Ugh, paint wrinkles. Now what?

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Sep 5, 2009
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This is my worst paint experience. I read many horror stories about orange peel and wrinkles, yet I never had a problem until now.

The culprits: plastic nose cone, Rustoleum 2X white primer, Rustoleum Mettalic top coat

The wrinkling started with the second coat of primer (on a different section of the nose cone). I followed all instructions, and waited 7 days between coats. Finally, I sanded off the wrinkles on the primer, wiped clean, and went with the metallic. The wrinkling spread right before my eyes, growing like a giant fungus in a horror movie. Would it ever stop?

Rustoleum 2X primer says "Bonds to plastic!", so I thought this was a good choice. After reading many paint threads here, most people think it is junk.

Anyway, how do I fix this mess? Can I just sand off the wrinkles, clean, mask, prime, sand, and top coat in the local area? I hope I don't have to remove the paint from the entire nose cone and start from scratch.

My guess is something was on the plastic at those spots but a bad can of paint could be the culprit too. Sometimes a slight nozzle blockage or not enough shake, shake, shake sends less pigment and more propellant/carrier chems to an area. Anyway nothing for it but sand and respray. I would try to blend it without masking to avoid the inevitable paint dam (at least when I do something like that).
I would peel off the offending area and see if the wrinkles are the top coat not bonding to primer, or did the top coat stick to the primer which then lifted from the plastic. Two different causes, two different solutions, depending which it is.

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Wash the nose cone prior to painting.

Use Rust O Auto Primer not 2x

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I use both 2X primer and the Rustoleum Auto Filler (sandable). Definitely haven't seen a primer coat wrinkle or craze before.

I did just have some 2X black gloss craze when my old can ran out after 2 light coats and I immediately laid the finish coat with a new can.
A club Finish Master (unofficial title lol) said it may be slight variation between the two cans, or not enough shaking of the new can (Like Samb said).

Definitely thoroughly wash the plastic parts.

Was that wrinkled area the same as where it wrinkled with the primer?
No, the wrinkled top coat was in a different place than the wrinkled primer.

Since the wrinkling started with the 2nd coat of primer, I'd say the problem is the primer.

I started sanding the wrinkle, and the primer lifted off the nose cone like a sheet of paper. So, I said screw it, and scraped off all the paint to start over. The primer and paint adhered very well on the rest of the cone however.

I sanded, washed, and wiped with mineral spirits. I applied the Rusto grey Filler Primer (that's what I had on hand and generally like it) in several light coats over 20 min. We'll see.
The best paint I've found for bonding to plastic is Krylon Fusion. I used the satin black on my Jeep Wrangler fenders for 16 years and it had amazing bonding and durability. Each application lasted years even though it faced road salt, gravel, sand, sun, mud, water, etc.

So far for rockets though I've been using Rustoleum products. The "Professional" primer has been working well.
Been meaning to follow up on this:
I sanded, washed, and wiped with mineral spirits. I applied the Rusto grey Filler Primer (that's what I had on hand and generally like it) in several light coats over 20 min. We'll see.

In general, there is no need with the filler/primer to do several light coats. Just one nice heavy coat and you're good. You're going to end up sanding most of it off anyway, so no need to try to get it to go on very smoothly in the first place.

Mind you, several light coats shouldn't *hurt*, just doing more work than you need to.
After starting all over again with Rusto Filler Primer, all is good now. Thanks.

As and aside, I just discovered Tamiya masking tape. Way better than the blue tape at the Big Box Home Store. How did I miss this stuff after all these years?