How to Prime and Paint a Daisybox® with Acrylic Poster or Spray Paints

How to Prime and Paint a Daisybox® with Acrylic Poster or Spray Paints

Daisybox painted cardboard caskets
Many families opt to paint a Daisybox® casket prior to a funeral service. The ceremony of doing so helps provide closure for family and close friends. There have been many an occassion where grandkids get involved in drawing pictures and placing handprints on an empty Daisybox ®. Others choose to have family and friends write messages with marker pens on a Daisybox ® at the service, which can be a very emotional time for many. In this article, we'll share some tips and tricks about what paints to use on a Daisybox ®.

Pictured below is a Daisybox ® Basic model in kraft finish. Handprints have been laid onto the lid only using a post paint. How you choose to decorate a casket is entirely up to you.

Remember, corrugated cardboard has a porous surface, making it difficult for some paints to adhere. Acrylic and spray paint are among the best paints for cardboard. For the best results, use "gesso" primer paint in several paint layers. Doing so helps avoid warping of the cardboard.
What Type of Paint Can You Use on Cardboard?
You can’t use just any type of paint on cardboard due to the porous surface. The results from painting cardboard depend on the paint type and process you use, as does the cardboard’s quality after you paint it. The paint options you have for the material include:
  • Acrylic Paint or,
  • Spray Paint
We recommend that you do not use oil-based paints which some crematorium operators may not approve of. Speak to your funeral arranger about decorating with oil-based paints where the casket is going to a local cemetery for burial. There may be restrictions on paint types. Remember that traditional timber caskets all have a laquer coated or oiled surfaces. If you do choose to use oil-based paints, remember they have enough moisture to warp the delicate kraft paper, especially if you apply it in thick layers with a spatula or knife.
Corrugated cardboard is like heavy-duty paper that doesn’t handle water well. For this reason, watercolour paints are also not the paint of choice.
Acrylic paints or spray paints do not require water. and are best on corrugated cardboard. You’ll need to prime the corrugated cardboard surfaces first to avoid warping or curling after drying. Improper use causes moisture from the paint to sink into the top kraft paper liner, causing damage from the inside out.
If you want the casket lid or base to be all-over white colour, to keep the cardboard from warping badly and help surface paints adhere to it, prime the cardboard with a "gesso" primer. If you paint the casket surfaces without a gesso undercoat, the paint may soak right into the surface liner and into the "medium" which is the inner board section. The result could include pale surface colours and warping of the lid and sides of the casket.
Gesso is an acrylic liquid that artists commonly use to prime canvas material. It provides a textured layer for the paint to stick to and enhances the colors in your art. Most gesso comes in a white colour. There is also a clear gesso if you want the cardboard color to show through. Some people use white acrylic paint to create a white base. But gesso is far better to use and requires fewer coats. You’re less likely to warp the board, and the acrylic paint has something substantial to attach itself to. Gesso is commonly available at art supply stores and craft stores.
  • Gesso
  • Flat paintbrush
  • 500-grit sandpaper
Step 1:
Apply Gesso to Cardboard If you want to alter the color, you may also mix in a few acrylic paint drops. To prime using gesso, grab a flat paintbrush. Paint the gesso onto the cardboard in thin layers using vertical, long strokes.
Step 2:
If you have time, paint a second coat Apply a second coat for the best results. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours, then use the same technique to lay down the second coat. Paint in the opposite direction than your first coat for a smooth texture. Leave another 24 hours for dry time. If you still see the brown cardboard showing through the gesso after two coats, you may add a third coat, but this is generally not necessary.
Step 3:
Sand the Surface (Optional) Gesso produces a rough surface for the paint to adhere to accurately. If the surface is too harsh for your painting, you can lightly sand it. Create a smooth surface by rubbing 500-grit sandpaper back and forth. A few moments of stoking should remove the protruding lines and bumps. Avoid pushing the sandpaper too hard, or you may cause damage to the board. But remember, this step is optional.
Painting Cardboard with Acrylic Paint Many painting techniques have you dip the brush into the water as you paint. But water may cause damage to cardboard.
You can further avoid warping or curling by using a dry brush or sponge to paint. Instead, break up the bristles with your fingers if the brush feels too stiff.
  • Acrylic paint
  • Dry paintbrush or sponge
Step 1:
Apply Paint to Brush Squeeze the acrylic paint directly onto your paintbrush or sponge, or dip your brush into the paint. Avoid applying the paint directly onto the cardboard to keep it from curling. Adding the paint to your brush directly also gives you the ability to control how much paint you use. Too much acrylic paint at once may distort the paper or cause the color to sink in patches.
Step 2:
Paint Thin Coats Use your paintbrush to apply thin coats – the less moisture at once, the better. Let the paint dry before moving forward with another coat. The drying process typically takes around two hours. Never dip your paintbrush in water. Suppose you have to change colors, clean and dry your paintbrush thoroughly.
Step 3:
Administer a Second Coat You will probably need to add multiple coats for a solid color. Expect the first few coats to come out partially see-through. The more coats you include, the more even your color appears. Continue executing coats until you reach the desired look.
Spray Paint on Cardboard Spray paint is a great alternative when painting cardboard because it is easy to apply. The cans are available at any hardware or art supplies store. When spray painting, you must work in a safe environment. Water-based acrylics are toxic if ingested and the fumes from solvent-based paints can be toxic. Head to a well-ventilated outdoor area. Spray painting a Daisybox lid and sides works best in a warm and dry area completely sheltered from weather conditions. For example, a garage or patio area protects against wind, and wetness.
  • Spray paint
  • Gloves
  • Sheets of old newspaper
Step 1:
Prepare Your Work Area
Spray paint is challenging to remove. Before you begin, take a minute to prepare the work area and yourself. Use an old sheet, newspaper, or another piece of cardboard to keep from painting the ground. Cover clothing with an apron or wear protective clothing, a face mask, and gloves.
Step 2:
Shake the Spray Paint
The pigments in spray paint separate over time, so you want to shake the can for no less than two minutes before use. Shaking helps the pigments combine, and the color should come out with an even gradient. You’ll also want to reshake the can each hour to keep the paint flowing freely.

