So, brothers and sisters: what exactly IS silicone pigment?

Im working with plast gel 10, and i want to colour it (first with a mix in pigment, maybe later with paint). silicone itself is costly, especially with postage, and the paints just crank up the price.

So i just want to know, how hard can it be? Will acrylic work? Food colouring?Dye? (the last two work fine in foam latex, for instance.) I dont know the ingredients of the official pigments, but surely i done need to spend a tenner on each colour?

Anyone?

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Hi Tam, working with silicone has its unique challenges. One of the main things to consider is nothing will stick to silicone but silicone. If you try to paint your silicone piece later with acrylic or whatever, it will just rub off. It is worth it to mix in the pigment first. Yes, the pigments are expensive. If you want to add some fine detailing or shading later, you can mix up a small batch of tinted silicone and thin it with a solvent like Naphtha. But, it will not dry with the same finish as your main piece. I hope that makes sense. Good luck with your project. :)

thanks

but what about mixing in pigment?what happens if paint of dye is mixed in for a base colour?

I'm not sure how well a water based paint like acrylic, or a dye, would mix in to silicone, since unlike latex it is not water soluble.  But i think some people have used it, and oil based paints too I think, to tint the silicone.  I would test a small amount first.  The universal pigments that the paint store uses would mix in, but might inhibit the cure, so many things do.

I've had many problems with silicone not curing, and I didn't want any more unknown factors to screw it up, so I forked out for the silc-pig, and shipping from the US which cost more than the pigments.  I bought the smallest containers of black, white, red, yellow, and blue pigments, which lets me mix any colour, and they will last me forever.    I tint all the silicone to a good base colour, usually a flesh tone, and use more silicone to paint the cast so I can add some variation and shading.

It is best to use the pigment designed to work with the PlatSil Gel-10 you are using. I know they are expensive, but they are designed to work together. And, a little goes a long way. One set of silicone pigments should cover your needs for a very long time. I agree with Nick that trying water based acrylic, etc. may produce poor results. Silicone is too expensive to waste! That said, if you try acrylic or food coloring, etc. - try it in a small batch first. 

tam hinton said:

thanks

but what about mixing in pigment?what happens if paint of dye is mixed in for a base colour?

sure, but all i want is someone who knows what the actual ingredients of these pigments is so i can make my own!

Neil Gorton et al need to make their money and good luck to them, but this is a niche market and i suspect the product is available elsewhere with a different name and a lower price

Anyone?

I understand your suspicions, since the Matting Agent sold for taking the shine off the surface of silicone casts is basically Icing Sugar.  I got some to be safe, tasted it, and it tasted like sugar with a little cornflower, and that turned out to be exactly what was in the icing sugar at the supermarket.  So there may be another option that is cheaper, at least per mililitre.

What's in it?  Smooth-On Silc-pig is a pigment, not a paint, so on its own it doesn't dry.  I don't know what the base is.  I guess it has to contain ground pigments, like paints do. I don't suppose the makers are keen to tell us.  And it may be stuff that is not normally sold in small quantities, so it could be hard to actually save money making your own.

The Universal Pigments at the paint shop have a base that lets them mix with both water based and oil based paints, but I don't think the silicone pigments mix with water - I'll have to check. If not, it's an oil.   I haven't tested universal pigments in silicone - they are much cheaper by volume, but are sold in 1 litre cans or bigger, so would actually cost you more.  The oils in universal pigment can degrade foam latex, and they might inhibit the cure of platsil, or they might be ok.   I have some for tinting wall paint when painting backdrops, so I could test it with Platsil just to see.  

I would think that if you could get powder pigments in the colours you need, they would probably work, but with  platinum cure silicone, you need to always test everything first.  So many things stop the silicone curing.  It's even possible that one colour might be ok, but another would contain something that is not compatible.

If I hadn't ordered the 5 individual colours from Compleat Sculptor in NY years ago, I would probably get this 9 pack sampler from Amazon for $29.95 -    https://www.amazon.com/Silc-Pig-Silicone-Pigment-9-Pack-Sampler/dp/...

You don't need large amounts of it, and this kit also includes a ready-made flesh tone.

Thanks. now, thats an engaged reply! so far ive noticed that there are rv silicone paints available on ebay, a bit cheaper. The key with these things seems to be to buy from somewhere that doesnt sell for fx- for instance, ive noticed that 'animation wire' is the same as galvanised wirefrom the garden centre, but with a bigger price tag.

I'll see how these cheaper paints turn out, and let the community know...

Animation wire?  Do you mean the Armature Wire that we use in making puppet armatures?  It is annealed, a heat treatment that makes it softer and less bouncy, not galvanised.

The galvanised wire I know about is usually steel wire, and the galvanising is a protective coat of zinc, to prevent it rusting.  It is hard and springy, and totally not suitable for animating.

