As mentioned at the rain barrel workshops, exposure to the sun can break down plastic rain barrels over time. If you plan to use your barrel where it will be exposed to direct sunlight, you are strongly encouraged to give your barrel a coating of paint. If you are feeling artistic, you can use your barrel as a canvas of sorts for whatever decorative design strikes your fancy. Consider the rain barrel another avenue for expressing your design sensibilities!
Painting your rain barrel is easy. Start by removing all labels and glue, making sure that the glue under all labels is removed. For paper labels, you can try softening with water and rubbing off the label and glue with a wet sponge. For stubborn residue, you can try scraping it off with a plastic scraper. You can also try using GOOP, CITRUSOLVE or other safe solvent product. Some surface irregularities shouldn’t cause a problem and you can lightly sand those areas making sure not to weaken the barrel wall.
After you have removed the labels and glue, scrub all dirt and marks from the barrel with warm soapy water (dish washing liquid works well). Thoroughly dry the barrel before you prime it.
You will need 2 cans of KRYLON PLASTIC FUSION PRIMER. Spray the entire barrel with 1 can of the Fusion Primer. Use a clear primer if you do not want any color as a background but you can prime the barrel in several other Krylon colors such as blue, green, red etc. Let the primer dry for at least 4 hours before decorating.
Paint or stencil your design using artist Acrylic paints. When design has dried for 24 hours, use 1 can of Krylon CLEAR plastic primer over the entire barrel. This is your sealing coat. Let the primer dry at least 24 hours before handling the barrel.
The barrels below were painted by Master Gardener Donna Smolinski