Because of its smooth surface, paint does not usually adhere well to silicone. Painting silicone doesn't have to be a frustrating process, however! Nothing more is necessary than the right preparation, such as roughening the smooth silicone surface with denatured alcohol. Then you need to apply primer, use oil paint, and be patient to get the job done the way you imagined it. With a little bit of practice, painting silicone can be fun and produce beautiful results.
Method 1 of 2: paint silicone grout
Step 1. Wipe denatured alcohol over the grout
Part of the reason that paint doesn't adhere well to silicone is because it's so smooth. Denatured alcohol acts as sandpaper and roughen the surface of the silicone. Pour the alcohol onto a rag and wipe it over the surface of the silicone grout. Leave it alone for five to ten minutes and it will evaporate on its own.
- Denatured alcohol contains additives that make it inedible. You can find it in supermarkets and hardware stores.
- Denatured alcohol works like sandpaper in that it changes the texture of the silicone. But it is more effective than actual sandpaper.
Step 2. Apply siliconized acrylic latex to the grout
The siliconized acrylic latex acts as a second grout and makes the surface even easier to paint. The silicone acrylic latex is usually supplied in a bottle. Use scissors to cut the tip of the applicator on the bottle at a 45-degree angle. Then load them into a grout gun. Apply the acrylic latex to the grout with the grout gun, wait ten minutes for it to dry before moving on to the next step.
- Apply steady and firm pressure as you use the grout gun.
- You can buy caulking guns in any hardware store.
- Check the label for specific drying time instructions.
Step 3. Brush the grout with an oil-based primer
An oil-based primer adheres best to silicone. Use a brush to apply a thin and even layer of primer. Wait about an hour and then apply a second coat. After applying the second coat of primer, wait at least another hour before using the oil paint on the silicone.
Check the product label for the exact drying time
Step 4. Use an oil paint on the grout
Read the instructions on the color label before applying. Then use a brush to apply the first layer of paint. Wait six to eight hours, then apply a second coat if necessary. Let the paint dry completely before getting the silicone wet or exposing it to moisture.
- Oil paint is the type of paint that adheres best to silicone.
- On average, oil paint dries within six to eight hours. But check the label on the paint for an exact drying time.
Method 2 of 2: apply paint to silicone prostheses or props
Step 1. Wipe the silicone down with acetone or lime
The silicone must first be cleaned to remove any smear or any remaining release agent (a binding chemical). You can pour acetone, delimons (orange solvent), or isopropanol onto a rag and apply the entire surface of the silicone prop or prosthesis.
Step 2. Mix three parts of oil paint with one part of silicone grout
Silicone is a flexible material, so it is necessary to use a flexible paint in order for it to adhere to the silicone. Mixing an oil paint with silicone grout makes the paint more flexible than it already is. Mix the paint and grout thoroughly with a paint stirrer.
You can buy oil paint and silicone grout at any hardware store
Step 3. Add one part paint thinner to three parts of the paint and grout mixture
After you've mixed the paint with grout, you may find that it's a little too thick to apply evenly. To dilute the paint, add an orange solvent or a little bit of white spirit. Mix in one part thinner to three parts paint and stir the mixture. The paint will then be thin enough to use in an airbrush if you want to apply the paint that way.
- There is no need to dilute the paint unless you feel that it is too thick.
- You can tell that the paint is too thick if it doesn't spread easily over the surface of the silicone.
Step 4. Apply a thin layer of paint
A thin layer of paint is especially important if you are painting a prosthesis or prop that you want to look realistic. Apply the paint with an airbrush or brush. If you are using an airbrush, be sure to hold it at least 10 to 14 inches from the surface of what you are painting. Quickly move the airbrush from side to side. Create a thin and even layer, then wait two to four hours for the paint to dry.
Check the paint label for specific drying instructions
Step 5. Let each layer dry completely before adding another
Building up the layers of paint will add depth to your painted prop or prosthesis, which will make it look more realistic. Apply the second coat, then wait two to four hours. Continue building layers until you are happy with the appearance of the object. Then let the paint dry completely before use. It is usually not a bad idea to wait a full 24 hours before touching or using the silicone object.