Hi gang,

I have often read that Naphtha is used to thin tinted silicone so you can paint with it, or even push it through an airbrush.

I want to paint silicone with an airbrush, but Naphtha is not readily available in my area. Can I use Mineral Spirits or Acetone?

thanks,

Dawn

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Just to add a little something about gloves. I have been using a lot of epoxy (>1 ton) recently and have always used disposable nitrile gloves, because they are more impermeable to chemicals than either latex or vinyl. I would recommend the nitrile having had no problems with reactions to nasties. When pouring quantities of liquid solvent I generally use thick nitrile gloves (re-useable). I think I have got through about 3000 pairs of the disposables!!

My understanding is that vinyl gloves are OK for food handling, but not much more. Take care.

A little tip - sometimes it is good to put more than one pair on. If you splash the glove, the top one can be removed without exposing your skin.

I checked on the lighter fluid, here it is made with Butane, not Naphtha. I wonder if that matters. As I am reading more about these solvents, I am learning how ridiculously toxic they are. Very dangerous!!!

You haven't found the right stuff. What you have seen is a gas - butane - used to repressurise gas-powered lighters. You need the fluid. Here in Devon it is called Swan Lighter Fluid and comes in a yellow rectangular can 100ml, with a little fold-up spout.

On the back it says 'Petroleum Spirit: contains solvent Naptha (Petroleum) Light Aliph' (Don't ask me what the last bit means...!)

Do not be completely put off by the toxicity reports. Using sensible precautions should be sufficient in the quantities you will use. Good ventilation, no naked flames, long sleeves decent gloves and possibly eye protection. If the fumes are a problem, a fan behind you blowing them away would help, as would doing the work outdoors. Bear in mind that many toxicity reports presuppose industrial scenarios where whole rooms might be suffused with the nasties. I have used the naptha on the kitchen table, probably using about 5ml at a time. I think I'll survive!

Around here, all the lighters I see for sale are butane gas lighters, filled with butane which looks like a liquid when it's pressurised, but comes out as a gas.  So it's not normally called "lighter fluid".   But the lighter fluid for older lighters is still sold in some places.  Yep, it was in a rectangular can with a fold-up spout.  I also use it for smoothing plasticine, because it evaporates away and leaves the plasticine as it was before brushing it on, and for soaking brushes to clean off latex.

Don't they sell Shellite (or an equivalent) in the solvent section of the hardware in the UK?  It's usually next to the methylated spirit, white spirit, and turpentine.  Probably near the paints.  That's how I usually buy naptha.

What about silicone oil?

I think this is what you need (any brand). Used for "petrol" lighters, here in the UK.

I'm also about to have my first go with silicone and i'm hesitant, due to all the problems that seem to come with the stuff........ Don't have latex near near it......... Difficult to paint, etc.

I've coloured silicone caulk, just by adding acrylic paint to it. It still cured as normal. 

Are there no dedicated paints out there that are "silicone application ready"? You would think there would be, due to how wide spread silicone seems to be being used for sfx, etc. 

Go for it! Painting silicone is a bit tricky to start but gets much easier with experience. I am really enjoying using the d-limonene instead of naphtha, as it smells nice and is much less nasty. I find the silicone takes longer to go off, but can accelerate the setting by warming it with a hair dryer. Also using icing sugar is key to getting a matt finish. Put plenty on, then wash off when the silicone has set. Apply the silicone tints in layers, so you can build up quite complex effects without muddying the colours. Have fun and experiment!

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