Styrofoam is a popular material to use in many arts and crafts. The only problem is that it comes default in a very bland white color. Painting Styrofoam can help any project come to life. The main problem is knowing what paint is safe to use on Styrofoam. This leads to a question that is asked by many. Does acrylic paint eat or damage Styrofoam?
The answer to this question is no. Water-based acrylics are actually one of the best paints to use on Styrofoam since it adheres so well to it. One of the main issues you will run into when painting Styrofoam is how porous it is. You will most likely need to use several coats of paint until it gets the desired look you are striving for.
The best type of brush to use when painting Styrofoam with acrylic paint is a foam brush. Avoid using spray paints at all costs as this will eat the Styrofoam and ruin whatever project you are working on.
If you’re just looking for and acrylic paint kit, we highly recommend this Arteza paint kit.
Can You Use Latex Paint on Styrofoam?
Water-based latex paint is safe to use on Styrofoam. Acrylic and latex paint are actually both made up of acrylic resins. Acrylic paints will generally last longer than latex paint. Latex paint is most commonly used for painting houses, while acrylic paints are used for art projects.
Latex paint generally covers more surface area when painting which means you will need to use less coats. Using less coats of paint will also mean less money spent which is why it is mainly used for big projects like painting houses.
Using latex paint on Styrofoam can have its advantages over acrylic paint. You won’t need as many coats to have the desired look and you will also need less paint. Just keep in mind that if you use latex paint on Styrofoam, it will not last as long as if you used acrylic paint. Acrylic paint is more elastic than latex paint which means that it will crack and flake less as temperature fluctuates. The longevity of acrylic paint will outweigh latex paint.
Does this mean latex paint is inferior to acrylics when it comes to painting Styrofoam? Absolutely not. If your Styrofoam project won’t be in fluctuating temperatures like the outside of a home, then you should be perfectly fine using latex paint. You will get your project done sooner, and spend less money doing it.
Can I Mix Acrylic Paint and Latex Paint to Use on Styrofoam?
Acrylic and latex paints are very similar to each other as both are water-based paints. Like I mentioned previously, the main difference between them is the longevity. Acrylics are mostly used in art projects since they last longer, and latex paints are mainly used for houses due to the high coverage and low cost.
It is safe to mix acrylic paint with latex since they are both water-based paints. You may wish to mix them together to get the perfect color or texture for your project and that’s perfectly fine.
How to Mix Acrylic Paint and Latex Paint
What You Need:
- A small bucket or plastic container
- Acrylic paint tubes
- A pint of latex paint
- Paint stirrer
- The first thing you want to do is open the can of latex paint. Pour it into your container. Start with small amounts of paint since it is easier to correct the color and texture than if you were to start with a large amount of paint.
- Grab a tube of acrylic paint and squirt a small amount into your container. Be sure to use less paint than know you’ll need for the color your after. It’s always easier to add more color in small amounts than it is to take it away.
- Mix the paint together generously with your paint stirrer until well blended. Always test your paint on a strip of paper or a piece of whatever you are using for your current project. This will give you an accurate visual of how the paint will look.
What Kind of Paints Can Be Used on Styrofoam?
Here is a small list of the types of paint that can effectively be used on Styrofoam:
- Acrylic Paint – Acrylic paint is the number one option. It adheres the best to Styrofoam and lasts the longest.
- Latex Paint – Latex paint is a close second. You need less coats to get the desired color on Styrofoam, but it will not last as long as acrylic paint.
- Tempera Paint – This is another water-based paint that adheres well to foam. This type of paint is found in many arts and crafts stores which makes it readily available. This paint has a few downsides. This paint should not be used on Styrofoam projects that will have exposure to water. It also comes in a limited amount of colors and does not mix well with other paint.
- Spray Paints – Most spray paints are not safe to use on Styrofoam, but model spray paints are an exception. Many model spray paints are created from acrylic and are specially made to be used on Styrofoam.
How Do You Seal Styrofoam Before Painting?
Sealing Styrofoam before painting is a pretty simple process. You can use a regular craft sealant like Mod Podge. Simply apply the sealant with a foam brush and then let it dry before you paint the Styrofoam.
Another type of sealant you can use is Foam Finish. This effectively fills and seals all the cracks in the Styrofoam to provide you with a solid base for you to paint over.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the specific sealant you are using so you are informed about drying times and possible additional coats.