The Voice of the Finishing Industry since 1936

  • PF Youtube
  • PF Facebook
  • PF Twitter
  • PF LinkedIn
2/1/2003 | 1 MINUTE READ

Painting Plastic

Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon

Question: I saw your name on the Internet.


Facebook Share Icon LinkedIn Share Icon Twitter Share Icon Share by EMail icon Print Icon


I saw your name on the Internet. I am hoping you can answer a very simple question though more and more it appears as if it would be easier to go to the moon. What is the best paint to use to paint ABS plastic? It will be out in the heat and the cold. T.N.


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation would be more harmful to acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) used outdoors than the heat and cold. Therefore, it should be coated with a pigmented material (paint) for UV protection.

Most paints are suitable for coating ABS. Owing to their better wetting ability, solvent borne paints would be a better choice. The rule of thumb for painting plastics: Try the proposed paint on a small hidden area or scrap part, and if the plastic is not attacked by the paint, use it.

Prepaint surface preparation for plastics is as important as it is for metals. Some plastics require special pretreatments such as chemical etching, corona discharge, flame treating, plasma pretreatment, or laser pretreatment after cleaning. ABS can be pretreated by abrading. Since this sounds like a home project, you will not have access to industrial finishing materials and equipment. In that case, a typical pretreatment for ABS is as follows:

1. Degrease the surface with an aqueous alkaline cleaner (powdered alkaline household cleaner) or detergent solution (dishwashing detergent) and rinse with clear water.
2. Abrade the surface with fine sand paper.
3. Remove any sanding dust.
4. Apply the solvent-containing paint of your choice.


Related Topics


  • Masking for Surface Finishing

    Masking is employed in most any metal finishing operation where only a specifically defined area of the surface of a part must be exposed to a process. Conversely, masking may be employed on a surface where treatment is either not required or must be avoided. This article covers the many aspects of masking for metal finishing, including applications, methods and the various types of masking employed.

  • Pretreatment for Painting

    Better adhesion, enhanced corrosion and blister resistance, and reduced coating-part interactions make pretreatment a must.

  • 2020 Vision: The Future of Coatings

    The year 2020 will be here before you know it, signaling the beginning of a new decade and bringing changes to the world as we know it.