DIY Quick Drying Solvent Based Acrylic Primer

Over the weekend, I endeavored to create a quick drying solvent based primer.  After doing research from various patents and trade magazines,  I decided to give it a shot.  I also wrote a detailed article about this process.  Be sure to check it out.

I have always liked working with Paraloid acrylic resins because they are relatively inexpensive and are soluble in solvents that are easy to obtain over the counter.  I read that Paraloid B48N was good for both bare and treated metals and thought that would be a good resin base.  I dissolved the resin in a xylene and acetone mix to get a 30% w/v solution and prepared a white pigment mixture to add to the solution for the primer.

The results where pretty good after some minor tweaking.


Modified Latex Paint Stain


I had just received my Mixing Mate from Rockler woodworking and wanted to try it out.  I have an old(6 or 7 years) can of Rustoleum premium latex paint I used on my banister.  The color was Kona Brown.  It is a really is unusual as it goes on purple but dries a cool brown.  I mean cool in apparent color temperature.  Since I really have found no use for the half can of paint I have leftover, I recently have been thinking of ways I could diversify its usefulness.   I decided that I could add various colors of craft and student grade acrylic paints to create a spectrum of browns for various projects.  Also, after doing some online research of my own, I have learned that latex paints can be easily used as wood stains.  This is done by adding water until a buttermilk consistency is reached.  There are no hard and fast rules here because various pigments have vastly different tinting strengths.  Additionally,  mixing two different water based paints can have effects on viscosity and flow out.


The student paints I chose where Dick Blicks Blickrylics chrome yellow, chrome orange, and ultramarine blue.  Being student grade paints, these obviously do not have hexavalent chrome or lead pigments.  The yellow and orange are surely chrome hues.  After thoroughly stirring the latex with the mixing mate, I poured out samples into three condiment cups.  These condiment cups are perfect for small amounts of paints and mixing up custom colors.  The first cup on the far left features the addition of chrome yellow to the kona brown.  I was surprised by the results.  Instead of a bright lighter brown, I got a muted almost greenish brown. I see the yellow hue but it is still a coolish brown.  When used as a wood stain it actually creates and antique look to wood as can be seen below.

My next trial was to use the chrome orange.  My reasoning being that the red that naturally is a part of orange would in fact add some heat to the purplish brown.  I was not disappointed.  The rich color obtained was not only warm it even had a spicy look to it.  It reminds me of chili or cinnamon powder.  This is by far my favorite effect of all three mixes.  I would like to use this on a project and apply a clear topcoat to seal it,

Lastly, I mixed the ultramarine blue.  Not surprisingly it accentuated the purple hue and seemed to stabilize it.  It went on like blueberry juice.  After time to penetrate and dry the finish will gravitate more to a brown hue.  It just seems weak and would really to be to give wood a “dirty” look.  Perhaps it could be a base stain that gets a different stain applied over it for a richer finish.


New Experimental Painting Method For Metal Art


Oil Based Color Wash

Over the years of making various metal sculpture and decor pieces, I have experimented with several finishing techniques.  There is a lot of talk in gamer forums about using color washes with acrylic paints to add a weathered and more authentic look to game pieces and figurines.  Recently, while examining a random scrap piece of steel tread plate, the idea bulb went on over my head.  With the rough texture that the tread offers, why not try a color wash based on oil so I’d have the added benefits of rust prevention as well.  I wanted the bare metal and tread to show through but be distinctly colored as well.  The way I accomplished this was picking up a can of Rustoleum Subrusnrise Red and adding that to some Flood Penetrol.  Penetrol is basically an oil based paint modifyer to help with brush marks and leveling.  It is basically linseed oil, alkyd oil and mineral spirits.  By adding at least twice the amount of Penetrol as the amount of oil based paint, the color becomes more translucent and collects in uneven pools somewhat like water color.  For non-porous surfaced like the tread plate, it is best to apply the mixture only in the horizontal position so it will level off and dry properly.


Brazed Nail Midcentury Modern Tread Plate Wall Art

To the sculpture above I did apply my color wash rather liberally so it took about three days to dry completely.  The Penetrol will slow down the drying time of oil based paints considerably.  Outside of that minor flaw, I am stoked with the addition of a new technique in my arsenal of metal working skills.  The Brazed Nail Midcentury Modern Tread Plate Wall Art is available in my Etsy shop.

