is a participant in the Amazon Associate program, we may earn a small commission from the qualifying purchases of our recommended links. Learn more.

How to Paint a Kayak in 2022 – Easy DIY Guide

Are you looking for ways how to paint a kayak? Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Painting kayaks is not only important but can be fun too.

It feels great doing a painting job on your kayak and by yourself. If you feel excited about doing kayak paintings, join us to explore.

There are certain things you need special knowledge to do perfectly but trust me, you don’t need all those to do a beautiful painting job on your kayak.

All that is necessary is determination and a knack for colors. Painting can be emotional too. Therefore with some emotion to your painting job, it is highly likely that the outcome will be exceptional.


Reasons for painting a kayak

There is numerous basis why one needs to paint their kayak. Maybe individually, the demand for painting varies, but generally, there are important reasons to get a kayak painted. Some of the reasons to paint a kayak include;

01. Friction

it is no question that kayaks glide over water surfaces. From our basic physics, we understand that there is a force that tries to limit motion when two surfaces are in contact.

To overcome this negative effect of friction, we must sometimes be required to improve one surface, and in this case, painting a kayak will greatly reduce the friction between it and water during motion.

Therefore, it must be painted to have a hitch-free and faster movement over water on a kayak, especially during the sporting competition.

02. Protection of construction material

kayaks can be built from different materials, metal wood, plastics, or fiber glasses. Painting the surfaces of the kayak will protect its hub against premature damage.

Metal can get rusted even quicker when used in the seas if left unpainted, and this could cause it to deteriorate slowly, leading to other serious issues.

Kayaks made of wood can get soaked with water or have water sip into them if there are no waterproof layers; Paints can serve as a waterproof layer to protect the wooden kayaks.

Even though plastics and fiber glasses may not be as vulnerable as metal and wood, they can gain immensely from painting.

Painting on plastic and fiberglass material for kayaks would protect their surface from scratches and help reduce friction greatly.

03. Appealing looks

You need to paint your kayak the look that owners are pleased with and appealing to admirers. When painted, old kayaks give them a newer look and inject more life into them for greater service.

But, painting a newly built kayak gives it a premium look.

04. Increase in value

whichever way one may look at value, whether in terms of the money customers who wish to buy them may be willing to pay or output as it has to do with performance and results, painting kayaks adds value to them all around.

Types of Kayak Paints

Before embarking on your painting project, it is important to know what kind of paint you need. There are various paints in the market, but all you need to get the painting done is just one kind.

Sometimes, a combination of different paints can give a better result.

At a glance, one would be poise to think or even choose oily paint for their painting project, given that it solves the problem of rust and offers a waterproof layer.

But, some paints are far superior to oily paint. So, let’s see the kinds of paint you may need to paint your kayak.

01. Oily Paints

Oily Paints are quick-drying paints and are used in a mixture with other organic solvents to achieve a better protective capability and durability.


  • They are affordable
  • Easy to clean
  • Dries quickly


  • They can become weak in humid places and peel off
  • It requires primer and three-layer application to achieve a glossy finish

02. Plastic paints

Plastic paints are yet another kind of paint you may need for your painting. It uses water as its diluent and gives good covering and protection to surfaces.


  • Provide very good covering to surfaces
  • Dries faster


  • They are not excellent in protecting surfaces against chemical attack
  • Stains easily

03. Enamel paints

Enamel paints are a type of paint made by adding zinc or lead to varnish.


  • They form a hard glossy finish
  • Water and chemical resistant
  • Easy cleaning
  • A good coating of surfaces
  • Its color hardly fades


  • They require the first coating of titanium before application which can expensive
  • It takes a longer time to dry

04. Bituminous paints

Bituminous paints; are very heavy paints. It is made from the dissolution of tar or asphalt, causing it to be black.


  • Waterproof
  • Chemical resistant (against alkali)


  • Not suitable for surfaces exposed to direct sunlight or heat

05. Cellulose paint

Cellulose paint; is another kind of paint enthusiasts may need for painting their kayaks. The paint is made from acetate, a photographic film with celluloid sheets. But, a mixture with castor oil improves its adhesive properties.


