Best Paint for Cardboard – Top Three Paints for Amazing Result

by James Antony | Last Updated: 5th October 2020

Painting on cardboard is something that most of us have done a lot of times when we were kids. Either we used to paint it with actual paint as an art piece or make something out of old cardboard, like a signboard.

However, cardboard is made from kraft paper; so, how do you know what type of paint you can use on it safely?

Unlike a canvas or drawing paper that allows you to unleash your creativity without having to put in a lot of thought into it, you do have to take care of cardboard and simply cannot use any type of paint on it. Here are the top three paints for cardboard:

Rust-Oleum 249127 Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra CoverBest Overall

Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover - Best Paint for Cardboard Review

Rust-Oleum 2X Ultra Cover


The Rust-Oleum 249127 Painter’s Touch is one of the best choices for painting on cardboards. It contains an oil-based formulation that can be applied easily via a paintbrush or a sprayer and dries out within 20 minutes.

Additionally, it also does not leave behind a bad odor. A single can is capable of covering about 12-square-feet. Once you have applied the paint, all you need to do is dust it and the surface will look astoundingly great.

Best Paint for Cardboard

Best features

The Rust-Oleum 249127 is one of the most reliable oil-based paints that dry out fast and leaves behind no poisonous odor. Apart from cardboard, it can also be applied to other types of surfaces lie wood and ceramic. However, the paint can be toxic until it dries out since it is an oil-based formula.

Additionally, the paint is available in a wide range of colors that are smooth, warm, and rich. Also, the paint is quite an affordable option and easily available in your nearest local shops or online stores.

  • The paint dries out very fast
  • The product does not contain any type of odor
  • Available in many different color options, multi-packs, and finishes
  • Toxic until it dries out

Krylon K05160107 ColorMaster Paint + PrimerBest Pricing

Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer - Best Paint for Cardboard Review

Krylon ColorMaster Paint + Primer


The Krylon K05160107 is packed as a large paint canister that contains 15-ounces of paint, on the contrary to the set industry standard or 12-ounces. The paint dries out quickly, within 15-minutes, which is quite fast and available in a wide range of colors.

These colors suit the needs of most customers. Additionally, the paint can also be applied to a wide range of surfaces like fabric, glass, plastic, wicker, metal, wood, and of course, cardboard.

Best features

The sprayer is one of the best options in the market today. While the paint sprayer is not difficult to use, the tip is not adjustable, which makes a painting from specific angles difficult. However, apart from this only flaw, the paint is quite nice.

The finishes of the product are excellent and can be used on almost any type of surface. The drying time is quite fast and can be used on both indoor and outdoor projects.

  • The paint is available in a wide range of colors
  • The drying time is fast
  • The product can be applied to a wide range of surfaces like metal and wood
  • The paint is very affordable
  • Tends to leave behind a strong odor for some time

Montana Cans Montana BLACK 400ml ColorBest Finish for Cardboard

Montana Cans Montana BLACK - Best Paint for Cardboard Review

Montana Cans Montana BLACK


These Montana Cans paints are considered one of the finest options by artists and painters. This paint offers the best finish among most other similar paints. It consists of a high-pressure nitro-combo formula that makes the paint extremely durable, high covering, and according to environment and health standards.

It can be applied on all types of surfaces, including cardboard, and has been rated as winter-proof.

Best Paint for Cardboard

Best features

The Montana Cans is a fast-drying paint that makes it an ideal choice for layering, overlapping, and re-application. It is also known to provide one of the best paint coverages. All you need to do is tap on the can cap and get on with the painting.

Overall, the color finishes are metallic and are one of the best choices for painting in the winter seasons, which might be the reason it is so expensive.

  • The paint is easy to handle, use and apply
  • The coverage is extensive
  • The spray cap is interchangeable
  • The paint is too expensive

Best Paint for Cardboard – Choosing the right paint for cardboard

Painting your cardboard is not an easy task, especially if you end up choosing the wrong type of pain. A wrong type of paint can cause the cardboard to wrinkle or bleed. Additionally, the paint also needs to be safe it is going to be used by children.

