Can You Spray Paint Styrofoam? (Without Melting It)

Spray paint can be used on almost any surface. There are different types of spray paint available and they all have their own pros and cons. But can you spray paint Styrofoam?

If you are also wondering whether we can spray paint Styrofoam, the answer is no, we can not spray paint a regular Styrofoam with spray paint. Spray paints contain enamel that will eat the Styrofoam if applied on it.

However, there is a way that you can use to spray paint your Styrofoam without damaging it. In this article we will show you how to spray paint Styrofoam’s without melting it. So, lets start.

What spray paint is safe for styrofoam?

There is no such spray paint available that is safe for Styrofoam. We have tried each and every type of spray paint from leading brands like Krylon, Rustoleum, etc. but none of them were safe enough to apply directly on Styrofoam. 

We have also tried water-based latex spray paints on Styrofoam but the results were still not good. The reason behind this was because these spray paints also contain enamel which damages the Styrofoam.

Therefore no matter what type of spray paint you use on Styrofoam, it will melt it.

So, what should you do instead?

Instead of using spray paint, you can use acrylic paints. These paints are safe to use on Styrofoam’s as well as other surfaces.

Also read: Can you spray paint copper pipes?

How do you paint styrofoam with spray paint? (Without melting it)

As I already said that no matter what type of spray paint you use on Styrofoam, it will damage it. But there is still some Styrofoam’s available in the market that you can paint with spray paints.

There are some Styrofoam’s available that are coated with a special paint that protects the Styrofoam from melting. You can apply any type of spray paint on this specially coated Styrofoam’s without any problem.

These specially coated Styrofoam’s are quite expensive than the regular Styrofoam’s. But if you want to spray paint Styrofoam without damaging it then this is the only possible option.

But what about regular Styrofoam’s?

Regular Styrofoam’s are not coated with any special paint. Therefore, they cannot be painted with spray paints. If you try to spray paint regular Styrofoam, you will end up ruining it.

So, if you want to paint your regular Styrofoam then you have to use acrylic paints.

Acrylic paints are water-based and are very safe to use on Styrofoam. They are also easy to use.

You just need to mix acrylic paints with water and apply them on Styrofoam with a brush or roller.

How to paint styrofoam (Step by step guide)

Painting Styrofoam with acrylic paints is very simple and easy. Here is a step by step guide that will help you to paint Styrofoam’s easily:

How to paint styrofoam without melting it
How to paint styrofoam without melting it

1. Mix acrylic paints with water

The first step is to mix acrylic paints with plain water.

Mixing acrylic paints with water is very important. Acrylic paints are usually thick and sticky. However, when mixed with water, they become thinner and more fluid. Don’t mix too much water with acrylic paints. It might make the paints runny.

If you don’t add enough water to the acrylic paints, they won’t flow properly. And if you add too much water to the acrylic paints then the paints will start running down the Styrofoam surface. So, always keep an eye on the consistency of the mixture.

2. Apply the mixture on styrofoam

Apply the mixture on Styrofoam. Make sure that the surface of the Styrofoam is clean before applying the mixture. Otherwise, the applied mixture will stick to the dirt particles on the Styrofoam’s surface. If the surface is not cleaned properly then the mixture will spread unevenly. This will ruin the appearance of the finished product.

3. Wait for the mixture to dry

Wait until the mixture dries completely. After applying the paint on Styrofoam, wait for at least 20 minutes. The longer you leave the mixture on Styrofoam, the better the quality of the finished product will be.

6. Let the styrofoam air dry

After waiting for 20 minutes, let the Styrofoam dry naturally. The drying process may take several hours depending upon the temperature and humidity of the room where you are painting Styrofoam.

Once the Styrofoam has dried completely, remove all the excess paint using a sponge or rag. That’s it ! You have successfully painted your Styrofoam.

Also read: Can you spray paint laminate furniture?

Why does spray paint melt styrofoam?

Spray paint contains enamel that melts Styrofoam when applied on it. The reason behind this is that Styrofoam contains polystyrene which is very soft and when sprayed with any kind of spray paint, it gets melted.

When you apply spray paint on the surface of the Styrofoam it comes into contact with the air. This causes evaporation of the solvent present in the spray paint. As a result of this, the Styrofoam starts getting heated and eventually gets melted.

This happens due to the fact that Styrofoam has low thermal conductivity. It means that Styrofoam absorbs heat slowly compared to other materials.

This makes Styrofoam unsuitable for spraying with spray paints. The best thing to do is to avoid spraying Styrofoam with any kind of spray paint. 


I hope this article helped you understand why spray painting Styrofoam is not recommended.

If you really want to spray paint Styrofoam then you must go for the specially coated ones. Otherwise, you may end up ruining your Styrofoam.

Styrofoam’s are a very popular choice among craftspeople. This is because Styrofoam is pretty simple to use. You just need to cut it into pieces and glue them together. When you need the Styrofoam to be any other color than the standard white, the problem starts.

Do not use regular spray paint. Regular spray paint is corrosive and causes the Styrofoam to dissolve and be eaten up. The end result looks corroded and the outermost layer will be pitted.


Can you spray paint Styrofoam balls?

No, you cannot spray paint Styrofoam balls. These are made out of Styrofoam sheets. So, you should not use spray paints on these.

Can you use Rustoleum spray paint on Styrofoam?

Rustoleum spray paints also contain enamel that eats and damages the Styrofoam. So, you can not use Rustoleum spray paints on Styrofoam surfaces.

How do you seal Styrofoam for spray painting?

To prevent the Styrofoam from being damaged by the spray paint, you have to use only the specially coated Styrofoam’s. It is not possible to seal regular Styrofoam’s for spray painting.

What is the difference between spray paint and acrylic paint?

Spray paint is an aerosol type of paint. Acrylic paint is a liquid based paint. Both types of paints are used for different purposes.

Hi, while painting our various DIY projects, we have spent many years researching the best spray paints. We realized that many people are searching for the same thing on different sites. We, therefore, have created this standard blog to provide effective solutions for the best spray paint.

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