Paints & Coatings Resource Center

Ask the Expert Question-and-Answer Archive

by Ron Joseph

March, 2003

Reflective Paint - Glass Beads

Q. I would like to find out about reflective paints used on fishing lures and license plates. I think the license plates use laminated plastic but since lures are odd shaped this would be impractical. So it must be sprayed. I know glass beads are used in some paints like in highway markings. But the finish on these lures is extremely "fine". I have contacted lure manufacturers to no avail. Could you tell me the name of this paint and where to get some? I would like to start restoring old auto license plates for classics and this would sure help me a lot!! I appreciate any info you can offer.

A. The 3M company, Minnesota Mining, supplied the reflective sign and license plate coating system. As you stated, they are accomplished with glass beads. Usually the clear glass beads are applied over a colored base coat for maximum reflectivity.

You may find that glass beads are available in various sizes; large size beads for coarse general purpose application to very small for applications such as the fishing lure coating. I would start with the on-line version of the Thomas Register to locate specialty suppliers.

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