There is a garden wire which is Anodised, that is a colour coating, and it can be aluminium and fairly soft.  It is used to shape bonsai.  Googling it, I can't find any ads which say if it is annealed or not.  But I found this reply in a bonsai message board which suggests the aluminium wire is not usually annealed, but that you can get annealed aluminium wire:    

"If you walk into a hardware store electrical center, they will have several spools of bright shiny copper wire, and you might be tempted to purchase and use it for your bonsai. You would find that it is very difficult to bend, because it hasn't been yet been annealed.

Aluminium wire, on the other hand, is not annealed. It is significantly softer than copper wire, and has less holding power, but it can be repositioned somewhat, so many beginners prefer to use it until they have developed some expertise at applying wire. Aluminium is also the preferred wire choice of many professionals for some thin-barked trees like azalea, where the raw holding power of copper isn't as important as the flexibility of aluminium.

Because aluminium is naturally a silver color, it is often treated by an electrochemical process called anodization to give it a brownish color similar to copper wire. It's easy to tell the difference because the core will still be silver, and the color, a metallic brown, is unobtrusive, but not really that similar to the appearance of annealed copper wire, which is a dark, dull red when applied and becomes darker with time.

You can buy and anneal your own copper wire, or purchase aluminium or copper wire that has been pre-annealed for bonsai work. "

I had to use un-annealed aluminium wire from a hardware store (Home Depot) in Winnipeg once, no armature wire to be found anywhere,  and it is definitely not the same as armature wire.  Somewhat softer than copper or steel, but still too much springiness.  I was teaching puppet making classes, and the festival people had bought galvanised steel wire, thinking that was the same stuff.  It wasn't even remotely usable.  The aluminium wire half worked, but as well as being springy it would not stand up to very many bends before it fatigued, so I was forced to have the students use an unsuitable material as "practise" and tell them that now they had an idea how to do it, if they wanted to take it further they should order the right wire online and do it properly.

Anyway, good luck with the silicone paints.

For a detailed answer on colouring silicone, go to the thread called 'Better ways to paint Platsil Gel 10'. Lots of info there.

your knowledge is indeed mighty. i like it!

I just know that i found a seemingly identical wire to the one i got from, i think it was 'animation supplies', in the garden store, and it appeared to have the same properties. But im not casting any aspersions.

Good to have a chap around who knows the science.



StopmoNick said:

Animation wire?  Do you mean the Armature Wire that we use in making puppet armatures?  It is annealed, a heat treatment that makes it softer and less bouncy, not galvanised.

The galvanised wire I know about is usually steel wire, and the galvanising is a protective coat of zinc, to prevent it rusting.  It is hard and springy, and totally not suitable for animating.

There is a garden wire which is Anodised, that is a colour coating, and it can be aluminium and fairly soft.  It is used to shape bonsai.  Googling it, I can't find any ads which say if it is annealed or not.  But I found this reply in a bonsai message board which suggests the aluminium wire is not usually annealed, but that you can get annealed aluminium wire:    

"If you walk into a hardware store electrical center, they will have several spools of bright shiny copper wire, and you might be tempted to purchase and use it for your bonsai. You would find that it is very difficult to bend, because it hasn't been yet been annealed.

Aluminium wire, on the other hand, is not annealed. It is significantly softer than copper wire, and has less holding power, but it can be repositioned somewhat, so many beginners prefer to use it until they have developed some expertise at applying wire. Aluminium is also the preferred wire choice of many professionals for some thin-barked trees like azalea, where the raw holding power of copper isn't as important as the flexibility of aluminium.

Because aluminium is naturally a silver color, it is often treated by an electrochemical process called anodization to give it a brownish color similar to copper wire. It's easy to tell the difference because the core will still be silver, and the color, a metallic brown, is unobtrusive, but not really that similar to the appearance of annealed copper wire, which is a dark, dull red when applied and becomes darker with time.

You can buy and anneal your own copper wire, or purchase aluminium or copper wire that has been pre-annealed for bonsai work. "

I had to use un-annealed aluminium wire from a hardware store (Home Depot) in Winnipeg once, no armature wire to be found anywhere,  and it is definitely not the same as armature wire.  Somewhat softer than copper or steel, but still too much springiness.  I was teaching puppet making classes, and the festival people had bought galvanised steel wire, thinking that was the same stuff.  It wasn't even remotely usable.  The aluminium wire half worked, but as well as being springy it would not stand up to very many bends before it fatigued, so I was forced to have the students use an unsuitable material as "practise" and tell them that now they had an idea how to do it, if they wanted to take it further they should order the right wire online and do it properly.

Anyway, good luck with the silicone paints.

cant find it. got a link?

Don't know the address of the bonsai message board, I googled "anodised garden wire" and "aluminium bonsai wire" I think.  Or some other combination of those, or indeed other, words...

Found it.  An Australian site, so not very useful to you.  http://www.ausbonsai.com.au/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=13917

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