Primarily, there are three types of paints that can be applied to cardboard. These include:

Acrylic paint

Among the types of paints that can be applied to cardboard, acrylic paint is considered the most affordable option. Also, they are much easier to use. Acrylic paint is popularly used on surfaces like metal, wood, fabric, ceramics, and canvas.

The paint dries out fast and is made of pigment that remains suspended in the acrylic polymer emulsion.

Acrylic paint is quite water-soluble; however, it becomes moisture-resistant after drying up. Overall, this paint offers a decent consistency and will not penetrate the inner layer or the cardboard or leave it soaked.

Oil paint

Oil paint is another great option for painting on cardboards. It has a similar consistency to acrylic paint; however, the color that is left behind tends to shine brighter. The paint is also very easy to apply. However, its only downside is the pricing, which is heftier than acrylic paint.

Spray paint

Spray paint is another option available for cardboard painting. Perhaps, its biggest strength is that you do not have to wait for a long time for the drying process. Once applied on the cardboard, you do not have to wait for more than 15-minutes.

Additionally, it will also not melt the cardboard. However, you need to remember that the cardboard should be laid out flat while applying this paint to avoid breakage or crumbling.

Best Paint for Cardboard

Best Paint for Cardboard – FAQs

First of all check this post about Paint Shop Safety.

Do you need to apply a primer?

It is recommended that you apply a coat of primer on the cardboard before the paint job. A primer is the first layer of coating that is applied to ‘prime’ any surface. The primer creates an extra layer between the surface and the paint.

It allows the paint to last longer, smoothen the surface of the product that is being painted, and even the tone of the color. For cardboard, you can either use gesso or liquid latex primer; whichever you choose will depend on the type of base that you want to start with.

For instance, gesso will help you cancel out the dark tones of the cardboard. After the priming process is done, you will be left with a white and clean surface that will help you get started with the next painting process.

At most, gesso will not take more than 12-24 hours to dry up. Also, it is recommended that you apply two coats – one horizontally and one vertically.

Liquid latex primer offers the same job, except that the surface will have a darker background. Also, you can quicken the drying process using a heat gun or a hairdryer.

How do you prime cardboard?

Let us consider that you will use gesso for priming the cardboard. Gesso will prevent excess moisture from seeping into the cardboard, apart from making the colors look more opaque.

To apply gesso (or any other primer), you need to have a foam brush or a sponge. Apply the gesso on the cardboard layer twice (horizontally and vertically) and let it dry out completely.

Most brands that sell acrylic paint also sell gesso. However, you also have the choice of making your own by mixing water, white glue, white paint, and talcum powder/chalk. If you want the background to be colored, you can add some paint to the mixture. However, it will not affect its ability to function as a primer.

How do you paint cardboard?

There is much more going on to painting cardboard than slapping some colors and keep applying layers after layers. After you have applied the primer on the cardboard, you can start with the painting process. If you plan on using oil or acrylic paint, you will need a sponge and a dry brush to prevent exposure to moisture.

Ensure that you paint directly on the cardboard and avoid curling. At first, use smaller strokes and apply thin coats. Wait between turns for a few hours before you decide to apply another layer to prevent the cardboard from getting warped.

If you opt for spray painting, you first need to place an old newspaper or sheet under the cardboard to prevent the paint from getting sprayed on the floor. Fill the sprayer with the paint and shake for a few minutes.

Keep the sprayer 12-inches away from the cardboard and ensure that the paint is consistent. Wait for 15-minutes before applying the next layer.

Best Paint for Cardboard – Final Thoughts

Cardboard is one of the easiest, most affordable, and versatile products that you can use for crafting. However, these items tend to get shaped or bent easily, which makes painting them quite challenging. However, if you choose the right paint, you would have won half the battle.

Did you like our Best Paint for Cardboard review? Please comment! And don’t forget to check our other reviews – Best Paint for Fiber Cement Siding could be interesting for you!

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