How to Painting on Cardboard (Using Spray Paint & Acrylic paint)

Are you in search of an affordable painting medium? Have you ever thought about whether you could painting on cardboard? It’s great for crafting and painting, however, it’s also a delicate material. It is important to follow the right guidelines for painting with cardboard will give you the greatest outcomes.

The surface of cardboard is porous that makes it hard for certain paints to stick. Spray paint and acrylic are among the most effective colors for the cardboard. For optimal results make use of gesso for the primer and add several layers of paint. This will help prevent stretching.

We’ll take a look at the steps you have to follow for creating a stunning cardboard artwork. We’ll also discuss the best materials for your project, and how to prevent the warping issue if you fail to do so.

Cardboard Painting

Why would you want to paint on cardboard? The amount of art materials you can use can quickly add to. People love recycling cardboard from the past because it’s inexpensive light, lightweight, and adaptable. It’s still an excellent base to paint on. It’s also a fantastic low-cost canvas.

You can make use of cardboard as a medium for art or to make fun crafts. After the project is completed or if the work isn’t as perfect as you had hoped then you can get rid of it without having to spend lots of money. It’s strong enough to paint on and you’re able to try again or make mistakes.

The use of cardboard can help you discover new ideas and spark your imagination. It’s a different medium from drawing with cartridge papers, and so exploring a different medium can turn into a fascinating adventure. The cardboard box painting allows you to use pieces of paper to give more elevation or to add shadows and depths to the composition.

Other crafts could require painting on cardboard, too such as cardboard modeling. Making models using cardboard is a common activity for designers architects, designers, and everyone else who wants to have enjoyment. Some models require paint even if you buy an item for model making.

It is not suitable for permanent art However, it is recommended. The paper breaks down with time, and your art work might not last for over a long period of time.

What kind of paint can You Paint on Cardboard?

painting on Cardboard

It isn’t possible to use any kind of paint on cardboard due to its porous surface. The results of painting cardboard are dependent on the kind of paint and method you employ as well as the material’s quality once you have painted it.

The paint options that you can choose to choose from for the material are:

  • Acrylic Paint
  • Spray Paint
  • Oil Paint

Corrugated cardboard is similar to heavy-duty papers that don’t handle water well. This is why watercolors aren’t the paint that you would prefer. Acrylics, oils or spray paint do not need water.

Of the three paints that you can apply using spray or acrylic paint is most effective on cardboard that is corrugated. The oil-based paint is moist enough to flex this delicate paper especially if applied in layers of thicker thickness. The other two options are the best.

But you’ll need to prime the paper first to avoid curling or warping effects. Unsufficient use can cause humidity from the paint to soak into the base of the paper which causes damages from the inside out. Be cautious.

Painting on Cardboard without warping

To prevent the cardboard from warping it is necessary to prime the cardboard before you use the painting in small coats. A primer will help the paint stick and last for an extended duration. Paint several layers, and give ample time for drying the paint for the most effective outcomes.

If you paint the board with no preparation the paint will seep right in to the board. This could result in pale shades, warping, or simply not holding up over time.

Also read: How to make Spray Paint Dry More Fast and Get Best Result

Prime Cardboard for painting

Prime for Painting cardboard

The cardboard should be primed prior to paint the surface to ensure the most vivid color. If not, the paint will get soaked into the cardboard, making it look less vibrant and vibrant.

Enter gesso. Gesso is an acrylic-based type that is used to prime surfaces. It creates a rough layer for paint to adhere to, and also enhances the colors of your artwork. Additionally, gesso increases your protection from water.

The majority of gesso is white. It is also possible to use a clear gesso in case you wish the cardboard’s color to shine through. Transparency is generally more desired on a wood surface however, it could be used to create a smoother surface while painting on canvas, too.

Certain people make use of white acrylic paint for creating an uncolored base, for instance as in an egg-shaped container or yogurt bucket. However, gesso is superior.

In contrast to clear acrylic paints, gesso provides you the white base you start with and will require fewer coats. It is less likely to cause warping of the carton and also the acrylic paint comes with something solid to hold to itself.

Some artists choose to make their gesso with white paint, calk, glue and water. However, many brands offer gesso at craft stores and art supply shops.


  • Gesso
  • Flat paintbrush
  • 500-grit sandpaper

1. Place Gesso to Cardboard

Gesso can be found in craft stores, or on the internet. It is generally white, though you might discover some transparent brands. If you wish to change hue, you can add a few drops of acrylic paint.

To prepare the surface with gesso, use an flat paintbrush. Paint the gesso onto cardboard using thin layers with long, vertical strokes.

2. Paint a second Coat

Use a second coating to get the most effective outcomes. It should dry for at minimum 24 hours. Then follow the same process to apply another coat. Apply the paint in the reverse direction as your initial coat to get smoother texture. You should allow another 24 hours for drying time.

If you see brown cardboard showcasing through the gesso even after two coats, you can apply an additional coat.

