How to Paint Plexiglas

Sheets of colored plexiglass.
  • 3 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 50
What You'll Need
Acrylic spray primer
Acrylic spray paint
Fine-grained sandpaper
Clean rags
Waterproof sealant
Proper respirator or dust mask
Adequate ventilation
What You'll Need
Acrylic spray primer
Acrylic spray paint
Fine-grained sandpaper
Clean rags
Waterproof sealant
Proper respirator or dust mask
Adequate ventilation

While ordinary plexiglass fits many applications, you can get even more use out of it by painting it. Painting plexiglass opens up a whole new field of possibilities for you to choose from. For example, you could customize your plexiglass furniture to match the existing decor or decorate it in any artistic way that you might wish. Be creative!

With the right technique, painting Plexiglas, or plastic glass, is as easy as painting any other material. The most important step in painting this material is correctly preparing the surface. Once you know how to prepare the plastic-glass surface, you can paint it quickly.

Step 1 - Sand and Clean the Plexiglass

Before you begin to paint, you must prepare the surface. A dirty surface will be difficult to paint, as will an extremely smooth surface.

First, use your fine-grained sandpaper on the surface of the plexiglass. Sand lightly and be sure to hit every spot. However, you don't need to sand very hard or for very long.

Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand the entire surface you want to paint. Do this carefully so that you don’t create any coarse scratches on the material. Wear a respirator mask and safety glasses to keep any plastic particles out of your lungs or eyes.

After cutting your Plexiglas into sheet sizes of your choosing, you should clean the plastic glass to remove any dirt or grease.

Get out a sponge and soak it in soapy water. Use the sponge to clean off the plexiglass you plan to paint. Then rinse out the sponge and use it to wipe off the plexiglass.

Finally, dry off the surface with a clean rag. Washing the plexiglass after sanding it ensures that no small particles get trapped under your coat of paint.

Once you’re done, clean up the dust you’ve made with a tack cloth.

hands sanding fiberglass with tool

Step 2 - Add Primer

The surface of your plexiglass is now ready to accept paint, but in order to get the best results, you should prime it first. Before priming, set up a drop cloth outside on a flat surface and set your plexiglass on top of it.

Get out your spray acrylic primer. Shake it thoroughly and hold it 18 to 24 inches away from the surface at a 45-degree angle. Pull the trigger on your spray primer and keep moving it constantly. Never paint the same spot twice. Using too much primer is the worst thing you can do in this situation. If you use too little, you can always let it dry and add a second coat.

When you finish, allow the primer to dry. If necessary, turn your plexiglass over to prime any sections that were covered the first time. Finally, examine the coat primer to make sure it looks thick enough. If it does not, repeat the process.

Warning: Use the appropriate safety precautions as provided by the product's manufacturer when working with primer or paint. Wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid skin contact, and wear a paint-fume approved respirator.

Step 3 - Paint the Plexiglass

Use your acrylic spray paint of the color you have chosen. Shake the spray paint and paint using even, constantly moving passes from 18 to 24 inches away at a 45-degree angle. After the paint dries, turn over the plexiglass to paint the bottom if necessary.

Finally, look at your work and decide if the color is bright enough for your tastes. If it is, you are finished. If it is not, apply a second coat.

Let the paint dry for at least two hours before applying a second coat. Apply the second coat generously to ensure good coverage. Make sure the paint is fully dry before handling the glass sheets or cleaning up your work area.

You can use acrylic paints of any kind if you want to decorate your plexiglass once you have applied your coat of flat color.

Step 4 - Waterproof (Optional)

If your plexiglass is going to be outside or exposed to water inside, you may want to apply a waterproof sealant to it. Choose a commercial sealant advertised for use over paint and apply it according to the instructions on its package.

hand spraying plastic car part

Remove Pexiglass Paint

The biggest concern in removing spilled over paint from plexiglass is that it might get scratched. If the paint has dried up, this concern becomes even more serious. However, you can avoid scratches by using a paint remover, also known as paint stripper. It is a chemical compound that breaks down the paint so that it can be easily scraped away.

Even with the use of paint remover, the task is not easy and requires you to be very careful. Follow the 12 steps described below, carefully, to remove the paint from plexiglass without scratching it.

Step 1 - Purchase Remover/Cleaner

Purchase a good quality paint remover. Don’t try to save money by buying a cheaper remover as it might not be effective, and you may end up scratching your glass. Also, in case you already don’t have a glass cleaner, purchase the same.

Step 2 - Choose the Location

Generally, a paint remover releases strong fumes, which can have an adverse effect on your health. Hence, you should work in a well-ventilated or an outdoor place.

Step 3 - Open Windows

If the plexiglass that you want to clean is an indoor fixture, such as a door, then make sure you open all the windows around the work area.

Step 4 - Place Newspaper

Place some newspaper around the working area. If you are cleaning a door, slide the newspaper under it. Make sure that you put multiple layers of newspaper.

Step 5 - Take Care of Floor

Paint remover can damage the finish of your floors. So, in case remover drops onto the floor, make sure you clean it immediately with a cloth.

Step 6 - Apply the Remover

Spray the remover over the painted area. In case you are cleaning a door or any other thing that has plexiglass in an upright position, use a semi-liquid paste of the remover.

Step 7 - Leave for 20 Minutes

Let the paint remover work for at least 20 minutes. This will give time for the paint remover to effectively work on the paint and to break it down so that you can remove it easily.

Step 8 - Remove the Paint

Now remove the paint using the plastic scraper gently. Take care not to put any scratches on the plexiglass.

