I have created some bookshelves from corrugated cardboard. These are very strong, but they still do flex a bit. I did some tests using Rust-Oleum brand spray paint. Because the cardboard is flexible, bits of the paint came off. I am concerned that the paint will come off onto the books.

What would be a good paint to add to corrugated cardboard that will not flake off?

  • Presumably if you're painting your shelves you want to keep them for some time? Why not build out of a more permanent material that won't flex?
    – CactusCake
    Jun 22, 2017 at 18:50
  • Because my coworker made similar shelves from wood and it cost him $250. The cardboard came free.
    – Village
    Jun 22, 2017 at 18:52
  • Must you paint them? Or do you just want them to look nice? Cardboard doesn't paint terribly well - I would consider wrapping them in something like vinyl.
    – Chris M.
    Jun 22, 2017 at 18:55
  • No, it does not need to be painted. I just want it to look nicer and cover the exposed ends, which reveals the inside of the corrugation. My plan was to cover this part with duct tape, then cover the whole thing in paint. It has 250 individual shelves, so I thought covering would take hundreds of hours.
    – Village
    Jun 22, 2017 at 18:57
  • An acrylic/vinyl paint should allow a little flex. It shouldn't flake off, though you might get a few bubbles.
    – CactusCake
    Jun 22, 2017 at 19:01

1 Answer 1


Spray paint is normally lacquer and is made for more durable surfaces that won't flex. Like appliance paint.

Latex paint is more flexible and rubbery. Hence the name.

Use a good primer first to seal the cardboard.

Good luck!

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