View Full Version : Plastic chains and paint sealer

08-23-2009, 11:15 PM
I spray painted some plastic chains with a couple coats of gray and a coat of some brown to make it look like rust. Now I'm not sure whether I need sealer or not. I want these to last for a good long while, and I don't want the paint to chip off or anything...but I don't actually know if it will if I don't use the sealer. First question: Do I need to use sealer here? Second: If it is not a necessity, is it still a good idea to? Third: If I use a sealer, can I use any sort, or do I need to use the same brand that I used for spray paint, ect? Fourth: Any tips for applying or anything?

Thanks guys!

08-24-2009, 06:36 PM
I would just get a clear enamel spray. Rustoleum is always pretty good. If you don't want it to be shiny, you can get one with a matte finish rather than glossy. That will help prevent scuffing and chipping.

08-25-2009, 12:41 AM
thank you!

08-25-2009, 06:55 PM
The only tip I can think of for applying the sealer is to apply it in light coats. You want it to seal the paint, not fuse the plastic links together. ^_~

Use a matte sealer instead of a gloss, as old rusty chain won't be shiny in real life.

As long as both the original paint and the sealer as designed to work on plastic (not all spray paint will) that should be fine.

01-17-2010, 10:39 PM
Does anyone know where I can buy a plastic chain? I would need about 5 feet.

01-17-2010, 11:25 PM
Honestly I have tried to paint and seal chains and nothing really seems to work unless you plan on them not moving/scraping against themselves too much. I suggest you just find some plastic chains online in the color you want.


I bought a set of those and they honestly look so real I thought they were actually steel and the paint doesn't chip/come off at all from the normal wear and tear I have put them through.

01-17-2010, 11:57 PM
Old thread, but just to pop back in and drop my $0.02 after a few years off this site...

The single most important piece of the painting puzzle is your base layer. If you don't get good adhesion with your base layer, it really doesn't matter what you put on top. Going back one step, surface prep is even more important than your base layer. Don't cut corners prepping the surface, especially when working with plastics and nonporous surfaces. You could write a small tutorial on different prep work for different surfaces, applications, and environmental conditions, so I'll skip to the context of this thread.

For a rusted chain look, I wouldn't add any clear coat. Super abbreviated:

1) Using a scratch pad or sandpaper (somewhere around 80-150 depending on the effect you're going for), scuff up the surface that you're working on. Be mindful of the direction and pressure you're applying so the surface stays uniform, or your desired amount of "rust/weathering."
2) Wipe off the surface clean.
3) Wash your hands to get rid of oils.
4) Wipe down the surface with something that will remove oils but wont denature the plastic you're working with. Some people use mild soap+water, I like to use isopropyl alcohol (cheap and evaporates quickly). Use a non-fibrous cloth so you don't leave fibers behind. Don't touch any part of the surface with your bare hands while wiping down the surface.
5) Sometimes I use semi-tack cloth to ensure I pick up all fibers, dust, etc. from the surface, but I don't think it matters for this project. This is just here for reference.
6) Use good primer. We can debate for months over what the best primer is so I'll leave that discussion off here. Don't use Krylon Fusion for plastics. It's crap. I'd hit up an automotive store as they should have good grade paints there. If your primer layer looks bad, everything on top of it will look bad. In this instance, I assume you want the surface to look pitted and rusted, so looking bad might not be bad. This is more artistic license so I'll skip over the details.
7) Let the primer cure for 50% longer than the can suggests. If it's cooler out, or more humid, you may want to extend this time frame much longer, but don't let the primer sit too long (a few days).
8) Normally you'd sand the surface with a higher number sandpaper before reapplying another layer of primer, but lets skip this so the surface stays rough.
9) Apply your metallic paint layer. You may even want to go with a gloss or reflective metal layer here. Put down a light but uniform layer. It's far better to error on too little than too much paint. Let it dry properly.
10) Reapply another thin layer and let it dry properly.
11a) Put a very light rust colored layer on. When I say light, I mean mist so you don't get much coverage. Even better, make the coverage irregular since metal doesn't tend to rust uniformly. The idea is to get it into all the nooks and crevasses of the surface if you have them.
11b) Put a more uniform, thin rust colored layer on, like you're painting normally.
12) Let dry completely. Again, don't rob the paint of it's cure time.
13) Depending on whether you went with 11a or b, very lightly sand the surface with a fine grit sandpaper so you remove the upper most layer of paint until the bottom gray layer is visible. If you did 11a, the rust color is sporadic anyway, so you don't need to do much here. If you did 11b, you'll need to be a little more artistic in your sanding. Don't remove too much, but don't be afraid to remove more.
14) Don't coat with anything. If you used good paint and followed proper technique, your paint wont chip unless the plastic itself sucks, in which case sealers wont help much anyway.

As with most things, practice, practice, practice. Hopefully this helps someone. I'll check back here in another 3 years. Haha.

01-18-2010, 12:58 AM
Oh wow this thread is old, didn't even bother to check sorta always figure anything on the front page is new. But yeah thanks for that bit of advice Drenn sounds like a very solid way to go about it.