Decorating Rain Barrels

Painted rain barrels can add to or blend in with the current landscape. Painting a rain barrel is a creative project to engage the whole family.  Rain barrels are a unique type of canvas for the artist looking for a challenging medium to work with.

Stencil design


Finished barrel

Basic steps to paint a rain barrel:

Step 1:  Clean the exterior surface with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.
Step 2:  (Optional) Use a fine grade sandpaper to “rough up” the surface of the barrel. (This helps the paint adhere to the plastic barrel.)
Step 3:  Rinse barrel with clean water (static may try to hold the fine dust) and dry with lint free cloth (or leave it in the sun until dry)
Step 4:  Cover the faucet and overflow to prevent primer, paint and polyurethane from adhering to them.
Step 5:  Apply at least one coat of plastic primer, and allow for a sufficient drying time as per manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 6:  Now the barrel can be painted by stencil, a pattern, freehand, etc.  Acrylic paint works best on these plastic barrels.  (Not all acrylic paint is created equally however! Not all acrylic paint is non-toxic or safe! Please read paint labels and look for the "AP Non-toxic" seal. Do NOT use paints without this seal.)  Paint barrel and allow the paint to dry completely.

Safety Precautions:
When applying the primer and polyurethane aerosol spray, always wear a mask to avoid inhaling fumes, and be sure to read the instructions on the container.


Plastic Primer


Special Topics

The Partners