OTW Safety

How to Stencil on Plastic Barricades

Painting and labeling plastic barricades made of LDPE (low-density polyethylene) or HDPE (high-density polyethylene) can be challenging. This article will go over how to stencil figures into a PE surface of a barricade/barrier with low cost tools and supplies.
white barricade after using stenciling technique

The process outlined in this document is for basic adhesion and aesthetics only, if a higher quality process is desired we recommend products and processes from moldingraphics.com. The materials used in this outline are listed below and are available for purchase at a variety of home improvement stores.

Materials Needed

  • Acetone
  • Sand paper, 80-120 grit all-purpose sand paper (we recommend using an electric sander)
  • Spray paint, Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover, Paint and Primer (look for “plastic use” specific paint!)
  • Rags
  • Stencil (numbers/letters that are 3″ or taller work great)
white barricade before using stenciling technique

Step 1) Clean the Polyethylene Surface

The first step is to clean the surface you plan on spray-painting, this will eliminate any dirt or other foreign debris. We recommend you use acetone for all cleaning purposes to minimize leftover residue.

Step 2) Sanding

Take the sand paper and sand enough to rough up the surface. It’s unnecessary to remove more than 1/32” of material, sanding will allow the primer and paint to adhere in cracks as well as surface to give a longer life. Any all-purpose sand paper between 80 and 120 grits will be enough to rough up the surface but not damage it.

Step 3) Cleaning

Again, using acetone, clean the surface for any debris and shavings left over from sanding. Ensure the surface is dry before proceeding.

how to stencil on a plastic barricade
spray painting a plastic barricade using a stencil

Step 4) Painting

Using the stencil, spray paint the polyethylene surface with enough paint to cover the surface lightly (not enough to cause dripping or pooling). Wait 5 minutes and repeat the process until desired contrast is achieved.

stenciling onto a plastic barricade

This process should allow any user to paint PE surfaces with a moderate quality. If a longer lasting, more professional look is desired we recommend professional products from high end distributors like Mold In Graphics.