Can You Use Acrylic Paint on a Phone Case?

By Mandy Moss

When you paint your phone cover, you can instantly transform your phone for less money and with minimal effort.

There are many paints on the market for customizing your case, but acrylic paint is often the most accessible and affordable.

You can use acrylic paint on a phone case, but you must seal it with a water-resistant solution to prevent smudging.

The phone case must be prepped before painting unless it is made of wood. Sealant and prepping, will help you avoid yellowing and help the acrylic artwork to last longer.

This article will examine whether you can use acrylic paint on a phone case.

We will explain various materials and how to paint and protect your designs to ensure their durability.

Can You Use Acrylic Paint on a Phone Case

Is Acrylic Paint for Phone Case OK?

I’ve found that acrylic paint can be used on most phone case materials, but proper preparation is key for lasting results.

Through trial and error with countless cases, I’ve learned that plastic and rubber cases require extra steps like sanding and priming before painting.

Appropriate sealers are also a must to prevent fading over time. Wood cases tend to be the easiest to work with using standard acrylics.

You should keep in mind that acrylic paint is not intended for painting plastic. This is because the color will have a tough time adhering to the case. Also, the paint will start to peel off as you handle the case.

From experience, I always use a plastic primer when painting phone cases. It gives the paint something to grip onto that smooth plastic surface.

Without it, the acrylic will just peel right off when dry. Priming is the key step I tell all beginners to avoid disappointment down the road.

How To Paint Phone Case with Acrylic Paint?

To paint a phone case with acrylic paint you need to start by prepping the surface. Plastic and wooden cases need to be cleaned and sanded, silicone requires denatured alcohol, and leather needs isopropyl alcohol. Once prepped, paint the case and allow it to dry completely before use.

Let’s go into more detail on how to prep and paint these different types of phone cases.

Painting Phone Sase with Acrylic Step by Step:

Painting a plastic case requires following materials:

  • Towel
  • Dish soap
  • Painter’s tape
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Rubbing alcohol
  1. When prepping a plastic case, I start by washing the entire surface with dish soap and water. It’s important to fully clean off any dirt or oil so the paint can properly adhere.
  2. Next, I wipe the case down with rubbing alcohol and let it completely dry.
  3. Following that, sand the item’s glossy surfaces with your fine-grit sandpaper.
  4. The last step in the preparation process is to apply a plastic primer according to the instructions on the container. It is best to allow the primer to dry completely.
  5. Once complete, you can use painter’s tape to make complex patterns on your phone cover, or you can free-hand them for a more homemade appearance.

How To Prep and Paint Silicone Phone Cases

Silicone needs denatured alcohol for preparation. Denatured alcohol will help roughen up the silicone surface, providing an exterior for the acrylic paint to adhere to.

After the surface has dried, prime the case using an oil-based primer. Once the primer has dried completely, you may begin painting.

PRO TIP: When painting silicone, it is preferable to use oil-based acrylic paints since they adhere the best to this material.

You should wait for 6 to 8 hours before applying a second coat, if necessary.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

As a seasoned phone case painter, I’ve made all these mistakes before and learned from them. Here are the top mistakes to avoid for acrylic painting your phone case:

  1. Not properly cleaning the surface – You must thoroughly clean off any oil, dirt, or residue so the paint can adhere well. Dish soap and warm water work great for plastic and wood cases. Use alcohol for silicone and leather cases.
  2. Skipping the primer – Priming plastic, wood, and silicone cases is crucial for acrylic paint to bond. Without a primer, the paint will just peel or rub off. Priming provides a textured base layer.
  3. Choosing the wrong sealant – The sealant must be compatible with the phone case material. Water-based sealants work for wood but not plastic. Use a flexible sealant for silicone cases. Test compatibility first.

How To Prep and Paint Wooden Phone Cases

If your phone cover is varnished, you must remove this shiny layer before painting. You should sand the wood using 140-180 grit sandpaper.

  • The sanding does not need to be professional. All you’re doing is attempting to remove the shiny surface.
  • Following that, apply a light coat of wood primer to help seal the wood and make it simpler to use the acrylic paint.
  • If your phone cover is not shiny, you may omit the primer and prep. However, when a coat of primer is applied, colors seem more vivid, which may be beneficial for the final look.
  • You can paint on wood with any acrylic paint.
  • I recommend applying two coats, letting the first dry completely before proceeding with the second. Most acrylic paints dry in around 20 minutes.

How To Prep and Paint Leather Phone Cases

You must wipe the leather with isopropyl alcohol before painting to remove any coatings or oils on the leather.

