Prepping Silicone Kits

Let’s talk about proper preparation for your silicone kit BEFORE painting it…..

A must must must is to properly prep your kit BEFORE painting it!!

When a kit is pulled from its mold, it has release residue on it. Most times the pourer will wash it down immediately to get the release agent off of it. However, there still can be traces of that release agent still on the pieces.  Along with that, when handling the kit for shipping and taking it out of the box, there can be a transfer of oils from hands or dust particles from travel or packaging materials.  Any traces of any of these things on your silicone pieces can inhibit paint cure. Therefore, your silicone kit must be washed and prepped before painting.


How To Prep Your Silicone Piece ~ (this is what I do… some may have other techniques or not agree with this method, but it has never failed me.)

  • I like to wipe each piece down with acetone first. Just a quick pass on a napkin or sponge pad. This is not for everyone but it’s my extra mile.
  • Then scrub with Blue Dawn Dish Soup Detergent and hot water. Dawn Soap is very important and only the blue one. Not any with oils or scents. I find using a chip brush or a soft toothbrush helpful when trying to get into ears, nostrils, etc. It does not hurt (in fact its beneficial) to let your kit sit in the soapy water overnight. Wait until you see what floats in the morning!!!
  • Rinse with hot water for at least 2-5 minutes to get all soap off.
  • Allow to air dry in an airtight container or somewhere away from lint
  • Once completely dried do a quick pass of 99% isopropyl alcohol in case of any remaining residue of soap.
  • Paint once 100% dry.
  • I’ve now added the step to do a quick pass of NOVOC Gloss over the piece before painting.

You can repeat these steps if you feel like you didn’t get it clean the first time. It is better to spend extra time cleaning your piece than to not have your paint cure due to improper preparation.

Again this is the method I have used for years and it works for me however, others have differing opinions.

As a Molder/Caster ~ I wanted to show you what the silicone looks like during our washing method. We allow the silicone piece to sit in hot soap water overnight to really get rid of that Release Agent. Look at what the water looks like in the morning.

Do you see the film on top of the water? GROSS, eh! That is all the waxy release that comes off each kit after being pulled from the mold. More is done to each piece to prep them before they are ready to go to the customer.


Here are tips from others: 

A Smooth On Rep says: ‘just wash with soap and water and it will be good to go.’

 ‘After washing the silicone with soap and hot water and allowing it to dry completely, wipe down pieces with Novocs Gloss or Naptha (Naptha is highly flammable and not good for the lungs).’ These solvents would be instead of the 99% isopropyl alcohol.

‘After prepping the silicone, apply a clear coat of psycho paint as a base for better adhesion. This also helps to fill in any holes or little tears that may be in the silicone.’

Some have had issues with paint not sticking, even after these steps, and it could be that the release agent still hasn’t been removed. It has been written that Alcohol, Acetone and Dish Soap cannot dissolve or remove release agents, oils, waxes or petroleum jelly. If this is the case, products like Odorless Paint Thinner, Lighter Fluid, Colman Lamp Fluid, Naphtha, Novocs Gloss can be used (please remember all are highly flammable and need ventilation). The smell of these products may linger on the surface of the silicone but will eventually go away.

Guidelines From the Smooth On:  recommendations:

Now some of this can be eliminated if your doll came from a pourer that didn’t use a wax-based mold release agent like Ease Release. If they used a glycerin-based release agent then all you need to do is wash your kit with soap and water and you’re ready to paint (I still like the idea of a quick pass of 99% isopropyl alcohol right after because it removes soap residue but again… personal preference and some would disagree).


18 thoughts on “Prepping Silicone Kits

  1. Chelsea Banks says:

    Hello! I have a couple questions regarding painting. I have viewed the tutorials on the McPherson website which uses the practice face as an example. My question is how do you protect the body of a full body silicone while painting? Do you paint the front…cure.. then pain the back and alternate for every layer? How do you paint inside the mouth without having the parts fuse together when it closes and cures?

    Thank you!

