Spray painting a paper model

Discussion in 'Tips, Tutorials & Tools' started by andrew ferguson, Jan 19, 2007.

  1. I am making a paper model and i'm going to want to paint it. I would prefer spray painting as it is quicker and nicer and it's a large area to brush paint.

    Is it possible to spray paint a paper model? I was planning on using Krylon paint.

    All advice appreciated. :)
  2. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

    You should have no problem painting the model if you seal/stabilize the paper surface first. (I paint most of my models, in fact).

    For a sealer, I use Testor's Dull Cote, Krylon 1311 Matte Finish, or low-odour spray fixative. Apply several light coats of this to the model, letting it penetrate well and dry thoroughly.

    The sealer will actually add strength to the model, and will leave the surface in a condition much like plastic.

    Once the sealer coat has dried, apply the finish coat, be it enamel or acrylic, it matters not, either with brush, airbrush or spray.

    Check my earlier build threads (BRDM and Luna M Tracked TEL) for illustrations of this technique in use. My latest build is going to get the same treatment!

    Hope this helps!
  3. RichBohlman

    RichBohlman Railroad Card Modaler

    I have some paper buildings on my layout that have windows that are printed on transparency sheets.

    Will the Krylon Matte Spray harm the transparency windows?

    Thanks - Rich
  4. I have no experience in this perticular issue, but I have a lot experience in airbrushing. The problem with big area's airbrushing on paper that the paint or ink is absorbed by the paper, and it will deform the paper.
    It should be okay to use airbrush touch-up or age a model
    I use sometimes aqrillic varnish on my models, that works well, because it's quick drying.
    Cheers Billy
  5. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    Still not completely tested.

    I use krylon clear gloss (krylon is krylon) to coat some model parts before cutting out. This also seals as Fishcarver mentioned (so will your color spray). Only problem is that your model is now plastic (sort of) and you have to either use plastic glue or scrape the area to be glued (pain). Also, you want to tape or tack the 4 corners tightly so it does not deform as Billy mentioned.

    I have also sprayed clear gloss on finished models. Since my models are tiny, there is no deformation from spraying.
    BUT If you have one single glue smudge anywhere (and you probably will not be able to see it before spraying) it will show...HORRIBLY!!!

    As far as spray painting...with color...I anticipate little problems. Why not build a cube, spray it, and see what happens.
  6. thewoodengraver

    thewoodengraver Active Member

    @Rich, the transparency "windows" if sprayed, will look as though they endured an ICY winter, and unless you want that, brush your finish on and avoid touching the windows.
  7. RichBohlman

    RichBohlman Railroad Card Modaler

    I'm starting to think about NOT using spray on my models at all!
  8. Thewoodengraver is right about taping the paper, but when it dries again it will deform a little. (If you make a perfectly strait line on a piece of paper, wet it, tape it down and let it dry, the line is not strait anymore)
    It's an old art-school trick,not to make a precision drawing on a piece of paper before you have wet it, taped it down an let it dry..
    Cheers billy
  9. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

    Rich: you can either mask the windows, or use acrylic gloss medium (also, Future or Varathane Clear Acrylic Gloss) to restore the sheen.

    Better yet, spray the parts sheets before cutting out and assembling.


    PS: Do not be afraid to experiment!!!
  10. rmks2000

    rmks2000 Member

    Just curious: Does anyone spray the back of the paper of just the front where the ink resides? I've had mixed results spraying just the front, I gusess because I may not have given enough coats to thoroughly soak the paper. I haven't tried spraying the back yet.
  11. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

    IMHO, spray BOTH SIDES, before cutting out anything.

  12. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    I read this and now I tried Future on a model that just needed to be glossy. That is very cool stuff! Thanks for the suggestion! I am intending to put a second coat on tomorrow.

    BTW, I laser print my models on 110# cardstock and I am applying the Future straight out of the bottle with a brush.

    Attached Files:

  13. Fishcarver

    Fishcarver Active Member

    Looks Good! Glad it worked!!
    Remember that Future is a water-based product. You still need to seal the paper with a lacquer-based product such as DullCote/Krylon before spraying a water-based product over it.

  14. -Jim G

    -Jim G Member

    Future Floats

    Still playing with Future... I sealed up the floats on a Beaver model and tried it out in the kitchen sink. I left it in the water long enough to get a bunch of pictures.

    Attached Files:

  15. SAustin16

    SAustin16 Member


    Beautiful job on the De Havilland.

    Future is also a great coating on plastic models or other media prior to applying decals. I would think it would work well if applying decals to paper also.
  16. sakrison

    sakrison Member

    Masking Windows for spraying

    I sprayed my Maly Modelarz "Kate" with krylon acrylic clear satin. It gave the model a subtle sheen that I really like. The aircraft has three small windows in the bombardier's compartent--one on each side of the fuselage and one in the belly. Those were already installed when I sprayed the model.

    To mask the windows, I cut sticky pieces from 3"x3" Post-It notes, to fit the window openings exactly. I stuffed the cockpit (carefully) with tissue paper to keep the spray off the insides of the windows, then sprayed the model. After the finish was dry, I used a tweezers to remove the masks and the tissue paper. The results? Crystal clear windows and a realistically dull finish in the cockpit.:grin:

    No worries,

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