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topic 23245

What paint for wellie gumboots?

A discussion started in 2003 but continuing through 2017


Q. I am in year 12 and doing my HSC project for D&T and was wondering if you could tell me what paint I can use on gumboots (you know, the plastic material that is on them); also if you could give me a price on it too?

Kristine W. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Tamworth, NSW, Australia

sidebar 2003

A language problem. Gumboot is not a name used in most of the world. Just like I thought a 2 wheelie was a bike only to find out that it is a garbage can.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida


A. In the UK a gumboot is another name for a wellington boot. The wellington boot is named after one of national heroes, the Duke of Wellington, who first wore them. For those who still do not know, it is a boot that reaches to the upper calf muscle or just below the knee; it is usually made of rubber or, more recently, thick synthetic waterproof plastics. They are usually lined with some form of insulation to keep our feet warm in the winter. Wellington boots are quite popular in the UK, especially in our wet weather. Green "wellies" are also a prestigious status symbol amongst some city dwellers who like to pretend they are living in the country, especially when worn with waxed coats such as the world renowned "Barbour"; to make the set, you ideally need a spaniel, labrador or retriever dog and pretend you have a broken shotgun under your arm. If you have the whole set, then you have really "arrived" in trendy city (especially London) society!

trevor crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK


A. Hi Kristine,

It's terrible to know that a minority of the English speaking peoples in the world don't know what GUMBOOTS are. One must feel sorry for them, eh?

As far as a paint is concerned, oh dear, here we have a very flexible 'boot' so you'd need a very flexible paint, won't you? May I suggest you go to your local paint store for that ... but preparation is the key ... you'd have to clean, better still, sand down the boots before painting.

Why sanding? Because that will increase the surface area quite apart from removing gloss. Go and try out first of all some of your Mum's nail varnish.

I don't have a clue what these boots are now made from, probably from a flexible vinyl ... in which case Mum's nail varnish should stick on very well but it's not flexible!

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).


A. I somewhat doubt if any paint will stick for a long period of time and especially where it flexes. You could try a hobby shop and get a small bottle of paint for plastic models. Try it on the least obvious area you can find on the boot. If it works, buy a large bottle or bottles.

Freeman, I have survived marvelously well without a pair of wellies or boots known as gumboots. Now, I do know what a Fosters is and have downed a pack or two.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

Wellie "Warmers"



Dear oh deary me! One sees gumboots on the feet of intrepid oil workers or aboard fishery boats. In Florida, is it where you live?, then they'd not be too necessary ... and might even frighten a 'gator.

But I don't have a clue what a Fosters is (you did use a plural, eh?) A drink, perhaps? But then I'd prefer the McCoy cider (and I'd bet a buck that YOU have never heard of Scrumpie, either!). Tut, bleedin' tut!

Freeman Newton
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada


A. Kristine,

Good luck with your year 12 project. The answer is very simple, I know from experience, you see when I paint the outside of the house I occasionally wear gumboots.

Strange the North Americans don't know what gumboots are considering there are gumboot throwing competitions all over the world. I thought everyone knew about or had seen Monty Python on TV. Even stranger still that James didn't know what Fosters was until he was educated in the refinements of world class beers. Its a good drop. And of course our rubbish (garbage) goes out in a rubbish bin (trash can) which is made of plastic and has two wheels on it. Naturally its called a 'wheelie bin'. Reminds me of that story of the garbage collector on his rounds when he came to a house where the bin was not out. He knocked on the door and asked the occupant "Where's ya bin?", and the guy answered "I's bin away on holiday". The garbage bloke said "No, where's ya wheelie bin?" and the guy says "Geez I's really bin in prison".

Back to the problem, the acrylic paint that fell on my gumboots when I was painting the house is still there. So I know the spots of acrylic paint stay, but perhaps you could ask the local shoe repairer if the paints he sells for changing the colour of shoes would work on your gumboots.

Tony Johnston
- Melbourne, Australia


thumbs up sign Kristine,

I hope that you will let us know what you tried and what worked. At least your letter provided an amount of good natured discussion of the differences in language.

