Buyer's Guides

Best Paint For Styrofoam – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

Whether you want to make a diorama base, an arts and crafts project or a great piece of packaging, styrofoam is the way to go. Apart from being lightweight and easy to shape, this material is versatile enough to be used in a variety of applications. However, if you do not have experience using this great material, it may not be clear what kind of treatment you should give it. Without a doubt, one of the most asked questions regarding this material is how to paint it. With that in mind, this buyer’s guide will provide useful reviews of three standout paints for styrofoam. Furthermore, it will provide useful information about styrofoam painting in general.

The Best Paint for Styrofoam – Comparison Table

ProductDelivery systemColorPaint type 
Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set Airbrushn/aAcrylic Check Price
Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint SetBrush16 (included in set)Acrylic Check Price
Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint Spray37 (sold separately)Oil-based. Check Price

1. Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set – Best Airbrush Paint for Styrofoam

Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set ReviewPrecise and effective, the Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs is an airbrush that can help you produce professional-level paint jobs quickly and easily. This set includes two high-quality acrylic paints and a special hose cleaner. Using a 0.35mm needle and nozzle combination, this value set is an all-in-one solution for quickly painting styrofoam.

Dual Action

The Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs is a high-paint flow, high-detail airbrush that is capable of fully covering large areas in a matter of minutes. This capability is made even greater by the device’s dual action, a feature that allows you to apply paint to a surface according to your particular needs. Thanks to its funnel shape, the airbrush’s 1/3-ounce cup can cover larger areas using a smaller amount of paint.

Durable, Practical and Efficient

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideMade of high-quality spring-steel, the airbrush included in this value set is durable and resistant to breakage. Despite its toughness, it is also lightweight and easy to manipulate, making it very practical for quick touchups.

What is more, its unique design helps cover large areas quickly and without wasting any paint. As a result of these features, the Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set is a great go-to multi-purpose tool.

Overall

With everything on the table, it can be confidently said about the Iwata Eclipse Hp-Cs Value Set that it’s a great option for those who are serious about diorama making and other similar arts and crafts projects. Apart from being very effective at covering large surfaces quickly, the airbrush included in this set is versatile and durable. Furthermore, the two paints and hose cleaner included in this set make it very valuable.

Pros
  • Resistant to breakage.
  • Features dual airbrushing action.
  • Easy to clean.
Cons
  • Trigger can be too sensitive.
  • Somewhat pricey.

2. Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set – Best Acrylic Paint Set for Styrofoam

Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set ReviewIf you want to create impactful arts and crafts projects using styrofoam, it’s great to have a comprehensive set of high-quality paints that are fully compatible with the plastic. Luckily, the Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set is just that. Including a variety of bold lightfast and opaque colors, this set can be used to create vivid eye-catching models, miniatures and other arts and crafts projects.

Lightfast and Opaque Colors

As previously mentioned, this set includes a variety of colors of both the lightfast and the opaque varieties. By combining them, this wide range of colors allows you to create 218 different acrylic colors according to your particular needs.

Because they have the right consistency, all these colors can be easily mixed together, resulting in a wide range of tones.

Consistency and Uniformity

Due to a proprietary water-based formula, all the paints in the Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set exhibit a remarkable level of consistency. At the time of painting, this consistency translates into smoothness and ease covering styrofoam surfaces of any size. Moreover, it results in great uniformity (and a lack of brush strokes) once the paint dries.

Overall

Without a semblance of a doubt, it can be said that the Vallejo Medieval Colors Paint Set is one of the best products for styrofoam painting available on the market. Carefully formulated using high-quality ingredients, it has the perfect consistency to produce high-quality painted surfaces. What’s more, its selection of both light and opaque colors allow you to create hundreds of combinations, resulting in a wide range of colors at your disposal.

Pros
  • Can produce a huge range of tones and colors.
  • Perfect consistency allows complete uniformity.
  • Adheres to difficult surfaces.
Cons
  • Whites and lights colors are somewhat watery.
  • Expensive.

3. Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint – Best Protective Paint for Styrofoam

Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint ReviewWhen creating dioramas and other arts and crafts projects, often, you will need to paint over a variety of different materials. For that reason, products such as the Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint are incredibly useful. Its oil-based formula makes it compatible with a variety of surfaces other than styrofoam, including wood, metal, concrete, masonry and many others. Once dry, this paint is resistant to both corrosion and rust, protecting the integrity and extending the durability of your projects.

Resistance to External Elements

As was just mentioned, once dry, this product provides an excellent protection against external elements, ensuring that your styrofoam will not become easily damaged or lose its physical integrity. What is more, it fends off both corrosion and rust, greatly extending the lifespan of your arts and crafts or diorama projects. As if all this wasn’t enough, this product also increases a painted object’s resistance to abrasion, fading and chipping.

Expert Finishes

By using the Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint, you will be able to produce expert finishes for your arts and crafts or diorama projects. In addition to creating dense layers of bright and vibrant colors, this product provides a semi-gloss finish that accentuates small details while homogenizing the entire project. Even better, this semi-gloss effect is visible no matter the type of surface you decide to apply this paint on.

