What Is The Best Paint For Styrofoam? (Reviewed)

  • By: Artistic Bees
  • Time to read: 10 min.
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Perhaps you created a new craft project using Styrofoam, but it feels incomplete. A dash of color should give some life to your project. But then the question arises, what is the best paint for Styrofoam. In this article, I will answer that very question as well as some others that may come up.

The best paint to use on Styrofoam is acrylic paint. Latex paint is a close second. For painting on Styrofoam, the best paint that I would recommend is Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set. It has a variety of lightfast and opaque colors. The consistency of this paint allows for very uniform coats.

What Is The Best Paint For Styrofoam?

But this is only a basic idea of what paint is best. In this article, I will go over each type of paint as well as other paints that you can use for your project. So, I recommend reading the entire article.

What Is The Best Type Of Paint For Styrofoam?

When it comes to painting on Styrofoam, the main issue that arises is its porous structure. As a result, you will need several coats of paint to get the result you are looking for. And spray paints may eat away at it. For this reason, water-based acrylic paint is the best type of paint for Styrofoam, but there are still other options for painting your Styrofoam crafts.

These are latex, tempera, and some specific types of spray paint. Let us look at the advantages of using each of these paints.

Acrylic Paint

Acrylic is a fast-drying paint. It is mainly water-based but becomes water-resistant when dry.  As a result, it is ideal for painting on Styrofoam. It is a very porous material for painting. Acrylic paint adheres best to the surface of Styrofoam, and when compared to the other paints on this list, it also lasts the longest.

Acrylic paint

Latex Paint

Latex paint is another type of water-based paint. This type of paint, like acrylic paint, is made up of acrylic resin. This type of paint is more suited to painting larger areas. But it does not last as long as acrylic paint does.

Latex paint is a slow-drying paint, and it covers more surface area. As a result, you will require fewer coats of paint while painting your project. But latex paint is not as flexible as acrylic, which is why it may flake and crack more in fluctuating temperatures when compared with acrylic paint.

Based on whether your project will have to face varying temperatures, such as being kept outside, you can pick latex paint over acrylic due to its saving more time and paint.

Tempera Paint

Tempera is a fast-drying, permanent paint made up of colored pigments mixed with a water-soluble binder medium. Its paintings are very long-lasting examples of this, existing from the first century AD.

This is water-based paint that adheres well to the surface of the foam. This is a very readily available type of paint, so you can find it in almost every art and crafts store. Projects that may be exposed to water should not use this paint. Another downside to this is the limited color option and that it does not mix well with other paints.

Spray Paint

Spray paint is paint that comes in a pressurized container and is released in spray form. It leaves a smooth finish and even coats the painting surface. Most spray paints should not be used to paint Styrofoam as it can eat away at it. But model spray paints can be used for painting Styrofoam as they are specifically designed to be used for it.


Should You Mix Acrylic And Latex Paint To Paint On Styrofoam?

Considering that acrylic and latex paints are the two best options when painting on Styrofoam, you might want to mix them both. You can mix these two colors rather safely without worrying about ruining them since they are both water-based. You mix them to get the perfect texture and or color for your project.

As I mentioned earlier, both these paints are very similar, being water-based. The main difference is their lifespan. Acrylic is more suited to crafts due to this.

The Best Paint For Styrofoam

Now that we have looked at the individual types of paint let us look at some of the products. There are so many different paints available on the market. It is enough to make any new buyer confused about what to buy. To help you pick the best one, I have included a list of the top 8 paints to use on Styrofoam below!

  1. Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set
  2. Magicfly Bulk Acrylic Paint Set
  3. Krylon Short Cuts
  4. Turner Acrylic Paint Set
  5. Crafts 4 All 24 Acrylic Paint Set
  6. Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set
  7. Color Technik Acrylic Paint Set
  8. Caliarty Acrylic Paint Set

Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set

This set contains a variety of bold, lightfast, and opaque colors, allowing you to use them to create a variety of vivid, eye-catching miniatures, models, and other types of crafts. This varied set of colors allows you to create 218 varied acrylic colors through combinations.

The water-based formula for this specific set allows all the paints to display an incredible level of consistency. When painting on a Styrofoam surface, this consistency translates to ease and smoothness in covering the surface no matter the size. Once dry, the paint is uniform as the brushstrokes are almost non-existent.

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Magicfly Bulk Acrylic Paint Set

This 14-piece paint set is a great value for its price. With an attractive package and clear labels, the pigments for the colors of this set are also nontoxic. This paint is artist quality, it is easy to work with due to its creamy texture.

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Krylon Short Cuts

I recommend Krylon Short Cut spray paint if you are looking to avoid using brushes altogether, these paints are designed to be used on Styrofoam so there is no need to worry. While regular spray paint eats away at Styrofoam, Krylon Short Cuts fast-drying enamel is great for painting on Styrofoam. It is also available in varying colors.

Usually, 3 fluid ounces should be enough to cover a few square feet, but in case you are working on a large-scale project, I recommend purchasing more than one can of spray paint.

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Turner Acrylic Paint Set

If you’re looking for a large set of acrylic colors for painting on Styrofoam this set is perfect for you. This set has 48 tubes of quality paint so that you can use the colors you need without even needing to mix colors. These paints are all fast drying and water reducible.

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Crafts 4 All 24 Acrylic Paint Set

This set of paints provides you with an affordable 24-piece acrylic paint set, perfect for artists of all skill levels. Each of these vibrant colors mixes quite easily with each other to create innumerable shades and hues. This set is perfect if you are looking to work on smaller foam pieces artistically.

