Can You Paint Billiard Balls?

can you paint billiard balls

If you’ve ever played billiards, you’d be familiar with the heavy make of billiard balls and recognize how their colors play a big part in their outlook. Despite being made of resin to ensure they last long, the colors on billiard balls would potentially wear off from regular playing. This has led many players to wonder if they can paint over their billiard balls.

So, can you paint billiard balls? While the simple answer is yes, it may also depend on what the ball is made of and the type of paint you use for painting. However, painted billiard balls will typically no longer be used for play, so you’ll be looking at keeping the ball as a decorative memento instead.

If you remain interested in painting over your billiard balls, this article will help you determine the best ways to embark on this DIY project.

What Are the Types of Paint That Work Best for Billiard Balls?

Unfortunately, not all billiard balls are ideal to be painted over. As such, you’ll find that picking the right paint will affect the results of whether the billiard ball can be successfully painted over. So, how do you find which type of paint works best for billiard balls?

Most billiard balls today are made of resin, giving them a glossy sheen that stands out on a billiard table. However, the resin material is exactly what stops paint from sticking on. As such, you’ll have to prepare the billiard ball through a series of sanding and priming process.

Water-Based Paint

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After you’ve sanded and primed the ball, you may then try to paint the billiard balls with water-based acrylic paints. This is as water-based paints regularly dry smoother and have fewer chances at cracking. In comparison, acrylic paints tend to dry and crack, leaving your ball looking unsightly.

We recommend the brand Arteza for all your painting needs. They also offer a wide variety of high quality paints such as this water-based acrylic paint set.

Urethane Paint

Urethane paint may also work well for billiard balls. Available in most local hardware stores, urethane paint often results in a glossy look for your ball. You may opt to purchase either water-based urethane paint or oil-based urethane paint, although the former is known to be less toxic than the latter.

It’s important to note that painting your billiard ball could change the ball’s dynamics, so you may not be able to use it again for play.

How to Prepare Your Billiard Balls for Repainting

Before you head straight to painting over your billiard balls, you’ll want to ensure you prepare the ball beforehand. By stripping all the old and original paint from the ball, you’ll be able to get a cleaner and smoother finish once you’re done repainting your billiard balls. Here are the 3 ways you can prepare your billiard balls for repainting:


Sanding refers to the motion in which you strip down all the previous paint either with a sanding machine or by hand. Doing this manually can be a laborious job, and you’ll need a lot of patience to fully remove all the old paint from the ball.

However, if you’re keen to get a smooth finish for your ball, then you’ll want to go through this sanding process. Be sure not to sand the ball too much, as you don’t want to affect the construction of the ball.

The best way to sad the billiard ball is by going at it with coarse-grit sandpaper until you’re satisfied with the outcome. Then, you’ll want to smooth out the edges with fine-grit sandpaper just to smoothen the ball before moving on to the next steps.


There are a variety of ball primers that you can get from your trusted billiard stores or online retailers. These primers will not only help protect your ball from the constant impact and wear and tear from the cue but should also give you a better paint finish after.

Using a primer after sanding down your ball to strip the original colors is an essential step to ensure you get a glossy finish – if that’s the result that you’re looking for.


After sanding and priming your billiard ball, you’ll be ready to paint over the ball. Although most manufacturers would use specially manufactured paint for their products, you could always reach for arts and craft paint to help you get the job done.

Unfortunately, regular paint may not go on the ball without sanding and priming first. Therefore, it’s important to go through all the steps accordingly. Light colors may also take some time to stay on the billiard ball, so you’ll want to go over the ball several times.

Be sure to allow the paint to dry in between layers, so you’ll get a smooth painted ball as a result.

What Are the Different Ways You Can Paint a Billiard Ball?

Now that you’re aware of the preparations required to paint a billiard ball, it may be a good idea to also learn about the different ways you can paint a billiard ball. While it may sound like a simple idea, adhering to the right ways to paint your billiard ball can be key to a good finish.

different ways you can paint a billiard ball

Dipping Your Billiard Ball

Dipping your billiard ball is a great way to paint over the ball in a single color. This allows the ball to receive an even exposure all around, without discoloration in different sections. Be sure to go over the ball several times for a more vibrant finish and allow the paint to dry before the second or third dip.

Painting With Water-Based Paint

If you’re looking to paint over your billiard ball with water-based paint, then the key in waiting for the paint to dry between layers. Be sure to sand off most of the gloss and sheen from the original layer of paint before applying any water-based paint on the ball.

You may be required to go over the lighter colors several times before they can make an impact on your billiard balls. Generally, it’s recommended that you apply a single layer of one paint color and allow it to dry before going in with the other colors. This is a great tip especially if you’re looking to add custom designs to your billiard ball.

Sealing the Colors

Finally, you’ll want to ensure that your colors stay on the billiard ball by sealing it in. Paint sealants are widely available in most hardware stores or arts and crafts stores, depending on the type of paint you have used to paint over your billiard ball.

Sealing the colors ensures that your work won’t fade over time, but it does not guarantee that they may not chip if they’re handled aggressively. However, painted billiard balls don’t typically make it as an official ball to play on the table, so you won’t have to worry about your paintwork going to waste after.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, painting your billiard ball is possible, but only if you follow the right ways to do it.

Do note, however, that billiard balls of different brands may produce different results after they have been painted over.

In most cases, billiard balls that have been painted won’t play well on the billiard table and would be kept as a memento rather than a ball for the game.

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