Overall

Taking everything that was previously mentioned into account, it is easy to say that the Rust-Oleum 7798830 Stops Rust Spray Paint is worth giving a try. Even though it is not adequate for creating small details, it is great for covering larger surface areas in a homogenizing way. As a result, it’s a great option for preparing styrofoam bases. It’s also great for applying finishing layers of color on large surfaces comprised of different materials.

Pros
  • Provides a durable protective coating.
  • Dries to touch in 2 hours.
  • Resistant to abrasion, fading and chipping.
Cons
  • Some colors can be difficult to find.
  • Can run out quickly.

The Best Paint for Styrofoam – Buyer’s Guide

How to Paint Styrofoam

Being a remarkably porous material, styrofoam is not as straightforward and easy to paint as other materials. By following these steps, however, you will be able to fully and expertly paint any object made of this plastic.

1. Select the Paint

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideBefore doing anything, you need to select the right kind of paint for your task. Luckily, this guide already provided you with reviews for three of the best paint for styrofoam options on the market. Additionally, you will have to select the right colors for your objectives.

2. Prepare the Paint

After you have selected the right paint, you will have to prepare it. The way to do this depends largely on the type of paint and its presentation. If you are dealing with acrylic paint, for example, you will have to pour a small amount of each paint you will be using in a container. If you want to mix colors to get a particular tone, you will have to do that as well.

Take into account that products with other distribution systems (such as spray paint) will need other types of preparation. To know how to prepare your paint, always refer to the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

3. Apply the Paint

Finally, the time has come to begin painting your styrofoam object. First, dip your brush into the paint lightly. Then, apply it to the object carefully. If you are using spray paint, set the object down on a carpet of old newspapers and spray it. Move it a few times in order to get all the spots covered.

4. Spread and Even Out the Paint

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideMost likely, after applying your first coat of paint, the layering will be uneven and rough. To fix this, use a brush to spread and even out of the paint. Because it’s such a porous material, styrofoam will often require various strokes in order to retain the paint.

If regular strokes from side to side do not work, you may have to dab the paint into cracks and white spots in the styrofoam. Before moving onto the next step, make sure that all the surface is completely covered in an even way.

5. Let the Paint Dry

At this point, there is nothing left to do but let the paint dry. Depending on the type of paint, this will take between 10 and 20 minutes. To be completely sure, however, you can check out the instructions provided by the manufacturer of your paint of choice. To prevent damages to it or the styrofoam, try to let the paint dry naturally instead of using a blow dryer or anything else.

6. Apply Additional Coats of Paint

Once the paint has dried, it is likely that you will have to apply additional coats of paint in order to get a truly professional, perfect result. To do this, simply repeat the previous two steps, first applying a coat of paint that covers the entire object and then letting it dry. Once the paint has dried and there are no light or white spots, the styrofoam painting job is ready.

Types of Paint Compatible With Styrofoam

Spray Paints

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideSometimes of spray paints are suitable for being used on styrofoam. However, these constitute a minority. Most spray paints should never be used on this plastic material because it deteriorates this material a lot faster than other paints.

There are many spray paints, though, that have been designed to be used with styrofoam. Typically, these paints make for a quick and easy application. They also tend to dry very quickly, reducing the amount of time the substance is actively degrading the styrofoam.

There are even some spray paints that have been created specifically for modeling and crafting. Normally, these paints are made of latex, acrylic or a combination of the two. Some other sprays were formulated specifically for being used on styrofoam. These paints are generally water-based, greatly reducing the negative impact they may have on the fragile material. It should be taken into account, however, that paints of this type are usually not well-suited for working on small details.

Acrylic Paints

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s GuideWhen applied directly, acrylic paint is effective for being used on styrofoam. Additionally, it is typically easy to apply, and its results tend to be very consistent. It should be taken into account, however, that this type of paint may need several coats to achieve your desired color.

This is particularly true when working on styrofoam because it is a very porous material and, as such, allows a considerable amount of paint to seep into its crevices and craters. Another thing to take into account is that acrylic paint can deteriorate the styrofoam slightly over time.

Tempera Paint

Being water-based and pigment-heavy, tempera paint is a type of craft paint that adheres very well to porous, foamy objects. Readily available at most art and crafts stores, this paint is very easy to get and very affordable.

Best Paint For Styrofoam - Reviews & Buyer’s Guide

When working with tempera paint, take into account that this material is very susceptible to water. This characteristic makes this the wrong kind of paint for painting styrofoam projects that will come in contact with that element and/or other liquids.

Tempera paint comes in a variety of finishes, making it very versatile. It is important to note, however, that tempera paint sets tend to come in a very limited amount of colors. Even worse, this type of paint for styrofoam does not blend well.

Conclusion

Styrofoam is a great material for putting together arts and crafts projects such as dioramas. On its own, however, styrofoam can look very rough and unpolished. Luckily, there is a quick way to make your styrofoam diorama base look amazing: Paint it. Without a doubt, using a good paint for styrofoam can take your project to the next level. Hopefully, this buyer’s guide will help you make the right decision for your particular needs.

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