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Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

December, 2005

Painting on Plexiglass

Q. I have a project of making a kite sculpture (outside setting). I thought of using plexiglass (Lucite L) and painting the design on it. Could you recommend a paint compatible with plexiglass and resistant to weather?

A. Plexiglass is very sensitive to solvents; therefore I would recommend that you only use waterborne paints. Even some waterborne paints contain small amounts of solvents that can affect the Plexiglass; therefore you should experiment with exterior acrylic latex paints. On the whole acrylic latex paints perform well when exposed to the outdoor elements, but two-component polyurethanes will generally outlast the latexes. You might want to try overcoating the waterborne latex with a two-component polyurethane (the same as are used by the automotive refinishing shops), BUT you must wait until there latex paint has lost its sensitivity to the polyurethane. If you overcoat the latex paint too soon, the paint will lift. I can't guarantee that this will work, especially if the solvents from the polyurethane manage to penetrate their way to the Plexiglass. You will need to perform some experiments to determine which road to follow.

Best wishes,

Ron Joseph

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