Heated Oil Finish


Brutalist Welded Sculpture

My most recent work is yet another installment to my rusty abstract post industrial line of work.  This is a piece I have titled “Navigator” .  This work is an abstracts of a GPS navigator screen shot.  Usually, with this type of sculptural composition, I leave the metal bare to preserve its grit and brutal honesty.  This time, I wanted an antiquated look with warmth.  I have read about other metal artists and blacksmiths who apply linseed oil or similar to iron work then apply heat.  I did this by brushing on Penetrol and then heating the finish. I can report that I am quite pleased with the results.  It comes out a warm dark amber and even makes the less rusty parts look more rustic.  Check out some of the close ups.


I also added this to my hub I wrote about the metal art I create.  Just check it out as I try to update it as frequently as possible.

Product Review: Preval vFan


Versatile, Good Quality 2 Stage Airbrush Made in the USA!

The Preval vFan was introduced in 2011 as a well rounded quality two stage airbrush.  It comes with the capability to use 3 tip sizes and can be utilized with 1oz, 3oz, and 6 ounce paint containers. It has numerous uses in the arts, automotive finishes, and around the home.  It can be used a compressor or the aerosol cans for added portability.  There are two types of tips, a standard tip and a fan tip.  Both come in three sizes.  The sizes are .38mm, .66mm  and .9mm.   The .38mm tip is for very fine lines and requires very fluid paints.  The .66mm size that comes with kit is more general application.  It still is for the thinner paints but is great for shading.  I like to paint my metal sculptures most with the .9mm series tips.  This is a larger size which will spray out a larger amount  of paint.  I also would not require as much thinning for the paints and I can spray metallic and pearlescent paints without troubles.


Using Only the Paint You Need

Spray paint, especially Rustoluem and Krylon, is an inexpensive way to apply a smooth even coat of paint to a solid surface.  The problem is that the nozzles spray a lot of paint in a wide  spray pattern.  If you are painting anything smaller than a dinner plate, you are wasting quite a large amount of paint on overspray.  At $4  or less per can this does not seem all that big of a deal.  If you are going to paint a lot, it will add up quickly though.  Not to mention how difficult it is to paint objects more that one color.  The Preval vFan  has a more narrow and focused spray pattern.  Whats more, the larger nozzle tip allows the use of paints that are not water thin given you have the air pressure to dispense the paint.  In the photos above, I show work being sprayed with a paint which is a little thicker than heavy whipping cream.

Other Uses

Since you can spray any color of paint or any liquid that does not attack the airbrush for that matter, your options are only limited to your imagination.  You can spray a solvent on a painted surface to make a distress or running paint effect.  Also you can apply glazes of different strengths and intensity to build layers for depth.

Removing Latex Paint Stains From Concrete

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A Painting Project That Went A Little Awry

Last Saturday the weather was much like today only a few degrees warmer.  The real enticing part was that the night was forecast to be rain free and above 50 degrees.  I have been chomping at the bit to get primer and paint on my new bare wood shed doors since January.   The winter and early spring were prohibitively cold and damp.  I remembered that I had nearly a full gallon of Kilz 2 primer I bought in 2009.  I was shocked to realize it was still a usable product after thorough stirring.  I wonder how long these paints and primers stay on store shelves.  Anyways, I progressed to priming  painting the shed doors not giving much thought to covering my concrete patio.  It is old anyways and I just figured I could wash the  paint away with my garden hose and detergent.   Boy, did I ever learn.  After applying a scrub brush and  and soap, I removed only superficial amounts of paints.  You can see in the photo above where a residue had soaked into the concrete.  What was I to do, get on my hands and knees and apply noxious paint removal and scrape for hours on end?  No, not hardly.  I was looking into my cleaning bucket/tool caddy and noticed I have 3 old wire brushes that wont remove welding fluxes anymore.  They will remove paint and rust from hard surfaces though.  I was suddenly struck by an idea and dashed indoors to fetch my trusty angle grinder.  I exictingly attached one of my defunct wheels and plugged that mug in!  I got a container of some xylene, a paint scraper, and a face shield.




