Priming creates a base layer for your paint-job to adhere to. It also acts as a blank canvas for your top colors, giving them an even appearance.
What you will need in this step
- The best distance to spray from
- The overspray method
- How many coats of primer to apply
What you need to get started
- Your primer
- A thin, solid board to place your pieces on
- Good lighting
Do you have to use a primer?
If you use Krylon Fusion, you do not need to use a primer, as it is essentially a paint and primer in one. If you bought some krylon fusion, then go ahead and use it as you would a primer.
The video above, as well as the rest of this article will show you how to spray your first coat. I used a plastic primer, rust-oleum plastic primer to be exact.
No matter what paint you use, Krylon Fusion or Rust-Oleum Plastic Primer, it still is best to have multiple thin layers. More on that below.
Tips for painting
My favorite thing to place my pieces on is a thin wooden board. I know that some use cardboard, which is great and all, but is harder to pick up and move if you have to move to another area to paint.
Another benefit is being able to move your pieces without touching them. In the video you saw how easy it is rotate the board around to spray other pieces.
I recommend using gloves, just to keep your hands clean. You can do the obligatory doctor glove-snap when you put them on, too.
While painting, be sure to spray short bursts. Continue doing short bursts till you cover the entire blaster. Doing one big stream creates masses, or goops, of paint, which take longer to dry and look sloppy. It’s best to use your elbow or shoulder to move the can, and not your wrist. You want your spray to stay at a consistent distance.
Start spraying outside of the blaster, then over the blaster, and end outside of it once again. We’ll call this the overspray method.
When you do the overspray method you reduce the chance of spraying globs of paint onto your shells. Not only do globs take longer to dry, but they can cheapen the quality of your paint job if you leave them on.
When you spray before and a little after your ‘canvas’ you ensure the best part of the spray hits your target!
What to do if you have globs?
If you do get some globs of paint on a shell —don’t worry. Finish painting the layer you are working on and let it dry like normal.
Once it is dry you can sand down the glob till it is as even as the rest. It is a minor inconvenience that is easily solved, but we still like to avoid it by using the overspray method discussed above.
Painting accessories and smaller pieces
Remember those gloves you put on? Gloves come in handy because they allow you to keep your hands clean while spraying the more difficult pieces such as the stock or site, which can be easier to spray while holding.
When spraying the clip make sure to not get paint where darts go. If you carefully angle the spray of your paint you will not have to tape that area up - but only do that if you are confident in your ability of using a spray can.
I didn’t care about that because this was going to be a prop piece, not a fully functional blaster. Before you paint the scope - make sure you have taped it. That was covered in the Cleaning video.
Primer, meet sandpaper
If you want to prime like a professional, you will want to heed this tip that was not covered in the video. It is more work, but doing it will create a longer lasting paint job. The only downside is this takes some extra time to do.
The tip is this: in between each dry layer, you lightly sand the dry paint to create a surface the next layer can easily stick to. Each time you sand you use a damp rag to wipe away the aftermath.
You sand first, then wipe away the aftermath. Let any dampness from the rag dry off of the shells, then spray your next layer. Repeat till you have all your layers of primer on your shells.
A couple thin layers of primer + light sanding in between = a longer lasting paint job.
Most people don’t do this added step because it creates more work. You may decide it isn’t worth the extra time to do. It’s up to you!
Since this tutorial is geared to beginners, you will be applying only 2 layers of primer on your shells, which means you would only be sanding 2 times. That’s not so bad, is it?
A quick recap
- Use primer spray paint formulated for plastics
- Use either white or black primer spray paints
- Spray on 2 light coats
- Sand between coats