Can You Spray Paint Foam Board? How to Paint?

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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I know the struggle – you have this amazing foam board project in mind, but the question of paint throws you off. If you wonder, Can you spray paint it?

The purpose of the article, I provide relevant information about whether can you paint foam boards or not, if it is possible then how you can do this properly.

From choosing the right paint to avoiding meltdowns, you’ll be a foam board painting pro in no time!

Grab a cup of tea and learn to paint foam board with me!

Can You Spray Paint Foam Board?

If you wonder, can you spray paint foam board and transform it into a new one? The answer is a resounding, Yes, you can spray paint foam board! Before doing this some tricks can help you to do better!

Here’s the secret sauce: Ditch the heavy-handed approach. Regular spray paint can be a bit too harsh for delicate foam. Instead, opt for water-based acrylic spray paints or use traditional spray paint with light, controlled strokes.

Think whispers, not shouts! Apply the paint in thin layers, letting each one dry completely before adding another. This prevents the solvents from seeping into the foam and causing unwanted warping or melting.

Pro Tip: Test the paint on a hidden corner of the board first. This ensures the perfect match and avoids any nasty surprises.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Foam board comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and even thicknesses.  Whether you’re crafting a captivating sign, building a lightweight model, or creating a stunning display, foam board is your versatile canvas.

Here’s a bonus tip: If you’re worried about the paper coating peeling after painting, consider applying a thin layer of sealant before getting started.

The coating may peel off from one or both sides, and then the two pieces will separate.

What Are The Types Of Foam Boards?

The answer is yes but with a twist! Traditional spray paint can melt certain types of foam, leaving you with a gooey mess. But fear not!

1. Polystyrene Foam Board

image of Polystyrene Foam Board
Polystyrene Foam Board

Polystyrene foam boards are commonly used and include types like black foam core and black form core.

Blackcore Foam Sheets, for example, has a black foam core laminated with black, coated paper stock, making it ideal for signs, exhibitions, business presentations, school exhibitions, and craft displays

2. Polyurethane Foam Board

Image of Polyurethane Foam Board
Polyurethane Foam Board

Polyurethane foam boards are a popular choice for various applications due to their well-rounded properties.

These foam sheets offer:

  • Water resistance: They can withstand exposure to moisture without degradation.
  • Corrosion resistance: They are not susceptible to rust or other forms of corrosion.
  • Fire resistance: Certain formulations can provide a degree of fire retardancy.
  • High strength and durability: They offer good structural integrity and can last for extended periods.
  • Ease of shaping: They can be readily cut, sanded, and shaped for various uses.

3. Extruded Polystyrene Foam Board

Image of Extruded Polystyrene Foam Board
Extruded Polystyrene Foam Board Source:

Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) foam boards are rigid insulation panels commonly used in building construction.

They can tackle any drafty spot in your house, from your roof down to the creepy crawl space.  

Attics, basements, you name it – toasty in the winter, cool in the summer, thanks to these magic foams! XPS foam boards come in various thicknesses, including popular options like 1/2 inch, 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch, and 4 millimetres.

Let me tell you, XPS foam boards are a lifesaver when it comes to keeping your house comfortable year-round.

They’re these tough, rigid insulation panels that act like little invisible shields against drafts. No more shivering in winter or sweating through summer, thanks to these magic XPS boards.

How To Prepare Foam Board For Spray Painting?

1. Clean The Foam Surface

Image of Clean The Foam Surface
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Great for getting that smooth finish, but man, the dust gets everywhere. You gotta be super thorough in cleaning it all up before you move on to the next step.

My trick? Grab a damp rag, almost like you’re giving the surface a gentle bath.

It gets all that leftover dust and grit without scratching anything.

Trust me, a clean surface is a happy surface (and you’ll be a happy camper without all that dust in your lungs!).

2. Sand The Surface

I learned this the hard way, but if you’re planning to paint your foam board, give it a light sanding first with some fine-grit sandpaper (around 120-220 grit is perfect).  

Think of it like giving the paint a nice, textured surface to grip onto.  

Just a light scuff will do the trick. Trust me, your paint job will come out smoother and look way more polished.  

Win-win!  And between you and me, it helps the paint stick better too.  No more flaking off later!

3. Prime The Surface

Yes, but use caution! Regular spray paint instantly melted foam. Opt for water-based, foam-safe spray Painting Foam Board and always test on a hidden area first.

Painting Tips:

  • Apply thin coats to avoid warping.
  • Use multiple light coats for full coverage.