3. Sand the Surface (Optional)

Gesso creates rougher surfaces for paint to adhere to with precision. When the paint’s surface appears too rough for the painting you are working on, moderately sand the paint.

Make a smooth surface by using sandpaper of 500-grit back and across. A few seconds of stoking will remove the visible lines as well as bumps.

Do not push the sandpaper to far, as you could cause damage. However, remember that this is an optional step. The smooth surface is perfect for certain types of projects.

Painting on Cardboard using Acrylic Paint

Some painting techniques require you to dip your brush in water before you paint. But , the water could result in damage to the cardboard.

It is also possible to prevent curling or warping by using the dry brush or sponge to paint. Instead, break bristles using your fingers if you feel the brush is too stiff.


  • Acrylic paint
  • Dry sponge or paintbrush

1. Paint the Brush

Pour it directly on your brush sponge or dip your sponge into it. Be sure to avoid applying the paint directly on the cardboard, to prevent it from curling.

Incorporating the paint into the brush directly lets you determine the amount of paint you are using. A lot of paint in one go could create distortion on it on the surface or make the paint sink into areas.

2. Paint Thin Coats

Make use of your paintbrush to apply thin coats. The less water you apply at once the more effective. Allow the paint to dry before proceeding with another coat. The drying process usually takes about two hours.

Never dip your paintbrush in water. If you must change colors, you must clean and dry your brush thoroughly.

3. Apply the Second Coat

You’ll likely require several coats to achieve a solid color. The first few coats are likely to appear partially transparent. More coats that you add the more uniform the shade appears. Keep applying coats until achieve the desired appearance. Thats the step of painting on cardboard.

Spray Paint on Cardboard

Spray paint is an excellent alternative for painting cardboard as it’s easy to apply. The cans are sold at any art stores.

If you are spray painting is your choice, make sure you be in a secure area. U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission points out that water-based acrylics can be poisonous if they are consumed as well as the fumes that emanate from solvent-based paints could be harmful.

Go to a ventilated area and ensure there’s sufficient airflow. Spray painting cardboard is most effective in a dry and warm space that is completely protected from adverse weather conditions. A garage, for instance, is a great place to protect yourself from cold, wind and even wetness.


  • Spray paint
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper sheet

1. Set Up Your Work Area

Spray paint is difficult to get rid of. Before starting you should take a few minutes to prepare your work place and yourself.

Make use of an old sheet, newspaper or another piece cardboard to prevent paint on the ground. Wear an apron to cover your clothes as well as wear protective attire such as wearing a mask for your face and gloves.

2. Mix the Paint

The colors in spray paint split over time, and it is recommended to shake the container for not less than three minutes prior to making use of it. Shaking can help the pigments blend and the color will appear with a uniform variation.

It is also recommended to shake the container every hour to ensure that the paint is flowing smoothly.

3. Lightly spray the Paint

When the can is done make sure you hold it 12 inches away , and in line with the cardboard. Any further away, and the paint may get diluted which could cause warping. Be sure you move the can over on the paper in the design you want by spraying lightly.

Instead of moving it from right to left You can try different designs. You can create swirls, zigzags and Polka dots. You can avoid the temptation of spraying any area of the cardboard more than two times. The oversaturation can cause warping.

Let the first layer dry for 2 hours or longer.

4. Apply a Second Coat

Make sure your first layer is completely dry, then apply the second coat. If you do not wait for the paint to dry completely then you may cause it to become warped.

To apply your second coating, you could consider applying a different color to create greater contrast. Spray with the same method as previously mentioned, but using light sprays.

If you want more of a solid color you can continue to apply an additional coat or a fourth. You may also apply a touch-up to the areas you need to at this point. Make sure you allow the paint to dry for at least 2 hours between each coat.

What is the best Paint for Cardboard?

You require the proper primer and paint to get the most effective outcomes. With a variety of options to pick from, you might be wondering what paint brands are most appropriate for use on cardboard. Choose from the following options.

1. Gesso – Paint Cardboard

When you want to do painting on cardboard, you could also apply an oil-based latex primer or make your own gesso at home however, buying a store-bought one is the most convenient option.

The gesso aids in making the paint stick and eliminates the dark hues of the surface and makes your colors appear bright. After applying any of the following gessos you should be left with a clean as well as white finish.

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Gesso

Ranger Dina Wakley Media Gesso It’s clear and perfect for all types of surfaces. If you would like your background to be visible for example, when painting on cabinets transparent media helps keep the underneath in place and offers the paint with a firm grip to grasp.

It is also possible to make use of this gesso as an adhesive or sealer. It’s ideal for sealing layers and working on slippery surfaces.

Use it to create smooth canvases, or for other projects. Additionally, it’s completely safe to use and extremely affordable.

Handy Art Acrylic Paint on Cardboard

Handy Art Acrylic Gesso This is a fantastic primer for students. The flexible finish drys in the form of a white matte pattern to aid in adhering acrylics. It’s ideal to apply it as an undercoat prior painting. It will result in a smooth finish without any tooth. Apply more to get a more polished appearance.