  1. If isopropyl alcohol does not remove the coating, the surface may need to be gently sanded with fine sandpaper.
  2. There is also a possibility that the leather has been silicone-coated. To remove this coating, you’ll need to apply a leather deglaze.
  3. After you’ve removed the covering, you may start painting. For the best adherence on leather, apply the paint thinly enough so that it soaks into the material.

You might find interesting: Can You Use Acrylic Paint on Leather?

Using Acrylic Paint on Different Phone Case Materials

Acrylic paint can work on many phone case materials with the right prep and sealing. Here are some tips for key materials:

PlasticSanding + alcohol cleaningPlastic primerAcrylic sealer
WoodLight sandingOptionalPolyurethane
SiliconeAlcohol to roughenOil-based primerFlexible acrylic sealer
LeatherAlcohol cleaningOptionalPolyurethane

I like to test different sealants first before fully painting a case. Compatibility is key for long-lasting results. Lightly sanding any glossy materials helps the paint grip better.

How To Seal Acrylic Paint on Phone Case?

Sealing your designs creates a long-lasting pattern that keeps flaking, dust, and fading at bay.

If you’re satisfied with the design, I recommend applying a permanent sealer to protect it for the long haul.

You can use the following procedure in conjunction with a suitable sealant for the material you’re working with:

  1. Before applying the sealer, make sure your acrylic paint is completely dry.
  2. Apply the first coat. Make sure you paint this coat in one direction.
  3. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second.
  4. Apply a second coat in the opposite direction as you did the first.
  5. Allow the second coat to dry.

How To Remove paint if you are not satisfied with end result?

There are numerous commercial paint removers available on Amazon and eBay if you wish to eliminate the paint. However, if you have oils, hairspray, or acetone on hand, you can remove the pattern at home.

Remove it using Hairspray

  • All you have to do is spray it on the phone case until it is fully saturated.
  • The paint should start to soften and enable you to scour and wipe it away. After that, you may rinse it with water to remove any remaining color.
  • Some DIYers choose to scrape the paint off with a knife. If you choose this method, keep in mind that you should not use a knife to scrape wood or plastic since it will permanently damage these surfaces. Instead, a plastic scraper is best.

Try Nail Polish Remover

Acetone, which works similarly to hairspray, is another method for removing the paint. On the phone case, dab a cotton ball or the tip of a washcloth saturated with acetone.

  1. It’s best to leave it in place for a few minutes to allow the acetone to begin dissolving the color.
  2. After a few minutes, aggressively wipe the phone case to remove the paint.

Apply Olive Oil to the Phone Case

Vegetable or olive oil is another acrylic paint remover that you can find at home.

You should clean the surface of the phone cover with a dry paper towel before coating it with oil. Next, grab another clean paper towel and dab it with oil.

  1. It’s best to hold the paper towel against the dried paint for at least one minute to begin the loosening process.
  2. Next, continue cleaning the phone case with the oiled cloth until all the paint has been removed.

Use Denatured Alcohol

On the most resistant dried acrylic paint, denatured alcohol works best

  1. All you have to do is pour some on a cloth and press it against the stain for a minute. Then, using tiny circular movements, wipe the paint off until it comes off.
  2. After that, use a wet, soapy towel to clean away the alcohol, which will continue to break down the phone case until it dries.

Final Thoughts

Although your phone cover painting may seem daunting initially, it is elementary with the proper preparation and instruction..

Acrylic paint is sufficiently flexible to be used on any cover. And once you’ve mastered painting smooth coats, the creative options are limitless.

Suppose you’re stumped when it comes to design ideas. In that case, Sea Lemon has ten simple patterns you can use for inspiration:

If you’re only hoping for a temporary design, you can skip the sealant and use a top coat instead.

What kind of paint can I use on a phone case?

Acrylic, enamel, and oil-based paints all work well on phone cases. Acrylic paint is best for beginners since it’s affordable, water-soluble, and dries quickly. Make sure to use primers and sealants suited for your case material.

What paint can be used on silicone phone cases?

For painting silicone phone cases, I recommend using an oil-based acrylic paint. The oils help the paint adhere better to the flexible silicone material compared to standard acrylics.

How do you secure acrylic paint on a phone case?

Sealing acrylic paint on a phone case is a must! Use a flexible acrylic sealant to lock in your paint and protect it from wear, chipping or peeling. Apply 2-3 coats of sealant over your dried acrylic paint for best results.

Will acrylic paint stick to silicone?

Acrylic paint alone won’t adhere well to silicone phone cases. Make sure to rough up the surface with alcohol first. Then use an oil-based primer before painting to help the acrylic better stick to the silicone. The primer gives the paint something to grab onto.