Tony, Freeman is from Canada and he still does not know exactly what a Fosters is. The beer is good, but it is not making itself available worldwide. I do not think that Fosters became reasonably available in the USA smaller cities until 15 years ago. I was introduced to it by an Aussie in Jungle Survival School in Singapore about 40 years ago.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida



Evidently James was SAVED by an Australian fortuitously carrying bottles of Foster in order to survive in the awful jungles of Singapore. If he hadn't been, just WHAT would Finishing.Com do?

That he is here with us is, he infers, due to draughts of that liquid saviour which, I'm glad to hear is now available in the USA ... but personally I much prefer a Bloody Caesar which 15 years ago was unknown in the USA.

However, I don't suggest you try either of them until you are of age ... or go to Jungle School.

Back in Ye Olden days, there was a popular ditty .... Deep in the Jungle, living in a tent, better than a Pre-fab, No Rent.

Freeman Newton
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada



Bloody MARYS have been around in the USA for quite canucks just have different terminology. And personally.. I prefer a lot of our local micro-brews to the imported Fosters, and..even worse..Labatts :)

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Idaho


Dere Pooch,

Wud yer plese tell yore master that a Bloody Caesar sure ain't no Bloody Mary.

Heck, iffn he'd try one, he'd kno der differnz. An' its MOTTS wot prodewses th' ingredients that makes Caesars so dam good.

By the way Pooch, yore lookin' good ... can't say that about yore master ... now iffn he'd only try a CAESAR an' get eddicated like itted do him a lotta good.

Freeman Newton
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada


Ahhh... Freeman.. you are correct. I forgot about the clam juice stuff in a Ceasar....yuck. Here, in the states, clams are for eatin...not for milkin.

Marc Green
Marc Green
anodizer - Idaho


Q. Kristine,

Did you manage to find a paint that will stick to gumboots? I too would like to paint a pair of Gummies! Your knowledge would be much appreciated....

Adrian M. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Sydney, Australia

sidebar 2003

I have just seen Tony Johnston's response. Something has occurred to me, in my youth I used to indulge in wellie wanging (throwing wellington boots around). Now, if we painted them in luminous paint, we could do it in the dark, or even in New York or London during a power cut. Any takers? Perhaps we could indulge in virtual wellie wanging, but would that just involve sitting at a computer and thinking about it?

Trevor Crichton
Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK


Trevor, in the inimitable words of Chuck Berry, " . . . you must be playing with your own Wellie Wang".

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
We need "Aloha" now more than ever


A. I have a small business, and we are wanting to design our own wellies. I recently found out that for wellies to be patterned they print on to jersey and use this to line the see through rubber wellie. But this is expensive and can only do when mass produced. We are also looking now for a way of painting on the boot. My friend once used acrylic paint, but her wellies kept sticking together.

Jo Mapp
- Nottingham


A. Hi Kristine,

Maybe if you mixed acrylic paints with a thickish pva you could prevent the paint cracking as the pva is very flexible. Or paint the wellies them paint over with two coats of pve to seal them. Mind you, by now you're probably not bothered anymore are you? Just realised this thread started 2003!

Incidentally...forget the fosters, stick to JD!

Corinne Bradd
freelance designer - Colchester, Essex, UK


Q. Hello

I too was also wondering what paint I can use on gumboots, I am a big fan of buying plain things and jazzing them up(making them look cooler by painting them) I wanted to get a pair of old gumboots and paint them but I have no idea what paint will stay on.My dad said that I could use oil paints but I'm not sure.I was thinking of using an acrylic paint and then spray on a waterproof cover
should I use oil paints or acrylic?

Stephanie P. [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
hobbyist - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


thumbs up sign Hi guys,
just wanted to let you all know that I too needed to know what paint stayed on gumboots. I am in yr 8 and I am girl guide, my unit and I are going on a camp called 'the lady stradbroke cup' and we need to paint our 'boots'. thank-you all so much for you help, it was greatly appreciated. keep up the good work.
Love Matilda

Matilda H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Q. I am also looking to paint my weliies for a guide camp. would pva glue on top of acrylics do the job. I think that taking a plain simple thing and making it to my liking and putting my identity on it is fun. Also does any one know what the mass production technique for making wellies is as I need to know for my GCSE graphic product course.

