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The Best Spray Paints for Cardboard & Other Similar Surfaces

Written by Robert S. Brown / Fact checked by Helen B. Harris

best spray paint for cardboard

When it comes to cardboard crafts, the choices are nearly unlimited. It is ridiculous how many cute and functional things you can make.

Cardboard is not only simple and enjoyable to use, but it is also environmentally sustainable. Do you still have the massive cardboard box in which your large television set arrived? Instead of tossing it away, recycle it, spray paint it using the best spray paint for cardboard and turn it into a fun work of art.

However, nothing is more frustrating than selecting the unsuitable spray painting medium to recreate a spray paint cardboard box project, which will destroy the cardboard you are painting.

Spray paint colors must transform the cardboard in the way you envisioned it with their versatility and quality. Painting on cardboard is a waste of time and money if the kind of spray paint chosen is unsatisfactory.

The following are the most important factors to consider when selecting the best cardboard spray paint:

  • Not all spray paints are compatible with cardboard. The best spray paint is one that will not seep through the cardboard and onto whatever it’s sitting on. If you use the wrong type of spray paint on the cardboard, it can bleed or wrinkle.
  • Color Stability. I recommend that you inspect the formulation to see if the paint needs a primer or not. Some formulations do not need any primers since the spray paint in itself is also as good as a paint primer. If the primer is of good quality, or the spray paint is a primer in one, color stability is assured.
  • If you wish to do the activity with your children, ensure the paints are child-safe. Moreover, both adults and children require a well-ventilated work environment.

In this article, I have successfully assembled the five (5) top-notch paints to help remodel, recycle, or upcycle the cardboard in your possession after hours of study, consideration of consumer reviews, and based on my own experience.

Let us jump straight into our personal favorites for some helpful tips and treats!


Top-Rated Products

Top 1

Rust-Oleum 245196


Top 2

Krylon K05588007


Top 3

Marsh 30394


5 Best Cardboard Spray Paint Reviews

1. Rust-Oleum 245196 Universal Enamel Spray Paint

Rust-Oleum Universal Enamel Spray Paint has proven to deliver a high gloss finish in my previous projects. It comes in a wide range of rich hues that can add character and class to any indoor or outdoor project.

The universal formulation of Rust-oleum paint colors can be used on a variety of surfaces, including cardboard, aluminum, concrete, plastic, fiberglass, metal, wood, and more. It also dries quickly, making it ideal for last-minute projects. This spray paint, in my experience, resists fading and peeling, as well as rust and corrosion.

I also like the fact that it has any-angle spray technology and a comfortable cap. These will assist you in painting difficult-to-reach areas while reducing finger strain. Plus, it has an easy-to-open and close precision spraying nozzle. We rarely see these features in other spray paints, so they are a bonus to making your project easy and well-prepared.

Though the spray nozzles do occasionally malfunction when the paint is nearly empty, this is not common. Apart from that, the spray paint performs impressively. Always cover your can properly and avoid dropping it facedown to prevent this problem.

When not in use, keep spray paint cans away from heat and direct sunlight and shake them regularly. This straightforward advice will also ensure color consistency and paint flow.
  • Has a lustrous appearance
  • It dries quickly
  • Can be used on any surface
  •  Protects against corrosion
  • Spray from any angle for hard-to-reach areas
  • Resistant to chips and fading
  • Mild nozzle problem sometimes arises
Overall, this is a high-quality spray paint that can be used to paint any surface, particularly cardboard boxes. Its modern feature of spraying from any angle makes it easy to use and provides greater coverage and durability. Anyway, this is what we expect from good quality spray paint, beauty and durability.

2. Krylon K05588007 COLORmaxx Spray Paint

If you use a primer, a cardboard surface becomes more stable. The primer will ensure that the paint won’t bleed onto the cardboard and that the color won’t change. Primers, in my opinion, are crucial to maintaining color clarity in the majority of my painting projects on cardboard.

However, when your cardboard spray paint doubles as a primer, it completely changes the game. It would be more efficient and cost-effective. What I appreciate about Krylon COLORmaxx Spray Paint is that it doubles as a gold primer.