Step 3:
Lightly Spray the Paint After the can is ready, hold it around 12 inches away and parallel to the cardboard. Any closer, and the paint could pool and cause warping. Make sure to move the can across the cardboard in the pattern you desire, spraying lightly. Rather than move the can from left to right only, you can experiment with other patterns. Try creating swirls, zig-zags, and polka dots. Bypass the urge to spray any section of the cardboard more than twice. Oversaturation also causes warping. Allow the first layer to dry for two hours or more.
Step 4:
Apply a Second Coat
Ensure the first coat is dry and apply a second coat. If you don’t wait for the paint to fully dry, you could cause it to warp. For the second coat, consider using a different color for more contrast. Spray using the same technique above, using lightly sprays. If you need a more solid color, continue with a third or fourth coat. You can also touch-up any areas as needed at this stage. Make sure to let the paint dry for at least two hours in between each additional coat.

What is the Best Paint for Cardboard?
You need the right primer and paint for the best results. With many options to choose from, you may wonder which paint brands are the best for cardboard.
Select from the following choices:
1. Gesso The store-bought product is the easiest option. Here are some common brands available on
2. Acrylic Paint Acrylics are inexpensive and easy to use. The consistency is similar to oil, but the paint can better penetrate cardboard. These paints are available in craft or art stores. Let’s look at some of the best acrylics on the market. Mont Marte Signature Acrylic Paint Set The Mont Marte Signature set has 36 acrylics in a semi-matte finish. These paints are suitable for many bases, like canvas, wood, leather, clay, plaster, paper, cardboard, and some plastics. Use them for all your art and craft projects. What sets Mont Marte apart from the competition is the fast dry times. You can layer paint on more quickly because the creamy texture is said to come with an ultra-quick dry. The paints are easy to blend and layer together, and the result is full coverage.
3. Spray Paint Spray painting cardboard may take less time, as it tends to dry quicker than acrylics. However, it’s more crucial to protect your work area and yourself from the fumes. Here are a few of the best spray paints for your project. Krylon Glitter Spray Paint Krylon is the best spray paint brand for beginners. They’re cheap and come in a wide variety of colors, including this gold glitter shade. The best part is that using this can on cardboard takes less time, as Krylon is a two-in-one primer and paint. Although Krylon is for plastic, vinyl, wood, metal, and wicket surfaces, you can use it for cardboard. It’s easy to apply. Ensure you shake the can nicely to disperse the glitter evenly.
Rust Oleum 249130 Spray Paint Rust Oleum 249130 may have the most versatility and fastest dry time. It’s a versatile, all-surface option with a metallic satin finish. There are many colors, and the formula prevents rust or chipping later. Applying Rust Oleum is easier than ever. Just aim and spray. The paint is fast drying, only taking around 30 minutes to dry thoroughly. You can cover a vast surface quickly, and the finish looks great on many surface types. Tips to Prevent Warping or Curling Moisture is the leading cause of warping or curling. You’ll want to attempt everything you can to keep from damaging the material if you’re going to create long-lasting art. The following includes a few tips to keep the painting safe from warping or curling:
  • Don’t oversaturate the paint.
  • Keep all moisture from the material.
  • Avoid humidity.
  • Use gesso to prime before painting.
  • Allow coats to dry before including more.
  • Work in a dry environment.
  • Never use watercolors or overly wet paints.
  • Use a double or triple-wall, thick corrugated cardboard.
Even if you follow these tips carefully, the board may still warp and curl. But you might be able to fix the issue.
How to Fix Warped Cardboard
Cardboard is a fantastic painting material, but it’s challenging to deal with when it gets too wet. If you accidentally use too much paint or printer, the cardboard may warp or curl. You can fix it if the damage isn’t too severe. Use the following step-by-step instructions to mend your painting.
  • Spray bottle
  • Water
  • Weights or heavy objects (books, furniture, metal tools, etc.)
Step 1:
Completely Dry Dry the Daisybox lid and base separately until they are completely moisture-free.
Step 2:
Spritz with Water To reshape the material, start by rehydrating. Grab a spray bottle and moisten the cardboard. Never dip the board into water or over-soak the material. If you get it too wet, the pulp will tear away from the base. Lightly spritz the board.
Step 3:
Load it Up Next, set the lid and base on a flat surface with the curls facing upwards. Lay a flat piece of plywood over the board and place your weights or heavy objects on the area to keep the cardboard flat. Books make an excellent tool, but anything heavy should weigh it down enough. Let your art sit to dry in this position for between 24 hours and 3 days. When the cardboard is completely dry, you can lift the panels. The painting should be flat and free of any warping or curling.
Pictured below:
Daisybox original style (2017) caskets with flat-lid. Image by Greenhaven Funerals, Melbourne, Australia. NB The current lid design wraps over the sides of the casket.