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Preparing Stainless for Painting


Q. I am looking to paint on Stainless steel using acrylic paint. How should I prepare the surface and what kind of CLEAR primer do you recommend? Do I even need a primer for Stainless? I am also looking for a water based primer, rather than oil or epoxy. The other half of my project involves just steel. Same questions as above.


Miki Yoshimoto
- San Francisco, California, USA

"DeLorean: Stainless Steel Illusion"
from Abe Books
or Amazon
(affil links)

A. Dear Miki

I did some research on this matter, and came up with some links. I do not know if this will be any help to you at all, as I do not know the effect you are attempting to achieve.

I also took the liberty to search the web to see if I could find some of your work, and I must say that I was very impressed with what I saw :) Keep up the good work, as your imagery is absolutely fascinating.

Anyway, here are the links: Por-15 Metal Ready

This is advice for painting a DeLorean (the stainless steel car like the one in the "Back To The Future" movies). The steel should first be polished smooth to take the texture out. After polishing, the steel should be acid etched so that the paint will stick to the panels well (paints & primers do not adhere well to stainless steel, as you probably already know). Look into DuPont Imron with an acid-etch primer, which might do the job.

Oh well, that is all I could find out for you. Sorry that there were no real references to Acrylic paints, but the important bit seems to be the priming of the metal, before applying any type of paint. Good luck on your project... whatever it is (would love to see more of your works)


John Grotmod
- Copenhagen, Denmark

Ed. update July 2023: Por-15 'Metal Ready' apparently no longer exists. A search of for that comes up empty. But we believe that POR-15 Metal Prep [affil link] is either its new name or replacement; they also offer their POR-15 Clear [affil link] rust preventative paint, and their 2k urethane top coat also available in Por-15 2k Matte [affil link].
Sorry, John's links bounce here in 2023 :-(

April 25, 2013

A. Hi mate. For prep on painted your best option is blast; but if you cannot do this, a rough sand to remove gloss and abrasively graze the steel. For products you should go down to your international or silicon paint store, these are the best products, and use an Intercure 200 epoxy primer or 251. These paints are designed for stainless steel and can be over coated with almost anything :)
Hope this helps

Ben Oehme
Painter - Kalgoorlie, Western Australia

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