It has a smooth application and a dazzling, metallic finish. This priming and spray paint can be used on various surfaces, including metal, cardboard, wicker, wood, ceramic, most plastics, glass, cloth, and paper. It is a worry-free option in terms of surfaces.

This metallic spray paint provides rust protection also for metal surfaces, whether you are refinishing indoor or outdoor furniture or adding a final touch to a craft project. It can be used for a wide range of DIY and creative projects. Your cardboard project will undoubtedly be more protected and durable if this spray paint quality can preserve metals.

Its end product gold paint color can give any project a trendy, modern look. Gold is a classic color that will fit a range of projects, and the bright polish adds a touch of glitz. It is good to know that a good quality spray paint is all it takes to make something new and useful again.

Aside from its durability and versatility, I am impressed with its large button spray tip, which can be easily pressed and allows you to spray in any direction, including upside down. Dry to the touch in 20 minutes or less for quick covering and project completion. 12 oz. Spray paint can cover an area of up to 25 square feet. You can do a lot more with your time if you choose this one.

On the other hand, keep in mind that this product is solvent-based and should be used outdoors or in an open area. It also needs to be cleaned using solvents.
  • It is a spray paint and primer in one
  • You can spray from any direction
  • Durable for metals, more durable for cardboards
  • With a large button spray tip to reduce finger fatigue
  • It has a great adhesion
  • It dries quickly, 20 minutes or less
  • Because it is solvent-based, you will have to work outside and clean with solvents.
Being a primer and color for spray paint in one is already a benefit for this product. Both your interior and exterior projects are eligible for its use. Since it dries to the touch in 20 minutes or less and takes an hour to handle, your project will be finished on schedule. It is a truly stress-free innovation with all of its modern features.

3. Marsh 30394 Mark-Over Spray Paint

Most of the time, I spray paint over any stains or irrelevant markings to recycle identically sized cardboard boxes. With this method, I can recycle the box and use it to maximize my storage options.

The use of sturdy cardboard boxes just once seems wasteful. Believe me, spray painting old boxes is useful because it makes them look brand new after you paint over the box labels.

This is what I love about this mark-over paint. Its tan color is identical to most cardboard boxes’ colors being used today. With this spray paint, you can reuse shipping cartons, even those with stuck-on labels or advertisements from another company. Simply spray paint the old marks the same color as the box, and you have a whole new box for a few cents in quick-drying paint.

It is even possible to repurpose brown envelopes and packages. For white boxes, their 30401 product accomplishes the same. Their paints are free of CFCs and CFHCs, making them eco-friendly. Black spray paint for cardboard is also useful as a color combination for the tan or brown colors.

To conceal existing marks and reuse cartons, you should apply this spray paint on any type of surface. With minimal spray mist and running, this quick-drying, irreversible, and water-resistant mark-over will yield the utmost coverage.

You cannot go wrong when it comes to cardboard because of its formulation, which is primarily made for cardboard boxes. Not only can you use it on cardboard, but also on paper, wood, and plastic.

Just a heads-up, the tan shade of this spray paint does not seem to match brown boxes.
  • CFC-free paint that is environmentally friendly
  • Paint dries quickly
  • The tan color is vibrant and vivid, and generally matches every brown box color
  • Effectively conceals old markings and stains
  • Lead-free formulation
  • Not all brown boxes match the tan color of this paint. Spray painting with color fading style will do the trick.
This spray paint can give your dull cardboard an amazingly smooth appearance. It can cover up any stains thanks to the chemical properties of the paint. With a little spraying technique, you can successfully upcycle any cardboard, even if it does not always turn out the exact shade of brown you want.

4. Rust-Oleum ‎7732830 Stops Rust Paint

In actuality, Rust-Oleum is one of my trusted choices because it rarely clogs and offers true colors, especially this Satin Hunter Green shade. With the satin finish highlighting particular areas, it looks nice. Your job will be much simpler and under your control because of its wider coverage and non-clogging nozzles.

