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RocketSquid's avatar

What is the best way to paint factory plastic?

Asked by RocketSquid (3470points) May 3rd, 2010

Well, paint as in color, decorate, draw on, whatever. My siblings and I are thinking about getting an iPod Shuffle for our mom, along with a purple case (her favorite color). I was thinking of painting something on the case for her, but I’ve never had any luck painting on factory plastic. I usually use acrylic, but that flakes off if you even look at it wrong, and since this is going to be carried around and thrown in purses, I’d like something a little more resilient. Any suggestions on paints or techniques? I’m not limiting myself to paints, inks, pens, anything that could be used would be awesome.

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4 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

I painted a cell phone once with a very steady hand and a bottle of nail polish. I applied the colored coat to get an even color (may have been multiple coats), then I topped it with a clear coat. The nail polish outlasted the phone. Honeybee Gardens makes a line of nail polish that doesn’t contain all the harsh chemicals of “regular” nail polish. It is very hard to remove (perhaps unless you buy their matching remover) and doesn’t have the awful smell (acetone) that “regular” nail polish does. I used the regular stuff on my phone (hadn’t known about Honeybee yet), but if I were doing it again, I’d definitely try Honeybee’s first. I may have done light surface prep before painting…I don’t remember. You may want to hit the surface with 120 grit or higher to roughen up the surface a bit and help paint adhere better. Not sure if this is necessary with nail polish as nails are fairly smooth. Definitely do not want to make any deep scratches in the surface while sanding as you will be able to see it through the paint.

gemiwing's avatar

I would make the image and then have it put on a gelaskin. Then you can ‘update’ the designs for future presents. GelaSkins

patticat's avatar

I agree with the need to roughup the area to be painted . I am a freehand artist . But in most cases it is wise to make a planned design . Once your plan is sure you can actually sketch with a crayon . This is easy to remove . The final work can be applied to the roughed surface with a very small sable brush and artists oils . Keep you brush very clean . Be patient. Allow several days to dry . Don’t touch . White will take a week to dry . Good luck.

squidcake's avatar

Ugh, yes, acrylics are just awful sometimes.
Have you thought of just using a Sharpie?

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