The most appealing aspect of Handy Art is that the products are safe and suitable for those suffering from allergies. The gesso is free of any eggs, dairy, latex peanut, soy gluten, casein or tree nuts.

2. Acrylic Paint

Acrylics are cheap and simple to work with. The consistency is comparable to oil, however, the paint is able to penetrate cardboard. The paints are sold in art and craft stores. Let’s review some of the top acrylic paints on the market.

Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set

The Mont Marte Signature set There are 36 acrylics available in semi-matte and matte finishes. The paints can be used on numerous bases like leather, canvas, wood clay, plaster, cardboard, paper, and certain plastics. Make use of them for all your crafting and art projects.

What distinguishes Mont Marte apart from the competitors is its fast drying time. It is possible to layer paint quicker because the smooth texture is believed to have an extremely quick dry. Paints are easy to mix and layer to create total coverage.

ArtiKIT Acrylic Paint Set

The ARTIKIT set It is another option that comes with a variety of colours and uses. It is packed with 24 vivid acrylics which blend, layer and blend well. The paints are effective on various materials like wood, fabric and canvas, as well as paper and cardboard. There are a variety of craft options using this kit.

The paints are safe and non-toxic. They can be used for different art techniques and are safe for children as well as adults. In contrast to other sets they mix with the paint to produce stunning color shades and tones that you didn’t have previously in your palette.

3. Spray Paint for Cardboard

Spray painting on cardboard can take less timebecause it’s more likely to dry faster than acrylics. But, it’s even more important to shield your work space as well as yourself from the dust. Here are some of the top spray paints you can use on your task.

Krylon Glitter Spray Paint

Krylon is the most popular painting brand that is suitable for novices. They’re inexpensive and come with a range of shades such as this gold glitter shade. The greatest thing is that putting this bottle on cardboard is quicker because Krylon is an extremely fast-acting paint. two-in-one primer, paint, and primer.

While Krylon is a plastic-based product, it can also be used on vinyl metal, wood as well as wickets, it is also possible to apply it to cardboard. It’s simple to apply. Make sure you shake the container well to distribute all the shimmer evenly.

Rust-Oleum 249130 Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum 249130 could be the most versatile and the quickest dry time.

It’s a multi-functional all-surface choice with a satin metallic finish.

There are numerous colors and the formula helps prevent the rust from forming or chipping in the future.

Rust-Oleum application is simpler than ever before. Just spray and aim.

The paint is quick-drying and takes just 30 minutes to completely dry.

You can cover a huge surface in a short time and the finished look amazing on a variety of surfaces.

Tips to Avoid Warping or curling While Painting on Cardboard

Moisture is the primary reason for curling or warping. You’ll need to try every effort to prevent from causing harm to your material in order to make art that will last for a long time.

The following list contains some guidelines to ensure that the painting is secure from curling or warping:

  • Do not over-saturate the paint.
  • Remove any moisture out of the material.
  • Do not be a victim of the humidity.
  • Use gesso to prime before painting.
  • Dry coats before adding more.
  • Do your work in a clean area.
  • Do not use watercolors or excessively wet paints.
  • Make use of a triple- or double-wall thick corrugated cardboard.

If you do adhere to these guidelines however, your board could be prone to curl and warp. However, it is possible to resolve the issue.

How to Repair Damaged Cardboard

Cardboard is an excellent painting material, however it’s difficult to work with when it’s too wet. If you happen to apply excessive amounts of paint or printer the cardboard could be prone to warping or curling. It’s possible to fix it in the event that the damage isn’t significant. Follow the steps below to fix your painting.


  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • The weight of objects, or the weight of them (books furniture, furniture, tools, etc.)

1. Dry completely

It is important to dry the paper until dry and free of moisture. Put the painting where it’s safe so that it’s not out of the way for several days.

2. Spritz with water

To shape the material again first, you must rehydrate. Take a spray bottle and dampen the cardboard. Do not immerse the board in water or soak it too long. If you make it too wet, the paper will separate of the bottom. Spray the board lightly.

3. Load it up

Then, place your board flat on the floor, with the curls towards the towards the upwards. Place a flat piece of plywood on top of the board. Then put your weights or other heavy objects over it to help keep the cardboard flat. Books are an excellent tool, however anything that is heavy will weigh it down.

Let the art dry over a period of between 24-hours to three days. When the cardboard is dry, you can take it off the art work. The paint should be flat and free of curly or warping. If not, repeat the procedure. Sometimes, recovery takes weeks.


Without proper procedures the process of painting on cardboard could not be a success. The material is destroyed when exposed to excessive water. Preparing your surface with a primer is the most effective option to keep your body safe.

Did these guidelines and tips assist you with your project? Did you learn something new? Let us know about it in the comments section and share with your family and friends know the value that you learned from our article.


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