Silicone & FuseFX
Silicone & FuseFX
What is the NUMBER ONE RULE of silicone?
Platinum silicone* is a wonderful, amazing, versatile material. You can cast it in a mold, you can thicken it and build it up over a form, you can thin it to let it flow into a smooth, glass-like surface. It's relatively inert and non-toxic, wonderfully translucent, and a little tends to go a long way.
But aside from being a bit messy it has one major flaw...... inhibition.
No, your silicone is not shy. Silicone is normally comprised of a liquid A part and a liquid B part. When mixed together a chemical reaction occurs which solidifies the viscous fluid into the stretchy, rubbery silicone we know and love. Inhibition then, is when something (usually a foreign chemical in the mix) prevents the proper reaction between the A & B parts and keeps the silicone from solidifying. In other words - a big goopy mess.
Which is why it's extremely important to ALWAYS DO A TEST FIRST!
Need to wash off your silicone pieces before painting/adding further detail etc? Test that soap first! Aloe inhibits silicone (see? Told you it was random) and guess what? A lot of soaps have aloe in them.
How do you do a test? While wearing vinyl or nitrile gloves (which don't cause inhibition) wash out a small mixing cup with the soap you are thinking of using. Rinse well. Then mix a small batch of silicone in the cup. It doesn't have to be big at all - less that a teaspoon in total will more than suffice. Leave it for the recommended curing time (which will vary depending on the brand and type of silicone you are using). When you return, give it a poke. Has it solidified? Yes? Great - go ahead and use that soap! No? Then something in the soap is causing inhibition and you need to switch brands.
You need to do a test every time you add an untested substance into your process. Just because one type of soap works doesn't mean all of them will. Ditto with glues, if you are attaching foam pieces together before you coat them in silicone.
T'is a far, FAR better thing to sacrifice a teaspoon or two of silicone then forge on ahead and potentially ruin ALL your expensive silicone and all the time and effort you have put into your piece.
if you learn nothing else about silicone your mantra** should always be - TEST! TEST! TEST!
* This article talks mainly about Platinum-based silicones. Tin-based silicones are less prone to inhibition but have their own unique challenges.
** A mantra which, by the way, will serve you very well for a lot of non-silicone stuff too! Scientist-like habits can lead you to great artistic triumphs!
What is the difference between Tin and Platinum Silicone?
What is "inhibition"?
Help! My FuseFX paint is not setting!
How do I know if my FuseFX product is expired?
Can I use FuseFX to paint a vinyl/latex/unidentified "rubber" ____?
What is the difference between FuseFX intrinsic colours (pigments) and extrinsic colours (paints)?
In this package of FuseFX there is a "Part A" but where is the "Part B" mentioned in the instructions?
Can I add more/less Part A to make the mixture more/less transparent?
NO - you MUST mix the Part A in a 50:50 ratio with the Part B otherwise the product will NOT cure. You can mix these by eye, as long as the ratio is close to 50:50 but other ratios will not work.
To make a colour more transparent you can thin the mixed paint with an appropriate solvent (Toluene, Xylene, or Naptha) or you can add M/F-110 Clear PART B to the coloured Part B of your choice BEFORE adding enough Part A to equal the two B's _combined_. For example you might mix 1 part M/F-110 Part B to 1 part F-230 Darkest Brown and then add 2 PARTS of Part A to activate the mixture for painting.
Can I airbrush silicone?
Yes! You will need an appropriate silicone solvent (such as Toluene, Xylene, or Naptha).
To airbrush FuseFX: mix the FuseFX paint as normal (50:50 Part A and the coloured Part B) then dilute the mixture with 1.5-2 parts of solvent and continue to mix until smooth.
Spray at approximately 15 PSI.
What solvents can I use to thin silicone?
Mixed silicone can be thinned with Toluene, Xylene, or Naptha. These solvents are not always sold under these names (often they are sold as odorless paint thinner). It is recommended to do a test before using a new brand or type of odorless paint thinner to make sure it contains the correct solvent and does not contain other fillers which may inhibit platinum silicones.
BEFORE mixing you can purchase a silicone thinner add-in from a supplier such as Smooth-On. Follow directions carefully as too much thinner can inhibit the mix.
Are FuseFX products skin safe?
Yes ... and No.
For FuseFX paints and pigments the products are skin safe once they have cured. While the products are in an uncured state, however, you should wear vinyl or nitrile gloves (NOT latex) while handling the product.
Smoothie and Royal Jel-E should be used while wearing vinyl or nitrile gloves.
How should I prepare a silicone piece for painting?
How much FuseFX paint do I need for my project?
If I make a mistake while painting can I fix it?
YES! As long as the paint has not yet cured you can simply wipe it off with a lint free tissue and a bit of isopropyl alcohol.
Once the paint has cured however, it permanently bonds to the piece and will have to be cut off to be removed.