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: https://www.smooth-on.com/products/psycho-paint/
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).