The best type of paint to use when decorating your cardboard boxes

06/12/2012 10:13

Cardboard boxes are famous because they are easily recycled and put to other useful things. The cardboard is tough yet it can be bent and cut easily; it is light and can thus be carried around easily; it is also safe health wise and is friendly to the environment. Most of the items made from cardboard boxes are temporal but they could last longer if handled with care. Most cardboards have the flat brown colour and one may want to decorate items made from the cardboard, be it a kids fort, a pet house or just a packaging cardboard box that one want to look attractive. Painting is the easiest way to decorate but one should be careful with the kinds of paint they use.

Cardboard being basically paper, will absorb liquids and this will compromise the strength of the cardboard. Usually after drying up, the cardboard will regain some of its toughness but may end up a bit brittle. When painting therefore, one should not apply too much paint and one should use paints that don’t get absorbed so freely. Another great disadvantage of the absorbing quality of cardboard boxes is that the cardboard will warp when drying up. To minimize this, again one should use minimal paint per coat and one should paint on both sides for the initial coat. The warping on one side will be countered by the warping on the other side hence one should be keen to apply equal amount of paint on both sides.

Acrylic paint is the most preferred type of paint to use on cardboards. Acrylic is very similar to oil based paints having similar advantages but is less expensive and easier to use. Before painting the final pattern or image on the cardboard, for better quality and a stronger finish, a coat or two of primer is necessary, gesso primers or an acrylic based primer are advised. One can also use spray paint; though it could be more expensive, one may find it easier to use. It is crucial that after each coat one should let the cardboard dry completely before painting on another coat.

Other ways to colour your cardboard boxes is the use of poster paint and water colours. An advantage of these paints is that they take to the cardboard very well and will need only one coat a disadvantage is that these colours are a bit dull and may need some lightening up with varnish. One could also use added decorating materials such as crayons, inks, chalk, colour pencils and markers and anything else including nail polish!

Written by:

Chris Roche - Digital Marketing Manager at Storm Trading who stock a wide range of packaging supplies including cardboard boxes and bubble wrap. Chris enjoys arts and crafts as well as technology and films.