How to Paint on Silicone Rubber?

Silicone molds and casts always throw up the problem of proper finishing as regular paints cannot be used on this rubber surface. Specially-formulated silicone paints are the best solution.

Silicone rubber proves to be a wonderful material for making both molds and casts. It is easy to use, captures details well and cures quickly too. The best part is that as silicone does not stick to anything, it is easy to demold as well, even without using a release agent.

However, this very property becomes self-defeating when it comes to painting a silicone surface. Regular oil and acrylic paints fail to adhere properly to silicone molds and casts; they will start peeling and cracking soon. This proves to be very frustrating for artists; some even resort to roughing the silicone surface so that the paint can stick on it.

Bringing an answer to the fore

There is silicone paint that has been specially formulated to work on silicone surfaces. Available in a dye form, it should be mixed with a suitable silicone paint medium – just like oil paints are mixed with linseed oil for thinning. This medium is actually a silicone catalyst which works to transform the paint so that it can permanently bond with the silicone surface that has to be painted. As the paint is also flexible, it will easily stretch and bend along with the rubber without causing any cracks or breaks. In fact, the paint can even work to protect and preserve the surface from regular wear and tear.

Silicone paint is usually used extrinsically to paint the silicone surface after it has set. The dried surface is cleaned with acetone before painting by hand. Alternatively, the color can be airbrushed on silicone (do clean the airbrush immediately to prevent clogging). For intrinsic coloring, a few drops of the pigment can be added to the silicone base before adding the catalyst.

However, bear in mind that silicone pigments can be added to tin-based silicone rubbers only. If mixed with silicone that has a platinum catalyst, it can interfere with the setting of the rubber.

EnvironMolds offers top quality silicone pigments in a broad range of color options – from black and white to red, blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and more. There is also the 'Quinn Blush' shade which is used by renown doll rebirthing artist, Terry Quinn to add the lovely skin blush to her silicone dolls.

The best part is that this silicone paint can be used on both tin-based and platinum-based silicone rubber surfaces as they have been formulated to adhere to both types of surfaces. Medium for making the paint is also available.

Therefore, artists can easily paint their silicone casts in the desired colors to get the effect they wish. They are especially favored by special effects and prosthetic artisans, doll makers, etc. to give the painted-on color effects to their silicone rubber creations. However, they can be used on regular silicone molds and casts too.

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