Wednesday, 15 August 2018

How I make my paint and brushes last


Surprisingly these two topics have come up multiple times over the last year when I have been at a hobby store or in a group of modelers, so I thought it was worth writing a post about it.
Model paint is very expensive given the amount you get.  Especially when compared to buying  a pint or quart of custom mixed acrylic from Home Hardware which is about the same price as a small bottle of hobby paint. Shaking and power mixers are the biggest mistakes most people make, it introduces air in to the paint, this only applies once the bottle has been opened. The air remains in the paint causing it to to set up faster.
I commented in the post My First Engine that I have paint that was opened 21 years ago and it is still usable. There are a few things I do. I only stir my paint until it is mixed thoroughly and there is no blob on the end of my stir stick. I never leave the bottle sitting open when I am using it. I fill my air brush or transfer some to a secondary pallet or container, wipe the threads on the bottle so paint can't dry on the lid. This will cause the bottle to become hard to open in the future.  Before putting the paint away I add a few drops of the appropriate thinner to replace what may have evaporated. I also go through my paints once a year, opening each bottle and checking it's condition, again I will add some more thinner if needed. The evaporation of thinner will happen because the seal on the lid is not as solid as when it was new. 
The vast majority of of my paints are acrylic and the clean up is so nice. I have never had any problems with acrylics on any surface, as I stated above my first project is 21 years old, has been handled a lot and the paint job still looks good.  Note: I now use Iwada Medea Airbrush Cleaner,         ( thanks to Joe for this tip ) to clean my airbrush and it is absolutely amazing. CAUTION:  I only spray it through my brush inside my paint booth as I do seem to have an allergy to it as it makes me sneeze. The cleaner appears to be some kind of soap and water.  I just spray it into the rag I have by my paint booth. I built my own paint booth and will cover that in a future post.

FYI I also use my paint booth if I have a lot of CA work to do especially if I am using a gel to glue larger resin parts together as I have a reaction to too many vapors from the CA.

Some of my brushes also date back to the 1990's, I have lacquer thinner in old clean glass paint bottles.  I  clean a brush with soap and water ( acrylic ) first by putting a little soap on the palm of my hand and gently rub the brush in the soap and then run a little water and continue to rub the brush until it is clean and rinsed. I then twirl it against the inside of the bottle that has the lacquer thinner in it.

This last step completely removes any paint that may remain from the first step.For solvent based paints I just clean the brush in the lacquer thinner. Now say you have had a bad day having left your brush with paint on it and it has hardened on the brush. Open your bottle of  lacquer thinner and let the brush rest in it for a couple of minutes then swirl it against the side of the bottle, all of the paint will be removed from the brush and in most cases will come out looking like new. You may have to perform this more than once. Put a little thinner on a rag and you can clean the ferrule of the brush.

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