Spray Painting 3D Prints 4 comments


During the festive season, there are a lot of shiny sparkly decorations around. Having a 3D printer, it is very tempting to try and make something special. As we are not much of the artists, spray painting 3D prints seemed like an easy solution. And what a variety of paints on offer!

Spray Painting 3D Prints - Christmas Deer

Spray Painting 3D Prints – Christmas Deer by Yeg3D
(Image: 3DWithUs)

It does not matter which color to print in, so we went for a dull white filament, to make the transformation more dramatic. Christmas Deer design by Yeg3D was perfect for our task.

Spray Painting 3D Prints – Top Things to Consider

– Location: Spray painting should be done in the controlled environment with no draft or wind. Any items in the proximity to the spraying zone must be covered. Keep your camera at a safe distance if filming, as the tiny specks of paint can get on it. Even the slightest movement of air makes the paint particles spread and stick to anything in their path. A shed or a garage can be ideal for this. We would never recommend to do it at home.

Ideal Spray Painting Station in The Garage

Ideal Spray Painting Station is The Garage
(Image: 3DWithUs)

Think in advance of the place to stand your freshly painted object, it may have to stay there overnight.
We found that spraying while holding a print inside a cardboard box worked well. It protected the surroundings from paint and sheltered the finished item from dust while drying.

Cardboard box on the terrace

Cardboard Box on the Terrace – Workshop & Transportation
(Image: 3DWithUs)

– Preparation: Before applying any paint or primer onto a plastic surface, make sure that it is free from any dust or dirt. We recommend to use fine sandpaper to make the object’s surface a bit less shiny and more adsorbent. After sanding, the surface should be brushed or wiped clean. The object can be primed before the paint is applied. This will treat the surface and help the paint to stick better.

Flower Pot Before After

Hexagon Nut Planter by Armando Lopez – Before After
(Image: 3DWithUs)

– Type of paint: There are different types of spray paints: the ones transparent with just the glitter and the ones that actually apply the color. When using the first option, the original color of the make will come through. We also found, maybe unlucky with the brand, that it needed a lot of spraying and took too long to dry. The silver metallic spray paint though was incredible. It dried much quicker and was easy to apply.

Spray Painting 3D Prints – YouTube Video

– Safety: Spray paint is a hazardous product. It is flammable, toxic, and can cause harm when breathed in. In some shops, there is even an 18 age limit for some spray paints. Please make sure to wear appropriate clothes, rubber gloves, and a respirator.

Featured objects were spray-painted in the known brands available on Amazon, namely, Rust-Oleum Gold, Cobra Silver, and Montana Cans Bronze. (Disclosure: at no additional cost for you we will receive a commission if a purchase happens)

More Images: Spray Painting 3D Printed Models Gallery

Spray painting 3D printed models has a big potential. It is sad to see objects not being used just because of some minor flaws or dull colors. We know that there are more sophisticated methods of post-processing available, like airbrush or vapor smoothing for ABS, but spray painting is one of the easiest in our opinion. Before – After gallery of spray painted 3D printed parts.

Spray Painting 3D Printed Models Gallery

Spray Painting Gallery
(Image: 3DWithUs)

STL files:

Dragon Wine Glass
by Cemal Cetinkaya.
Hexagon Nut Planter
by Armando Lopez.
Christmas Deer
by Yeg3D.
Adalinda
by Louise Driggers.
Wine Hand
by Kostas Koukoudis.


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4 thoughts on “Spray Painting 3D Prints

  • Alex

    Hi, great work! I’m trying to use metallic spray to paint my pla works… but i still have not good results, because my spray paint cannot be covered by a top transparent coat (the metallic layer becomes dull and darker)… And if i don’t use top transparent coat, my metallic layer, even after 2 days drying, gets dull or has fingertips if i touch it a bit hard… So i’d like to know if Rust Oleum Metallic paints have good results without top coat… if they avoid fingertips or signs over the metallic layer… or even if they can be covered by a protective transparent top coat. Many thanks and regards!

    • 3DWithUs Post author

      Hi Alex, thanks.
      We tried Rust Oleum Silver Spray Paint and it wasn’t as shiny as Kobra Silver. Kobra’s downpoint though is its drying time which is way too long. Layers have to be very thin so it takes much longer than Rust Oleum Gold/Silver. We use a cardbox to move the models around without toughing them until they have dried well. Also, we’ve never tried applying a transparent coat, yet. Have to dig into how it works.

  • aravind

    hello im thinking this would be the quickest option for providing metallic finish over the surface of the printed parts! interested im from india kindly mail me

    • 3DWithUs Post author

      Hi Aravind,
      Depending on a type of paint there is a different drying time between coats. Some can be reapplied after a few minutes, but some require a much longer waiting time. Please check the manufacturer’s guidelines for touch dry and completely dry.