If you wish to cover up a damaged location on your cardboard boxes, this paint’s flat finish will be able to hide all of those flaws. As a result, after multiple uses, the cardboard will still be usable. Quite economical, isn’t it?

The main reason for its dependability is that the oil-based solution offers a durable shield with exceptional corrosion resistance. It can cover up to 15 square feet and dries in 2 to 4 hours.

It has incredible resistance to abrasion, chipping, and fading. However, its weather resistance is another feature of this paint that I like. It has remarkable smoothness, great color retention, and excellent chip resistance.

Moreover, it has any-angle technology for spraying hard-to-reach locations, even upside down, as well as a comfort tip with a bigger finger pad to prevent fatigue from constant spraying. You will love these contemporary features, for sure as I do.

Just remember that when applying it, make sure the weather is not too chilly. On a cold day, the wind may blow, causing the paint to solidify and crunch, requiring you to smooth it off and start over. It takes at least 2-4 hours to dry up and even longer in colder weather. Additionally, the paint may still feel a bit sticky on cold days even after drying.

The only downside is the longer drying time. It may take between 2 to 4 hours to feel dry.
  • Equipped with any-angle spray feature
  • With a comfort tip and larger finger pad to lessen stress and strain
  • Coverage is bigger compared to most brands
  • Peeling, cracking, and chipping resistant
  • Weather-resistant
  • Maximum adhesion to the surface
  • To feel dry, it could take 2 to 4 hours, more in cold weather.
This paint is extremely adaptable and can be used anywhere a strong, high-quality finish is required. In my experience, this high-quality oil-based spray paint will provide maximum stickiness on your surface while maintaining the ideal color-to-smoothness ratio.

5. PINTY PLUS Aqua Spray Paint

If you’re looking for water-based paint that can be used on cardboard, Pintyplus Aqua Spray Paint is a great alternative, if not the best choice. This water-based spray paint was designed for arts and crafts. If you want to paint on cardboard or other similar surfaces, Pintyplus Aqua Spray Paint will not disappoint you in terms of quality and performance.

One of the most important and noticeable benefits of this paint that I admire is its ability to be easily cleaned with water or washed in about 15 minutes. This feature will assist professionals and artists in easily correcting errors on the cardboard surface without the mess.

Furthermore, the ergonomic spray tip ensures simplicity of usage and complete coverage. While the spray tip can also help you avoid over-spraying, so you do not waste time cleaning up the mess.

Consequently, ensure that the painting surface is clean and dry to get the most out of this package. Furthermore, after vigorously shaking the can for about a minute, test it on paper. Maintain the appropriate distance from your painting’s subject, which varies depending on the subject.

Repainting is possible after 30 minutes of drying time after 1 hour. The water-based Aqua is easily removed with water and soap within the first 15 minutes of the surface being wet.

Please keep in mind that this spray paint set includes eight distinct colors (Pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Violet, Black, and White), making it ideal for professional artwork. The vibrant color will shine through completely on the surface.

Finally, I believe the most important aspect of this PintyPlus Aqua Spray Paint is its low-odor paint formula, which is also environmentally friendly. You and your loved ones can use these with peace of mind.

Meanwhile, there is a slight drawback when using it; the surface needs priming before you apply this product.
  • With ergonomic spray tip
  • No drips and less overspray
  • Water-based formulation
  • Formula with minimal odor
  • 8 bright colors in total
  • Easy to clean with water
  • Primer is required when using this spray paint on cardboard
It is interesting to note that this set is perfect for stenciling, scrapbooking, and all spray paint projects both inside and outside because it has a low smell and sprays nozzles for controlled overspray. Because of its color variety and environmentally friendly formulation, it is safe for both adults and children.

What to Look for When Buying Spray Paints for Cardboard


When choosing the best cardboard spray paint for your projects or artworks, the following are the most important points to consider:

  • Paint and Cardboard Surface Compatibility

What type of paint do you use for cardboard? This question is frequently posed by people who only consider color. Consideration should be given to surface compatibility. Some spray paints won’t work on cardboard. The ideal spray paint won’t penetrate the cardboard and smear on its resting surface.

