Can You Paint A Kayak

There are various reasons why individuals wish to paint their kayaks. Some people use it to disguise or fix scratches on their kayak’s surface, while others do it to give their kayak a fresh look.

Learning how to paint a kayak is a more accessible way to characterize your old boat and give it a new lease on life.

However, it can be a difficult time, so there are a few things to remember so that everything turns smoothly.

In our guide, you can learn more about painting kayaks and what you need before you start your kayak painting. By the end, you’ll know all the right kinds of kayak or canoe paints you need to give your kayak a look you’re after. (Learn How To Get Back In A Kayak)

different paints of kayak

Can You Spray Paint a Plastic Kayak?

Painting your kayak can make it feel you have a brand-new boat. When we’re out on the water, we occasionally run into pebbles and other objects that scratch the surface of our boats.

When picking it, make sure your type of paint is water-resistant and suitable for plastics, as conventional paints may not adhere to plastic.

You can paint wooden, polyethylene, and even fiberglass kayaks as long as you use suitable paint for the type of craft. If you use any of the methods below, use marine-grade polyurethane paint, which is more durable than conventional paint in water.

Giving your craft a camouflage paint job can be a smart idea if you want to use it for fishing. People who have an affordable fishing yak use a recreational yak. They then kit it out to fit their sport, such as paint a yak with camouflage print.

People often wish to paint their kayaks in more nature-friendly hues than brilliant colors, which can be off-putting to anyone trying to hunt or fish.

If you’re painting your yak, remember the paint job might not survive as long as you’d planned because of the wear and tear it will experience every time you paddle, so you may need to repaint it. (Learn How To Put Kayak On Roof Rack By Yourself)

paint brush

Using A Paintbrush

When you DIY paint your kayak using a brush and marine-grade paint, it can take a long time because it requires more skill, and your brush cannot cover the same area at the same speed as spraying.

Spray Paint Your Kayak

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

However, spraying can use more paint than brushing since lots of the paint can end up in the air. Spraying paint can be a messy process, so ensure you paint in a wide-open and well-ventilated area. As you spray paint, it will produce many fumes when the paint particles become airborne.


Here’s a quick overview of the preparation steps you’ll need to follow once you have the right kayak paints for your vessel.

To prepare your vessel for painting, you’ll need to sand it down with sandpaper first. Sandpaper comes in a variety of grit levels to suit various applications. For a kayak, sandpaper with a grit of 100 to 220 would be a decent choice.

For your paint, make sure it’s water-resistant and suitable for plastics, as conventional paints may not stick to plastic.

You’ll probably need two coats of paint for your yak.

You can finish with a third coat of paint and a final clear coat to help protect hard work.

How Hard Is It to Paint a Kayak?

Here you can find the step-by-step method to paint a Kayak.

What You Need

  • Marine safe spray paint (depends on kayak material)
  • Sandpaper
  • Dishwashing soap & Clean Water
  • Clean cloths
  • Acetone
  • Marine Wax/Clear Finishing Spray Paint
  • Painting Mask

Step 1: Strip Your Yak

The first thing you will need to do is to remove all the parts of the kayak’s surface you don’t want to paint with spray paint, such as your seat, foot braces, and any accessories or hardware, if possible.

Ensure you and your kayak are working in an open area, somewhere with good ventilation. You don’t want to paint and breathe in all the nasty stuff.

Be careful of the environment you’re painting in, especially when spray painting. A little wind and the paint can end up on all your other gear.

Tape off any areas you don’t want to be painted and use painter’s tape as it is the best because it won’t leave a residue.  (Learn How To Transport A Kayak Without A Rack)

Step 2: Clean & Sanding Down

The next step is to give your kayak a good wash with dishwashing soap and water to clean any dirt or residue and then dry it. If you have any decals on your yak, you’ll need to remove these as the new paint won’t stick.

While you’re waiting for the kayak to try, wipe it down with a cloth and inspect the hull for uneven surfaces and extensive scratches. Before painting the kayak, use medium or fine-grit sandpaper to prepare these areas as the paint will stick better.

Now that your kayak’s completely dry, take your sandpaper and start sanding smooth out all the kayak’s surfaces that you want to paint. The little marks the grit paper leaves make it easier for the paint to stick to the surface. You can use wet sanding as wet sanding can help keep the amount of dust down.

Step 3: Wipe Clean

This is where the acetone or thinner that is suitable for kayak plastics will be useful. Apply some to a cloth and wipe the entire surface of your kayak as this will remove any oils that could stop the paint from sticking.

Decal removal can leave residue, and this cleaner can easily remove decal glue. Make sure all your decals are off and sand where they have been, or it could ruin your paint job.

Step 4: Start Painting

With your marine safe paint, you can begin. For any painting, make sure you wear your mask.

Spray your paint evenly over the entire kayak and keep looking until you achieve the desired shade.

You may need a couple of coats to get the exact color and finish you desire.

You can use a brush after adding your base color if you want to add a design. If you’re not artistic, stencils can be used instead.

If you want to add a camouflage design, use a sponge dipped in a different color of paint than your painted base color to create a simple but effective camo print.

Step 5: Clear Coat

Give a final coat of clear finishing spray paint on your yak once you have painted the colors. This will add an extra layer of protection to your new paint job, preventing it from being scratched. If you have a new decal or two to add, you need the decal to be under the clear coat so that it won’t get scratched.

Step 6: Put Back Your Fittings

Once the paint has dried, you can put everything back you removed, such as your seat and any screws and fittings.

Step 7: Wash And Wax

Give your yak one last wipe down. Once dry, add on some marine wax to make it shiny and add more protection against the water.

different paints

What Kind of Paint Do You Use on Polyethylene?

The best paint for coating polyethylene is an exterior latex house paint or elastomeric paint that maintains its flexibility even when dry.

This allows materials to expand and contract without cracking or leaving gaps in the paint.

Any surface needs surface preparation for the paint to adhere correctly as there could be a glossy appearance.

Before painting, remove the glossy surface to get a dull surface. One way is to sandblast the surface or hand sand lightly.

Can You Paint a Fibreglass Kayak?

Acrylic paint sticks nicely to fiberglass, which eliminates one of the most challenging aspects of painting it. Acrylic paint is less prone to cracking and blistering, and it cleans up easily. This water-based paint is simple to use and has fewer chemicals, making it more eco-friendly.

Sure, a new job of paint may make your kayak look brand new and gleaming by concealing any evidence of wear and tear on the hull. (Find the Best Fish Finder For Kayak)

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

Here are a few more reasons why painting your kayak could be beneficial:

Scratches and Dents

Hitting underwater obstructions, pulling the kayak to and from the launch place, or banging it against something during transit can all result in scratches, dents, and even cracks. Regular painting and refurbishment, particularly after significant repairs and fix-ups, may be required.

UV Fading & Damage

Just like a car, direct sun exposure, specifically UV light, and heat can damage and fade the original colors of your kayak. Your kayak’s colors will be restored with a fresh coat of paint and a UV protectant spray.

Camouflage Paint

Recreational kayaks are frequently brightly colored, which makes them unsuitable for fishing and duck hunting. Rather than purchasing a new kayak, a DIY camouflage paint job can apply to your existing recreational ‘yak.

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