I needed to paint house numbers on my wheelie bin and I didn't want to spend money on that. So I just painted nice white squares with... two coats of interior wood undercoat/primer + one coat of interior wood paint. Worse, I exposed that to the rain before it was completely dry and the rain ruined everything.

After cleaning paint-run I'm wondering: is there a simple way to keep my nice squares and just make then somehow rainproof?

Also I'd like to draw house numbers on them, can I just use a dark marker pen?

  • If everything was ruined, why aren't you just redoing it with the proper products?
    – isherwood
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 19:28
  • I almost feel like this belongs on the Lifehacks SE site Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 20:01
  • what is a wheelie bin and what is it made of?
    – jsotola
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 20:06
  • @isherwood: I meant the squares made some.. Paint run? I don't know how to say that in English. I removed the mess around and below the squares so they look good again. jsotola: gray plastic
    – drake035
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 21:09
  • is the wheelie bin a plastic garbage container? ..... if it is, then you are asking a totally wrong question ..... you should be asking about paint that is suitable for plastic
    – jsotola
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


Once fully dry, your paint should be quite waterproof. However paint designed for interior use on wood generally will not hold up well when used outside on plastic.

Probably the cheapest way to go would be a can of spray-paint and some masking tape. Use the tape to outline a square or rectangle. Use more tape to hold down some old newspaper, cardboard, whatever to keep overspray from making a mess. Apply several light coats of paint in accordance with the manufacturer's directions. Allow each coat to dry per the instructions in a dry location.

Once it's dry, use a marker of a contrasting color to write your house number on the paint.

Alternatively, you could use that tape to outline some numbers then mask off the rest of the bin and directly paint the numbers.

Another alternative would be to use a marker (in a color that would be visible against the color of the bin) to just write directly on the bin. This is only applicable if it meets the regulation that caused you to start the project in the first place.

  • Thanks! So there's no way I can keep my squares? It was a lot of work to make them and it will be a lot of work to remove them too actually
    – drake035
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 21:09
  • I'm sure you could keep them, @drake035 and simply add more paint over the top of them. However, paint designed for adhering to wood won't stick to plastic very well and will likely flake off completely in a matter of months, especially if winter is coming to your neighborhood. Just think - every time the can is banged on the garbage truck, the plastic will flex, most likely beyond what wood paint is designed to handle. You could try covering it with a spray on flat- or matte-finish clear-coat, but that would probably just be a short term fix.
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 21:14
  • Unless the squares have to be on a certain side/height/etc of the bin, just make new ones somewhere else. I can't imagine that they have to be very precise so that measuring is necessary, but that may be the case. Just make some straight lines with the masking tape in a nearly square shape and call it good. (YMMV, certain restrictions may apply, etc. - I don't know the rules for wheelie-bin labeling in your jurisdiction.)
    – FreeMan
    Commented Nov 29, 2018 at 21:15

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