    • KrisC says:

      Hi Chelsea,
      Great questions! Thank you for them!
      Typically, what I will do, is paint one side of the body with a few layers, have those layers cure for a day and then flip the body and do the same on the other side. It doesnt need to be every layer if you are comfortable matching colors. I usually put the baby on a Saran Wrap surface. Just be careful if you are using heat.
      As for painting inside mouth question, you can prop open the mouth with some shortened toothpick or pins. Paint inside and let cure and then take the pins out. That way it wont seal shut 🙂
      Hope this helps. Thank you for your support! KrisC

  2. MARYNE says:

    bonjour, je suis française je suis reborneuse dans le vinyle je souhaite passés au silicone, mais tout me semble différent !!
    je voulais savoir combien de temps de pose entre sache couche et si on peu utilisé le sèche cheveux pour accéléré ? et comment voit on que la peinture et séche ?
    merci beaucoup de me venir en aide

    • KrisC says:

      Hello, I am sorry I dont speak french. I used google translate and as far as I can tell your asking about silicone paints. Yes they are different than vinyl paints. Time or heat cures them. You know they are cured when you touch them and they are solid. I recommend getting the starter kit and it explains how to use silicone paints. Best of Luck!

  3. Daminco Owen says:

    Thank you for sharing this information about prepping silicone kits. It was useful and interesting. You indeed have written it in a layman way so that anyone can understand and work accordingly. You have done a great job… Great post!!

    • KrisC says:

      Wow! thank you so much! It is ALWAYS nice to hear compliments and positive feedback.
      So happy you enjoyed the information! I hope you are enjoying your silicone journey and please feel free to write in with any questions you have along the way. And any more lovely feedback too! 🙂
      Kind Regards,

  4. Raecheal Herron says:

    I want to paint a biracial baby, I love his coloring already just want to give him the newborn mottling coloring and such I don’t want him to red just natural and want to give him milia and a scratch mark but don’t know how can you help also painting lips and nails please

    • KrisC says:

      Thank you for your questions. I highly recommend finding a silicone artist who teaches silicone classes. There you can be directed on how to do all the things you are wanting to learn. Christina Whiting teaches biracial skin tones. Best of wishes to your endeavors!

  5. Janet Howell says:

    Thanks for the info. Can Genesis heat set paint work on platinum silicone? And from what am understanding, NOVOCS gloss should be used after initially cleaning the silicone. Or, mixing Part A and B and applying a thin layer to help silicone paint adhere better.

    • KrisC says:

      You are very welcome for the information. No, you cannot use Genesis Heat Set Paints with silicone. Only silicone sticks to silicone. So the genesis will wipe right off. Also, in recent years we have noticed that those who did try and paint with GHSP, their paint wiped off and noticed discoloration in the silicone. So I really recommend only using Silicone Pigments and paint. As for Novoc gloss, yes you can do that but it’s not essential. However, it is helpful and does work nicely. As well as making the first layer a clear layer… not essential but very helpful. Whatever first layer you put down just make sure it is very secure and cured permanently. Hope this helps.

  6. Barbara Eyre says:

    Hi could you please advise me how to keep the silicone clean and free from dust during painting and is it okay to clean with isopropyl during the painting process. I have tried to be careful but still seem to have little black bits on my finished baby. Thank you

    • KrisC says:

      Yes, you absolutely can use 99% IPA. Most time I use it in between layers to give it a good wipe from the dust and touching. Just make sure it is 100% evaporated before you resume painting. You can also pick up the dust and lint with some tape. However, despite doing your best effort dust will always be a problem when painting silicone. It is for all of us. Just keep a pair of tweezers close by and schedule in half your painting time for tweezing.

    • KrisC says:

      Hi there,
      Anything would work as long as its not made of sulfur or latex. So you could use little torn pieces of sponge, rolled up balls of saran wrap, straws, toothpicks,etc. I have dental floss sticks that are very slender I just pop in between. If you are concerned about your item you are using, do a test on them. Put a little silicone paint on it and see if it cures. If it does, its good to use.
      Hope that helps. KrisC

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Silicone Doll Kits