What are the proper materials to use when painting ACRYLITE® acrylic?

Equipment and Materials

The crystal clarity and long-term weatherability of ACRYLITE® extruded (FF) acrylic sheet allow for painting and printing on fabricated signs, displays, and other decorative items.  Using the correct materials will help you produce a quality product.

Paints

The increased use of ACRYLITE® extruded (FF)  sheet in signs and other decorative applications has led to a variety of paints designed especially for acrylics.  Most are supplied as concentrates and require thinner to obtain the correct viscosity.  As a rule, use mild thinner consisting of an alcohol blend, rather than one containing aromatic hydrocarbons.  Benzene and toluene are two examples of aromatics.  Follow paint supplier’s recommendations on the amount and type of thinner.

ACRYLITE® extruded (FF) sheet’s extraordinary transparency allows backpainting – applying paint to the side of the material that will not be exposed to the weather. Thus, the unpainted outer surface of the acrylic provides weather protection for the paint.  However, if you must paint the outer surface, apply a protective coating over the paint.  Paint suppliers can recommend a suitable coating.

Spraying Systems

Any efficient atomizing spray gun system, which will uniformly distribute paint, may be used.  Consult equipment suppliers regarding the equipment needed for a particular application.  See the listing of suppliers at the end of this brief. Many paint suppliers also publish excellent manuals which provide up-to-date equipment suggestions.

Troubleshooting

Maskants Troubleshooting
ProblemCauseSolution
Weak and brittle maskant Air bubbles in film Dilute slightly
Film not thoroughly dry Wait recommended drying time
Maskant film too thin Increase film thickness to 3-5 mils (10-12 mils wet)
Too much adhesion Maskant film too thin Increase film thickness to 3-5 mils (10-12 mils wet)
Coating exposed to UV Do not store faces outside
Spray Paints Troubleshooting
ProblemCauseSolution
Poor adhesion Incorrect paint Use paints recommended for use with acrylic
Dirt or residue on sheet Clean sheet thoroughly before painting
Blotches of paint Static electricity Neutralize charges with ionizing gun
Wipe with damp cloth
Uneven paint application Apply paint in more passes using less paint per pass
Paint not applied uniformly Use back-lighting to check paint as it is being applied
Screen Paints Troubleshooting
ProblemCauseSolution
Poor detail Screen mesh too coarse Use a finer mesh screen
Paint too thin Use less thinner
Worn screen Replace screen
Paint drying on screen Hot, dry weather Add retarder to slow paint drying
Too much time between screening Flood screen between passes
Crazing Stress from fabrication Review fabrication techniques -Tech Briefs 2 through 8
Flame polishing Flame polish as last step

The problems listed represent the most common concerns when painting ACRYLITE® extruded (FF) acrylic sheet. Most paint manufacturers publish excellent paint manuals that contain much more detailed information on troubleshooting paint problems. Consult these manuals or the paint manufacturer regarding problems not covered here. 

Suppliers

Paints
Lacryl 800 Series (Screen)
Lacryl 400 Series (Spray)

Spraylat Corporation
716 South Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
914-699-3030
Fax: 914-699-3035
http://www.spraylat.com/

Grip-Gard (Screen)
Grip-Gard BC (Spray)

AKZO Nobel Company
Wyandotte Paint Products
5555 Spalding Drive
Norcross, GA 30092
1-800-618-1010

70-000 Series Ink
59-000 Gloss Enamels

Naz-Dar Paint Products
New Willow Road
North Field, IL 60093
312-943-8338
Fax: 847-446-7667

Paint Removers
206-T Cleaner / Remover
205-T Thinner

Spraylat Corporation
716 South Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
914-699-3030
Fax: 914-699-3035
http://www.spraylat.com/
Liquid Latex Maskants
Sign Strip
Spraylat Corporation
716 South Columbus Avenue
Mount Vernon, NY 10550
914-699-3030
Fax: 914-699-3035
http://www.spraylat.com/
Grip Mask
AKZO Nobel Company
Wyandotte Paint Products
5555 Spalding Drive
Norcross, GA 30092
1-800-233-3301
Fax: 1-800-888-8464
http://www.signfinishes.com/
Anti-Static Air Guns
The Simco Industrial Static Control
An Illinois Tool Works Co.
2257 North Penn Road
Hatfield, PA 19440-1998
800-203-3419
215-822-2171
Fax: 215-822-3795
http://www.simco.biz/
Exair Corporation
1250 Century Circle North
Cincinnati, OH 45246-3309
513-671-3322
Fax : 513-671-3363
http://www.exair.com/
Painting Equipment
Binks ITW Industrial Finishing
195 International Blvd.
Glendale Heights, IL 60139
1-888-526-7658
Fax: 630-237-5011
http://www.binks.com/
The DeVilbiss Company
An Illinois Tool Works Co.
P.O. Box 913
Toledo, OH 43692
419-470-2169
Fax: 419-470-2270
http://www.devilbiss.com/
Knives to Cut Masking Film
X-Acto
45-35 Van Dam Street
Long Island City, NY 11101
(Knives available in art supply stores)
http://www.xacto.com/
Films
Contact Your Local Sign Supply Distributor
Trim Cap
Contact Your Local Sign Supply Distributor
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