With the right amount of preparation you can gloss plastic with a brilliant finish.
The level of finish you can achieve depends on the condition of the plastic, how you apply the paint and the type of paint you use.
Before proceeding with glossing plastic, it is essential you understand how paint systems work. This will help ensure you choose the right paint for the finish you want to achieve in terms of appearance and durability.
Paints that stick to plastic via adhesion offer a good looking but non-durable finish. They ‘stick’ to the plastic so will peel away over time. Acrylic and oil-based paints are examples of such paints. Ideally, you should avoid these.
Molecular bond paints
This is the ideal paint system for glossing plastic and UPVC. Paints that bond with plastic on a molecular level create a good looking and highly durable finish. They work by way of a chemical reaction that changes the shape of the paint molecules to those of the substrate, creating a molecular cross bond. These paints are solvent-based.
What gives paint gloss?
Achieving a high level of gloss with plastic is all about the paint you use. With the right paint, there’s no need to polish the finish to a high sheen.
The gloss level of a paint is determined by the ratio of resinous, an adhesive binder which solidifies after drying. A higher content of this binder leads to a higher gloss. The difference in ratio between satin and gloss paint is around 60%.
What’s the easiest way to gloss plastic?
The easiest way to paint plastic in volume is with an electric spray painting gun. This allows you to cover a large area rapidly in thin even coats.
For a small series of plastic parts and models you can fit on a sheet of A4 paper, feel free to use a cannister of spray paint. However, this shouldn’t be your application method on larger projects like UPVC windows. It just isn’t efficient.