How to Paint Plastic Planters in 3 steps

A full tutorial on how to paint plastic planters for use outdoors.


I recently painted our two black plastic planters to white ones, and the process was so quick and easy! This completely changed the look of our front porch and I can’t wait to share the full tutorial with you here.

Before donating away those plastic planters because they are the wrong color, consider spray painting them and saving your money for another house project.

I bought these plastic black planters for our old house in Seattle. They are really nice planters because they have a self-watering reservoir at the bottom. They also have a bit of texture to them which made them easy to paint (if you don’t have this you can just sand your planter.)

black outdoor planters prepped for spray painting

Here in NC, the black planters just weren’t jiving with the house the way I wanted them to. I felt like white planters would look best against our gray siding and white trim. I paid a pretty penny for these planters so I was not about to throw them out! That’s why I love spray painting so much – it really saves your decor sometimes.

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I’ll go through the whole process step by step and show you what spray paint to use.

Things You’ll Need

Plastic Planters

Dish Soap and Rag (for cleaning)

Fine-grit Sandpaper

Rustoleum Spray Paint

How to Paint Plastic Planters

white painted outdoor planters with greenery in them and wood lanterns

How to Paint Plastic Planters from Start to Finish.

Total Time: 2 days

  1. Clean your planters

    black outdoor planters prepped for spray painting

    The first thing you want to do is clean your planters. This may be an obvious point, but make sure to take out the existing flowers/dirt. You will ruin your beautiful plants because this spray paint will get everywhere. I used some dish soap mixed with water and an old rag to clean mine. Let your planters fully dry before moving on to Step 2.

  2. Sand your planters

    This step is optional if you already have textured planters. However, if you have glossy or smooth plastic planters, you will want to rough them up a bit with a fine-grit sandpaper. This gives the paint more to cling to when spray painting. You will not see the sandpaper lines! After sanding, you will want to hose them down and remove all the sanding dust and debris. Then let them dry again before moving on to Step 3.

  3. Spray Paint Your Planters

    white plastic planter pot being spray painted - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post

    Time to make them pretty! But first – a few tips. Consider how hot it is outside. It’s ideal to spray paint when the weather is mild. If it’s too hot, the paint won’t adhere correctly. Make sure to take all proper precautions- that means spray painting outdoors, wearing safety goggles, a mask, and gloves. I also recommend spray painting in a cardboard box to contain the spray a bit and save your grass. I use and recommend Rustoleum Paint and Primer 2x because it’s two jobs for the price of one! Apply several LIGHT COATS minutes apart. Going from black to white will take more paint so always buy more paint than you think you need. Allow your planters to dry for at least 48 hours.

white plastic planter pot being spray painted - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post
After 1 coat
white plastic planter pot being spray painted - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post
After 2 coats of paint
white plastic planter pot being spray painted - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post
After 3 coats of paint
white plastic planter pot on front porch - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post
After final coat of paint!

What Kind of Paint Should I use on Plastic Planters?

rustoleum painters touch 2x paint and primer - how to paint plastic planters

You have to use paint that’s formulated for plastic. If you are using them outdoors, you will also need to use paint that’s good for outdoor use. Fortunately, Rustoleum 2x Paint and Primer is good for both things. This spray paint comes in a variety of colors and sheens and it adheres to plastic, wood, metal, and more. And it’s for both indoor and outdoor use.

Other Considerations

This project is quick and easy, but at the same time, don’t rush the coats of paint. This will cause drips that are hard to remove after everything is dry. It took me almost two days of on-off spray painting until I finally didn’t see any black showing through. And I almost used two whole cans of spray paint. Then, I had to wait for everything to dry before planting.

white plastic planter pot on front porch - how to paint outdoor planters - full tutorial in post

Another consideration for painting your planters is the sheen of the paint. Do you want it to be glossy or more of a matte look? I tend to stay away from glossy things for the most part so I chose FLAT. But I noticed after planting that some of the potting soil really stuck to the white paint and was hard to remove with just a wet paper towel. It’s not that big of a deal to me – I’m willing to deal with this minor cleaning inconvenience for the matte look but I wanted to mention it nonetheless. Glossy surfaces are a bit easier to clean and this is something to keep in mind.

white painted outdoor planters with greenery in them and wood lanterns
white painted outdoor planters with greenery in them and wood lanterns

And that wraps up the post! I highly recommend spray painting your planters to freshen up the look. You could even try applying textured stone paint afterward to make the planter look like cement or concrete. Check out my lamp painting post to see how I did that. Or, apply some dirt to it as I did here with my vintage pot tutorial.

Thanks for reading!

xo Karen