  • Washable and easy to clean
  • Dries quickly
  • Resistant against water and acids
  • Resistant against smoke too


  • Very expensive

06. Anti-corrosive paint

Anti-corrosive paint is made by mixing fine sand, zinc chrome, and linseed oil to form a black pigmented substance that can be used for painting.


  • Affordable
  • Anti-rust


  • Chemical used are heavy and pose risks to health

Different Methods on How to Paint a Kayak

Kayaks can be painted using a range of methods. It depends on the material and tools available for the painting job. And also the convenience one method brings over the other. The methods on how to paint kayaks are;


Using a paintbrush; is a manual means of applying paint over a surface using paintbrushes. The brush is repeatedly dipped into a jar of prepared paint which gets wet and stained with the paint.

And it is slowly applied to the target surface in an upward and downward manner or side to side until the paint covers the entire surface.


Rollers (roll-ons) are pretty much like brushes and are applied in just the same way as a brush. The difference is that rollers have a cylinder over a bar that rolls over when moved either up or down or sideways.

Also, paintings using rollers are faster because less effort is spent.


Using sprayers for paintings can even be quicker and much easier with sprayers. Sprayers come in different forms, like those in spray metal bottles containing paints; all that is required is to push down the cap to the tube and release some paints while doing the painting job.

There are also machine sprays where a sprayer tube is connected to a compressor, and the trigger is pulled to release paint in the small tank onto the target surface.

Materials needed to paint a kayak.

The method of painting we choose will determine the kind of material needed to paint a kayak. However, the difference that may come due to the method chosen may not be significant as much of the painting procedure is the same. The materials required are;

  1. Personal protective equipment (PPEs)
  2. Eyeglasses
  3. gloves
  4. nose mask
  5. headgear
  6. coverall suit
  7. boots
  8. A well-ventilated place or work area/space
  9. Painting tools (paintbrush, sprayer, roll-ons)
  10. Paints
  11. Water
  12. Containers for mixing paint

How to paint a kayak with spray paints

Now, let’s see how to paint a kayak with spray paints. But before starting, we must know that sprays can either be done from a bottle or spray nozzle attached to a compressor in machine spray. However, we shall combine both types of sprays in our discussion below;

Step 1: Getting set

Be sure to set your kayak in a less dusted place and open the windows, including turning on a fan to allow proper breathing for the painter and deal with any dust flying in the painting room or space. Set up all tools and be well kitted

Step 2: concealing some parts

This is an important point to note before beginning. You may not want to paint all parts like handles and rails. You get some pieces of paper to wrap them to conceal from the paint or remove if possible and to replace when the job is done.

Step 3: cleaning

  • One of the aims of painting is to get at least a glossy finish. To achieve that aim, you must clean the surface to be painted thoroughly.
  • Do it by washing with water and detergent, and sandpaper to strip it clean and smooth. Start with rough sandpaper, then smooth sandpaper to a smoother feel.
  • Peel off old rusty cracks and paints for old kayaks, then fill them up using fillers. And wash again. Lastly, wash and use acetone to wipe out any lipid layer and other stains that prevent paints from sticking over the surface.

 Step 4: a primer

Paints do not just stick to surfaces but stick to the first layer of paint on the surface called a primer.

  • Spray primer using either the can sprayer or the machine spray
  • Allow it to dry
  • Do some more filling on the surface

Step 5: final coat

  • Apply the final coat to the surface of your kayak. The final coat is the finishing layer of paint. Spray again using the can sprayer or the nozzle (machine spray)
  • Allow it to dry

Step 6: replace un-attached  

  • Wipe off excess paints and clean gently
  • Replace the fittings and accessories removed earlier and unwrap the covered ones
  • Use traces of paints to tough a few not well-covered parts.
  • And you’re done!

How to paint a kayak with Roll-on Foam Roller

Haven saw the steps to painting a kayak through sprays; let us now see how to paint a kayak with a roll-on foam roller. The roll-on foam roller serves as the application brush, which carries the paints and spreads them over the surface you want to paint. The steps are;

Step 1: getting started

  • Like we did preparing for the spray painting, we also need to get all the necessary accessories and arms with the correct tools for the job.
  • A well-ventilated area

Step 2: cleaning

  • Clean the surface of the surface to be painted very well
  • Use rough sandpaper and water mixed with detergent
  • Now use smooth sandpaper
  • Rinse whole to remove any particle

Step 3: fill

  • Fill any dents on the hub using filler substances.
  • And remove any parts that you did want to be painted
  • Or use old paper and seal tape to wrap things you don’t want to be painted

Step 4: a primer

  • Apply the first primer layer to give the paint an adhesive surface
  • Wait for at least 24hours to dry.
  • Fill out parts that don’t seem uniform and wash using sandpapers.

