How to Paint A Kayak: A Step-By-Step Guide for Beginners

How To Paint A Kayak

Your kayak might be looking fine and dandy as of the moment. But back in your mind, you are thinking that a little makeover will not hurt the boat, right?

Learning how to paint a kayak is a special skill. A kayak owner has to learn this one to minimize the cost of outsourcing paint jobs. It is relatively easy and inexpensive anyway. Of course, you can hire someone to do the job. But why not try it first?


In this guide, I will teach you the basics of kayak painting. Even if you are not a handyman, you can definitely do this errand. With the help of some tools, you can paint your kayak nice and easy. So what are you waiting for? Let's start!

Why Do You need to Paint Your Kayak?

For some people, painting their kayak is quite out of the question. However, some just question why it is a necessity? Well, to be honest, this paint job is more than just to improve the aesthetics of your favorite vessel.

The first reason why kayaks regular painting and refurbishing is due to continuous damages. When we ride in our kayaks, it is quite inevitable to hit objects in the water. This causes scratches in the boat. If you let the scratches happen, they will be difficult to remove. Furthermore, they can cause potential problems in the future.

And even if you are still not in the water, your kayak is already exposed to potential damages. You will have to drag the kayak on the ground while you are transporting it. Unless you do it carefully, these dents and scratches will eventually take place.

The heat of the sun can also fade the current paint of your kayak. It is pretty similar to the paint of your car or motorcycle that gets exposed to extreme heat.

Your kayak deserves better treatment. After all, it is the source of your fun and excitement.

How to Paint a Kayak

In this section, I will teach you the step-by-step process of painting your kayak. But before you start the paint job, make sure that you have gathered all the essential tools that are needed for this task.

Tools That You Need:

  • Spray paint (marine-safe)
  • Finishing spray paint or marine wax
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Sandpaper
  • Acetone
  • Water
  • Pieces of cloths.

Step One: Remove Some Parts of The Kayak

When painting your kayak, it is important to know that not all of its parts should be painted. Therefore, the very first process in the painting procedure is to take off these components, especially if they are removable. Things like the seat and boat accessories should get out of the way once you have started painting the kayak.

Essentially, the very thing that you have to paint here is the actual vessel. It would be difficult for you if there are objects that can obstruct you while you are painting.

You can learn how to remove the seat of a kayak by checking this video out:

Extra Reminders:

It will be a wise move if you are going to wear a painting mask. It is for your safety, after all.

When you are painting, make sure that you are in an open area. You need the right kind of ventilation so that you can breathe properly. But of course, I am not saying that you should paint anywhere open. Make sure that it is far from streams or rivers or any bodies of water. Moreover, keep in mind that you don't want to ruin the properties of your neighbor by accidentally spraying paint on them.

Step Two: Clean The Kayak

Part of the preparation process for the paint job is cleaning. It does not only apply on kayaks but any other painting errands. The paint will not stick properly if the surface of the object is not clean.

You can clean your kayak by applying water and dishwashing soap solution on it. You have to do it thoroughly to ensure that all parts are squeaky clean and free from any residues. After washing, let the boat dry first.

Once it is already dry, you have to sand your kayak. The purpose of the sanding is to ensure that all the parts of the boat that you want to paint are all smooth and blemish-free. If you want to paint the entire kayak, you need to sand all of its surfaces. Sanding guarantees that the paint can stick better.

After this procedure, you need to clean the kayak once more. But this time, this should be done with the use of acetone. You have to apply the acetone to a clean cloth so that you can rub it to all the surfaces that you sand.

Acetone can help in removing the oil that is potentially stuck in the surface of the kayak. After all, many paints cannot stick well if there are mixed with oil. So before you start painting, make sure that you did this step already.

Step Three: Painting The Kayak

Many think that painting a kayak is a cumbersome task. However, you have successfully hurdled the preparatory steps, the painting process would be a lot easy. Let me remind you that you should wear your mask while doing this job.

The painting process can be done with the use of a paint sprayer. By far, it is the most convenient option to lessen your work. Put the paint in the sprayer and spray it to the areas that you want to paint. Just continue painting until you can achieve the color that you want.

In most cases, you need to coat your kayak a couple of times. In my experience, one coat is not enough to give my kayak the color that I want. I typically apply three to four coats until I can reach my desired results.

Once you are done painting, you can leave the kayak in the open for drying.

Paint Designs

Of course, you cannot expect that a paint sprayer is an efficient tool in designing your paint. If you want to give your boat an artistic appeal, you need to use a paint brush. This will give you the freedom to add strokes of art in your beloved vessel.

If you want an intricate design, you might need to contact an artist already. They are the ones that are capable of doing a foolproof job in improving the aesthetics of your kayak.

Today, the camouflage design in a kayak is gaining popularity. Fortunately, you can achieve this effect without any hassle. The only thing that you need to do is to dip a sponge to a mixture of different paint colors. This will give your kayak a nice but simple camouflage aesthetics.

Step Four: Clear Coating

The next part of the painting process is giving your kayak a clear coat. It is considered as the final part of the painting process. A clear coat can protect the new paint from scratches and other potential damages. You can simply use a paintbrush to apply the coat.

Step Five: Reassembly

If the paint is already dry and done, you can already install back the things that you have detached from the kayak. You can return the seats, the screws, and every hardware that you took in the preparation phase. Make sure that you do it fluently. You don't want any loose parts while kayaking.

Step Six: Waxing

To give a better result, apply the boat with a dishwashing soap so that it is fully clean. After that, you can apply marine wax as well. Aside from the clear coat, the marine wax also ensures that the paint is protected from damages.


Now that you have learned how to paint a kayak, I am assured that you can already give your boat a new shine. It is an important procedure that you have to do from time to time to prevent your kayak from wearing out. And of course, nobody can deny that sporting a newly painted kayak can boost your moral.

That's it for now. For questions and suggestions, feel free to drop them in the comment section.

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