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How to Paint A Plastic Playhouse

We are ecstatic when we get something for free! I guess you could say I am somewhat of a junk finder and this DIY Playhouse makeover fits right into that category.

littel tikes purple playhouse and painted plastic house makeover

It is fabulous when things can get a wonderful makeover for next to nothing. My last free find was this Midcentury modern dresser that we have in our guest room!

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Toys That Are Worth It

As far as children’s toys and outdoor toys go, if you can get a Little Tikes toy for close to FREE, jump on it now! Even if it isn’t in the best condition, it will save you a ton of money.

Check out how much this playhouse would cost as a new purchase! I don’t want to brag, but I didn’t pay anything, because my DIY playhouse makeover used supplies I already had.

How to score free or cheap items for DIY makeovers?

We go into a lot more detail in this post about the lingo used to make and save money using BST groups in Facebook. Hopefully, the tips and abbreviations we talk about can help you score some amazing items for your DIY projects.

This wasn’t found like I normally find things. This awesome Little Tikes playhouse was in someone’s garbage at the end of their street. I wish I could take the credit for snagging it, but my mother is the one that knew my kids would LOVE to play in here.

Before DIY playhouse makeover of a purple little tykes house that has chipped paint

Two Different Times Painting

I guess it is worth noting that this plastic toy redo was done in two different summers. The first time I painted the playhouse it did not cost anything. We used supplies we already had.

The second makeover of the playhouse only cost a little because I had to buy a plastic flower planter box. I honestly had all the other supplies at my house.

Recommended Supplies

What paint to use on plastic toys?

You can use a combination of spray paint and exterior paint. Spray paint will be easier, but your set-up may take longer.

  • Spray Paint meant for plastics-you may need to also use a primer beforehand if the paint doesn’t have one built in.
  • Vinyl Siding Paint-you can purchase small containers in the color of your choice and use it as a base to get the other colors you want. We mixed regular latex paint with a little of this to get a red door.

How To Paint Plastic Toys

1. Thoroughly clean the playhouse. Use dish soap, a hose with a nozzle and my favorite type of sponge. The sponge will help get grim off pretty easily.

Make sure that you try to get off any loose paint chips and the house is as clean as possible.

Bucket of water and soap used to clean dirty and scraped Little Tykes Playhouse

2. Choose your colors of spray paint. Make sure it is spray paint that will work on plastics. Here are the spray paints that I used.

I sprayed the moldings, roof and details. I did not worry about using painter’s tape because I knew I was going back and using vinyl siding paint and a brush.

Blue spray paint added to front door and window trim of little tykes playhouse

UPDATE: After one year, I am in the process of giving a second makeover to this plastic playhouse where I am not using spray paint. See the extra additions to this playhouse makeover at the end!

Please note that my blue coat of spray paint wasn’t as even as I would like on the door. I ran out of that color and really didn’t want to purchase more paint. It is just an outdoor playhouse after all.

Other DIY Spray Paint Projects

If you are looking for other DIY projects that involve spray paint, check out my office desk remake and how to use spray paint to create a really cool marble effect.

3. Begin painting siding with a brush and vinyl siding painting. This actually took longer than I anticipated because of all the bumps. The reason I used this paint, is because I had it from touching up deck stain spots from previous owners of my real house.

Paint brush and cream vinyl siding paint used in DIY playhouse makeover

Create A Siding Texture

Once I had put the cream vinyl siding paint, I realized that I would need two coats to really make it look okay. I did not want to have to do that since it did take me longer than I anticipated for the first coat.

Mix a little regular gray latex paint with my cream siding paint. Use this new color to do a dry brush technique on the siding. This covered up any imperfections and made my DIY playhouse makeover become a shabby-chic DIY playhouse makeover.

As you can see in the picture below, it would have been okay to leave with one coat, but it definitely needed something else.

Painted playhouse showing brush strokes
Blue, cream and purple little tykes playhouse with small red chair and marbled pot with plant

DIY Plastic Playhouse Makeover: 2nd Edition

As I stated at the beginning, after one winter of being stored outside, I needed to give a little refresh to this Little Tikes Playhouse. Last year, I did not paint the roof.

The purple plastic roof had to go. The cream siding color really had stayed, but I needed to update the color of the door.

Using the same cream outdoor latex paint and mixing other latex paints with it (even if they were not meant for outdoors) seemed to do the trick.

Painting plastic roof of playhouse

In this picture, you can see I mixed these two types of paints in an old cashew jar.

For the plastic door of the playhouse, I mixed a red-based semi-gloss paint (we had leftover from painting a door) with the outdoor latex (cheaper version linked here) to allow it to work on the plastic.

Extra House Details To Add

There are a lot of things you could consider adding to a plastic playhouse after painting. You could consider adding a mailbox, door mat, house numbers, personalized signs or even window coverings.