If you use the wrong kind of cardboard color spray paint, the cardboard may bleed or wrinkle. To ensure paint and surface compatibility, specific preparations and priming are required. The best course of action is to read some reviews and carefully examine the labels for compatibility recommendations or problems. This is precisely the advantage of consulting reputable reviews.

  • Primer Quality and Paint Stability

It is highly recommended that you thoroughly inspect the formulation to see if the paint needs a primer or not. Some formulations do not require primers because spray paint functions just as well as a paint primer on its own.

But a few spray paints still need priming before being applied to cardboard surfaces. Color stability is guaranteed, though, if the primer is of high quality or the spray paint is also a primer.

  • Indoor and Outdoor Spray Painting Safety

Nowadays, oil-based or solvent-based paint formulations make up most of the market. If used indoors, these spray paints require adequate ventilation. Some formulations are water-based and low-odor and can be used indoors.

Make sure the paints are child-safe if you plan to do the activity with your kids. Additionally, it is generally recommended that both adults and children work in well-ventilated spaces regardless of their formulation.

  • Color Vividness and Durability

We typically assume that a familiar color on a spray paint cap represents the finished product of the color. Unfortunately, it is not quite accurate. On properly priming the cardboard surface, color vividness frequently depends.

Even if you use color and primer in one spray paint, the initial coating is critical to ensuring color quality and adhesion durability. Drying time has a significant impact on durability and color. However, the drying time of most spray paints is affected by weather and climate.

Proper ventilation and an average temperature are ideal conditions for an efficient drying time that delivers vibrancy and color strength. As a result, make certain that the manufacturer’s instructions are strictly followed.

  • Convenient to Use and Effective Coverage

Numerous cardboard spray paint brands now include innovative spray nozzles for easy and even paint application. Although standard spray nozzles can still deliver optimal paint coverage on surfaces, some popular brands have ergonomic cans and nozzles, as well as a spray at any angle technology, all of which are designed for effortless painting and effective coverage.

There are brands with large nozzle tips that can be used to relieve finger strain and stress. I recommend that you use those features to provide convenience, especially for larger projects with difficult-to-reach areas to be painted.

Can I Use Spray Paint on Cardboard


Spray paint can be used on cardboard. Covering the cardboard with white primer first is the best way to go. Allow 15 minutes for drying before applying 2 or 3 coats of your favorite color. Between each coat, you must wait 30 minutes. Allow for overnight drying before touching the cardboard.

Does Spray Paint Waterproof Cardboard

No, not in every way. Some people believe that spray painting cardboard with water-resistant paint makes it waterproof. This is not the case, however, because cardboard typically contains moisture. Water may also penetrate the cardboard sides or corners of the cardboard box.

Is It Possible to Waterproof Cardboard

Yes. However, there are some critical steps you can take. To begin, you can use waterproof paint for cardboard that has been specially formulated for waterproofing cardboard. They can be found in most hardware and home improvement stores. Before applying the spray, make sure the cardboard is clean and has a primer on all sides and corners. To ensure waterproofing quality, several coatings are recommended especially for painted cardboard boxes.

Do I Need to Prime Cardboard Before Painting

It is recommended that you prepare the surface first to avoid damaging the cardboard. If you are not going to keep your cardboard painting, though, no further preparation is required. Priming and sealing the cardboard will help to protect it from harm and ensure that you may preserve the painting for a long time. There is, however, spray paint primer and color in one that can be used instead of a separate primer.


I understand how difficult it is to create visually appealing artwork on cardboard. You may also need to cover up scratches or old prints on your cardboard box on occasion. As a result, we have written this review to explain how to select the best spray paint for cardboard to make your cardboard or similar surface look brand new and reusable.

Thus, finding the right spray paint for cardboard will be much easier. From the top 5 lists we reviewed above, you can now choose the best spray paint for an artistic effect on your cardboard.

5/5 - (2 votes)