Emma Victoria
- Hampshire, England, UK


....just found this site in my pursuit of "how to paint my wellies" three years (when question originally raised here)....has anyone found sure fired way of painting their wellies? or have you all given up now :o)

- London


I can't tell you what would work, but I can tell what won't. I tried spray paint and wouldn't recommend it. It didn't dry, not even after a couple of weeks, and remained sticky, so that everything and everyone the boots came into contact with stuck to the boots (or got paint on them).

Taryn C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Perth, Western Australia


Hi folks,

I haven't actually gotten around to trying this yet but I reckon permanent markers on light coloured boots would be the way to go. Say, white fishermans/mongers boots.

PVA is no good - it is water soluble which kind of defeats the point of wearing gumboots - you can't jump in puddles!

As for Fosters - possibly THE worst Aussie beer available (after XXXX so I hear!).

Hope that helps.

Kat Dobbyn
- Melbourne, VIC, Australia


A. I just found this site after searching for a solution to my gumboot painting problem....I don't think I was the first one to do so either.

I read this entire thread and considered all the suggestions made. The only plausible one seems to be the nail polish...what's more - I've tried it and it works!

happy gumboot painting, guys!

Megan Wilson
- Brisbane, QLD, Australia


Fosters is not a good beer at all! It's the beer we Australians export because no one here will drink the filth. You'll be hard pressed to find it on tap anywhere and even in bottle shops there might be One sixer (6-pack) sitting next to the 4 or 5 sixers of Carlton Draught & VB (it's worth noting the same company makes Carlton, VB and Fosters)...

Onto the Gumboots. I'm currently trying out some relatively decent Spray Paints on some gumboots. I have to wait to get home from work but I'll post something about my results tomorrow.

Julian Wearne
- Melbourne, VIC, Australia


No charge for waste disposal if you want to ship that Foster's to me.

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
We need "Aloha" now more than ever

April 19, 2008

thumbs up sign Well what a long list of ideas. Most of it was not worth the read, how you ozzies end up talking about beer when the question was really about Gumboots?

So what was the answer in the end - Seems no one follows up?

I hope the poor year 12 girl gets her answer before she dies!

All the best for your quest


- Empangeni, Natal, South Africa

Krylon Fusion

April 2008

Yes, Christi Sue, there has been discussion of beer & dogs & other things on this thread :-)
... but I did see several actual good suggestions for painting gumboots interspersed into it. Our regular readers volunteer their time to help out a thousand new strangers a month, and sometimes share camaraderie with their fellow regulars.

For simplicity, my first try would be Krylon Fusion [linked by editor to product info at Amazon] since it's a simple spray paint specifically made for painting plastic. Good luck.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
We need "Aloha" now more than ever

April 19, 2008

This little debate has definitely been going on for some time. I too need to paint a pair of Wellies for a GCSE project. So far I have been advised that Car paint is a good try.

Lara Reeds
- London, England

June 28, 2008

thumbs up sign I've just found this site when trying to find the right paint for wellies (gumboots).

I have cut an old black pair down and put plants in them. I want to decorate them to make colourful planters, so flexibility won't be a problem.

Initially I have cleaned and polished them with black shoe polish - a bit boring, so I'm going to my local paint shop to get some acrylics. Can but try.

Rebecca Steeves
- Highworth, Wiltshire, UK

July 8, 2008

A. Hey folks! I've been trying to find an answer to this problem for a couple of years now! Spray paint for plastic won't work, I tried that last year and the paint was still tacky 4 weeks later! Sounds like acrylic paint and nail varnish are the way forward...

Steve Campbell
- Inverness, Highland, Scotland

September 16, 2008

I would say posca's (I know, inappropriate apostrophe, but otherwise it will be read as pos-cas)
they are those paint-pens that you can get from just about any art / craft / scrapbooking store...
there is a cheap brand called DecoColor Poster Color Markers - obviously not an Australian brand.
they work well on light coloured gumboots, unfortunately I bought black ones.
they still show up, but obviously not as well.