Here are two extra accessories we added to our playhouse.

Plastic Flower Window Boxes

We added a plastic flower box by screwing it into the playhouse and adding fake flowers that were bought on clearance at a local store for $3.

plastic flower box with holes drilled in

My husband even drilled holes in the plastic container so that any water would drain easily.

Add Playhouse Address

Originally, we were going to add metal house numbers. We knew when we saw how big they were that it just wouldn’t really work. 4″ numbers were pretty much the standard size we could get and that would have taken up the whole side of the door.

I really was excited when I found these smaller metal numbers, but my local store didn’t have them and I didn’t want to have to pay for shipping.

After searching around and not really liking the mylar numbers or other options, I decided wooden numbers would work. The wooden letters and numbers I used in our DIY word canvas art project worked out perfectly.

Wooden numbers with craft paint

Painted the small wooden letters with cheap craft acrylic paint, seal and glue onto your house.

How to seal wooden numbers?

When they were dry I added this type of mod podge. It is supposed to protect things in the outdoors. You only need a small amount. We applied around 3 coats with a brush and let dry in between. I will have to update this next year to let everyone know how the numbers hold up.

DIY playhouse address

***Wooden letters used for the address***

And when completely dry, we used our favorite super glue to carefully attach the numbers to the house.

Little Tikes Playhouse makeover with different colors

How-To FAQ’s

Should you paint the inside of the house?

If you so desire, you can spray inside the Little Tikes playhouse. I actually just sprayed one coat in the bottom half to give it an artsy feel, without wasting too much paint. I didn’t want to be inhaling spray paint inside the plastic box of a playhouse for too long!

How long did it take to paint a plastic playhouse?

Around 4 hours total. Even though I say this took longer than I expected, this DIY playhouse makeover was mostly still done while my kids were napping. I was working hard, but it definitely was worth the few hours it took to redo the eyesore of a playhouse.

Do you have to take apart the playhouse to paint it?

Taking it apart will give you the best results. However, we painted ours while it was still assembled together because we used a brush and spray paint.

It amazes me every time I am able to do a DIY transformation or DIY makeover for nearly nothing

This house is perfect for our younger children to play with, while the older ones can play on their DIY wooden playset. We have so much fun in our backyard.

My children love using their imagination and playing in our playhouse and they do not care that it was a DIY upcycled toy makeover!

DIY playhouse address

How To Paint A Plastic Playhouse

Learn how to makeover your Little Tykes playhouse with our painting steps.
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 4 hours
1 day
Total Time: 1 day 4 hours 15 minutes
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Hose
  • Dish Soap
  • Sponge
  • Paint Brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Painter’s Tape

Recommended Supplies

Instructions

  • Clean plastic with sponge and soapy water.
  • Let plastic throughly dry in the sun beofre painting
  • Use spray paint in large sweeping motions to paint details such as trims, molding and roof. You can also paint the whole house this way.
  • Use vinyl siding paint and a brush to cover house completely.
  • Mix some gray latex paint with vinyl siding paint in cup.
  • Use this darker color nd dry brush on to get a siding texture.
  • Let house completely dry.

Notes

Have fun adding other accessories once you have painted your plastic playhouse.
Tried this Tutorial? Tag me Today!Mention @theDIYNuts or tag #thediynuts!
Recipe Rating




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Trina Welch

Wednesday 7th of August 2019

Excellent tips on FB groups!

Erin

Thursday 8th of August 2019

Thanks, Trina. When I first started looking at things in the Facebook groups I had to do a little research. I figured that might help some people acquire FREE items for their DIY projects!

Rachael

Thursday 18th of July 2019

The impact of the dark blue door with the little red Adirondack chair is fantastic. So great that you could pull this off for free (well, apart from the elbow grease).

Erin

Friday 19th of July 2019

Thanks Rachael! I ALWAYS LOVE free DIY projects. You can imagine that I have quite the collection of paints and other DIY supplies!

Jenn Summers

Thursday 18th of July 2019

What a great project! I love how it turned out. We actually had gotten one of these free too, years ago while we were in the city. Dump fees are so high it is much easier on the pocketbook to give it away. I did a full front lawn of free this year and it went so fast, It was awesome! You did a great job remaking yours Erin I wish I had thought about doing their free set years ago. I will definitely see what I can do with their little tikes picnic table! Thanks for another inspiring post!

Erin

Friday 19th of July 2019

Hi Jenn! Thanks for the kind words. I do agree sometimes it is just easier to post an item for Free than have to get rid of it yourself. One woman's junk is another's treasure! Thanks and good luck with your little Tikes table. Spray paint meant for plastic did seem to do the trick. We will see how it holds up over the different weather cycles we have here.

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