Matting Glossy Silicone Paint-job with Powdered Sugar

Hey guys,

   I am learning to paint my silicone puppet. I am doing thin washes using Silc-Pig pigments mixed with Platsil-gel 10, and dilluted down by half with VM&P Naptha. 

  My question is in regards to matting the final piece to remove the gloss I expect from painting it. I have heard that powdered sugar is often used in place of expensive matting powders like that from companies like FuseFX. Does this method have any downside? Is there anything special about FuseFX's matting powder? Ive also read that "Translucent Face Powder" works well... is this a cosmetic make-up powder sold in Walmart on the beauty aisle? 

  I would also appreciaite any additional advice on painting my Silicone puppet using a brush, and diluted washes of tinted Silicone. I plan on using this video from as a guide..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwmkRpCEvlc

Thanks everybody!

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I bought the Silc-Pig pigments and the matting powder, because I have found there are many things that inhibit the cure of Platsil, so I wanted to play it safe and eliminate possible causes where I could.  But I tasted the matting powder, and it tasted like sugar with a little cornflower in it.  Then I bought some icing sugar from the supermarket, and looked on the packet - what it contained was sugar and a little cornflower.  FuseFX don't say what is in their powder of course!  

I did one test with icing sugar, and the silicone paint did not cure properly - but I've had it fail to cure if I put too much pigment in, or too much naphtha, or mix it too long, or I don't know why.  So very likely it was going to fail anyway.

What I haven't done is paint some silicone onto two test pieces, and sprinkle matting powder on one, and icing sugar on the other.  I'm pretty sure both would work the same.  But the matting powder will last me a long time, so since I have it I've kept using it.  I haven't got around to doing another test with the sugar.

I haven't tried any face powder, but it seems to work in that video.  What the powder has to do is put a microscopic grainy texture on the surface, then wash off - so anything that is water soluble should do that, provided it doesn't contain anything to inhibit the cure.

I have just painted a couple of heads and dusted them with icing sugar. It has worked well. I left them overnight, then washed the excess off. The surface still felt a little tacky, but this could just have been the silicone feel. I dusted a little baby powder on to remove this.

I have used loose translucent powder as a professional makeup artist, and would recommend the ones sold for professional use. The shop ones tend to be coloured and/or tinted and I don't like the pressed powders much as they are often heavy.

For painting I was working some colour into the crevices and folds, so found it easiest to apply quite heavily with a brush, then remove using a cotton bud soaked in naptha. This is also good for getting a mottled skin effect. It isn't easy to get the silicone/pigment mixture to flow easily as there is usually either too much naptha or too little because it evaporates very fast. You just have to work at it until you get what you want. Don't forget to add some drops of retarder, or the silicone goes off way too fast. Might also be good to do the colouring in a couple of sessions to allow the first layer to go off, as it is easy to undo something you have already worked on.

Just watched the video. Wow, they mix up a lot of silicone, but I guess that's because they are selling the stuff! And it's full-size. Washes definitely work well. In my opinion one needs to make features quite strong at small scale, although it is hard to get anything like a solid line - it seems to break up easily.

Only thing I am curious about. They applied the powder after setting the silicone. I agree with Nick that the powder is there to create an uneven surface that does not reflect light like a smooth one. So my inclination is to apply the powder/icing sugar before the silicone has set. This might mean applying a clear wash over the layers just to take the powder. 

Oh, and don't do what I just did - paint late at night using a light with the wrong colour temperature. Ideally paint under light that is the same as your set lights. I was using a fluorescent magnifying lamp...

Don't use talc for powdering, as this is crushed stone and is not absorbent or washable off in the same way.

Downsides? I fear everything will get a sticky coating of sugar over time!

I've had great results finishing off with a clear coat and dusting with either icing sugar or pure cornstarch. Both are water sollubale (is that the word? Sorry if not) so after the last layer is dry you can wash them with hot water and massage it out. 
Eventhough icing sugar is very finely ground there is still a tiny bit of cristal structure to it so it will give just a bit more of a sparkly feel/look to it compared to the cornstartch which is completely dull. So depending on the type of skin you choose what fits best.