Step 9 - Prevent Scratches

If some paint seems to stick on, don’t try to forcibly remove it. You will end up scratching the glass. It is better to reapply the remover and wait for another 20 minutes.

Step 10 - Use Cleaner

Put some glass cleaner on a folded clean and dry paper towel. Wipe the painted area with a towel to clean up the scraped paint. You can use more force in this step as compared to step 8 or 9.

Step 11 - Repeat the Process

If you find that some amount of paint is still left, repeat steps 6 to 10. In most cases, you won’t need to repeat this more than once.

Step 12 - Finishing

Clean up the area. Pick up the newspaper and throw it away. Thoroughly wash your hands to wash away any remover/cleaner.


While plexiglass is a dependable, resilient alternative to traditional glass, plexiglass sheets should be polished in a slightly different fashion than their glass counterparts. Below are the best tips for making your plexiglass sheets shine like new.

hands with rag polishing plastic car part

1. Do Not Use Commercial Glass Cleaners

When polishing plexiglass sheets, it is important that you steer clear of commercial glass cleaners. The vast majority of these cleaners feature ammonia as an active ingredient and, while it can effectively lay waste to caked-on dirt, it can also dull plexiglass surfaces.

So, when shopping for cleaning supplies, make a point of purchasing cleaners designed specifically for plexiglass.

Alternatively, if you're not a fan of the potent chemicals found in most commercial cleaners, you create your own highly effective cleaning solution. Inside of an empty spray bottle, combine equal parts of hot water and white wine vinegar. In addition to making your plexiglass sparkle, this solution is effective in removing mold and mildew deposits.

2. Give Your Plexiglass a Preparatory Wiping

Before proceeding to polish your plexiglass sheets, you'll need to give them a preliminary wiping to remove any large caked-on dirt deposits. With the aid of a dampened sponge, washcloth, or paper towel, vigorously wipe the plexiglass in a circular motion, starting at the bottom of the sheets and working your way up.

Keep in mind that the more dirt and debris you remove while carrying out this wiping, the easier your plexiglass will be to polish. Also, failure to remove large deposits of filth is liable to present problems during the polishing process. After removing as much filth as possible, you'll be ready to begin polishing your plexiglass.

3. Use a Sponge

Once you've carried out your preliminary cleaning, you'll be ready to begin polishing your plexiglass sheets. Start the polishing process by thoroughly spraying the sheets with your plexiglass cleaning solution, taking care to apply it to every area of the plexiglass.

Next, use a sponge to vigorously polish the plexiglass in a circular fashion, starting at the bottom and gradually working your way to the top. You may need to repeat this process several times before the plexiglass is fully polished.

Before proceeding to dry the plexiglass, spray the freshly polished sheets with warm water. This will help rinse off your cleaning solution.

4. Follow Up with a Squeegee

After successfully polishing your plexiglass, you'll need to dry it with a squeegee in order to ensure that it remains free of streaks.

When drying off your plexiglass, make sure to apply a fair amount of pressure as you run the squeegee across your plexiglass in a top-to-bottom fashion. If you don't have a squeegee on hand, folded sheets of some newspaper have been known to make good streak-free drying tools.

Once every last trace of water and cleaning solution has been removed, the polishing process will be complete. To keep your plexiglass in prime condition, it is generally recommended that you polish it at least once every other month.

Gluing Plexiglass

Plexiglass is a material that can be used for a number of different projects in your home. It is a versatile type of transparent acrylic plastic that can come in handy in many different DIY projects. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you need to glue plexiglass.

Step 1 - Clean the Surface

Before gluing plexiglass to anything, you should make sure that the surface of the piece is completely clean; a glass cleaner should work in most cases. You should also clean the surface of whatever you are gluing it to. If you leave any dirt or dust on the surface of the plexiglass, it may not adhere to the other surface.

Step 2 - Sand the Plexiglass

Take a piece of sandpaper and use it to sand the plexiglass. You will want to get the edges of it to appear as smooth as possible while making sure that it has a level surface to adhere to. If you have an uneven surface, there will be gaps where it meets the other surface that you are trying to bond it to.

If there are gaps, it won't set properly. Therefore, using some fine sandpaper can help you attach the strong plastic to something else.

Step 3 - Try Superglue

Choosing the right adhesive for the job is important. Superglue is one adhesive that you could use to stick the plexiglass to something else. Superglue is a powerful form of adhesive that can stick nearly anything together.

Purchase a small bottle of superglue, and then apply some to the surface of the plexiglass. Press it to whatever you are trying to attach it to, and hold it firmly in place. The superglue should form a bond relatively quickly that is hard to break.

Step 4 - Use Solvent Cement

Another method that you could use besides superglue is to try a solvent cement. This type of material will help you glue the hard plastic to almost anything. To apply a solvent cement, you should use a syringe or a dropper. This will allow you to control the amount of solvent cement that you apply to the surface of the plexiglass.

Make sure not to get too much solvent cement on the materials, and to keep it off your skin. Always use these adhesives in an open, ventilated area.

Step 5 - Test the Fit

Before trying to stick something to the plexiglass, make sure that you test out the two surfaces to make sure that they fit together well. Press them together and make sure that there are no gaps between them. This will help you avoid any problems after you already have glue on the two items.

Step 6 - Hold Firmly

Once you have applied the proper adhesive to the surface of the strong plastic, you need to make sure that you press it up against the other material and hold it firmly. Hold it for as long as it takes to form a bond between the two materials, often suggested on the adhesive’s bottle.


This guide on how to paint plexiglass will help add a touch of beauty to any area. All it takes is four simple steps.