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!
This Guide Covers:
- Top Things to Consider
- How To Video
- Spray Painted Models and Gallery
Featured objects were spray-painted in the known brands available on Amazon, namely, Rust-Oleum Gold, Cobra Silver, and Montana Cans Bronze. (affiliate links)
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
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.
Featured models: Dragon Wine Glass by Cemal Cetinkaya. Hexagon Nut Planter by Armando Lopez. Adalinda by Louise Driggers. Wine Hand by Kostas Koukoudis.
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.
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.
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. Have a look at the list of safety tools for FDM 3D printing at home.
Spray Painted Models and Gallery
Thames Embankment in central London is rich in historic artifacts. The lamp posts are decorated with interesting fairy tale creatures that attracted our attention. Spray paint made them look similar to the original.
Featured models: Baby Thames Dolphin Toy on Cults and Thames Dolphin Lamp Standard Feature (3D Scanned) on Cults.
– Spray-Painted Dragons. I haven’t tried yet to spray paint wiggling objects such as articulated dragons as I suspect that the paint will fall off the moving parts. Of course, it depends on the level of stress and the paint qualities. On static models such as Adalinda, featured above, the paint stays well for a number of years without issues.
– The Swan. Here is an example of a spray-painted Odile the Swan by Louise Driggers. Initially, I printed a few swans in different shades to use the leftover filaments. While swans in white and black PLA are perfect as they are, I spray painted in silver the models that have been printed in other color shades. They served as a great decoration for the silver wedding anniversary.
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.
Please find before – after gallery of spray painted 3D printed models and parts here.
Featured objects were spray-painted in the known brands available on Amazon, namely, Rust-Oleum Gold, Cobra Silver, and Montana Cans Bronze.
Read more: ABS Acetone Vapour Smoothing
ABS acetone smoothing allows enhancing 3D printed objects by adding shine and a professional look. We used ABS for 3D printing occasionally and tried different acetone smoothing methods. Check the results.
4 thoughts on “Spray Painting 3D Prints – Main Things to Consider”
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!
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.
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
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.