Can Pop Up Camper Canvas Be Painted?

Taking care of your popup camper is an important task that should not be taken for granted.

However, you could have a popup camper that has been getting on in years and you would like to freshen it up ensuring that it looks as good as when it was purchased.

While everyone knows you can give your popup camper a new coat of paint, there seems to be some debate about whether it is possible to paint the canvas of a popup camper.

This debate stems from the fact that the canvas is made of a different material to the rest of the camper and that material is canvas.

Canvas is a very durable woven fabric that has been used to make tents, marquees, sails, shelters, backpacks, and any other items that require sturdiness. This article will not only answer the title question but provide tips on how you can make your popup camper feel like new again.

Can a popup camper canvas be painted? The answer is a resounding yes. There are some things you have to consider, however. For one, you simply cannot paint your popup’s canvas using just any type of paint. 

The below is a step by step guide on how to paint your popup camper canvas

  • Clean the canvas. This can be done using a rag and some soapy water. Doing this will ensure that you have a clear and clean surface to paint on.
  • Once thoroughly clean, you have to give it enough time to dry. It has to be 100% dry.
  • You can now apply your paint. You must utilize a standard brush and use acrylic paint in small amounts. If utilized moderately, it will remain flexible.
  • Give it an entire 24 hours for the paint to dry before doing anything else with it.

Colors to consider painting your popup’s canvas

When trying to decide what color to paint your popup’s canvas, there are a couple of factors you have to consider. If you intend on painting it the same original color, it would do you a lot of good to get as close to a match as you can. 

To do this, you might want to purchase a sample and try it on the canvas to see just how it would look when dry. This is extremely important if your popup camper’s canvas is only in need of a little retouch.

This preparation is not as important if you are attempting to repaint the entire canvas. If this is the case, then your main goal would be to ensure that you do not get any weird reactions when you paint over the original color with your new hues.

If you intend to paint with a different color, then you could always paint the canvas a darker color. This is perhaps the easiest option to go with as a darker color is very effective at covering up the faded fabric. You can use colors such as crimson, blue, or black as they can help give your canvas a unique, yet refreshed look.

Painting your popup camper’s canvas, a lighter color is going to be a whole lot trickier. If you intend to go through with painting your popup camper’s canvas a different color, you should know that you will need to add quite a few layers of the new paint, before the old color is no longer visible.

When painting with a lighter color, it is recommended that you use a clear coat to help seal the color in. Doing this ensures that when the entire popup camper’s canvas is painted, the lighter colors become more bright and vivid.

Painting the rest of your popup camper to give it a refreshing update

There are times when elbow grease, soap, and a bit of pressure washing would not be enough to make you popup camper shine. The truth is, popup campers are not immune to the fading caused by years of sun exposure and harsh weather conditions.

Sometimes putting a fresh coat of paint on your popup camper can be a great way to restore its look. Moreover, an updated paint job can extend the lifespan of your popup camper by giving it protection from rust. It is possible to paint the entirety of your popup camper in a single day.

Here are the required steps and tools you will need to paint your popup camper


  • Hand drill
  • Sandpaper disc
  • Masking tape
  • Sanding attachment
  • Pressure washer
  • Air compressor
  • Paint thinner
  • Paint spray gun
  • Connector hose
  • Buffin disc
  • paint


  • Unsnap the roof canvas from the ends and sides of the camper. Doing this will enable you to take the canvas off. As we have seen earlier, it is possible to paint the canvas if you so desire.
  • If you have any stickers, pinstriping or decals on your popup, it is best to remove them. Doing so will ensure that you do not miss a spot when repainting.
  • Your sandpaper disc should be connected to the attachment. That attachment should be fitted to the drill.
  • Using the drill, gently sand the surface area you intend to paint. Given as you are painting the entire popup camper, it is best to sand down every area.
  • The entire area should be pressure washed. This helps to remove any remnants of dirt or sand. The entire surface should be allowed to dry.
  • If you have areas you are not planning on painting, you can use plastic sheets to seal those areas off. Masking tape can be used to ensure the plastic sheets do not move. The areas that aren’t typically painted are tires, handles, latches, and lights.
  • Before painting, you have to ensure that you remove the shore power inlet, as well as the supply inlet for freshwater to ensure that do not get painted over.
  • The air tank can be connected to the air compressor. The connector hose should be screwed to the top part of the compressor. The other end is connected to the air tank.
  • The next step would be turning the compressor on. Doing this will cause the air canister to fill. The low pressure, high volume sprayer should be filled two-thirds of the way with paint. There is a standalone attachment that helps to not only minimize overspray but also enable effective paint use.
  • The connector hose should be disengaged from the air compressor. It should now be connected to the bottom part of said spray. Once the air canister and sprayer are connected, the connector hose enables the spray to get paint from within the canister. 
  • To ensure that the sprayer tip does not become clogged, there is a tiny does of paint thinner in the sprayer canister.
  • The trigger on the spray canister can now be squeezed. This will result in the popup camper being sprayed with paint. You must be at least 12 inches away when spraying the popup camper.
  • The entire popup camper should be sprayed from down up. You should stop when you get to the height of your shoulder. 
  • Make your way around the popup camper doing this and when you get to your starting point, you can respray that area using a secondary coat of paint.