Painting a Kayak

Hey all, just got my first kayak, bought it brand new and I got a great deal on it. However I hate the color (bright yellow) and I was wondering if there was any way to paint a plastic kayak. I don’t really want to change the color of the entire boat, but I thought adding some black or blue to the sides would look really sharp. Thanks in advance for the advice.



painting a kayak
Well, you CAN paint the boat, but how durable the paint would be is another question.

It’s my opinion that your best bets are to learn to live with the colour or to trade the boat in for one in a colour you like better.

(At some point, you’re either going to start lusting after another boat anyway, or you’ll decide you don’t like the sport.)


be happy its not LIME GREEN!!! L

You can always try adding stripes and such like those sold for adding style to your auto. Plenty of styles available on line … yeah …flames on your yak !!! Custom sign shops can also make up what ever you want to create. Impala Bob

Have seen
some yaks painted. I guess yer trying to paint a poly boat? Haven’t found a paint that will stick , long term .

Learn to live with the color
Any paint you put on it will look even worse after a bit of use, since nothing bonds well to polyethylene.

Krylon Fusion
I do not work for these folks, but I have used this paint, and it worked well for me. Mind you, I was not painting a kayak. It does say that is bonds to polyethylene. Here’s the article:

Krylon Fusion Cracks the Paint for Plastic Code'<br /> <br /> <br /> CLEVELAND--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 7, 2003--For do-it-yourselfers, a spray paint for plastic is a dream come true. That's because, until now, painting plastic could be a nightmare. Even when applied to a primed and sanded surface, paint on plastic oftenpuddled’ during application, resulting in a sticky, uneven mess. DIYers who persevered frequently found that after drying, the paint they had applied peeled off in sheets. While paints for plastic have been used successfully by industry for years, those formulations simply are not suitable for at-home application.

Now Krylon®, the nation’s leader in aerosol paints, is introducing a revolutionary spray paint for consumers that, with no priming, bonds securely to plastic materials, including outdoor furniture, children’s toys, and vinyl fencing. Already Krylon Fusion® has received recognition from two leading consumer do-it-yourself magazines. The product earned a Popular Mechanics “Editor’s Choice Award” and a HANDY magazine “Innovation Award” when previewed at the National Hardware Show, a home improvement industry trade show, in August.

“It’s an honor to be recognized as an innovator by these two leading publications,” says Justin Kalvitz, product manager, Krylon Hardware Products. More than three years in research and development, the new paint for plastic will be available beginning this month at hardware and home center stores and mass market retail locations including Wal- Mart, Ace, True Value, Hobby Lobby, Do It Best, Fred Meyer, Sears Hardware, and Sherwin-Williams Paint Stores.

The innovation has been long awaited by consumers. Consider the 1967 movie classic, “The Graduate,” in which Benjamin Braddock, played by a young Dustin Hoffman, was advised to make his future in plastics. But until now, plastic was a tiger that couldn’t change its stripes. Unlike wood, which can be quickly and easily rejuvenated with a coat of paint, most plastics are tossed in the trash heap when they become faded or dirt-stained, or when the color becomes outdated.

“After years of research, Krylon has pioneered this breakthrough in technology,” says Hugo Sandberg, director of marketing, Krylon Retail Products Group. “The formulation is proprietary, but it is based on a resin additive previously used in another industry.”

Available in 16 colors, Krylon Fusion forms a superior bond to all types of clean, dry plastic surfaces including ABS, polypropylene, polyethylene, PVC, vinyl, resin, and even ceramic, glass, tile, wood, metal, wicker and other hard-to-bond-to surfaces. The spray paint resists fading and chipping in outdoor exposure and yields an extremely durable, high-gloss finish and a fast, 15-minute dry time.

It is safe for use on children’s items.

According to Kalvitz, the product should help to grow the market for spray paint by increasing the number of surfaces on which it can be used. He says Krylon Fusion also can enhance consumer satisfaction with plastic purchases while extending the life and usefulness of these items, and possibly reducing the flow of plastics to landfills.

“In 2001, 101 billion pounds of plastic resins were produced in the U.S, according to American Plastics Council industry statistics,” Kalvitz says. “With plastic resins replacing wood and metal for items ranging from shutters and fences to mini-blinds and patio furniture, the need for a paint that applies easily to plastic surfaces, and adheres reliably, is clear.”

Kalvitz says consumers participating in market research were so enthusiastic when they saw the results produced by Krylon Fusion, they immediately began talking about where they would use it. The new spray paint creates endless opportunities to personalize with color or to revitalize faded or stained plastic items.

Krylon Fusion is available in 12-oz. aerosol cans, at a suggested retail price of $3.99 to $4.79. The product is CFC-free and packaged in a completely recyclable aerosol can. Like all Krylon aerosol paints, Krylon Fusion is in compliance with the California Clean Air Act for Aerosol Coatings and the California Low Emissions and Reactivity Rule (CLEAR).

Krylon will actively support the introduction of Krylon Fusion through a comprehensive consumer awareness campaign that will include television, retail promotions and a vigorous public relations program. Dramatic, attention-getting in-store merchandising will communicate to consumers at the point of sale and educate them on the product’s innovative technology and multiple applications.

Krylon, the nation’s leading spray paint manufacturer, is number one in innovation and consumer brand recognition. The Krylon consumer products line includes a wide selection of paints and paint-related products, from general-purpose paints to specialty products to rust- preventative paints and primers, Krylon’s comprehensive line of paints and finishes are manufactured by Sherwin-Williams Diversified Brands, headquartered at 101 Prospect Ave., N.W., Cleveland, Ohio 44115. For more information, call 1-800-KRYLON (1-800-457-9566) or visit the website at

Source: Krylon


Is the surface smooth?
If it’s pebble grain, your only choice is the Krylon. I’d stay with the deck, because the sides and hull will get dinged quickly on rocky streams. If you have a smooth hull, you can go with vinyl graphics. There are numerous sources on the web for decals and stickers, both stock and custom. But, the vinyl cutting graphics machines are quite common now, and your local sign shop probably has one. If it gets damaged or you get tired of it, it’s simple to dispose of. doesn’t chip off like paint.

Search archives on Krylon Fusion
This question came up last year, someone researched it, and Krylon says the stuff won’t hold up in water.

Check automotive restoration products. There are special paints (dyes really) that will cover poly. Since thay are dyes you will have to take care in selecting the color as the base color my bleed through (they do not cover like paints).

Try Daydreamer Decals, they make nice looking decals and graphics for boats and they also make custom decals, so they might be able to help you out. Their website is