Plastic playsets can get to where they don’t look so new anymore, but you can give them a brand-new look. Or maybe you want to customize your children’s plastic furniture to be more playful?
I made this Tutorial & Video for a fun little project that is also great practice for beginners. I’ll show you how to paint any “non-wood” surface, such as plastic, metal, and glass. Plus:
- Quick & easy tips for painting fine line details
- How to paint any surface
- How to paint perfect stripes
- How to paint Harlequin & Whimsical details
- How to paint recessed details
- How to apply transfers to furniture
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I’m painting a Plastic Children’s Vanity Playset, but first, it needs to be cleaned with a TSB-based cleaner such as Dixie Belle White Lightning. Afterwards, I clean it really well with water and a rag to remove any residue, and let dry.
Next, apply two coats of Dixie Belle’s Slick Stick, which is a bonding primer that helps paint adhere to any slippery surface such as metal, glass or plastic.
I like this primer because it doesn’t have a harsh smell, and it’s formulated to work with chalk mineral paint which I’ll be using.
To get a smooth finish without leaving any brush strokes, I’m using a Dixie Belle Synthetic Brush to paint on primer. If your primer has a smooth finish, then your paint will glide on smoothly over top. I highly recommend a synthetic brush for this whole project.
TIP: If it’s drying quickly or leaving drag marks, you can thin it out by misting your brush with a little water. Slick Stick is water-based, so this will help you use LESS product and get a smooth even finish.
Apply 2 coats, waiting a few hours between coats. Then, let it dry at least 24 hours before you begin painting over it.
After waiting 24 hours for the bonding primer to dry you can start painting.
For the base coat, I’m using Dixie Belle’s Fluff, which is a soft shade of White. I’m using a synthetic brush because it gives a smoother finish, even on this bumpy plastic vanity.
Although the primer is white, you never want to use that as your base coat.
This Vanity Table has a recessed heart pattern on the sides, so I painted them all different colors, with a Lavender background.
I painted the Lavender inside the recessed edges of the hearts for a reason. Since they’ll be outlined in Black, it will be less obvious than white showing through if I miss a spot.
Don’t worry about being perfect with your lines. You can clean it up in the last step. Just have fun!
Here’s a little trick I use when painting fine line details or precise edges. Since chalk-based paint is porous, I apply clear coat to seal it off. Then you can erase your mistakes with a Baby Wipe, without messing up your paint underneath.
I apply one coat of Dixie Belle Satin Clear Coat, then let dry for a few hours before I start painting.
To outline inside the recessed edges, you’ll need Baby Wipes, a small craft brush and Dixie Belle’s “Caviar” (Black).
If you make a mistake, use a fresh corner of the baby wipe on your finger to wipe off any excess paint. This is a great method for doing edges or sharp lines on any kind of furniture.
To give it a more whimsical MacKenzie-Childs look, I painted black stripes along the edge of the vanity.
To do stripes, you’ll need painter’s tape, clear coat, and a craft brush.
Each stripe will be the width of the tape. You’ll use one piece of tape as a spacer between each stripe.
Place your first piece of tape down, then use your spacer to measure the width of each stripe.
Use a craft brush to apply clear coat along the edges of tape. This will seal the edge, and prevent paint from bleeding into your stripes.
Next, use a craft brush to paint stripes, going in the direction of the tape to prevent bleed-through.
TIP: If paint does bleed under the tape, use a baby wipe to clean up your lines.
I used the Dixie Belle “Harlequin” Stencil for a whimsical style on the top.
QUICK TIP: Use Acrylic Paint Markers to jazz things up, add fine lines, clean up details, or neaten edges.
I used them to add silver dots between each harlequin, then outlined them in pink. They’re also handy for tidying up edges, lines & details when painting any kind of furniture.
Instead of painting a design around the mirror and seat top, I used a rub-on transfer that looks like paint called “Latin Floral” by Dixie Belle. They have many designs, and are easy to apply for a quick transformation.
How to Apply Transfers:
- Cut out the design to fit your piece. Peel off the white paper backing and carefully place the transfer where you want the design.
- Using a transfer tool, rub back and forth over the design.
- While rubbing, gently lift the transfer, starting at one corner. Rub and lift at the same time to “release” the image.
- Once you’ve done that, it is very important to “burnish” the design by rubbing over it with your fingers and a cloth. Burnishing the design will get rid of air bubbles or halos, and help it to adhere properly.
- Wait 24 hours, then seal with a water based poly-acrylic Clear Coat to protect the design. Do not use an oil-based clear coat to seal it. I like to use Dixie Belle’s Water Based Clear Coat in Satin.
I hope this tutorial gave you some inspiration for painting any kind of furniture, even plastic!
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Materials used for this project: