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futurelaker88's avatar

Is there ANY type of spray paint that literally looks completely reflective (mirror) on plastic?

Asked by futurelaker88 (1594 points ) May 21st, 2009

we’ve all seen action figures and plastic bells and things that look like gold mirrors. i dont mean shiny gold paint, i mean paint where when you look into it, you can see your face clear. i bought TWO bottles of spray paint from home depot that both had completely reflective (mirror-like) caps. I asked the man at the paint department if they cap is a direct “reflection” (no pun intended) of what the paint will look like. he said yes, and after two coats on a plastic panel i have, i see NO reflection….just shiny gold. i need to get paint that looks like this…

http://www.blogcdn.com/xbox.joystiq.com/media/2007/09/halo3helmetlegend.jpg

THIS PICTURE BELOW IS WHAT MINE CAME OUT LIKE…exactly what i DO NOT want…

http://media.80stees.com/images/products/Halo-Helmet_With_Lights.jpg

you can see the girl PERFECTLY! and there are definitely products (plastic, metal, etc) that are painted that look like this, even kids toys have it on, and you can peel it and see the gray underneath..i would GREATLY appreciate help! thanks so much!!

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23 Answers

futurelaker88's avatar

im just talking about the colors of the paint….neither one of those picture are mine…but they show PEFECT examples of what i need and do not need.

Fyrius's avatar

You want to achieve that with spray paint?

I’m not well versed in spraypaintology at all, but I think the main problem would be that the surface of sprayed paint is never going to be perfectly smooth. I’d speculate that the helmet in the first picture was factory-made, where the visor was probably dipped in liquid paint, or something.
I’d think of sticking reflective foil on it instead, although it would need to be rather elastic in order to fit on without creases. Or maybe making it our of metal and polishing it like there’s no tomorrow.

Don’t take my word for it, though – I’m no expert at all. Just sharing my thoughts. You’d probably get a more professional answer if you’d ask the guy you buy your paint from.

Cool project, by the way, if the photos are any indication of what yo’re going to do.

futurelaker88's avatar

@Fyrius – yea i was hoping to achieve that with spray paint only because with spray paint its MUCH easier to get a level smooth surface. the one i painted is very smooth, it just doesnt reflect. And i was at the store today looking at the kids department to see if there was reflective paint used on plastic, and i found TONS of toys that had gold, mirror-like paint on them, kids swords (the handle), action figures with weapons, cowboy belts, spy stuff, tons of things have it, i have trophies in my room from basketball when i was young, and they are all platic, with gold paint on it, exactly like i need. and home depot claimed the one i bought was the one. and as you see in the pic above…not even close.

fireside's avatar

I couldn’t tell you anything for sure, but I would guess that the paint needs to be pretty metallic to achieve the effect you are going for here. It’s not the color you need to worry about, it’s the elements in the paint.

Maybe check into this MirraChrome paint?

futurelaker88's avatar

@fireside – yea, it almost is supposed to look like its metal when its painted. The cap on the spray paint i bought looked almost exactly like the first picture i posted…the paint however, did not. the mirrachrome i found while searching earlier as well, as far as I can tell, its very expensive and only used on cars in auto factories. its complicated and out of reach to me lol. But I find it hard to believe that paint like this is impossible to find?!?! you would think it would be everywhere paint is sold! wouldnt you? lol. (the second half of this post isnt directed specifically to you fireside lol.

Kayak8's avatar

There is model paint that you can use but you would have to buy an airbrush to apply it the way you desire. Go to your hobby store (not the paint store).

futurelaker88's avatar

@Kayak8 – if i brought it to the model shop, would they do it with the airbrush? i dont own an airbrush.

Buttonstc's avatar

For whatever reason, I can’t click on links in peoples posts from the iPhone, but I think I have the gist of what you want.

Martha Stewart did a segment on her show where she actually made her own mirrors——don’t ask me why. LOL

You can ask around on her site or maybe find it in the search. She really is the queen of all crafts (even tho I’m not overly fond of her OCD personality) ha ha.

Kayak8's avatar

@futurelaker88
You could always ask them. More than likely they will know of a customer who has used the technique and is really good who might be willing to do it for you for a modest fee.

futurelaker88's avatar

@Buttonstc – i posted this on my PC, :( i guess that means no links work for you now lol. i would try the martha stewart thing, but i think thats gonna be a lot of work, im not sure how to find that on her site, and then make my own paint. thank you very much though. and the pictures i posted are gold paint so i would imagine her mirror project was silver anyway? thanks again!

futurelaker88's avatar

@Buttonstc – nvm, i got the link thing now. YOU are on your iphone and you cant get to it. my bad lol.

Fyrius's avatar

I suppose “smooth” wasn’t the word I should have used. The thing is rather that spray paint inevitably consists of so many tiny drops of paint shot at the painted surface, so the result will always be a little grainy and matte. If you want clear reflections, I think the paint should be applied as a consistent whole. Like in liquid form.
Again, just speculating. I don’t even know much about physics.

Buttonstc's avatar

Oh that’s so funny. No no I didn’t mean she made her own paint. That really would be a chore. She used spray paint to make her own mirrors

I realize that you are looking for gold. In my experience, if a co. makes one metallic color they usually do both. Good luck.

futurelaker88's avatar

@Fyrius – lol, no, what you’re saying makes perfect sense. i would agree completely. my complaint then is, why do they bottle spray paint and advertise it as doing something it doesnt? and secondly, i cant imagine hand painting anything so flawlessly. the project im working on will not allow me to dip the piece into liquid paint. its part of a bigger piece so it would have to be spray painted or hand painted. i tried the gold foil idea with a smooth surface foil, and keeping it wrinkle free is impossible lol.

Kayak8's avatar

@buster I can’t get your link to return a viable webpage . . .

Fyrius's avatar

Here’s another idea. Spray paint it with the non-shiny gold paint you have, then cover it in another layer of some transparent polish, so that you get the reflective qualities of the polish with the gold hue of the paint.
What kind of polish, and where to get it? Heck if I know. I’m brainstorming.

futurelaker88's avatar

@Fyrius – yea, a couple people recommended that too. the thing with that is, it just makes a clear shiny coat over a base gold color. i still get no reflection. it looks like a shiny ceramic pot or something lol

@buster – your link isnt working and i got all excited!! lol

fireside's avatar

Just add “tm” to the end of Buster’s link:

http://www.hobbylinc.com/htm/szx/szx1000-9.htm

CMaz's avatar

“that literally looks completely reflective (mirror) on plastic” NO.
Reflective, yes. The process in order to make a reflective mirror like shine is rather complex. The problem is preventing distortion, in the application of the paint and the surface you are applying it on.
You can get close but there will be plenty of distortion and defects.

Jewel's avatar

I think you may be looking for electroplating. I don’t think it is possible to achieve the effects you want with any spray paint UNLESS you are spraying on the back side of glass to create a mirror on the front side.

creepermax's avatar

Have to paint on top of chrome plastic dip stuff. Either on chrome or the plastic coating. You can get spray on chrome, I know duplicolor has paint for rims (aluminum or chrome) and they have this basecoat you can put on that would get you close to that. Pretty pricey though. I used duplicolor metallic rim paint this way on an xbox controller and it turned out really good.

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