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JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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What do you guys think about painting props and illusions with latex (water based) paint? Can it stand up to the wear and tear? Would oil-based be better? How about covering latex with a couple coats of urethane?

Thanks
Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Jim:

I never use latex topcoats, either in my prop-building or my lingering career of contracting.

1) The surface will always feel tacky, even when fully dried, approximately equal to the feel of a clean, dry silicone ball. Props will stick together or to other things in hot, humid weather.

2) Durability is an issue. The paint film, if nicked, will have a tendency to peel. Latex doesn't 'feather' well, meaning that areas to be spot-touched cannot be readily sanded to remove edges.

3) Latex will attract and hold dirt and grime.

4) Topping with a clear coat is a maybe; ask a dealer -- Frazee, Vista, Dunn-Edwards (NOT the guy in an orange vest at the big box store) -- about product compatibility and follow their advice.

On the plus side, latex is extremely user-friendly -- easy soap & water clean-up. Custom colours are a snap.

My choice would be enamel, because it cures -- eventually -- into a nice, hard film. Since I don't have the luxury of time (nor a dust-free enclosure in which to store curing items), I use lacquer.

Lacquer dries nearly instantly, and cures within a couple of hours (varies according to temp/humidity); multiple coats in one day are thus feasible.
Lacquer is available in colours, can be tinted easily, top coats readily, feathers beautifully, and can be applied in a flat, eggshell, semi-gloss, or gloss sheen. Krylon brand paint (right out of the can) is a good first step, and spray equipment isn't terribly expensive these days if you decide to upgrade. You can even go HVLP for $100 at Rockler -- THE way to spray, IMO.

Down side: Nasty solvent which, if inhaled or absorbed, will turn your gray matter into mush.

Sincerely,
Leland
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Thanks, Leland. I've noticed the sticking problem already! Guess I'll have to sand and repaint.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Wards Back
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Baker's Acres, Ca
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I'll second Leland's advice.

Latex paints may be easy to apply, but they wear terribly.

Prior to Proposition 65 here in California (ballot initiative that outlawed some of the best paints & solvents) you could get some great 2-part mix epoxy paints that went on beautifully and finished hard as nails.

Now I'm pretty much limited to finishing colored surfaces with lacquer, and natural hardwood surfaces either with 'Watco Teak' oil or tung oil.

As Leland sez: lacquer's great, but avoid the fumes! Smile
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Smile

Chris.
JamesinLA
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I'm going to go with an oil based enamel that they can mix the exact same colors as I had in the latex. The oil based should be okay, don't you think, guys? Thanks.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Wards Back
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Baker's Acres, Ca
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Jim,

Oil-based enamels work just fine, but they will take some time to dry. Make sure your painting area is virtually dust-free, and you should get great results.

Also, unless you absolutely have to use the illusions immediately, let the paint set for a few weeks to really harden (especially in the cold weather this time of year; yeah, I know LA is still in the 60's!)
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." Smile

Chris.
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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Thanks, Chris, and everyone. I've just got a little more sanding to do (to get rid of the latex!) then I'm back in business.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
Jeff Dial
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Kent, WA
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If it is a small job, don't miss Leland's suggestion to use Krylon spray right out of the can. And don't cheat yourself and try some other brand (experiece is a cruel teacher). Krylon really does make a superior product. "No runs, no drips, no errors."
"Think our brains must be too highly trained, Majikthise" HHGG
Leland Stone
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Hiya, Jim:

What are you building? How is it turning out?

Leland
JamesinLA
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Los Angeles
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I've got a lot of projects going, but nothing very big. The biggest, which has been done for a while, was my flying carpet complete with dual screens. Currently finishing up a really cool looking square circle and then a blammo box, which is going to be my rabbit production of choice. This is going to be my second go at the blammo box. The first one was too big. I also have made 1.5 suitcase tables. Before I finish the 2nd one, I'm waiting to get more time using the first to give me more ideas.

Jim
Oh, my friend we're older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same...
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