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Preparing copper, galvanized, polystyrene for artwork painting

Q. I'm trying to paint a plastic model car that is made of polystyrene, and have seen this done with a base - clear coat paint. my question is how do you stop the paint from wrinkling the plastic. I have talked to some paint suppliers but couldn't get an answer. If you have any ideas on what products to use please let me know.

Tim Humphrey
- Ontario,Canada

A. En patisserie la plupart du temps j'utilise une couche dite protectrice avant d'aborder la peiture souvent ý l'aide d'un airbrush.
If no, use 2 or 3 coats of paint and let dry between acts -- and never forget that polystyrene is damaged by some chemical paints. I hope you understand

artisan - casablanca_morocco.

A. Use a coat of gesso [affil link] what artists use to cover a canvas before they start to paint. The gesso is sandable and will seal the foam. This will prevent your paint from melting the polystyrene and creating a bad finish.

Nicolas Haman
- Denver, Colorado, USA

Q. I have been painting with acrylics for a few years now and am interested in painting on copper panels. Is there a way to prepare the copper so that I could use acrylics instead of oils? Any advice would be appreciated.


Jason S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Austin, Texas

A. It would not be advisable to use acrylics for painting on copper as the acrylics do not bind to the surface in the same way that oils do. If you require a completely flat surface try using MDF primed with a good quality gesso [affil link] (golden are best). If what is attracting you to the copper is the highly reflective surface and colour you can buy copper colour acrylic paints.

If you are determined to paint on copper I would suggest a strong acrylic sealer or varnish as the ground (water based floor varnish).

Vincent Brown
artist - Bristol. England

Oil painting on galvanized sheet metal - for outside hanging

Q. I am going to be completing a painting on an 8' x 10' piece of galvanized sheet metal with a metal primer on it. This painting will be hanging outdoors in a patio setting. Can I use standard artists' oil paints and expect good adhesion/consistency of paint? If so, what type of finishing coat should I put over the paint to ensure good durability to the outdoor elements? Is there any other type of base layer primer I could try that would be better? For example, latex gesso [affil link] (as used on standard canvas paintings)?

Thank you.

Eric Saibel
Artist - Corte Madera, California, USA

A. I would suggest against using your standard oils on an outdoor work, oil paints are not meant to stand up to the elements like enamels and such.
I would suggest using Testor model paints and a clear gloss spray paint afterward to make sure that it seals up nice.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Shawboro, North Carolina

Ed. note: Readers may be interested in these closely related threads --
Thread 16306, "Aluminum as an 'art' painting surface"
Thread 30504, "Artist painting sheet metal"

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