How to Paint a Kayak – A Step-By-Step Guide for 2022

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Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Tony K. Henderson

People want their kayaks painted for different reasons. You can paint your kayak if you’re going to hide the scratch or make the kayak look brand new or you may think a little makeover on the kayak is needed.

That’s why I am here to teach you how to paint a kayak.  Furthermore, the lesson is essential for saving money from expensive ways of improving the kayak’s aesthetic beauty and performance.

Here you’ll find the answers on how to paint a plastic kayak and how to paint a fiberglass kayak. You should paint for a kayak yourself; that’s why I am giving the details of the steps here. Before wrapping up the article, I’ll answer some common questions about painting a fishing kayak. So stay tuned.

Why do You need to Paint a Kayak?

Painting a kayak is no longer for increasing aesthetic beauty, but it needs to improve the performance of the vessel. Scratches are the first problem when we ride on a kayak. Often it hits objects in the water and thus scratches happen. It will turn into potential damage if we let the scratches lay down. Painting a kayak can be done in two ways.

What kind of paint to use on a plastic kayak

The key to a successful paint job is selecting the right type of paint – one that is water-resistant and clings to the hull’s surface. It shouldn’t matter if you have a polyethylene, fiberglass, or wooden kayak as long as it’s appropriately prepared for the specified material.

Oh, and there’s one more thing:

To protect the color, use a clear coat – Krylon 1311 is one highly suggested alternative – once you’ve finished painting.

Different Ways To Paint A Kayak 

Using a Paint Brush

Using a Paint Brush

Painting with a brush is a time-consuming process. Also, it needs tough skills. If you are a newcomer to painting, then you should avoid large kayaks. A small kayak seems perfect for a beginner. Sometimes you might feel that brush is a better option. Yes, a brush can be a better option if you want to add some detailed designs to the kayak.

Using Spray

Using Spray

Spray painting seems easier than brush painting. You can kayak cover a large area by the kayak in no time. Also, spray ensures an even coat. A spay is not for a novice. Before spraying, you should learn carefully from a person. The spray has some drawbacks. Among them the most important one is, spray wastes more paint as a lot of can’s paint can end up in the air.

The preparation you should Take Before Painting

Before painting, you should be prepared. That’s why several things you have to know and collect before painting.

  • Several varieties of sandpaper are needed for sanding the kayak. You should collect sandpapers with a grit of between 100-220.
  • As you are going to paint plastic or fiberglass kayak, you should make water-resistant and plastic suitable paints. Caution: standard paints won’t stick on plastic.
  • Fiberglass kayak needs suitable paint other than plastic.
  • For painting, Marine safe spray paint for plastic, acetone, finishing spray paint or wax painting mask are necessary.

6 Steps Follow How To Paint A Kayak?

Painting a Kayak is the sum of different steps. For a uniform painting, you should follow the steps exquisitely.

Step #1: Removing the Stuff

First, you have to remove all the stuff you don’t want to paint, which means you should remove stuff like the seats, screws, accessories, etc. also you need to ensure a large area with an excellent ventilation system. If you want to paint in an open area, then you should be careful about the wind. A little wind can mess up the whole process, especially for spray painting.

Step #2: Sand Down on the Kayak and Use Acetone

After preparing the area, the next thing you have to do is, clean the kayak with the dishwasher thoroughly and exquisitely. Make Sure, the kayak is entirely dirt and residue-free. Dry it down completely. Grab the sandpaper and sand down the whole kayak.

If you want to paint partially, then you should sand down the specific area. Now, apply acetone on a clean cloth and make it damp. Wipe the area where you want to pain. Acetone removes oil that prevents the paint from sticking.

Step #3: Start Painting Kayak

It’s time to do business. Before starting the painting, make sure you have put the mask on. Spray the pain on the surf kayak’s surface as evenly as possible and spray until you find the kayak sun shade you are looking for. Now you can use brushes and Stencils for specific designs.

