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"Spray Primer that won't melt Styrofoam?" Topic

19 Posts

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8,162 hits since 1 Dec 2005
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Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Dec 2005 10:54 p.m. PST

Actually, it's Extruded Polystyrene (pink insulation panels). I tried Rust-o-leum (or however it's spelled) and, even at a significant distance to avoid the propellants (about 12-inches or more), it still ate it up.

So, is there a spray primer that will work, or am I gonna have to brush it on by hand? I'm in a hurry and a spray really would help speed things up.

Ironwolf01 Dec 2005 11:02 p.m. PST

What we did was one person would use a large brush and paint dark brown on the boards. Like you would on a wood fence. The second person then sprinkled green & tan Woodland Scenics turf onto the wet paint. Let it dry then shake of the exess onto a newspaper. Fold the paper and funnel the exess turf back into the bag to be reused. Of course prior to painting on the dark brown and sprinkling the turf. We would cut and sand out terrian features.

White Elks 10 String Guitar01 Dec 2005 11:09 p.m. PST

Check out Pawn shops or eBay for House painting sray guns: there are guns that are purely mechanical (centrifugal) vice air pressure, and you can then use standard acrylic interior house paints. If you do a lot of terrain, it is worth thinking about.

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP01 Dec 2005 11:14 p.m. PST

Parsifal: Right now I'm just dipping into terrain. Can't really justify a paint gun at this point. But thanks for the tip!

maxxon01 Dec 2005 11:51 p.m. PST

GW claims their textured spray doesn't eat foam, but I've never personally tried it.

Moavoamoatu02 Dec 2005 12:44 a.m. PST

Another tip : paint the Extruded Polystyren with white glue before you use the spray.

Turbo Pig Fezian02 Dec 2005 5:45 a.m. PST

Krylon (I think) makes a line of waterbased spray paints, that you can find a DYI (Home Depot and Lowes) and hobby stores (Hobby Lobby and Micheals). It is a bit more exspensive than regular aerosol paints, though.

I like the idea of a spray gun, and may have to break out the old Wagner Powershot and see how it does. May be worth while if doing lots of terrain at once.

Space Monkey02 Dec 2005 6:04 a.m. PST

Does acrylic housepaint really adhere well to the styrofoam/polystyrene? Somehow I get a picture of it peeling off pretty easily…

In the past I've used the PVC glue approach… sometimes with cat litter or somesuch mixed in for texture. Usually several coats. Sometimes with color added.

bbuggeln02 Dec 2005 6:51 a.m. PST

3M makes a spray glue that doesn't melt the foam. I don't remeber which it is, but my brother uses it and likes to make fun of me for my slow and painful use of white glue.

I can find out from him if you like, but I'm sure there's someone here who'll know. Actually, there was a string about it 2 or 3 weeks ago.

Goldwyrm02 Dec 2005 7:21 a.m. PST

I have a can of what Turbo Pig mentions. It is Krylon's H2O line of spray paint. I haven't tried it yet. I left it out in my cold garage so I may buy a fresh can if the first one doesn't work out.

Vebnusboys3, I use latex based house paint for primer on pink foam without any trouble with adhesion. I get the blending mistakes or Oops paints on sale for $5/gallon. Once in a while I'll have the store mix up a flat black. The key to good adhesion is to paint in the right conditions. House paint will peel off walls where it is designed to be used because the paint is applied to a dirty surface, the temperature is too cold, etc.

bbuggeln- I use 3M Super 77 spray glue. I've not had any problem with it melting foam. MAybe that's the one? It comes in a black can.

Ratbone02 Dec 2005 8:27 a.m. PST

I did this several years ago, and I just used plain old house paint as well, but since my pieces were small I just brushed it on. Never had any trouble with it peeling or coming off in any way.

I was always getting ready to try that new (new at the time I was doing this back then) Krylon paint but got out of terrain before I ever tried it.

Todd63602 Dec 2005 9:11 a.m. PST

I just used Krylon's H2O spray paint on some pink foam board and had no melting. Sprayed face and sides. The can says safe for indoors. I didn't notice any smell at all. For miniatures, I would test on something as it seemed to go on thick/heavy.

Personal logo Sgt Slag Supporting Member of TMP02 Dec 2005 2:11 p.m. PST

DIY stores sell latex paint in aerosal cans now. Check your local stores, and see if you can get the right color. Latex paint is water-based, so this stuff shouldn't affect the foam at all. We have one can in the laundry room, a light gray, satin finish, which I plan to try on foam, in the next month or two. Cheers!

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP03 Dec 2005 1:50 a.m. PST

Todd636: Thank you VERY much for the first-hand report. I've seen it at both Hobby Lobby and even Wal-Mart… and I'm going to Wally World on Sunday for some Christmas Shoppnig) I'll grab a can then.

Thanks VERY much. This will definitely save me a bunch of time. Oh, and I'm only interested in using this on the foam. I've got plenty of primer for the minis themselves.


Slag and Others: I may have seen some latex paint in cans, but are you sure it won't melt the foam?

Personal logo mmitchell Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Dec 2005 10:40 p.m. PST

I bought the KRYLON H2O LATEX paint tonight. The white primer does a nice job of covering without eating the Styrene. I'll post more details later.

crhkrebs05 Dec 2005 11:36 a.m. PST

Oil based spray paints like Testors are also safe, but smell more.


Cpt Dracari15 Jan 2006 1:03 a.m. PST

If you are looking for a textured surface, textured paint used for walls can be painted over the pink styrofoam, and that layer should block most kinds of spraypaints from eating the styrofoam.

Detailed Casting Products16 Jan 2006 5:10 p.m. PST


The Krylon H2O White Primer was exactly what I was going to suggest to you. I've used their acrylic paint line for over a year now and find that it works really well on Styrofoam, without etching. Back on Apr 20, '05 I mentioned it, but Bill has more than a few posts here to look at, heh.

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KenFox25 Jan 2006 1:17 p.m. PST

I just painted a batch of pink foam hills with regular (NOT water based) flat black Krylon. I used 4 light coats with about 15 minutes dry time in between — and when I say "light", I mean "after the third coat, the pink still shows a bit."

30 minutes after the fourth coat of black, I put on 2 more coats of Rustoleum brown. Still not heavy coats, but enough color to just flock directly.

Yes, the solvent makes the foam slightly tacky, but that damage isn't noticeable on coarse textured terrain such as hills and rocks. It's much better to have this than peeling paint. The Krylon provides an excellent non-porus base for putting on hobby paints or white glue. It's also extremely fast — I spent 5 minutes spraying 8 hills and they were dry enough to flock in a couple hours. (5 minutes is generous too. I was doing this barefoot in my 35 deg garage… :)

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