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Use Proper Safety Gear

The xylene is available at most home improvement stores unless the state or country you reside in is excessively liberal.  In that case it should be found online.  It is moderately flammable and fairly toxic by inhalation or skin contact.   It is applied to the paint stains to assist the wire brush in removal.  Only use small amounts at a time and keep the can away from work area.  The wire wheel will generate sparks.  It likely will not ignite the solvent but take care with the liquid around the electric motor.  If  you get light headed or dazed by the vapors it is best to leave the area and resume work after vapors dissipate a little.   Also, don’t use the solvent in an enclosed area without ventilation.

You will be operating a high speed power tool with a wire brush on concrete.  Little bits of dirt, wire from brush, and gravel will be flying everywhere.  Wearing a face sheild is an ABSOLUTE MUST to prevent eye injury.

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OK Now That You Have Your Face Shield You Are Ready

I was quite amazed what this old brush did to remove the paint stains.  It did leave somewhat of a gray residue which is likely caused by the metal in the wire wheel.  Nothing a concrete etching wont take care of.   In the second photo, you can see what A difference the grinder has made.  It is astonishing the many uses I have found and continue to find for this most versatile tool.


Basecoats for Metallic Paints


Dry Brushing a Flat Base

Took me awhile to realize that the mica based metallic paints can be toned by the color and shade of the base coat underneath.  Although the paints may appear opaque they are actually translucent, especially the lighter colors and when sprayed.  At the end of the post Whimsicle Curves and Spirals Part One,  I had three different colored base coats of flat colors brushed on the primed metal.  The colors were chosen to get the most mileage of the top coat.  I picked a magent for the pearl magenta, ultramarine blue for the pearl blue, and a few coats of brownish yellow and yellow for the lime green pearl sphere. 


Light Coating For Good Adhesion

The results of those finishes can be seen on the second part of the whimsicle curves post.  This post will concern itself with the support base for the whimiscle curve sculpture.   I carefully added black to titanium white student grade paint until I got the medium gray shown above.  I thinned with enough water to aid in leveling while drybrushing to limit creating brush stroke texture.  I did not completely cover the primer 100% but I did prvoide enough base coat to tone the final silver coat as will as lay down a foundation to aid in adhesion.

The oil based primer that I applied is designed to accept both water based and oil based paints.  Even so, there are times when the first coats of  a sprayed coating of water based paint may be mildly repelled by the alkyd resin in the primer.  This can be seen in the higher peaks and protusions losing coverage to the pits and low level points on the surface.  For this reason, it is best to start with very light coats of sprayed finish.  My theory is that these paints are extensively thinned to pass through the spray equipment and the wetting agents may be compromised.  By dry brushing a base coat with a coarse brush, an acrylic matrix is formed when dry ready to accept the next coating.  As long as you do not add any mediums, the student grade paints dry to a nice satin finish.  This type of finish is what you need for subsequent coats of sprayed paints.


Createx Pearl Silver Applied

Here is the support base with a top coat of Createx Pearl Silver airbrsuh paint.  The gray under coat medrated the silver and toned it to a medium silver.  It is a nice color that goes with the theme of the entire composition without stealing the focus.

Airbrushing Mica Powders in Acrylic Medium


Spraying Pearl Ex Powder

To spray mica powders in an acrylic medium, you start out just like the way I discussed in a previous post published last August “Making Your Own Paint From Mica Pigment”.  You start with a dry mica pigment powder in a container.  You then carefully add just enough water to wet the fine particles and create a “slurry“.  Once it looks homogenous, you add copious amounts of acrylic medium. The “slurry step” is used when mixing mica powders with other mediums as well.  In the case for oils and alkyds, you would wet the pigment with mineral spirits,naphtha, or enamel reducer.  For lacquers you would use lacquer thinner.  More on this later.


The two photos show the dry pigment on the left and the slurry on the right.  You stir but not so fast to generate too many bubbles.  If the powder is not cooperating with the water you may have to add a few drops of alcohol.  Some artist paint manufacturers have a product that is specifically designed for wetting pigments.  It is a blend of surfactants. 


