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Thickening enamel paint. Answered

I am looking for a way to thicken enamel paint to a buttery consistency similar to the acrylic paint you get in a tube. I worked out a decorative effect years ago which uses acrylics and is good for painting tins, but was never hard enough to last well.

The only thing I could think of was ground glass, but I'm not sure if you can buy this as a hobbyist, as it used to be used as a poison.

(If you're curious, the way I used to do it was to lay down a layer of acrylic in one colour, pick up the surface with a brush to make it stand out, wait for it to dry, then put a contrasting colour over it, and when it is dry sand it with wet sand paper until the colours from below stand out. It makes a marbled ripply effect which looks pretty e.g. in purple and orange).

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steveastroukBest Answer (author)2012-04-14

Ground glass ISN'T a poison !! Its an old-wives tale.
http://www.snopes.com/horrors/poison/glass.asp

The microballoons are very effective thickeners.

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ganglion (author)steveastrouk2012-04-14

Re poisons, I just picked that up somewhere - thanks.

What effect would microballoons have on the colour? Do they make it whiter?

I was wondering about getting some enamel varnish, then adding coloured glass powder to it to make the paint. E.g.

http://shop.bullseyeglass.com/accessory-glass/frit-powder.html?suffix_lnav=34&mode=list&limit=25&size_lnav=7&gauge_lnav=143

http://www.wonderlandmodels.com/products/humbrol-no35-50ml-enamel-varnish-gloss/

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steveastrouk (author)ganglion2012-04-14

They will tend to lighten it, for sure.

Steve

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ganglion (author)steveastrouk2012-04-14

I think I'll go for the glass powder and clear enamel.

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rickharris (author)2012-04-14

There are thickening agents for Acrylics that may work.

Glass reinforced resins are thickened with a variety of powders that may work - There are Microballoons that are actually glass bubbles.

talc and corn starch are also used.

You may get what you want by leaving the lid off so the solvent evaporates if you stir regularly you should be able to control the thickness without it drying out.

take care the solvent may be flamable.

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user

By what amounts would you add the corn starch to thicken paint?

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steveastrouk (author)2012-04-14

If you can use coloured frits, you could make a paste with epoxy perhaps ?

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ganglion (author)steveastrouk2012-04-14

Maybe but I think I'll try the enamel first and see if it works.

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ganglion (author)ganglion2012-05-06

I did it with acrylics in the end (the glass powder / enamel didn't work out). Pictures here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Marble-effect-tin-box/

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