More experiments with cheap craft paint

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neil_w

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I've now incorporated cheap acrylic craft paint (mostly Craftsmart, from Michael's) in two different builds. But those were sort of non-standard applications; I was curious how well it could do in a more traditional application. Specifically, whether I could get a good smooth gloss finish out of it using Future. This would open it up for more applications.

Note that they make gloss versions of this paint but it's enamel, more expensive, and takes a loooong time to dry. The attraction of these paints to me is that they're quick and easy and odorless and cheap. They come in a *zillion* colors and cost 99 cents a bottle for two ounces, which will cover a pretty large amount of rocket.

So, I took a bottle of pink that I wasn't using for anything and started off by painting a little piece of scrap body tube.

Pinktest-2 Large.jpeg
After two brush coats I had pretty good coverage. In real use it would definitely help to have some primer with a bit of tooth to it; the glassine body is very slick and sometimes the paint would not adhere while wet. But I was surprised at how even a coat I got just slopping on two coats straight onto the tube.

The finish of the paint is extremely flat; you can feel the roughness. So next I gave it a bit of sanding with.... uh, either 400 or 800 grit, I can't quite remember. Anyway, after this sanding the brush strokes were gone, it felt pretty nice and had just a bit of satiny sheen to it. Somewhere between flat and satin enamel, I think. But you could tell it was still quite porous.
Pinktest-1 Large.jpeg
You could tell it was still quite porous, and I wouldn't trust this finish to be very durable on the exterior of a rocket. So next came the Future.

After one coat of Future it was quite blotchy, as the paint did not absorb the Future uniformly. This reminded me of Futuring laser decals:
Pinktest-3 Large.jpeg
One more coat and I achieved a decent gloss:
Pinktest-4 Large.jpeg
Honestly, this looked better than a lot of finishes I've gotten from rattle cans. This is a sufficient gloss where I would be comfortable applying decals. Then I would apply Future to protect the decals and gloss the whole rocket. So, to simulate that, I applied coat #3, and suddenly experienced something I've never seen before: bubbles in the Future (argh, no pictures). This wasn't bubbles from foaming while applying, this was bubbles appearing from out of nowhere in the Future. I concluded this was because I applied it too quickly on top of the other two coats. I can't think of any other reason it would happen; I've applied a *lot* of coats of Future over the years and have never encountered this.

After the third coat dried *fully* (I popped the bubbles while it was wet but they didn't totally level out), I put on one more coat just to see if I could clean it up. No bubbles this time, and the final result was really quite nice:
pinktest-5 Large.jpeg
(exposure on this pic is quite dark for some reason; in reality it is the same pink as before, just glossier.)

I concluded that this paint really would be suitable for exterior paint. Not sure if I'm quite ready to paint a whole rocket this way, but I'll be I could. For now I will keep it as an option for accent areas, where I don't want to purchase a whole rattlecan. Also you can brush this stuff inside (mostly odorless), and when brushing you don't have to mask the bejeezus out of the whole rocket, just the surrounds of where you're painting. The key is, though, that you really must be able to sand this paint when finished, and I wouldn't trust it without some sort of clear coat. I didn't try spray clear coats to see if they would attack the paint, that may be an experiment I try in the future, but I rarely use spray clear, so it's not a high priority for me.

Anyway, that's about it for this experiment. I'd call it a success. I have a specific rocket in mind to try this on in the future (don't hold your breaths, it'll be a while before I get to it.)
 
Care to elaborate? Which specific paint, what's your process, what clearcoat if any?

Apple barrel. Airbrush. Rattle can gloss/satin/flat or Pledge/Future.

I need to work on sanding it to get better gloss. Many projects needed to be flat. Beaker was one that stayed flat.

I did my Super Orbital Transport with a base of plain white Apple Barrel acrylic, airbrushed. Then a cheap pearl white acrylic over. Then, foam brushed future. Turned out great.
 

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I routinely use Glidden artist's acrylics. They look good and cover well, but artist paints are made thicker than you want, they're designed to preserve texture and brush marks because painters are into that. So get the thinnest kind and thin it more with a few drops of water so it levels better.

The paints themselves give a semi-gloss finish. I use Liquitex gloss varnish as a clear coat. It levels quickly and gives a nice gloss finish.

This is all based on the notion I had that if I want to do a brushed on finish I should go to the art store and get the good stuff because it will probably work best. I expect the cheap off-brand acrylics and Future might be just as good and a lot cheaper. Although your description sounds like the paint you used produces a rougher more porous surface than the Glidden does.
 
Can you post a picture of the paint and tell me where you bought it?

One reason I went for the cheap stuff is it makes me feel more comfortable about buying some just to paint some very small accents, vs buying a rattle can for $5 or more. Admittedly though, sometimes something brushable could be worth it, even at a higher price.
 
This thread intrigues me. I'm trying to "master" my Rustoleum 2X stuff from Walmart, but I'm not getting the perfect finish. Not quite sure if it's me, the painting conditions, or the paint itself, but regardless, using this cheap 99c acrylic stuff might be right up my alley:

- Cheap
- Wide color selection
- Available at my local Walmart
- Provides a finish that's at least on par with Rustoleum 2X in terms of uniformity and overall quality.

I never really considered using these paints because of the issue with the brush marks being visible and the paint not being great at self-leveling. But I didn't think about sanding the paint to get the nice, consistent finish I so desire.

As for the finial finish, I figure I can use a clear coat to get the desired matte/gloss reflection properties I want.

Thanks for posting, OP!
 
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This thread intrigues me. I'm trying to "master" my Rustoleum 2X stuff from Walmart, but I'm not getting the perfect finish. Not quite sure if it's me, the painting conditions, or the paint itself, but regardless, using this cheap 99c acrylic stuff might be right up my alley:

- Cheap
- Wide color selection
- Available at my local Walmart
- Provides a finish that's at least on par with Rustoleum 2X in terms of uniformity and overall quality.

I never really considered using these paints because of the issue with the brush marks being visible and the paint not being great at self-leveling. But I didn't think about sanding the paint to get the nice, consistent finish I so desire.

As for the finial finish, I figure I can use a clear coat to get the desired matte/gloss reflection properties I want.

Thanks for posting, OP!
Definitely experiment with it before committing to a rocket!
 

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