Craft Product Review: Magikote by Decoart


I was sent a bottle of Magikote by Decoart to try out and review.  Magikote claims to be able to transform stryrofoam into a hard paintable surface.  Let’s test it out.

The Decoart website describes the product with the following information:

Create Styrofoam™ masterpieces. Simply carve, combine, or sculpt ordinary Styrofoam™ shapes. Then cover with MagiKote™ for a smooth paintable finish.With simple painting techniques and MagiKote™, Styrofoam™ takes on the look of stone, pottery, and much more… at a fraction of the cost.MagiKote™ Surface Coating for Styrofoam® will allow sculptors and crafters alike to worry less about the waffled, bumpy surface working with Styrofoam® typically produces. As the paper-plaster type coating is applied, the Styrofoam® transforms into a smooth surface, which can then easily be painted using Americana® Acrylic paints and mediums.

Because solvents in spray paints and oil-based paints melt or eat away Styrofoam®, acrylic paints have long been trusted to create fun and bright crafts using the affordable and lightweight foam material. Styrofoam® is also easily carved and sanded to make lightweight sculptures.

I started by following the directions on the back of the bottle.  They simply stated to apply 2 – 3 thin coats directly onto Styrofoam using a brush, palette knife, or craft stick.  Spread evenly.  Allow to dry completely, approximately 2 – 3 hours between coats.  Dry overnight.  Note that the directions said nothing about shaking the bottle.  I however shook the bottle really well then poured some Magikote into a bowl.  This is what it looked like.

Not really something you can apply with a palette knife but I was convinced I had shaken it enough.  I went ahead and applied my first coat.

That first coat did little to change the appearance of my styrofoam.  Before the second coat, I shook that bottle vigorously for a long time.  When I poured it out this time I saw the difference immediately.

So the number one recommendation I would have for you is to shake your bottle very, very, very well before even attempting to work with this product.  I applied my second coat and the difference was immediately visible.

Note from the directions above that I am applying these coats 2 – 3 hours apart.  This product is not for the person who loves quick crafts.  It takes time to apply this product and wait the suggested amount of time.  The product does not dry any quicker than stated.  After 3 coats I was left with drying styrofoam.

As you can see from the image above, the styrofoam is smoother but it by no means is a “smooth” finish that the product touted.  I forged on with some experiments.  My first experiment was chalkboard paint.  I painted two styrofoam balls with chalkboard paint.  The one on the left is just plain styrofoam and the other has been treated with Magikote.

The left hand ball would not erase properly when written on with chalk so it was a complete failure.  The right hand one (that has been treated with Magikote) was successful in that chalk would write on it and erase off.  I tried both chalk and chalk markers.  Please note that as the chalk wrote on the semi-smooth surface the lines were not clean.  My next experiment involved spray paint.  Spray paint does not work with styrofoam so this is the ultimate test.

Again the one on the left was just plain styrofoam and it shrinks up when the spray paint hits it.  The one on the right was treated with Magikote and successfully received a coat of spray paint.  So if you are thinking about spray painting your next styrofoam product, Magikote will definitely get the job done.  Now how about a few crafts.

First I made this neon Christmas ornament with one of the styrofoam balls.  Please note that the surface still appears slightly bumpy, even after the recommended applications of Magikote.

Next I painted a styrofoam tree shape that had been treated with the Magikote.

Again the surface is still slightly rough.  On this project, I tried out some paint pens to see how they would write on the treated styrofoam.  Yes they do write but they are very hard to control given the slightly bumpy surface.

In summary:

  • If you are going to use spray paint on styrofoam, Magikote is the answer.
  • Please shake the product EXTREMELY well before starting on your project.
  • A surface that looks like “pottery” may be extremely difficult if not impossible to obtain.
  • Leave plenty of time for your projects as this product takes a long time to work with.

Personally the only time I would use this product is if I needed to spray paint a styrofoam surface for some reason.  Otherwise I think there are other ways (such as decoupage) to make your styrofoam surface semi smooth for a project.

About Angie

Angie blogs at The Country Chic Cottage is a blog about creative crafts, DIY, and vintage finds. Head over to follow along as Angie adds farmhouse flair to her own cottage.


  1. BestMimi says

    Wondering if after the 3rd coat a light sanding would help to smooth the surface before painting??
    Looks like a terrific product! Thanks for your review!!

  2. superstitches says

    I am wondering if you can apply gesso after magikote to make a smoother surface? If it works it would make using styrofoam much more craft friendly.

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