Add the Acrylic Medium

Once you have made sure all your pigment is fully wetted and suspended, then you can add your acrylic medium.  You want to add quite a bit.  The Pearl Ex pigment featured in this post is typically used in 10 to 12 percent ratio to the medium.  This allows for the pigment particles to spread out in the drying medium and reflect the most light possible creating the shimmering affect. 

After adding the medium and blending it all together, the mixture may lose its shine.  This is normal due to the opaque nature of the uncured acrylic resin in the medium.  It will dry clear after time to allow for the shimmer effect. 

It also bears mentioning that if you thin the acrylic mixture with water it needs to be maintained at a decent viscosity or the pigment might separate.  If you are airbrushing when this happens, it could lead to painting disaster.   Look at the photo below showing  mica pigment that is a medium that has been watered down too much.


The Alchemy of Making Airbrush Paint

With my Badger 250 airbrush, I typically use a large tip and a pressure of at least 40 psi.  The mix that usually works for me is one that is noticably viscous but does not leave a “trace” on the surface while pouring it into itself.  I would describe the consistency at heavy cream.  You will have to experiment for yourself.  Get plenty of  scrap material to practice on. 


Importance of a Basecoat

If you apply a basecoat to tone the mica coating, a light dusting is all that is necesssary.  Look at the pearlescent magenta finish above.  It is a beautiful thing nearly impossible to properly photograph.



How to Remove Oil Based Paints from Skin Safely

washing hands


You have just completed your weekend project.  Either you painted some furniture or that sculpture you recently completed.  In your haste and excitement you forgot to don the rubber gloves and your hands have spots of oil based alkyd paint all over them.

The traditional method most would clean there hands with is mineral spirits.  I say NO because there is a better and safer way.  Mineral spirits is a petroleum based solvent and just like other industrial solvents, can dry and irritate the skin due to a defatting action.  Whats more is that solvents may have toxic contaminants and solvents can be absorbed through your skin like throwing a bucket of water through a window screen.    I will inform you how you can remove the stains with items you already have in your kitchen and keep your hands moisturized, clean, and healthy.


The active stripper and solvent used is soybean oil.  This is interesting due to the fact that most oil based alkyd paints are made from modified soybean oil blended with polyester resins.  As long as the paint is not completely dries this oil should start softening the paint on your skin.  The vegetable oil is not much different in composition that the fat that naturally occurs under your skin.  This will help to retain moisture and prevent cracking.


Soybean oil by itself cannot be rinsed off with water.  You need a detergent that both emulsifies fats and oils and completely dissolves in water.  Ideally the detergent should be concentrated yet gentle enough to use on exposed skin.  And the common detergent that meets all these criteria is Dawn dish detergent.  I have known the power of dish soap for decades.  In fact it trumps the power of laundry detergent.  I have frequently used it to pretreat stubborn stains before washing.  Maybe you have seen the advertisment where Dawn was used to clean distressed animals contaminated by catastrophic oil spills.  If Dawn can break through crude petrol, it surely can gently remove a little soybean oil from your hands.  Also, it might pick up the stubborn oil paint stains not picked up by the vegetable oil.

Sunburst Key Holder


Sunburst Theme to brighten your decor

I am realizing the utility of keyholders and I enjoy welding them.  They are usually simple and not very big so they would be a lower priced item in my collection.  The key holder featured here is a sunburst made from a hemispherical pipe cap and square cut nails braze welded together using bronze filler rod. The nbronze joints add some interesting contrast to the grey steel.  I took it a little further and decided to accentuate it a bit.


First I coated the wire brushed sculpture with Krylon Crystal Clear Flat.  This will help seal the bare metal surface from oxidation while providing a dull matt surface to paint on. What I was going for was an warm orange hued bronze color affect on the sun. I also decided to even out the color of the grey steel with darkened silver paint.  For the accent paints, I used water based acrylic metallic paints.  I used the dry brushing technique to apply layers of the metallic paint to minimize brush strokes and to quicken dry time between coats.  I first applied a little copper colored paint to the sun to brighten it. Afterwards, I mixed some copper with bright gold to get a bronze color.  This went over the copper color and it created much depth. This was especially true after I covered the whole thing with Krylon Crystal Clear Gloss.  As you can see from the photo, it really came alive. This sunburst kep holder is listed in my Etsy shop.