Painting rubber isn’t the most straightforward task of all painting. However, painting rubber isn`t also problematic.

 Painting rubber confuses people. This is because it requires using different techniques, types of paint, and different painting methods to paint rubber entirely.

If the surface isn’t well prepared or the paint isn’t well painted, it only takes a few days to crack and peel off. So, how to paint rubber without cracking?

In this article, you will read about painting rubber without cracking using simple steps.

 You will know the best ways of painting rubber without cracking, the necessary tools, and preparing the surface correctly.

Which type of paint can you use to paint the rubber

If you think painting rubber items is difficult, you are wrong. Paint rubber without cracking could be easy.

You can`t use all types of paint on rubber. Using the wrong paint for a rubber surface can cause unwanted problems.

For example, if you use paint designed for indoor use for rubber items, you plan to use it outside. You might end up damaging the paint soon. 

So, what types of paint can you use for rubber surfaces?

There are four types of paints that you can use on rubber.

1.    Acrylic paint

You can use acrylic paint on different items, including rubber. As it is more decorative than durable, acrylic paint is best for indoor decorations, crafts, and arts that you don’t touch often.

2.    Removable paint – removable rubber coating

As the name of this paint indicates, removable paint is designed for items destined to be repainted soon.

3.    Exterior paint

Exterior paint is designed to withstand unexpected weather conditions, like strong wind, rain, snow, and sun rays.

 This is the ideal type of paint for any outdoor rubber items.

4.    Commercial- marine paint

Marine becomes as tough as it gets because it can withstand difficult marine environments and is usually great for coating boats, ships, tankers, and other vessels.

These types of paint will be applied to the rubber surface differently.

Tips: If you want to have an even coating and it is crucial to you, you should use a sprayer instead of a brush or a roller to spray paint rubber.

Carefully read and follow the manufacturer`s directions to keep yourself safe.

Use sandpaper to rough the surface slightly; Remember that some paints contain the primer already

Ensure what is in your paint and avoid unnecessary work and expenses.

You can read the instructions on the paint packaging to know the time it takes to dry completely. Some types of paints dry fast while others seem as dry, but the inside is not.

How to pick the type of paint to paint rubber without cracking

Choose depending on where you put the item or how often you use them.

Acrylic paint

Best forLayers to applyDrying timeHow to seal
 Indoor   projects and decorative itemsAt least two layersFrom 2 to 24 hours depending on the thickness of the coatsYou can apply acrylic varnish

Tip:     It is recommended not to use acrylic paint for the rubber item you use or touch a lot. Vanishes can be brushed on, or you can use them in a spray version.

Exterior paint

Best forLayers to applyDrying timeHow to seal
  Outdoor projects  At least two layers    Applying a sealant over exterior paint is unnecessary as it is durable enough.  Applying a sealant over exterior paint is unnecessary as it is durable enough.  

Tip: Ensure to apply even coats and to fill cracks.

Removable paint

  Best for    Temporary projects or projects that you plan on redecorating in the future
  Layers to apply    At least two layers  
  Drying time    At least an hour, preferably a day
  How to seal   You should skip sealing. Because sealing makes the paint more difficult to remove  

Marine paint

  Best for    Any outdoor projects that will see high levels of moisture
  Layers to apply    At two or three coats  
  Drying time    2-6 hours
  How to seal    Marine paint is weatherproof, it doesn’t require sealing  

Tip: Marine paint usually takes 2-6 hours to dry, but to be safe you should wait at least 24 hours before using the painted item.

How to paint rubber without cracking

Rubber is painted for different reasons. Mostly, people use it as arts or crafts for home decorations.

For example, you can use some wheels of cars or bicycle tires to decorate your yard or paint your rubber boots to make them look new.

The following steps will help you make painting the rubber easier without cracking or damage.

Step 1: Check the thickness of the rubber

and check whether the rubber is good to paint.

If the rubber is too flexible, you shouldn’t paint the rubber because the paint will not stick to this kind of rubber and will start to crack and chip off after some time.

The items, such as the shower cap, can`t be painted. Paint adhesion is not feasible on this surface. Because the shower cap is too flexible. The paint will crack and peel off gradually after a while.

Nevertheless, you can paint these surfaces with rubber, like tires or thick rubber boots. The paint sticks better on these surfaces.

Step 2: Clean the rubber

Cleaning the rubber is the next step. If the rubber is not too dirty, you can clean the surface just by using a damp rag to wipe the surface. But, if the surface is dirty or you doubt the rubber needs to be cleaned, you can mix some detergent in water and clean the rubber using a scrubbing brush.

After washing the rubber, you must rinse and let it dry.

Tip: The rubber is waterproof, so you can wash it without damaging it. Once you have finished washing, allow the surface to dry.

Step 3: Use a Filler

Rubber is very durable, so it doesn’t get any damage quickly. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t get damaged.

The rubber you will paint might have been damaged from wear or tear and has lines and openings. Those holes and openings affect the result of the paint, so you have to fill those holes.

Don’t plan to use paint to fill those openings and holes because the paint can`t cover those lines after you have painted. It would be too late to cover those lines and openings after you have finished the painting project. To fill those holes, you can use removable paint.

Removable paint is a type of paint that can be used for painting a rubber. This type of paint is usually used as a quick fix and temporary provision. As the removable paint is sold in a can, you don’t need to prep it. You can spray the removable paint directly on the existing spot.

Step 4: Apply primer

You don’t usually need to use primer on rubber. However, if you use the rubber outdoors, you should use a primer. Using a primer on the surface is the best way to protect outdoor rubber.

 The primer will let the paint perform well in harsh weather conditions and also allow it to stick well to the surface.

You can apply the primer using a paintbrush. After applying the primer, let it for the required time to cure. Primers can take up to some to cure.

Step 5: Prepare the paint 

Different paints can be used on rubber; you can use some directly from the can; some need to be mixed or thinned. Yet, regardless of which, it is still possible to paint the rubber without cracking.

It is possible to read the instructions on the paint container you are using. You should read that if you need to prep or mix the paint before using it.    

Step 6: Apply the paint

For painting rubber surfaces, use spray paint for the best results. Avoid using a brush or roller, as they may cause unevenness and affect the surface’s traction. If you don’t have a can of paint, a spray gun or paint sprayer can be used, keeping a distance of 10 inches from the surface. Apply two coats, letting the first coat dry completely before applying the second.

Make sure to keep your arm straight to get a good result. You will spray in an arch if you move your wrist while spraying. Rather than moving your wrist, move your hand from side to side. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

Step 7: Apply a paint sealer

After painting the rubber, you can apply a paint sealer to the surface. This will give the paint much more durability and a much better look.

Tip: Not all types of paint need a paint sealer. For example, the exterior paint for painting rubber doesn’t need a paint sealer. The coating of the exterior paint is usually strong and more durable enough without a paint sealer.

After applying a paint sealer, allow it to dry. It can take up to 24 hours for the painted rubber to fully dry before you can use it.

To wrap up

Painting a rubber without cracking is not problematic. You should only follow the proper steps to get a better result.

There are four common types of paint used for painting rubber. You can choose them, considering where you want to use that item; this will help you determine the paint type and the tools you need.

 The type of paint may also cause cracking if used on the wrong surface. So make sure you understand all the information and steps.