They seem relatively waterproof, and I could not scratch the stuff off when I tried.
you can get them in any colour, and they are usually about 6 dollars a pen?
but be warned, the people in the art shops generally assume that you are taking them for graffiti use, as that is what they are quite commonly used for!


Alicia B [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Melboure, Australia

January 6, 2009

A. I have just painted my own pair of wellies/ gumboots and have found that the Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Markers work great, and they only cost £2 each!

But for the benefit of those of you who don't live in UK,it seems that the key points to consider are that the paint/pen is

- oil based
- waterproof
- quick drying

and most importantly

- Xylene free

which means it works on rubber!

I hope this helps xxx

Laura Critchlow
- Sheffield, UK

May 4, 2009

Q. Laura,

Did you use anything else with the sharpies to paint your boots?
I did paint a pair with acrylic and put some craft gloss over the top, they lasted for a while (I went to 2 festivals with them) but then they started to peel in places and grass etc got stuck to the remaining paint as it was still sticky. I have taken all that paint off but I would really like to try to paint them again.

Rachel Hosemans
- Newcastle, NSW Australia

June 29, 2009

A. Hey guys!

I realise this thread was started ages ago, but as it was the first result on Google when I searched for a method for painting gumboots or wellies, maybe people still come here for the same reason I did. Hopefully this will help someone out.

There seemed to be no commonly accepted solution to my - and apparently everyone else's - problem, but there were some really good ideas in this thread. Someone mentioned POSCA markers, and I tried painting my red wellies white with one of those markers. Not only did it cover very well (it takes about two layers, but one marker will be enough for two boots, they last extremely long), it's water proof and haven't cracked a bit. However, if I scratch on it with something sharp it vanishes a little. But if that turns out to be a problem, it would be easy to just cover up with new paint.

The boots are part of a costume, so I won't be jumping in puddles wearing them, but I suppose that would be possible if I wanted to.

POSCA markers seem to be easy to find in any country in about any store that sells craft supplies, and I can really recommend this method. They are about 40 Swedish Crowns (5 US$) each.

I asked around about acrylic paint as well, but a friend of mine confirmed that it cracks and peels when put on wellies. So I won't try it myself.
Alright, I hope someone out there was helped by this!
Take care, and good luck!

Malin Bergqvist
- Gothenburg, Västra Götaland, Sweden

July 7, 2009

A. Since the last time I posted I have come up with a few creative ways to Jazz up Gumboots without having to paint them.

Although I have painted a few boots with good results so far. I have done it on kids boots and they have not peeled or cracked.
METHOD: Soak the boots in a Acid and water solution (Have Never measured out but always had much more water than acid in the bucket.)
This will Etch the boot making it easier for the paint to stick.
Rinse the boot thoroughly with clean water and let dry.
I painted with Normal Acrylic Paint (In SA its called Heritage Acrylic Paint)
The kids love them! The girls even get to wear it with their dresses in winter!

I have also done a range of Boots for the kids which have been a huge hit even with the adults who want a pair!
Using Buttons, Feather Boa's, Ribbons, Colourful pipe cleaners, Rosettes, chains, Wool etc, etc You can make small holes using either nail scissors or a Big metal needle then thread and weave through the boot.
By being fun and creative you will get some great looking boots out of it.
I put a bell on all my boots - The kids thinks its great fun and its not too annoying for parents.
The pipe cleaners work really well for little boys - By threading and knotting each one individually all around the top of the boot and leaving it to stick out and do its own thing, Little boys (and girls) are kept amused for ages bending the pipe cleaners and making shapes out of them. So it doubles up as a shoe and a toy when you are out someplace!

Hope these ideas help and will certainly try a few of the suggest ideas for the adult boots. Will just have to get substitute products here in SA.

Thanks to All

- Empangeni, Natal, South Africa

July 27, 2009

look at the website for paintable boots kits.

david sch
rancho - new york / China

July 22, 2010

thumbs up sign Some funny stuff here ... I love the different interpretations from around the world! Some really useful ideas thanks which I'm about to research. Will report back if I have any success. Just wanted to make a point that this link is still very current and clearly needed!

