Tip: Prime with Gesso

Discussing what we do with our prints after we make them (clean up, integration, etc)

Tip: Prime with Gesso

Postby DesignMakeTeach » 2013-Apr-Fri-19-Apr

Liquitex brand Gesso works great as a primer for PLA prints and other plastics. It seals and provides surface "tooth" for painting. Gesso provides an opaque matte finish.

I like using gesso because it can be brushed on and cleaned up with water. (Spray primers need to be applied under warm and dry conditions.) Gesso is easy to apply and dries fast. It shrinks a little as it dries and thus preserves the surface texture of the print. When first applying it may seem too thick. Gesso can also be thinned with water if necessary. Very smooth surfaces should be lightly sanded before applying.

Brush on gesso primer is also nice because you can prime a portion of the print and leave the rest the original filament color. Gesso comes in white, black and clear. The clear and white gesso can be mixed with acrylic paints or inks.

Gesso should be available at art supply shops and craft stores. U.S. shoppers can often find 40% off coupons to local craft stores in the weekly ads.
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Tip: Prime with Gesso

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Re: Tip: Prime with Gesso

Postby cmcguinness » 2013-Apr-Fri-22-Apr

I'll have to try that! Do you find that it produces a better finish than just painting the topcoat "raw" onto the PLA?

I have had OK luck with regular acrylics by themselves -- this one is just done with one coat, no primer, and heavy coverage:

study-01.png


Mind you, I wasn't trying too hard with this: it is just an early study for a piece I'm working on (the final goal is to cast it in sterling with cloisonné for the color). But the acrylic did hold on to the right-from-the-printrbot model...

(And the chain superglued nicely on the back, too!)
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Re: Tip: Prime with Gesso

Postby DesignMakeTeach » 2013-Apr-Sat-07-Apr

Priming is better than applying acrylic paint directly to a plastic surface.

-Primer provides "tooth" to the surface. Acrylic paint will stick better. This is especially important for any painted object that will be handled. Paint on corners and edges will quickly be worn off. Primer helps. A sealer is also useful for objects that will be handled.

-Acrylic paint coverage can vary widely depending on the brand and the color. Yellows are particularly hard to get nice even coverage. A white gesso primer will give you a nice smooth color with less coats. It is better to do several thin coats and keep the surface details. Trying to put on 1 thick coat without primer can obscure the details of the object or look uneven.

-Primer/paint/sealer should help to strengthen, protect and seal the print. Jewelry will be exposed to environmental and mechanical stress. (Humidity, heat, body oils, friction, tugs and pulls, etc.) Every little bit helps.
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Bringing 3D printing into the classroom.
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