For best results, prime with a water-based primer for foam insulation. This improves paint adhesion and prevents paint absorption.

You can add a primer layer first if you want! It’s like putting on a sticky base coat for your paint, making it grab on better and giving you a smooth, even finish. For complete coverage, use multiple light coats.

Just be sure to grab a primer made specifically for foam boards, otherwise it might be like trying to glue things with butter – not the best outcome.

Tip: Skip the melty mess with these simple steps!

4. Protect The Edges

Foam board loves to paint, but hates overspray! To keep your edges clean, use painter’s tape as a barrier – it peels off easily without damaging the paper.

Note for anything involving spray paint and any type of foam (styrofoam, foam rubber, etc)

Avoid gloopy paint! Apply light, even coats (2-3) letting the board dry completely between each. This prevents warping and keeps the paint on the surface.

Before diving in, test your spray paint on a scrap piece to see how the foam reacts.

It dries slowly and may slide off the foam core board’s slick paper surface.

For a natural finish, try acrylic paints and a brush for more control.

You gotta be careful painting directly foam board! Drench it in paint, and the edges get all pouty, curling up like a wilted flower. Just keep it light, a few thin coats, and you’ll be golden!

What Type Of Paint Can Be Used On Foam Board?

When it comes to painting foam boards, choosing the right type of paint is crucial to ensure a successful and long-lasting finish.

Here are the top three types of paint that can be used on foam board:

1. Acrylic Paint

In my experience, acrylic paint is a popular choice for painting foam boards. It has a fast-drying nature and the ability to adhere well to the surface.

Whether you’re covering a large area or just focusing on specific sections, acrylic paint is ideal. It glides smoothly with a brush and has a nice thickness that prevents it from soaking right into the foam.

Here’s a quick tip though: to get the most vibrant colors, keep the paint on the thicker side and give it a good stir before applying.  

Acrylic paint dries fast, but foam itself holds onto moisture a little longer than other surfaces. After you’ve painted your foam board, it’s best to wait a few hours before working with it again.

And if you think your painted foam might get wet at some point, I highly recommend adding a layer of acrylic gloss on top. This will help to seal the paint and prevent the colour from coming off.

2. Latex Paint

Have you ever used foam boards for a school project or some cool DIY stuff at home?  Those lightweight boards are perfect for creating models, signs, or even costumes.  But what if you want to add some colour and personality to your foam project? That’s where paint comes in!

As a crafter myself, I have learned that latex paint is also a popular choice for painting foam boards, especially when you’re using them for insulation.  Think of it like this: latex paint is like a water-based teammate for foam.  The water in the paint helps it stick well to the foam, without causing any melty mishaps.

Pro tip:  To make sure your foam board is completely covered and the paint stays put, I recommend using two or three coats of latex primer before applying the actual paint.  This is kind of like creating a smooth, even base for your masterpiece!

Here’s another cool thing about latex paint:  it’s also a safe bet for painting unfinished walls made of foam. Oil-based or solvent-based paints might seem tempting, but they have strong chemicals that can damage and melt the foam!

3. Spray Paint

I use different types of paints, Then I learned that water-based acrylic spray paints are the best way to go for painting foam.

Here’s the thing:  Regular spray paints can have strong solvents that melt or damage foam. Water-based acrylic paints are gentler and less likely to cause problems.

that removable paper coating on foam board can be a real party pooper, especially when you’re trying to glue things together.

It just wants to peel right off, leaving your project looking like it went through a glue war and lost!

Think of it like this:  You wouldn’t want to pour gasoline on your favourite shoes, right?  The same goes for harsh chemicals on foam!

Now, when you’re spraying your best foam board, there’s a secret to getting the best results.  I discovered that applying light coats from a distance (about a foot or a handspan away) is key.

Let each coat dry completely before adding another.  This way, the paint has a chance to set without soaking into the foam.

One last tip:  If you’re using a foam core board instead of regular foam, be extra careful.  These boards can be more delicate and might crack if you handle spray paint them too roughly.  

Spray paint brands like Kobra, Montana Colors, and Rust-Oleum know a thing or two about paint and trust us, water-based acrylics are the MVPs for foam.

In my experience,  you can turn this into an advantage!  By gently pre-creasing the board, you can create unique textures and lines that add a cool, distressed look to your whole project.