D Lo
- Warwickshire, United Kingdom

January 31, 2011

You guys have very interesting comments and ideas, not to mention the bloody mary's and what not. I had to paint my gumboots as well, I do not know if our acid or our gumboots differ, but nothing seemed to take the shine off my boots, so I got the mother of all bright ideas and used Vinyl, it is flexible and durable. I love the outcome

Nicolene Swart
- Windhoek, Namibia

January 21, 2012

Hi, I'm in the beginning process of setting up my much desired business in a wellington boots craft shop in my local village. The craft shop will entail children designing their own boots to there liking, where it brings together the bond of parents to work together in a safe friendly environment on a very sociable level. I have read all the recent comments made about what paint is best to use! I too, have been wondering as well as asking the same question if acrylic paints actually work. I have been surfing the net trying to get hold of these paint-pens used for the wellington boots. Has anyone come across a website page on these paints and how easy are they to get hold of? Many thanks

Claire Lendon
- Britain, U.K.

April 3, 2012

Hey if anyone is still looking, I found these paint pens that would work on wellies/gumboots!

Ying Pour
- Brisbane, QLD, Australia

November 2, 2012

Well this is a fun forum! I too want to decorate some Wellies for a country wedding.Thought this would make one quirky present! with a traditional one thrown in.Fosters is a good beer but there are better ones. And after a trip to the US I am now hooked on Margauritas- after having about three of them after a long flight! but back to the Wellies I think I will try the nail polish first as like any girl, I have a few bottles lying around.The ideas I have read are great! I think the akoubra (Hat) will be next

Chezzie Dowling
- Madurah, West Australia

February 1, 2013

Tried decorating a pair of black rubber boots, (not shiny,) and I used a white UNI paint marker made by Sanford. It is oil based, it does contain Xylene, and does claim to work on vinyl, plastic, rubber, etc. I only drew designs and did not cover the entire boot with paint.(Stuffed the boot tight with socks before drawing to make it an easier surface to deal with.) It definitely is a good marker for opaque coverage, and works on flexible materials. It's been 48 hours now and the paint is still tacky and even lightly sticks to my finger if I press it too hard. I'm starting to become convinced it is never going to dry completely. Sigh.

Something a previous person wrote leads me to believe that maybe it's the Xylene, since they used an oil based, Xylene-free marker with success. (I got my paint marker from my husband who uses them to put ID tag info on auto parts and tires that are being tested, but I'm sure he never goes back later to determine how well everything has dried.)

That's my experience, and hopefully it will help the next sad soul who wanders across this black hole of a thread, as there seems to be nothing else online that discusses our brilliant idea of painting gumboots.

Elle Alejandro
- Farmington, Arkansas, USA

November 29, 2017

Q. On reading all these great posts - it seems that the simplest one is nail polish. One person said it worked and another was going to try it. I want to pretty up some yellow shiny gumboots/wellington boots - so hope someone else can please tell me if they used nail polish on the shiny boots and if it worked satisfactorily and for a lengthy period ?

- Gold Coast, Qld, Australia

December 1, 2017

A. Hi Lis

I seem to remember answering this some time ago but there is no record in the thread.

You have two problems. Wellies are a moulded product and will have a release coating on the surface when new. It stops the wellies sticking in the mould and will stop paint sticking to the wellie. A good scrubbing with household detergent and thorough rinsing because any residual detergent will also act as a non stick surface. Then don't handle the surface to be painted.

The best paint to be compatible with rubber is surely a rubber based paint which is not uncommon. PlastiDip for example is available in aerosol cans in a wide variety of colours.
There is probably an equivalent make down under. Just search "rubber paint"

geoff smith
Geoff Smith
Hampshire, England

December 6, 2017

thumbs up sign Geoff

Thanks for your reply and information. I hadn't seen your first post when I read through all the posts.

Lis FLYNN [returning]
- Gold Coast, Qld, Austalia

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