Hey Nick,

  Thanks for you help. You say you bought the Silc-Pig pigments and matting powder. Did you get the Fuse-FX brand matting powder? It says on their website that it MUST be used with their M/F-110 Clear Paint, but I plan on using it with a light clear coat of eco-flex 30. Im relatively sure this is just a marketing ploy on their part, but was wondering what you suggest.

  Would mixing my pigments with Eco-Flex 30 to paint my Platsil-Gel 10 skinned puppet work? Would the two bond together issue free? Or should I go ahead and order some Psycho Paint from Smooth-on to be certain. Is there any benefit to Psycho Paint over Ecoflex-30?

StopmoNick said:

I bought the Silc-Pig pigments and the matting powder, because I have found there are many things that inhibit the cure of Platsil, so I wanted to play it safe and eliminate possible causes where I could.  But I tasted the matting powder, and it tasted like sugar with a little cornflower in it.  Then I bought some icing sugar from the supermarket, and looked on the packet - what it contained was sugar and a little cornflower.  FuseFX don't say what is in their powder of course!  

I did one test with icing sugar, and the silicone paint did not cure properly - but I've had it fail to cure if I put too much pigment in, or too much naphtha, or mix it too long, or I don't know why.  So very likely it was going to fail anyway.

What I haven't done is paint some silicone onto two test pieces, and sprinkle matting powder on one, and icing sugar on the other.  I'm pretty sure both would work the same.  But the matting powder will last me a long time, so since I have it I've kept using it.  I haven't got around to doing another test with the sugar.

I haven't tried any face powder, but it seems to work in that video.  What the powder has to do is put a microscopic grainy texture on the surface, then wash off - so anything that is water soluble should do that, provided it doesn't contain anything to inhibit the cure.

  Thanks everyone for your help

  Simon mentioned not to use talc powder for matting, however I just received some of the Graftobian Translucent Setting Powder used in the youtube video from Brick In The Yard ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwmkRpCEvlc ) and the first ingredient is talc.  Also, Brick In The Yard's own brand of matting powder is 100% talc (and fragrance?) Is this stuff junk? It seems icing sugar is the better option at this point.

  On a similar note, would using Eco-Flex as a clear paint base work as well as Smooth-On's Psycho Paint paint base? I am wondering if the Ecoflex will bond properly to my Platsil gel 10 skinned puppet. I would hate to buy so much psycho paint when i only need a bit, id rather just use the ecoflex i have on-hand since it has a decent pot-life.

  One More thing. I have lightly sealed my ultracal 30 mold in Johnsons Paste Wax because it was so porous that the silicone was sticking to it big-time. Before I paint the cast puppet, whats the best way to remove this residue? I imagine wiping it down with acetone would work, but what kind of towel/wipe should i use? I imagine it should be lint free, has anyone used coffee filters for this or are they not absorbent enough? Will this method cause any issues?

THANKS!

I used Psycho Paint base at first, but now I just paint with  a small amount of Ecoflex or Platsil Gel-10 or whatever I used to cast the skin.

Just checking on my matting powder... yes, it is the FuseFX.  I didn't get their Clear Paint, I didn't even see that when I bought it 3 or 4 years ago.  I ordered from The Compleat Sculptor in NY, www.Sculpt.com , because there was nowhere local to get it at the time. 

I usually use soap, shaved into hot water, as a release agent, and then wash the silicone puppet off with hot water and a towel.  I think with a mould release wax, a solvent wash might be better.  I tend to use the Shellite (naphtha) when casting fibreglass resins in waxed moulds, so maybe I'd try that.

My experience using baby powder is that it does not work as well as the icing sugar, perhaps this is because it does not dissolve like sugar. I found that it did not cover the glossiness as well either, so put it down to the fact of it being powdered stone. But if it works, it works, so just try it and see. I'm sure Brick in the Yard's powder isn't junk, they wouldn't sell it if it was. My issues may be down to using baby powder rather than stuff sold for matting...

I bought some Psycho paint when I started out, and it went off in the tubs. Now I just use Platsil with some retarder and diluted with naphtha.

i use Vaseline diluted with white spirit as a release agent, and this works well. Diluting it means you don't spoil the sculpting. Have used soft soap on silicone to silicone moulds. If you are wiping off a wax, try white spirit first, as acetone is so nasty. If the wax dissolves with white spirit, try diluting it when you coat the mould, then you don't get much on the puppet.

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