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Unread 04-01-2013, 12:52 AM   #1
CanisPanthera
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Mirror-reflective spray paint?

Hey all, I'm working on some props and armor right now that have very mirror-like reflective surfaces and I'd like to achieve that as best I can. I'd like it to look as reflective as this bad boy. Unfortunately he doesn't describe the products used, and even in all the Iron Man costume tutorials they appear to skip right over that.

I think automotive paints are the way to go and duplicolor has quite a variety but I don't know what's right so I'm hoping someone has some experience with this. As you can see from my reference pic, I need chrome and gold. Thanks!

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Unread 04-01-2013, 01:45 AM   #2
Chipface
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Lots of sanding, puttying and more sanding to make it smooth. Then wetsanding your primer smooth and then wetsanding your paint before clear coating. Rustoleum is pretty nice. Krylon is also pretty good, it's typically what I use. I wrote up a tutorial here on spraypainting.

I have improved on a few things though. I use tack cloths now to remove any dust. And when you wetsand have a spray bottle of water to wet everything up and put a little bit of dish soap in the bucket of water. If you're going to use spray gloss I'll warn you now that it can be hit or miss when it comes to clear coating metallics. Sometimes it'll give it a nice shine, other times it'll dull it a bit. So instead of spray gloss, I recommend this. I usually only use one coat and usually makes things pretty shiny. Be careful though, it's runny.

Actually, I'd recommend Rustoleum paints. For this, I used Painter's Touch for the black and Universal Metallic for the edge. Specifically Titanium Silver. I've never used their gold but their Titanium Silver will work nicely for the edge of the sword.

You can't really tell because of the lighting but it's pretty reflective with only one coat of the floor polish.

I just noticed your bit about Duplicolor, they seems like they'd be nice but cost much more than the others. There's no doubt in my mind that they'd work nicely though.

Last edited by Chipface : 04-01-2013 at 01:55 AM.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 11:21 AM   #3
animenerd93
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The shield u looked at used a chroming process.odt likely he shiped it out somewhere to like an auto garage or another place to get the perfect chrome.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 11:24 AM   #4
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If you want to get crazy, you can go with true pro-automotive paints, like Alsacorp's Killer-Chrome. It's very expensive and finicky stuff, but short of actual electroplating or an more expensive/toxic silver nitrate system, it can't be beat. I learned the hard way that it should only be used if you can paint in an environment that has relatively low humidity within a specific temperature range. (I applied the final clearcoat outdoors in the summer after the dewpoint hit and completely ruined the surface, so sad.)

Properly smoothing the surface is a hundred times more important than what product you use. I try to leave my metallic surfaces unclearcoated. I've never found anything that doesn't degrade the quality of the metallic appearance. But sometimes, protecting the surface is more important than having it look perfect, so it's all about trade-offs.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 11:56 AM   #5
CanisPanthera
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Wow thanks guys, that really trumped all my research. The Killer-Chrome looks like a dream but I'm not sure I can afford the $40+shipping with the rest of the costume's expenses lol. So I think I'll try the rustoleum universal metallic and do some tests with varnish, gloss coat, and the pledge future shine to see which comes out best. Thanks again!
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Unread 04-01-2013, 02:16 PM   #6
nathancarter
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Note that there are some "chrome" spray paints out there. They work reasonably well if your surface is prepped. However, they are NOT durable in the slightest. Any touching or rubbing will mar the shiny surface; and, they can't be coated with a top clear coat, as they just turn dull gray. The chrome spray paint is maybe suitable for a photoshoot where you can delicately handle your props, but it's definitely not suitable for any part of a costume that will be worn or carried at a con.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
KatsuyaTsubasa
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I've noticed a pretty good finish from Duplicolor Chrome. Not 100% mirror finish, but darn close. I just picked it up in rattlecan form at my local hardware store in the auto section. As it has been stated already though, a very smooth piece and a gloss black undercoat is what makes it work best. I don't remember the cost but I was quite happy with the results and I didn't have to break out the expensive airbrush stuff like alclad-II or Spaz Stix.
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Unread 04-01-2013, 07:39 PM   #8
CanisPanthera
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Ah thanks. Today I bought Rustoleum Painter's Touch Metallic Aluminum and Rustoleum Universal Metallic Titanium Silver (and a can of the Pure Gold too) so I can try them out. I also got some spray Satin, and I already have some high gloss spray and varnish. So weather permitting, tomorrow I'll do every conceivable test on an old prop, including with gloss black undercoats and hopefully I can post my results!
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Unread 04-02-2013, 02:23 AM   #9
Chipface
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I noticed with metallic silver that when I used varnish on it, it eventually yellowed quite a bit. It will make for a nice shine in the meantime though.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 11:47 AM   #10
Starlit Rose
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Is there a reason you're only considering spray paints? If you're making something as narrow as a sword, why not apply foil tape instead? It's about as close to mirror reflective as I've ever been able to achieve with something as readily available and easy to use as foil tape. Seeing as it only comes in silver, you could only use it for the blade, but it makes for a pretty convincing blade! Example 1 Example 2 Example 3 (It's hard to get good photos of it since it reflects so much, lol. ) It'll cost more than a can of spray paint, but the results are worth it, in my opinion!
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Last edited by Starlit Rose : 04-02-2013 at 11:51 AM.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 12:29 PM   #11
Amaterasu
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I agree with the foil tape. Also consider metal leafing and then buffing to a near-mirror finish. You can also consider using aluminium foil cemented or glued onto the prop - then sanding the seams down and polishing.

I hear good things about Alsa's Clear Chrome - but it's way, way too expensive for most of us cosplayers. A good alternative would be Alclad 2; a brand of hobby spray paint that is chrome, or at least near. It is not the most durable, but it fares better than most 'chrome' sprays in that it does not grey or fingerprint as quickly.

My recommendation is metal leafing.
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Unread 04-02-2013, 08:51 PM   #12
Kelley
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I'm going to bookmark this for when I have to make a sword later in the year. The foil tape looks pretty great, and I'd love to see an example of metal leafing if anyone has one (can't seem to find on Google).

It also seems like something I'd be able to mess up less than spray paint (which I have a poor history with). :P
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Unread 04-04-2013, 03:12 PM   #13
Starlit Rose
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kelley View Post
I'm going to bookmark this for when I have to make a sword later in the year. The foil tape looks pretty great, and I'd love to see an example of metal leafing if anyone has one (can't seem to find on Google).

It also seems like something I'd be able to mess up less than spray paint (which I have a poor history with). :P
I agree, I'd also like to see an example of the leafing technique. I'm always up for learning new methods!

The foil tape gives you good results, but it can be a little tricky. You have to deal with the foil bending as you unroll it, so you have to be really careful. And sometimes there are creases already on the foil, which is annoying, but most of the time you can get rid of them by rubbing over it and smoothing it out. I usually use something like a pen or a round chopstick. It takes a little practice, but once you figure it out, it's not too bad. Plus, if you mess up, you can just put a new piece over it.
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Unread 04-05-2013, 03:48 PM   #14
Shuda
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Question about Foil Tape,

How would this work for sheathing/unsheathing with a scabbard? Wouldn't it make it less smooth, or even get the sword stuck on occasion? Unless there is some trick to it that I'm overlooking.
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Unread 04-06-2013, 03:10 AM   #15
Kelley
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It seems to me like there should be no "sticky" parts of the tape showing and that it should be well-adhered and not bubbling up - so just as likely to damage as if you chipped paint or something else, which I wouldn't think was a huge concern.
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