokes to avoid streaks. Allow the base coat to dry thoroughly.

Step 6: Apply Additional Coats

Depending on the desired color and coverage, apply additional coats of paint. Ensure each coat is thoroughly dry before proceeding to the next, adhering to the recommended drying times as per the paint manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 7: Remove Masking Tape

After the paint is completely dry, delicately remove the masking tape to unveil crisp lines and edges.

Step 8: Seal the Paint


Consider using a clear sealant designed for outdoor use to protect the paint and enhance durability, especially if the tires will be exposed to the elements.

Step 9: Let It Cure

Allow the painted tires to cure for the recommended time before handling or installing them.

How to Paint Rubber Shoes?

Paint Rubber Shoes

Materials Needed:

  1. Rubber Shoes
  2. Acrylic Paint
  3. Paintbrushes
  4. Painter’s Tape
  5. Sealant/Finisher
  6. Water and Cloth
  7. Coarse-grit Sandpaper


  1. Clean shoes thoroughly with soapy water and a coarse bristle brush. Ensure they are dry.
  2. Use coarse-grit sandpaper to scuff the rubber surface, removing gloss for better paint adhesion.

Cleaning Rubber Before Painting:

  1. Wipe down with a tack cloth to eliminate grit and dust.
  2. Optionally, use painter’s tape to cover areas not to be painted, especially if working on the upper part.

Spray Painting Rubber Shoes/ Boots:

  1. Shake the spray can for 2-3 minutes to guarantee thorough mixing.
  2. Place boots on newspaper outdoors; if indoors, wear a respirator and ensure proper ventilation.
  3. Keep the spray can approximately 8 inches away from the surface. Apply paint on shoes in short, controlled bursts, moving the can in short strokes to prevent drips.
  4. Choose several thin coats over a single thick one for a polished, uniform result. Ensure each coat is entirely dry before advancing to the next.
  5. Be mindful of the drying time, as specified on the spray can.

Additional Tips:

  • Consider using a heat-setting method if using fabric paint for longer-lasting results.
  • Expect a change in texture post-painting.
  • The paint may wear off over time, especially in high-friction areas.
  • Take precautions against overspray.
  • Apply a sealant for protection and longevity.
  • Drying time will be specified on the spray can.

Different Rubber types

There are different types of rubber that are suitable for painting. You can see some people painting rubber tires for their yards, or even rain boots made of rubber.

Hard or soft rubber can be painted in a number of ways. The more flexible the rubber, the harder it is to keep a paint coat on your it. However, paint on a hard rubber will not crack, but it might peel or wear off over time.

Will paint adhere to rubber?

Paint generally does not adhere well to rubber surfaces due to their smooth and non-porous nature. To enhance adhesion, clean the surface, sand lightly, and use a primer designed for rubber.

Is rubber coating waterproof?

Rubber coatings, such as those in liquid rubber sealants, are often waterproof, creating a protective barrier against water.

Does epoxy paint stick to rubber?

Epoxy paint may not adhere well to rubber, it can effectively bond rubber to other materials like metal and glass. To improve adhesion, clean and sand the rubber, use a primer, and consider fast-curing silicone compounds for small projects involving rubber bonding.

The Best Way To Paint That Sticks To Rubber

  • A spray can applies a more even coat than a brush. 
  • Rubber coatings can be used to fill cracks, leaks, and small holes in rubber items.
  • Please read all directions carefully before working with any products.
  • Sometimes sanding the rubber surface will help the paint adhere to it. 
  • Several paint brands include primer as part of the paint, so you can paint and prime at the same time.

Conclusion On Spray Paint For Rubber

With a little planning and knowledge about the rubber you are going to paint on, you will determine which paint is best to use. On rubber, spraying works better than brushing or rolling. This step-by-step guide on how to paint rubber will hopefully be a good resource for those who are planning to paint rubber.

So, Are you ready to paint rubber for home use?

FAQs On How to Paint Rubber!

Can you paint rubber with any kind of paint?

Yes, it is possible to paint rubber, but the type of paint will depend on the project. You can apply acrylic paint to most surfaces, including rubber. After the paint has dried, seal indoor rubber items with sealant.

A lot of people use acrylic paint for arts and crafts. However, outdoor painting projects should be painted with exterior or marine paint for durability.

How do you apply acrylic paint for rubber? 

Acrylic is the best paint for rubber items. When applying two coats, make sure the paint has thoroughly dried between each coat before applying the next. When the paint has dried, seal the rubber items by applying sealant.

Is acrylic paint removable from rubber?

It is possible to apply acrylic paint to rubber, but if it’s applied improperly, it may peel off.

What is the Best primer for rubber?

Rubber is a flexible material, so it requires paint that won’t crack. You can add an exterior primer to your rubber material that will increase its durability. Using exterior paint is convenient because it can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed.

Can you spray paint rubber?

Yes, you can either spray paint rubber. Spray painting rubber tires is much easier than you might think.

Jennifer Marie-Holapaints writer

Jennifer Marie

Jennifer Marie is a general contractor with over the years of experience in home remodeling, DIY projects, and commercial painting projects. Her experience includes working with paint sprayers, painting tools, and other painting supplies. You can follow her on Facebook.

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