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Thoughts on painting a toilet seat? Answered

Hey folks! I wanted to tap the collective mind of the Instructables community on this one: We recently did a radical redecoration of our bathroom. One of the only things that wasn't touched so far was the toilet. Rather than getting a new (probably boring) toilet seat- I'd like to try painting the old one (I'm talking about the SEAT here, not the cover). Is it feasible for a long-term part of the bathroom, do you think? I've never really painted anything like this before- what paints / techniques would folks recommend? I was thinking of sanding down the surface, applying a rust-colored enamel (with some black patterns), and then a goodly amount of clear coating. Appreciate any thoughts (even if they are "Hey, that won't work- suck it up and sit on a boring seat like the rest of us"). Obviously any work will be documented and submitted to the site : ).


Stupid question, but what is the seat made of? Plastic or wood?

Great question- it's not wood, so I'd assume it's cast from some heavier type of plastic? It's pretty substantial-feeling and heavier than normal plastic would be.

Not a good surface to paint on, then.

Sanding, certainly, but maybe some sort of primer?

I'd suggest practicing on a hidden area, but there isn't really a totally-hidden part, is there?

Actually, your best bet is to buy a cheap wooden seat, strip off the varnish and start from there. You'll have to make sure anything you paint on is resistant to powerful cleaning chemicals, and also completely dry before anybody uses it.

(I've just remembered - our local hardware store sells novelty toilet seats. Cast in clear plastic, they contain things like drawing pins, barbed wire and spiky shells)

Your local hardware store has peculiar tastes in toilet seats. Do people actually buy them?

I presume so, else why stock them? They also have them with sweets and (hopefully plastic) fish embedded in the plastic. They look better than they sound.


My cousin has the wire one! It's FREAKY to sit on...

I carry a full range of clear seats things like sea shells, aquatic animals (dolphins etc), like Kiteman said barbed wire. Yes they do sell but only as novelty items generally for second non guest bathrooms.

I've actually seen these particular seats used in bars and the like before-- so someone is buying them, hehe.

Now THAT'S something to try - make a toilet seat mold and a clear resin cast with stuff in it. I'd throw tampons in. Just to be creepy. There's also that great Plasti-dip rubber - a red rubber toilet seat would be bitchin'. Ok, but getting back to practical... what about auto paint? It cleans, it's safe for skin contact and it's really hardy. Maybe you can buddy up with someone at the body-shop for a custom job & borrow their sandblaster and paint gun also.

Cool - put some racing stripes on too! On second thought - maybe not... :-D

I think you'd call them "skid marks". :-D

Yeah- the two things I was most worried about with the project was how the paint would react to cleaners, and secondly, whether it would be safe to have in regular contact with human skin. As for practicing on it, the seat is about ready to go out to pasture anyway (paint chips on it) so there's really nothing to lose except the cost of paint

Either liquid sand paper or scuff surface with about a 120 grit sandpaper. Apply several coats of enamel or acrylic ,paint sanding with a 800 grit wet'n'dry sand paper in between. Once effect is achieved apply several coats of clear acrylic hardwearing topcoat or enamel. Enamel may be harder to find in a clear though. A spray may be a good option for the topcoat. The key is to prep and finish correctly. I still wouldn't use too corrosive cleaning agents on it. You shouldn't have a problem we skin irratation although that is not something the paint shop will know. They may say yes, but I would be calling the manufacturers. The won't have their saftey spec sheets on hand and even these are limited at best. Not too many inexpensive anti reactive sprays available.

Many thanks for the in-depth reply! The wet-sand technique is one I've always used (with success) for painting computer cases, Do you think using a textured paint (the stuff with fine sand in it ) and then some serious clear acrylic layers would result in major chances of chipping/disaster? I think it would look fantastic : ).

Now I do not believe that textured paint would leed to major chances of chipping. As long as the correct topcoat is used and multiple layers are applied. Therefore it would have to be the clear layer chipping off and this is unlikley...

Sidenote: I chuckle when customers come into work for exterior paint.
We ask them what they are painting onto.
They reply as any human would, it is timber, metal etc...
Yet after further probing it is revealed that the surface timber, metal etc has already been painted before....

Therfore we are painting onto paint, not the timber or metal underneath.
Which requires diff prep before painting...

Make sure you use lead based paint. =p

I think you oughta paint the entire toilet!

They make paints/varnishes for food prep surfaces, you might look into that for the clear coat. That way you'll know it's safe for skin and cleaning.

Good idea with the paint type idea! We're actually considering painting the lid as well now... and stencilling a design onto it before applying clear coat.

I've had good luck painting plastics using enamels like Krylon fusion or wiping with "liquid sandpaper" than painting immediately with enamel. Liquid sandpaper is nasty stuff, basically toluene acetone and alcohol mixed 7:2:1. As to safety ~shrug~, everything is painted these days, just let it cure until the odor is gone, 1-2 weeks ish.

I think we've got some of that liquid sandpaper rattling around in the basement- we're going to try it! Thanks for the help

I'm sure you'll get plenty of comments to this end, but make sure you check that the paint won't irritate skin. That's not a good place for blisters.

I don't know how to do it, but at the end add a few layers of clear coat.

Can you delete one of your threads? this seems to be happening more lately... and i have no clue about the toilet seat.... sorry.

thanks for the heads up! No idea how that happened- Firefox is being wonky with Instructables lately..

yah, this is like the second or third time this has happened (that I've noticed)