Step #4: Clear Coating and assemble the kayak

For a finishing touch, you should give a final coat for clear finishing spray paint. Now rejoin the seats, nuts, screws, mounted accessories, etc. Finally, after a while, do another cleaning by the dishwasher and wait until dry. Apply wax onto the kayak surface to add an extra protection layer.

Step #5 Let The Paint Cure

Yes, the paint could be touch dry or dry enough to apply a second coat within a few hours, but don’t waste all of your hard work by not allowing the paint to cure.

Curing is the process of solvents and water evaporating off a painted surface, during which the paint’s coalescing agents cause film formation – which develops into a hardened surface.

Step #6: Clean And Wax Your Kayak 

After you’ve reinstalled all of the hardware and accessories, give your kayak a last wipe down using dishwasher soap and water to ensure it’s clean. You may now reapply a decal if necessary.

The following step is optional, however, I recommend using marine wax as a finishing touch.

UV Damage and Fading

Direct sun exposure, namely UV radiation and warmth, can damage and fade your kayak’s original colors, the equivalent way it does your car. Fresh coats of paint combined with a UV protectant spray, will restore your kayak colors.

Can You Paint a Plastic Kayak?

Painting your kayak can offer it the appearance of being brand new. We occasionally run into pebbles and other items on the water and then scratch the surface of our boats.

When choosing a paint, make sure it is water-resistant and suited for plastics, as conventional paints may not adhere to plastic.

You may paint wooden, polyethylene, and even fiberglass kayaks as long as the paint is appropriate for the vessel. If you utilize any of the methods listed below, use marine-grade polyurethane paint, which is more durable in water than ordinary paint.

Can You Paint a Plastic Kayak

If you intend to use your vessel for fishing, you should consider painting it in camouflage. A recreational yak is being used by people who have a low-cost fishing yak. They then customize it for their activity, like painting a yak with a camouflage print.

People frequently want to paint their kayaks in more natural colors rather than bright colors, which might be distracting to anyone attempting to hunt or fish.

Can you spray paint a kayak

Spray painting is more convenient than brush painting since it applies the paint to a larger area at once, resulting in a more even coat with no brush marks.

Spraying, on the other hand, might use more paint than brushing since a lot of the paint can end up in the air. Spraying paint may be a messy operation, so paint in a well-ventilated and open area. When you spray paint, the paint particles become airborne and produce a lot of fumes.

Can You Paint a Fibreglass Kayak?

Acrylic paint sticks well to fiberglass, eliminating one of the most difficult aspects of painting it. Acrylic paint is less prone to cracking and blistering, and it is simple to clean. This water-based paint is easy to apply and has fewer chemicals, making it more eco-friendly.

Sure, a fresh coat of paint may make your kayak look brand new and gleaming by concealing any signs of wear and tear on the hull.

However, just painting your trusty kayak to improve its appearance is only part of the story; there’s more to painting a kayak than just cosmetics.

how to paint a fiberglass kayak

Kayak Painting Supplies List

  • Marine-grade polyurethane paint
  • 50-100-grit sandpaper
  • painting tape or masking tape
  • Foam paint roller and brush, and spray gun
  • Acetone 
  • A pair of protective gloves 
  • Water hose and water supply
  • Marine Wax
  • Dishwashing liquid or detergent
  • Cloths/Rags
  • Sawhorse

How to Repair a custom paint a kayak


How can I camouflage paint a kayak?

Are you interested in how to paint a kayak camo? Use a sponge dipped in an identical shade of paint from the base color. This will help you to add a beautiful but straightforward camouflage print.

What do I use for preventing the oily substance from a kayak?

you can use acetone for removing greasy substances. Do not use it on wet surfaces, and you have to use acetone on dry surfaces.


I think you’ve got a proper description of painting a kayak. Also, you can paint on a kayak paddle by using this method. You should be careful about the spray. Do not use without musk, glass, and gloves. Try to spray as fast as possible

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