I am planning on using rubber cement paint for a new batch of polyurethane foam puppets with a latex skin, but I have never used it before and would like advice and tips.  Previously I have been using latex acrylic paint and have no real issues with that except that it doesn't hold up too well after lots of animation.  I have been doing some research and talking to people in the industry and everyone says to use rubber cement paint, however I have gotten conflicting information.  The majority of people have said to use 1 part oil paint to 5 part rubber cement mixed with mineral spirits or naphtha, however a few people have said acrylic.  Does it matter oil versus acrylic?  Also, the characters have interchangeable parts so I need to make patches to cover up the areas where the pieces interlock.  Before, I have just painted latex acrylic on glass and then peel it up and stick it over the areas adhering it with pro's aide.  Would I be able to do something similar with rubber cement paint?  Does rubber cement paint ever seep out of the cells since I am concerned about the costumes being ruined? Thank you for any advice.

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I used to use rubber cement paint on my first foam latex puppets.  I mixed universal pigments - the sort they have in the machine at the paint store to mix up acrylic wall paint or exterior enamel colours to order.  Since it mixes with both water and oil base paint bases, that doesn't answer the question of which paint would be best to add.   I think acrylic had trouble mixing with it, but it's been a long time...  I thinned with Shellite, which is naptha.  It was very good as far as adhesion and flexibility are concerned, not so great for detail painting.  It stayed a little bit tacky and needed to be dusted with talc, like most paint formulas for foam latex.  I don't think it came off on anything.

Since then I've been using acrylic paint with Pros Aide on latex, both foam and liquid latex skins.

 

Thank you!  I will try that.  Do you have a preference of rubber cement versus latex paint?  

StopmoNick said:

I used to use rubber cement paint on my first foam latex puppets.  I mixed universal pigments - the sort they have in the machine at the paint store to mix up acrylic wall paint or exterior enamel colours to order.  Since it mixes with both water and oil base paint bases, that doesn't answer the question of which paint would be best to add.   I think acrylic had trouble mixing with it, but it's been a long time...  I thinned with Shellite, which is naptha.  It was very good as far as adhesion and flexibility are concerned, not so great for detail painting.  It stayed a little bit tacky and needed to be dusted with talc, like most paint formulas for foam latex.  I don't think it came off on anything.

Since then I've been using acrylic paint with Pros Aide on latex, both foam and liquid latex skins.

 

I haven't seen rubber cement sold anywhere for years, so I can't say. Acrylic and Pros-aide for painting details maybe, you can thin it so it handles well on a small brush, but still covers. I sort of remember rubber cement quickly got thick and hard to manage as the naptha evaporated, and didn't cover as well when it was thin. It was good for a general tone or blotchy effect, and less prone to fine wrinkles on foam latex than acrylic/prosAide I think.

I use prosthetic adhesive and soft body acrylic paints as a base in a 50/50 ratio.  That can be thinned with water and run through an airbrush.

I tried rubber cement and acrylic a couple of times.  The acrylic doesn't disperse well at all, so you get tiny blobs of paint in the glue medium.

An animator near me named Larry Larson swears by rubber cement and oil paints.  I've not had an occasion to try it; lately I've been building mostly armatures, and when I do a puppet silicone has been more appropriate than foam due to how the puppet was going to be used

Dorothy, what is this latex paint you keep referring to? When I hear that term what comes to mind is big gallon cans of house paint. But I'm assuming that's not what you mean - is it some kind of PAX paint? Or are you just referring to putting some paint (acrylic or similar) in liquid latex? 

The generally accepted paint for latex puppets is called PAX paint, shorthand for prosthetic adhesive (pros-aide), and is just a mix of pros-aide and some form of pigments, often acrylic paint, sometimes powdered pigments. 

I only ask because it's important to understand each other on matters like this and generic terms can be very confusing (like when people just say clay without specifying what kind). My suspicion is that you're talking about some form of PAX paint, possibly pre-mixed? 

Thank you for all of the tips!  I was thinking about mixing the two techniques to see what happens, but it will require a lot of testing to see what will work for these puppets.

StopmoNick said:

I haven't seen rubber cement sold anywhere for years, so I can't say. Acrylic and Pros-aide for painting details maybe, you can thin it so it handles well on a small brush, but still covers. I sort of remember rubber cement quickly got thick and hard to manage as the naptha evaporated, and didn't cover as well when it was thin. It was good for a general tone or blotchy effect, and less prone to fine wrinkles on foam latex than acrylic/prosAide I think.

I have been hearing that about the acrylic mixed with the rubber cement.  A friend suggested using universal tints in the rubber cement instead of oil or acrylic.  Thank you to both yourself and Larry for the advice.  

Dave Hettmer said:

I use prosthetic adhesive and soft body acrylic paints as a base in a 50/50 ratio.  That can be thinned with water and run through an airbrush.

I tried rubber cement and acrylic a couple of times.  The acrylic doesn't disperse well at all, so you get tiny blobs of paint in the glue medium.

An animator near me named Larry Larson swears by rubber cement and oil paints.  I've not had an occasion to try it; lately I've been building mostly armatures, and when I do a puppet silicone has been more appropriate than foam due to how the puppet was going to be used

Sorry I didn't go more into specifics.  I am using rubber liquid latex and mixing it with acrylic paint and thinning it with ammonia/water.  I do have pros-aide, but I haven't tried just mixing acrylic in it yet, but it is something I will try since many people have recommended it now.  

Strider said:

Dorothy, what is this latex paint you keep referring to? When I hear that term what comes to mind is big gallon cans of house paint. But I'm assuming that's not what you mean - is it some kind of PAX paint? Or are you just referring to putting some paint (acrylic or similar) in liquid latex? 

The generally accepted paint for latex puppets is called PAX paint, shorthand for prosthetic adhesive (pros-aide), and is just a mix of pros-aide and some form of pigments, often acrylic paint, sometimes powdered pigments. 

I only ask because it's important to understand each other on matters like this and generic terms can be very confusing (like when people just say clay without specifying what kind). My suspicion is that you're talking about some form of PAX paint, possibly pre-mixed? 

Ok, thanks for clarifying. 

Liquid latex doesn't make a very good paint at all, it's so thick and gloppy it fills in all the surface details. Pros-aide is far better, goes on thin like paint should. The difference? Imagine using thick mud to paint everything as opposed to a micron-thin layer of actual paint. 

I haven't had too much problem with the liquid latex being too thick, but I thin it down a lot with ammonia/water.  However I will try pros-aide since it sounds like the better choice.  Thank you for the advice.

Strider said:

Ok, thanks for clarifying. 

Liquid latex doesn't make a very good paint at all, it's so thick and gloppy it fills in all the surface details. Pros-aide is far better, goes on thin like paint should. The difference? Imagine using thick mud to paint everything as opposed to a micron-thin layer of actual paint. 

You'll be happier with the prosaide. Like you, I used latex as a base for a while and was happy enough with it that I used it for several projects. Eventually I was tired of the peeling and how it filled in details (as Mike mentioned), so I tried prosaide.  That was about 20 years ago, and I've except for those couple of experiments with rubber cement and acrylic I've not used anything else.

I mentioned earlier the guy who uses a rubber cement mix, and I'm sure it's as good as he says.  But the water based cleanup and lack of fumes from prosaide is a big plus, especially for people like me working in their homes.

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