Can you paint Plexiglass, and can you tint Plexiglass? Both are good questions. You’ve probably seen plexiglass in windshields and photo frames, though it is often confused with regular glass. Plexiglass is a petroleum-based product that is lighter and shatter-resistant and therefore used as a glass replacement. It is also called acrylic glass.
Plexiglass and regular glass are pretty different, though, so you have to take a different approach when you want to paint or tint it.
So today, our topic of discussion is learning how to paint and tint Plexiglass the right way!
On your marks…get set…READ!
What You'll Learn...
- 1 Can You Paint Plexiglass?
- 2 How to Paint Plexiglass
- 3 Can You Tint Plexiglass?
- 4 How to Tint Plexiglass
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- 6 Wrapping it Up
Can You Paint Plexiglass?
Plexiglass is a great material to paint, but it depends on what products you have. While they look very similar and act in many ways like glass does (except for durability), there are some key differences between the two that will need adjustment if painting your window panes or exterior door panels with them instead of using traditional paints/stains:
1) Plexi has less flexibility than regular acrylics, which means that anything installed onto its surface should be able to withstand greater forces without bending too much beneath tension
2). The molecular makeup means plexis doesn’t resist scratching nearly as easily – I would recommend adding protection by using something such as spray primer.
Similarly, glass paints won’t work well for plexiglass because plexiglass is an entirely different substance altogether. The best paint for plexiglass is acrylics, found at reasonable prices almost everywhere. You can use anything to apply the paint, from paintbrushes to spray cans.
Other paints may not work so well on plexiglass, likely due to its composition as a petroleum-based substance. However, most paints suitable for plastics also work well enough for plexiglass, so you can compare how well certain types of paints work on plastic if you don’t know what to go for.
How to Paint Plexiglass
When painting plexiglass, first, you have to decide what exactly you want to paint. Are you painting the entire surface, or do you want to paint something specific?
Depending on what you’re aiming for, you may have to sketch out what you want to paint and keep it under the plexiglass sheet. Then, tracing over it with a paintbrush, you can get that image onto the plexiglass sheet itself.
From here, you can start with painting it properly.
Thicker paint layers take longer to dry, so you have to make sure that all the paint has dried adequately before you go in for the second or third layers.
Using a blow dryer may help speed up the process, but be careful not to let it get too hot. Higher temperatures can warp the painting.
How Do You Get Paint to Stick to Plexiglass?
Even with acrylics, the issue is that the paint is easy to scrape off, even after being dried. If you’re using plexiglass as a replacement for glass, you can expect a lot of wear and tear. The paint will easily get scraped off if you don’t make it stick.
To make the color last longer, all you have to do is seal it with a sealant spray that is developed specifically for acrylic paints. This creates a thin layer over the paint itself and thus keeps it from getting damaged.
Aleene’s Acrylic Sealer is our recommendation for the best protective coating on painted Plexiglass.
Can You Tint Plexiglass?
Tinting plexiglass is also possible, but you cannot use the same paints for tinting as you would for regular glass. As with painting, the best paints for tinting plexiglass is the one that is used for plastics.
How to Tint Plexiglass
So, you know that selecting the right paint is necessary, but how do you tint plexiglass?
The first step is to prepare the surface you want to tint. Use some sandpaper to roughen the surface and wipe off the dust. Make sure you’ve covered any areas you don’t want to get the tint on!
Now, apply a fine coat of the tint you want, and wait for it to dry. You can apply more coats if you think the shade isn’t suitable. Keep the plexiglass in a well-ventilated area to make it dry faster.
Don’t forget to spray a clear coat of sealant spray over it after being dried. This will protect the paint from chipping and scraping and keep it from wearing out over time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can You Use Paint Thinner on Plexiglass?
Paint thinner can be used on plexiglass, but you have to be very careful with the concentration. Highly concentrated paint thinners can damage the plexiglass itself, so using a diluted solution is always a good idea. Be gentle with rubbing away the paint so that the sheet underneath does not get damaged.
Does Acrylic Paint Wash Off Plexiglass?
Due to the slick surface underneath, acrylic paints are just as easy to wash off plexiglass as regular glass. Using a sealant spray can make this process a bit difficult, but for the most part, with a solution of vinegar and ammonia, you can easily strip off the acrylic paint from the sheet. Avoid using any sharp or pointed items since this can result in scratches on the sheet.
Does Static Cling Window Film Work on Plexiglass?
You cannot use static cling or any other type of window film on plexiglass due to the high chance of outgassing. Chemical reactions occur between the film and the plexiglass, which can result in the appearance of bubbles.
Window films are also challenging to remove from plexiglass and can cause damage if you try. The best option is to go for a tint instead.
Can Window Tint Be Applied to Plexiglass?
You can easily use tints on windows made of plexiglass, but you cannot use regular window tints again. Standard window tints on plexiglass will not just stay properly, but it also comes with the risk of outgassing and formation of bubbles. Use special tints made specifically for plexiglass only.
Wrapping it Up
Painting on plexiglass is very much possible and can have beautiful results. The only caveat is that you should use the correct type of paints for the material and not use items that can cause damage.
It’s important to remember that plexiglass is a glass substitute, but it is inherently still very different and should thus be treated.