What Kind of Paint Will Stick to Rubber Tires?

So, you have some old damaged tires leftover in your garage and are thinking of all the ways that you could use them rather than throwing them out.

Rubber tires can easily be upcycled in many different ways for both indoor and outdoor use.

You could use them as outdoor planters, stake them up and join them to make them into furniture or even a flowerpot.

The following articles let you know all the options you have.

All The Paints You Can Use on A Tire

Regardless of whether you plan to use the tires as a swing, or as a new home for your pet, you’ll most likely have to paint over them to make them prettier.

But not every kind of paint will work. There are a few kinds of paints that you can use for a rubber tire that will stick and won’t peel off.

Painting rubber tires is an effective way to keep them out of landfills.

You can even stake them all up together and make multiple useful pieces of furniture like storage compartments, chairs, and more.

You’re only limited by your imagination. But, if you use the wrong paint, the color will eventually peel off and you’ll have to paint it all over again.

The following paints are the best at sticking to rubber.

Acrylic Paint

You’ll be able to find acrylic paint in any stationery shop easily.

If you want to paint rubber tires, all you need is enough acrylic paint to do at least two coats and a paint sealer to finish the job.

Applying the sealer at the end will help the paint to last longer.

Acrylic paint is the best and the most inexpensive option you have if you’re planning on upcycling your old tires into something that will mostly stay indoors.

Acrylic paints also come in different types which are suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Removable Rubber Coating

The removable rubber coating is best when you want to paint a tire temporarily. Usually, the paint needs to be sprayed on the tire and can be taken off after some time.

Despite being removable, the paint is durable. You can apply it without worrying about the coating chipping off.

Exterior Paint

If you’re planning on keeping your upcycling project outside, you’ll have to paint the rubber tires with something more durable. Paints like acrylics won’t be able to survive weather such as rain, and dust.

For this reason, exterior paint is the best option you have. Coating the rubber tire with a layer of exterior paint will help the paint last longer.

Exterior paints are also simple to apply. You just need a brush or spray paint. 

Commercial-Grade Marine Paint

If you need your project to survive any kind of harsh elements that can be thrown at them, the best option you have is commercial-grade marine paint.

Not only will this kind of paint stick to rubber, but it will also be protected against fading or peeling away.

Commercial-Grade Marine Paint is usually used for painting swimming pools or boats, so you can rely on its durability.

It’s because of the paint’s high durability that makes it the best paint to use for rubber tires.

What Are the Paints You Shouldn’t Use?

You can’t use any kind of paint and expect it to stick to rubber tires.

That’s why you should mostly avoid using paints like watercolor or oil-based paint as they’ll most likely not stick nor last on your craft project. You’ll only end up wasting money and effort so it’s best to stick to the paints mentioned above.

How Do You Paint on A Rubber Tire?

Now that you know which paint you should and shouldn’t use, how exactly can you paint a rubber tire? The following guide will help you do just that:

Step 1: Get All the Things You Need

Before starting make sure you have the following items within your reach. It would be counterproductive to stop in the middle of painting a tire and getting the items you need over and over again.

  • Tire
  • Rag
  • Dishwashing Soap
  • Spray paint
  • Paint Primer
  • Contact Paper (If needed)
  • Acrylic Paint (Or any other paints mentioned above)
  • Paint Brush
  • Drill (If needed)

Step 2: Prepare the Tires

The next step requires you to thoroughly wash the tires.

That’s where the dishwashing soap and the rag come in. Make sure to remove all dirt or grime from the tires.

You should also spray primer on the tires for the paint after they’ve dried.

Priming them before painting will help the paint to stick to the rubber. If you’re planning on using the tires as a swing, remember to drill holes into the rubber to prevent water accumulation.

Step 3: Choose Your Paint

If your craft project is mostly going to stay indoors, you can use acrylics to paint over the tire.

But if the tires are going to be kept outside, try to select more durable paints which can withstand harsh elements like exterior paints or commercial-grade marine paint.

Step 4: Start Painting

You can have as much fun during this step as possible.

Be creative and use light colors on the rubber tire instead of dark colors which absorb more sunlight and can get quite hot.

You might have to paint additional coats to completely hide the existing black color of the rubber tire. If you’re using pray paints, remember to paint in a ventilated space.

Moreover, you can use stencils to add designs to the tires to make them look better and more attractive.

Finally, don’t forget to paint the tire walls or the inside of the tires as well.


Painting rubber tires is easy enough with the right tools at hand.

When it comes to paints that stick to rubber tires, you could either use acrylic paint which sticks to tires and is relatively inexpensive or you can use exterior paints which are more durable and last longer.

The best paint for rubber tires, however, are commercial-grade marine paints as these paints can survive harsh elements for a long time.

Painting tires is also an easy task.

You need to get all the tools mentioned above and remember to thoroughly wash the tires before painting.


Dean Alvarez, TireForge Head Author

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