paint my kayak

Ok, I hope this doesn’t sound dumb but i am not exactly a “hands on” girl when it comes to fixing, installing, painting, ect.

I want to paint my kayak. But I’m not sure what kind of paint I should use or if there is any special technique. If there is could someone let me in on it? My sweetie would look pretty hot in a candy-apple red;)



What kind of kayak?
Is you’re kayak a composite (fiberglass, kevlar, hybrid mix) or polyethylene? Makes a BIG difference.

It won’t stick to poly
If you have a rotomolded kayak paint won’t stick very well at all. You would be better off making some cool adhesive decals out of contact paper or having some professionally cut at a sign shop. Lot’s of cool graphics available for cars and trucks. Otherwise maybe latex body paint might stick for the short term. If it is fiberglass you have more options but fibergalss primer alone is pretty expensive (used to have a Vette). Bob

my kayak is plastic.

decals or painting or…
I didn’t paint mine (I also have a plastic boat) but I did add it’s name to the bow (both sides) with a stencil and an El Marko (Marks ALot permanent marker). Got the idea here at these forums, from another paddler. It’s held up really well and shows no evidence of chipping/flaking/peeling/fading. The next thing I’m going to do is fine some other fun stencils and do some graphic-type stuff around the name.

I used krylon fusion spray paint
on my paddles (uh and painted an orca on each blade upside down by mistake) and I used it on a spot on my kayak that used to have numbers painted on it from the previous owner. (I have a necky cruiser 2) So far the paint has been fine but it’s only been a couple of months. We haven’t used them in salt water yet, just lakes and rivers. Not sure if I would paint my whole yak though…

Marker on poly
Yeah, I think that was me you got that from, glad to hear it’s holding up. Mine is, too. I still don’t have the guts to really scrape hard on the lettering intentionally, to see what it takes to scuff it off, but like you said, so far under normal wear-and-tear, it’s holding up fine! (YMMV, of course).


  • rob

Paint in WW
According to your profile, you are a whitewater enthusiast, so you’ll really need something special to get paint/whatever to stick to your plastic boat under those circumstances… Good luck! :slight_smile:

  • rob

I put decorative flashes in the deck of
a poly WW kayak 10 years ago, and they have stayed on well. Mask, sand, clean, apply Krylon (we didn’t have “Fusion” Krylon then)with light strokes, let each coat dry, and you can get good results. But I agree with the others, it will NOT work to paint the whole boat. Paint only areas which will receive little or no abrasion as you paddle or transport the boat.

Other than the link Rob provided to view Chiquita, does anyone else have photos of the painting they’ve done to their yaks? I’d be interested to see what others have done in the way of customizing with paint.

Composite repaint
Well, it wasn’t plastic, but I redid my old Impex hull. Not a great story.

The hull had gotten dulled and grooved fairly badly from too many oyster bars and rough shell beaches in South Florida. Unfortunately, I used Marinetex to fill the worst grooves and dings. which is NOT compatible with a gelcoat finish.

Bummer, as I had already bought the gelcoat.

The local marine supply store suggested Interlux yacht paint and with my compressor and a good spray gun and some practice I got a beautiful finish.

But it wasn’t very tough and mild contact scratched the paint easily. I doubt paints are generally tough enough to handle a lot of banging and scraping and will do a gelcoat the next time with the proper fill material, probably a West System product.

But plastic–I don’t know–maybe an epoxy paint?

This might seem like a silly suggestion but a commercial was just on advertising Krylon Fusion spray paint designed to bond to plastics (showed painting kid’s plastic playsets & mailboxes). We’ll rotomolded kayaks are polyethylene so why not. Get a can, paint a milk jug, tie a rope on it and throw it around a rapid for a bit see if the paint bonds or flakes. Should elicit some interesting looks from bystanders.

See you on the water,


I’ve done it and can help you!

– Last Updated: Sep-11-04 11:10 AM EST –

Rustoleum Painter's Touch spray paint and some contact paper is all you need. I tried the Krylon Fusion paint when retouching one day and it was very runny. Maybe I didn't shake it long enough, I don't know, but it sucked for me.

I'm at work right now and only have a few small pictures on my website, but I'll post more when I get home tonight. But here are a few links:

The top one is my Dagger Blackwater 11.5. I painted that one. The second one is my old, now sold Dagger Baja that my friend painted. Both are plastic.

Basically if you have a design in mind, you use the contact paper to cover up the parts of your kayak you do NOT want painted. Like on mine I have flames and the Michigan block 'M'. So I cut out the 'M' design with contact paper and stuck it on the kayak. I have a photo at home showing my kayak covered up in contact paper. Then once the paint dried, I simply peel off the paper (it doesn't leave marks/stickiness on the kayak) and there's the 'M'. The paint holds in water. It WILL chip off like if you scrap it against a rock...the bottom of mine is rather scratched. But since no one sees the bottom, who cares? And it's easy to touch up.

I can help you more if you need it, or provide a more step-by-step. The only one I've ever done myself is the Blackwater 11.5...took me all afternoon and evening. But now that I've done it once and know what to do, if I ever get another yellow kayak I can breeze through painting another.


Awesome customizing! Thanks for sharing the photos!

nice paint job. Painted my paddle blades on twwo paddles. So far some scratches but holds up ok. Used regular spray paint for auto use.

Hail to the Victors!

– Last Updated: Sep-11-04 7:53 PM EST –

Go Blue!

Nice job.

Ex Wolverine Seadart!

I have the worlds ugliest Jive, faded red, white and blue --- that bleeds into each other, I was wonder if the paint would stay on when I use it for surfing, it gets a lot of abuse.

More photos

You can browse through my photos there. One of them shows the Blackwater 11.5 in its original plain yellow state (boring!). Two of them are painting. The rest the finished product. I just wish I had another kayak to paint so I could take more pictures along the way.

Since I have been asked, I will try to put together a How-To guide on painting one’s kayak, so look for that sometime in the (hopefully) near future.


your yak looks awesome!

im not very ambitious,i just want the whole thing to be red. ill let you know how it works out. my yak is currently pretty ugly:)