Plastic Coat




Introduction: Plastic Coat

I am a photographer, a tinker, an electronics technology engineer, and author; I write short stor...

Plastic coating has hundreds of uses, water proofing the electronics of robots and remote controlled vehicles that might land in water or repairing fishing poles. Mix it with paint thinner then add it to paint and it makes an almost indestructible chip guard paint for your car that can stand up to any gravel road. You can even use it as modeling glue.

I repair everything I own that is not under warrantee, and I like to repurpose for reuse anything I cannot repair, or I recycle everything else. Now you can buy clear plastic coating but I like to make my own plastic coat.

This is a very easy product to make that you can use right after making or if you have an air tight container save for another day.

Step 1: Materials

Polystyrene or Styrofoam

Air tight Jar


You can use just about any clear solvent or naphtha gas to make plastic coat; however the lower the vaporization temperature the faster the plastic coat dries when used.

I used 118 ml of CPVC, ABS, PVC, clear primer cleaner that contained, Tetrahydrofuran, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Toluene, and Acetone to make clear plastic coat. This stuff vaporizes fast and I had some lying around not being used so I thought I would put it to use.

Step 2: Mixing

To make plastic coat you can use just about any Polystyrene or Styrofoam, but if you want clear plastic coat use just the white Polystyrene or Styrofoam. White Polystyrene or Styrofoam isn’t white, it’s clear like water, and just like water when it freezes it looks white.

Break up the Polystyrene or Styrofoam and stuff it into the jar.

Add the solvent to the jar, the Polystyrene or Styrofoam should start to dissolve almost immediately.

Keep adding Polystyrene or Styrofoam to the jar, if you are using a solvent that vaporizes quickly put the lid on the jar between adding Polystyrene or Styrofoam and wait for it to dissolve.

Continue adding Polystyrene or Styrofoam to the jar until it takes several minutes for the Polystyrene or Styrofoam to dissolve.

Now you have plastic coat that dries clear.

Step 3: Mixing Plastic Coat for Paint

Mixing plastic coat for use with paint is much the same as the clear coat with a couple key differences.

First, latex and other water based paint are out of the question, they just don’t mix with solvent.

Second, paint thinner takes longer to dissolve the Polystyrene or Styrofoam, and it takes longer to dry.

Third different oil based paints use different application thinners. Automotive paint uses automotive paint thinner, oil paints used in the home like you would use on your mailbox might use varsol as a thinner. If you use the wrong application thinner the plastic coat and the paint won’t mix.

Paints with a light colored pigment like white or yellow use the white Polystyrene or Styrofoam to make your plastic coat paint so it won’t taint the final color. Dark paints like black or metallic blue won’t be bothered as much by added pigments so you can use the colored Polystyrene or Styrofoam.

Mix the paint thinner and Polystyrene or Styrofoam to the jar just as I did for the clear plastic coat.

Since the paint thinner takes longer to dissolve the Polystyrene or Styrofoam in the jar you may have a lump of undissolved Polystyrene or Styrofoam.

Put the lid on the jar and let it sit overnight stirring it occasionally until the Polystyrene or Styrofoam in the jar has dissolved.

If all the Polystyrene or Styrofoam doesn’t dissolve by the next day you can filter out any solids with a paint filter.

Step 4: Using the Plastic Coat

To water proof electronic circuit boards first make sure the circuit board works as intended, the plastic coat is harder to take off the circuit board then it is to make and apply if you want to make repairs. Then dip the circuit board into the plastic coat, or paint the plastic coat onto the circuit board with a brush.

To repair worn resin on the whipping of a fishing pole just paint the clear plastic coat made with the PVC primer over the whipping and it dries in seconds making your fishing rod ready to go fishing in a minute.

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47 Discussions

Interesting, I came here looking for a paint on solution for a boat I am going to be making out of XPF sheating foam. Is there any reason why this shouldn't work for that? Also is there a way to add color to it permanently?

2 replies

I have never tried in on that foam, I have to test it.

Yes you can color it with oil based paint.

Okay cool. I am doing the prep work for building a kayak and would prefer the finished product not end up looking like pink panther. Thank you so much for the response!

Hi again Josehf, I have only just got some styrene in a package to try this. I am dissolving it in pure acetone, and is fizzes as it goes in, but it's leaving a soft white deposit in the bottom of the jar. It still seems to be dissolving (fizzing) but there's this deposit in the bottom. Am I doing something wrong?

1 reply

How good is this at UV resistance? Thinking of when you use it to re-furb solar cells. (another great idea you have) I live in Australia and we have much more "full sunshine" hours than you, but we still struggle with the cheap solar string lights, usually becasue of UV degradation I guess.

3 replies

You are right, some months we only get 55 hours of full sun where I live. I think our winter is as hard on solar cells if not more hard then the summer. Earth's orbit is at the Periapsis during our winter, (Closest to the Sun.) and since our winter is your summer, I'm not surprised solar cells don't last long down under.

Glass solar cells fair better but they are not Immune to Environmental Damage.

Toluene can remove some of the UV damage and revitalize the plastic epoxy resin on some solar cells, Toluene in the plastic coat makes it stick better.

By the way; how was your first day of fall?

:-D First day of fall was a bit cool 78F max down to 55F min but it was sunny. How was your first day of spring?

Sunny 41 F dropping to 5 F. went fishing caught my limit in trout so all in all a good beginning to spring. :-)

This is really great. I'm so angry when I think about all the styrene i've thrown in the rubbish. I will be using this to dip my PCB's for protection and to repair my fishing gear. Fantastic. Many thanks Josehf.

Are the white caps from water bottles suitably soluble ?

For that matter are the bottles themselves soluble ?

We drink mostly water bottles because cancer hot spots and arsenic...

Never tried water bottles but I have seen solvents with toluene melt a number of different plastics.

let's say I wanted to use a coat to paint over leaky wood on back porch. wouldnt it be way to flamable.

1 reply

The solvent evaporates quickly so after a short time it is no more flammable than plastic.

Hi Josehf, Have just printed off the solar light repair instructions, these will be of great help especially the four leg transistor explanation, have been looking for a data sheet for ages, this is also a great instructable for the plastic coat, so simple but so effective, regards Doc Cox.

1 reply

Thanks Doc

Just one thing if the plastic coat wont stick it needs more Toluene.

i did't buy the pvc cleaner/primer as a bit low on funds. i bought a bottle of nail polish remover in stead. i have some isopropyl alcohol. does that work as well?

1 reply

The nail polish remover should work well on its own it may not dissolve some forms of Styrofoam.