You may be trying to paint on silicone prosthetics, props, or you may just want to figure out a way to get paint to adhere to the silicone caulk that is sealing the edges of your exterior windows. Either way, the process is pretty much the same. Because paint doesn’t stick very well to silicone, certain preparation techniques are required to encourage paint adhesion. If you need to paint silicone rubber, you need to learn these techniques before you get started.
The first step is to clean the silicone thoroughly of any grease or release agent that may still be on the silicone. Do this by wiping the silicone down with a solvent such as isopropanol (IPA), acetone, or delimolene (orange solvent). Once the silicone is clean it is ready to paint.
As silicone is flexible it is important that the paint has the same flexible quality. Without this, the paint will have a tendency to flake off. A good method of creating a flexible paint is to use an oil-based paint (your chosen colour) alongside silicone caulking. To thin it down, use orange solvent or white spirit. You can then paint the silicone, and the solvent in the mix will evaporate (leaving the coloured silicone before curing). The mix can be thinned down until it’s very runny, enabling you to paint with an airbrush if you choose. We would recommend that a respirator (3M Mask) should always be used when spraying any solvent based liquids.
When painting silicone to look like skin (prosthetics or creature effects), it is a good idea to paint with more of a thin mix and to apply the paint in layers. This will give you more depth, therefore making the resulting effects appear more realistic.
If you are painting tin silicone, the caulking in the paint will bond incredibly well (as the caulking is also tin based). However, if you are painting platinum silicone the caulking may not bond so easily. To counter this problem you have two options. The first is to apply a mix of orange solvent with very strong bonding caulking (Wacker A07) all over the silicone you are painting. When dry this mix bonds very well to platinum rubber, giving you a good bonding canvas for the rest of your painting. Your second option is to use a translucent primer (PS Primer number two). Apply a very thin coat with a cotton pad and allow it to dry. Once dry, go ahead and paint with your caulking solvent paint mix.
Our most popular skin illustrator palettes include the Necromania Palette, the Kristyan Mallet Signature Palette and the FX Palette.
If you have any technical questions please contact us or call 01753 650958 (international clients: +44 1753 650958). We have many years of experience and several members of staff current working within the industry who would be more than happy to help.