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How to chemically reproduce a product called crystal fx or DNA mutant crystals from just an MSDS? Answered

I have been trying to reproduce a chemical paint treatment made by Alsa Corp - Crystal FX.  All I have to go on is the MSDS.  A similar solution is produced by DNA Mutant Paints.

Yes, I am trying to do this on the cheap, we are looking at spraying my entire Japanese mini truck in this solution come spring, so... why not make up the solution myself.  Ingredients from the MSDS - Water, Urea, Neocryl BT-175, Aqua Ammonia.
Have been experimenting already with urea to some success and another product that is designed to reproduce crystal like ice patterns on your window glass for Christmas.  I found one can at a store that said that container had been sitting there for over 20 years, they don't even know where it came from.  No data solution on that.  Any thoughts, path forward ideas would be great, provided they don't exceed the price of just buying the solution pre-made - about $200.00 plus 150$ for shipping - I live in the middle of nowhere.... 4 hours south of Alaska.  The pictures are of the product applied, and the silly truck is my target, a 1991 right hand drive Mitsubishi Mini Truck



Best Answer 5 years ago

Keeping in mind a few things: The chemistry behind an advanced crackle paint would take more trial and error to get the ratios and chemistry correct than would be the entire volume of a purchased batch;

Also, consider the crackle is being applied to the bottom side of an acrylic blob - unless you're adding a cm of acrylic or epoxy to the outside of your truck, without the magnifying effect it won't look the same just painted on a surface.

If it were something widely known and easy to do I'd totally recommend DIY, but patented super secret formulas are that way for a reason.

Yes ratios would be key of course. The Neocryl is a wetting agent allowing it stay in contact with the surface rather then beading. The urea forming the water soluble crystalline structures. The aqua ammonia being the evaporant and finally the water as the solvent for the urea which is driven off during the evaporation phase of the ammonia allowing the urea reaction to occur.


Were you able to reproduce this effect with these ingredients that you mentioned?

Thank you very much in advance

Never got around to it, though oddly enough I did run into a store selling a liquid you spray on glass to form "crystal snowflakes" looks to be similiar, may act the same way.


Você conseguiu reproduzir este efeito com estes ingredientes que você mencionou?

Desde já agradeço

What if you use urine? I read that urine contains Urea + water of course.


5 years ago

I can't tell you how to reproduce it, but in the 1930's and 40's National guitars (National Dobro Corportation) used a similar crystalline paint effect called "Duco" (or "Dueco" or "Frosted Duco").

That probably doesn't help much... ;-)

Similar but different effect, will note for future projects, thank you

If you have not done so already, you should read the MSDS and the techincal data sheet for the DNA-Paints(r) Mutant Crystalz(tm) that you linked to.  Those documents are here,
and here,

The first thing to notice is that the DNA-Paints MSDS offers a more simple recipe than the one from Crystal-FX.  The DNA-Paints MSDS mentions three ingredients:  urea, water, and isopropanol

I think it is safe to assume the critical ingredient is urea, and that is what is forming the actual crystals as the water-mixture solvent evaporates.

Notice in the warning in the TDS about the process being retarded by high humidity, and also notice the warning about how your top-coat must not be a water-based paint.

What do these warnings mean?  Well, my guess is that they both imply the solvent for your crystal solution is mostly water.  High humidity will slow the rate at which water evaporates.  Adding water (in the form of water based paint) will of course reverse the process of water drying; i.e. make the crystals wet again, ie. the crystals of urea just formed dissolve into the water in the water-based paint, thus erasing the pretty crystal pattern. 

To make a long story short:  the most important players here are water and ureaYou paint the water-urea solution onto your scratches, sanded in the previous step.  Then the water dries up leaving solid crystallized urea.  Then you paint a non-water-based top coat on top of the urea crystals.

The other ingredients, like isopropanol, or ammonia-water, I am guessing those maybe just help the evaporation happen faster. Try just a solution of urea in water first, and see if that gives the effect you want.