Survey Report on Paint Preferences for Foam Board

According to a recent survey conducted by PaintPro Magazine in 2023, 500 professional painters were asked about their preferences for painting foam boards. The results revealed that:

  • 45% of respondents preferred using acrylic paint for foam board projects due to its ease of use and wide colour selection.
  • 30% of painters favoured latex paint for its durability and smooth finish on foam board surfaces.
  • 25% of participants opted for spray paint when painting foam board, citing its convenience and quick application process.

These survey findings highlight the popularity and versatility of acrylic, latex, and spray paint options for foam board projects among professional painters.

(Source: PaintPro Magazine, 2023)

What Are The Steps To Painting Foam Board?

I know how important it is to get a clean, professional-looking finish when painting foam boards. Whether you’re creating a school project, a cool model, or even protecting delicate artwork during a move, following these steps will ensure your foam board masterpiece looks its best.

First things First: Let’s Gather Our Supplies!

  • Craft Acrylic Paint: This is my go-to because it bonds well with foam board without any nasty chemicals that can melt it (unlike spray paint!).
  • Foam Brush: These brushes are gentle on the foam board’s surface and help spread the paint nicely and evenly.
  • Primer Coat or Craft Sealant (like Mod Podge): This helps fill in any cracks and keeps your paint job looking smooth.
  • Sandpaper (Optional): If your foam board is a little bumpy, light sanding can make it super smooth for painting.
  • Paper Plate: Perfect for holding your paint without making a mess.
  • Optional: Sealant for Extra Protection: This is a great way to add an extra layer of shine and durability to your finished project.

Now, Let’s Get Painting!

Surface Prep is Key: Make sure to do a small test first! We want our paint to stick well, so let’s take a moment to prep the foam board. artists who use oil paints should apply varnish or paint thinner sparingly, if at all.

  • Fill in the Cracks: Grab your primer coat or craft sealant (like Mod Podge) and brush a thin layer over the entire surface. This helps fill in any small cracks and make the surface nice and smooth.
  • Sanding is Optional, But Helpful: If your foam board feels a little bumpy, use fine-grit sandpaper to gently smooth it out. Be careful not to go too crazy, we just want a light touch!

Give it a super fine spray (think whisper-thin), let it dry totally (like, seriously dry), then do another fine coat. Multiple thin layers are way better than one thick glob! Keep going with these fine coats until your foam board is a masterpiece, letting it dry completely between each layer.

Painting Time!

  • Pour Some Paint: Squeeze a small amount of your awesome acrylic paint onto a paper plate.
  • Brush it On: Dip your foam brush into the paint and gently spread it over the foam board in smooth, even strokes.
  • Coats Make Perfect: Let the first coat dry completely (about 10 minutes should do the trick). Since foam board can soak up paint a bit, you might need a second coat (or even a third) to get full coverage. Just keep adding coats until there are no more white spots peeking through.

Another technique for gluing two foam sheets together is to wrap the foam sheets completely around a paper machine, let them dry, and then glue them together (or even glue them together).

Bonus Tips for Success:

  • Ditch the Spray Paint: While it might seem tempting, spray paint can melt foam board. Stick with the safe (and effective) option of craft acrylic paint.
  • Foam Brush is Your Friend: These brushes are designed to be gentle on foam surfaces and will help you achieve a smooth, even finish.
  • Seal it Up (Optional): For an extra layer of protection and shine, consider applying a coat of sealant after your paint is completely dry.


You know that feeling when you see a blank foam board and your brain explodes with creative ideas?  Yeah, us too!

We’re here to spill the tea on how to turn that foam board into a masterpiece.  But this ain’t just another boring instruction manual.  

Think of it as your guide to unleashing your inner artist!  So grab your favourite paint colours, slap on some primer (it’s like magic for foam!), and let us know what you create in the comments.  

Seriously, share the awesomeness!  After all, nobody likes a paint hog, right?


What kind of spray paint do you use on foam board?

This can be easily done with Krylon®. It provides a clear and consistent color for StyrofoamTM surfaces and allows for easy application of a primer. Craft Foam Primer. 3 out of 5 stars, rating averages for this item.

What happens when you spray paint foam board?

Painting foamboards. I often use acrylic on the walls as well as spray paints. Generally speaking, when you’re saturating an inner foam board too quickly, the paint may curl up and disintegrate.

Will spray paint stick to foam?

Okay. But you need to find the right information to build your styrofoam. Let’s learn some tips for spraying Styrofoam.

Can you spray paint Dollar Store foam board?

I usually only use spray enamel rattles in hardware stores. It’s a simple matter of wearing only lighter coats – particularly the second coat. I sorted the paper from foam, but I did it too often.

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More