Whether you are making your own garden art
, candle holder, or metal wall art, you probably want to protect it from the elements and add your own personal touch to your creation. In this lens I will talk about finishes on metal art and there application. This information has the potential to inspire so be prepared to experiment and learn. Continue to check back as more information is added.
acrylic or waterborne paints
If you have been into a home improvement store in recent times, you will find a shortage of oil paints and a proliferation of water borne paints. These are mostly acrylic paints
or a blend of acrylic and pva resins. There is very little odor and cleanup is with warm soapy water. Acrylic paints are used in canvas painting but there is also a several brands of craft acrylic paints that are of little thinner consistency. Many brands of airbrushing paint are mostly acrylic paints also. There is also a selection of Enamel paints
that are waterborne for outdoor
use, but I will have to test them out for myself.The finsih dries hard and will not dissolve in water and it is only removed with solvents
like acetone or lacquer thinner with difficulty. They are not as robust as oil based paints
though and require a solvent borne lacquer to properly seal the finish.
Water based paints are not only safer for the environment, safe to use indoors due to low
VOC’s, but they are easier on thje wallet. They can be thinned with water instead of expensive
specialty solvents and thinners! Clean up usually is a breeze as well. Soapy warm water is all that is needed.
Enamel or alkyd paints
Enamel or alkyd paints are oil based paints. They are usually a blend of drying oils
or a blend of modified drying oils with pigments. The drying oils are usually nonedible oils like linseed oil from the flaxseed plant. These paints take several hours to dry and they can only be thinned with petroleum solvents like mineral spirits or xylene. These paints are high in volatile organics(VOC) and are not only bad for the environment they are quite toxic and proper ventilation is a must. Unfortunately, these paints are still around due to there excellent weather resistatnce outdoors
. They still proliferate in industrial coatings. They are usually brushed on but can be thinned up to 25% and sprayed.
Another caoting option for metal art is powder coating
. This is the optimum finish if you are making outdoor sculpture. The way that it works is that a finely powdered pigmented plastic is sprayed on a electrostatically charged substrate. Afterwards, the item is placed carefully in an oven or under a heat lamp to cure the coating by melting it and allowing to flow. The benefits inchlude the absense of toxic solvents, and the any overspray can be picked up and reused.