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Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set

The Iwata Eclipse is an airbrush for those looking for a more professional-level paint job quickly. The set itself comes with a hose cleaner and two high-quality acrylic paints. Using the combination of a nozzle and 0.35 mm needle will help you quickly paint any Styrofoam craft in seconds.

This device’s high detail and high paint flow airbrush can cover large areas in mere seconds. The dual action setting on the airbrush allows you to apply paint to the surface according to your needs. As a result, it can cover a large area while wasting a minimum amount of paint.

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Color Technik Acrylic Paint Set

This 18-set paint is a great purchase due to its versatility in use from Styrofoam to wood, metal, paper, ceramics, and more. It even includes a wide range of colors for you to use in your current and future crafts.

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Caliarty Acrylic Paint Set

This paint set of 24 bold colors is suited for people of all ages, from new artists to professionals. They are non-toxic and non-staining, making them perfect for people of all ages. This premium quality paint glides smoothly and dries quickly. It also offers a creamy consistency and will not fade, so it is perfect for your project.

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How to Paint on Styrofoam?

Now that we have a clear idea about what kind of paint to use and which are some of the best paints you can buy, let us get ready to paint on Styrofoam. Before anything you need to first prepare everything you need. This includes:

  • The paint you chose
  • A paintbrush
  • Plastic plates, cups, or paper
  • Newspaper or tarps
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Sealant

Sealing the Styrofoam

Before applying any paint to your Styrofoam applying a sealant can help in the painting process. Using a sealant can fill in any cracks in the Styrofoam and provide you with a solid base to paint on.

The process of sealing the Styrofoam is easy. A regular craft sealant will work. Just apply it on the surface using a foam brush and wait for it to dry so you can paint. But I recommend following the instructions for the specific sealant you are using.

Priming The Styrofoam

Many artists may choose not to use a primer before painting on Styrofoam, but most professionals would see it as a must. Using a primer before applying any paint to the Styrofoam would ensure a much more rich and professional quality finish. Priming a surface before painting allows for the truest color to come through. Making it an excellent base.

When applying primer make sure to apply only a thin layer of it onto the Styrofoam and once it dries you can sand it to fill in any remaining gaps from the sealant and apply a second layer if need be.

Painting The Styrofoam

Now that you have prepared the Styrofoam, you can start painting. Prepare the kind of paint that you have chosen to use. If you’ve chosen acrylic paint, take one of the plastic plates or cups and pour out the amount of paint that you plan to use on the Styrofoam. You can even mix and match the colors to your liking. Depending on the type of paint, it will have its own methods.

After that, dip your brush into the paint and start applying it to the object slowly and carefully. In the case of spray paint, set the object down on the newspaper or tarp and begin spraying it. Move it around a bit to make sure you have sprayed all the spots enough.

After applying your first coat of paint, you will notice that the layering may be a little uneven and rough. You can use your brush to even out and spread the paint more and try to fix this. Due to the surface of Styrofoam being so porous, you may require multiple strokes to get the desired outcome.

 Cover all the surfaces completely and evenly before letting them dry. This ensures a better result. I would recommend letting the paint dry naturally instead of using a dryer to prevent any damage to it.

Once the paint dries, you will most likely need to apply a second coat following the same process, and once it dries without any white or light spots, you are done with the painting process.

How To Paint Different Types Of Styrofoam

Now that you have a basic idea about how to better paint on Styrofoam let us look at the different types of Styrofoam crafts. And the different ways to paint on these Styrofoam crafts.

Painting Styrofoam Balls

You can use Styrofoam balls for varied types of art projects. Making people’s heads, planets, snowmen, and round surfaces may seem challenging when it comes to painting, but there are some easy tricks to it.

Instead of directly using the sealant on it, brush the area with a little glue, then cover it with a piece of fabric. After that, continue the priming and painting process. You can also rub the ball with another Styrofoam ball, like sanding, for a less drastic and lighter result.

When it comes to painting it after priming, there is no easy way to use a roller or a brush. In this situation, spray painting is your best option. In that case, center it on a wooden skewer and hold it at least eight inches from the can before you start spraying it. Make sure to turn the skewer so you get paint onto all the surfaces.

After that, place the skewer on a sturdy surface and leave it to dry, then apply a second coat if needed. I would recommend repeating the process till you are satisfied with the results.

Painting Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles

Another type of Styrofoam project used often is Styrofoam tiles. Painting the tiles after installation often leads to less paint being used. You will tire yourself much faster by painting above your head. Whereas painting it before installation means saving extra paint for the metal strips that will hold it up.

Before you can even prime the Styrofoam, you will need to mark off the edges with painter’s tape. This is to prevent any excess paint or primer from getting onto any of the walls or other surfaces you do not want. After that, you can apply the primer.

For the sake of ceiling tiles, you should use chemical-free and water-based primers as chemical primers will damage the tiles. Once you have the right primer, use a roller brush to cover the large areas. After that, use the hand brush for the more detailed and smaller areas. As before, do this until it is completely covered.

Once the primer is dry, you can begin painting, just as before, being sure to use water-based acrylic paint and apply the paint in the same manner as you did the primer. Then, after it dries, look for any white spots and apply a second layer till you are satisfied with the result. And with that, you are done painting your Styrofoam tiles.


 In this article, I talked about the best paint for Styrofoam in the market all the while answering some other questions related to paint.  Now you know which type of paint is best suited for painting on Styrofoam and why. You also learned about some of the best products available for painting your Styrofoam project so you could make a more informed decision.

Once I answered that question, I gave you a quick guide on how to use these paints on your projects. As well as mentioning a few different Styrofoam projects and what kind of approach you can take when painting them. And armed with all that knowledge you are ready to take the steps you need for your art journey. Thank you for reading through.