Step 5: paint

  • Now, mix the paint with the necessary resins
  • Put in a container with an open surface and wide enough to give room for the roll-on
  • Dip the roll-on foam into the paint gently and bring it out
  • Apply on the surface to be painted upward, downward, or sideways.
  • Do it repeatedly until the paints cover every part of the surface.

 Step 6: allow drying

  • Allow your painting job to dry
  • You are done painting with a roll-on foam roller.

How to paint a plastic kayak

Plastics can be a tricky material to paint. Ordinarily, the surfaces of plastics do not adhere to paints, and paints tend to drip or even peel off when dried. Paints adhere better to rough plastic surfaces than glossy ones. Manufacturers have made improved paints that can quickly adhere to plastics and stick permanently. Let’s see the step to take when painting a plastic kayak; but before then, the material you would need is;

  1. Paint
  2. Washing items (water and detergent)
  3. Mineral spirit
  4. Sandpaper (smooth)
  5. Protective eyeglasses
  6. Masks and glove

Step 1 

  • Clean the surface of the plastic using detergent and water to wash any grease
  • Rinse thoroughly

Step 2

  • Use sandpaper to work over the surface
  • Paints adhere to rough plastic surfaces better, so use the sandpaper to roughen it from its glossy looking state

Step 3 

  • Wipe down plastic dust
  • Use the mineral spirit to wipe down the plastic kayak surface

Step 4

  • Apply a primer which is the first layer over the surface, using the most convenient method
  • Allow drying for hours

Step 5

  • Apply the final coat to give it a glossy finish
  • Wait to dry
  • Your job is done

Note; while painting, the kayak must be leveled up horizontally to allow room to cover most parts of its paint.

How to paint a fiberglass kayak

Painting fiber glasses material is trickier than plastics but getting the ideal paint would make the job easier. The steps involved are

Step 1 

  • Level the kayak in a horizontal orientation with supports
  • Blast with a jet of water and detergents

Step 2 

  • Allow drying
  • Fix any damage on the surface
  • And fill it out using the right fillers (gel coats)

Step 3 

  • Scrape off any excess that stuck on other parts
  • If too difficult to remove, use acetone and spray over the sticker, then scrap off

Step 4

  • Use sandpaper to wash over the surface with water.
  • Rinse off the dust and wipe dry with a towel

Step 5

  • Tape off or remove parts you don’t want to be painted
  • Mix up the paint about 1 part of thinner to 9 parts of marine paint

Step 6

  • Apply the paint over the surface of the kayak using the most convenient method
  • Allow drying
  • You have just painted a fiberglass kayak
  • Congratulations!

FAQs about How to Paint a Kayak

01. Painting a fiberglass kayak, what type of paint can you recommend that I use?

there are several improved paints made for fiber glasses on the market today. Always read the paint labels to see if they are ideal for fiber glasses. A paint that sticks to it and gives it that glossy finish is what you should choose.

02. is it always necessary to remove old paints before applying new coats?

it is the best practice if you aim to achieve a stable and excellent painting job. Applying new paint over the old one would cause it to peel off easily as there is poor adhesion.

03. how do I achieve a camo pattern when painting my kayak?

to achieve a camo pattern, dip the paint applier or sponge in different paints and dip it on the kayak hull randomly to bring about a camo pattern.

04. Are there videos that you can recommend to guide to painting kayaks?

please, refer to the links attached at the end of this article for the video on how to paint kayaks.

05. how do I prepare the material’s surface to let paint stick to it?

you can do that by roughening it a bit using sandpaper because paints adhere strongly to roughened surfaces.


The knowledge of how to paint kayaks can be very rewarding. All it takes is attention and dedication to knowing the nitty-gritty. And when you grasp it, you will be amazed at the quality of painting job you can do.

Leave a Comment