The Blog for GW Pens

A peek at what we make

I See a Red Acrylic and I Want to Paint it …. Taupe?

Yesterday’s entry of How Long DOES it Take? where I touch upon an aspect of pen making seemed to be well received, so I figured let’s keep on track with the behind the scenes entries and follow a few of these pens from yesterday through the entire process.

One thing I need to be mindful about when making a pen from acrylic vs. wood (or almost any other material) is how translucent it is. How much light will pass through to the brass tube in the middle? With the finished product sometimes being as thin as 1/64″ it is often very easy to see the brass tube, especially at the ends where the material tends to be the thinnest. The last thing you want is a beautifully colored acrylic blank on a sparkling Rhodium plated hardware set to be discolored because of the brass. And often times, even if you can’t see the brass, it is still affecting how the final color of the pen is seen.

To combat this, a lot of people started to paint the brass tubes. This is better than leaving them be, but the downside is if the acrylic is thin enough, you can see the glue that adheres the tube to the inside of the acrylic pen blank. And so the process of ‘reverse painting’ was started- painting the inside of the acrylic blank instead of the tube that goes in the hole. But the color doesn’t always have to be a match to the acrylic, especially if you know the finished piece will be a little thicker.

I used to use spray paint, but the fumes and lack of customization was a bother. Plus sometimes it was difficult to get a good solid finish inside of the tube. I’m now using acrylic paint which not only coats nicely, it also lets me mix the colors for a more customized color. So, following some of the blanks I cut and drilled yesterday, here is an example with a blank that has a predominantly teal color in it with a paint mixture I made to match:

Reverse painting a teal blank.

You can see the paint in the drilled opening is almost a perfect match to the teal in the body of the pen. When I turn this, that will be the color that really pops.

Blue pen blank reverse painted.

In the blank above, there were 2 blues and black to choose from, so I went with the lighter blue. Again, I’m looking for a nice pop of the lighter color here.

Red pen blank reverse painted.

And lastly, a red blank painted more of a taupe color. It’s a bit hard to see in this picture, but as you turn this blank in the light there are some very dark undertones. The taupe will help pull those out, adding more dimension.

These will all be allowed to fully cure overnight, at which point I will glue the tubes in place. Then that glue will be allowed to fully cure overnight as well. Have we figured out how long it actually takes to make a pen yet? Some of these paints are good right out of the tube, others need to be hand mixed. Are we counting drying time?

Next week we will follow them on to the lathe.

(Next: Part 3 of 3)


7 comments on “I See a Red Acrylic and I Want to Paint it …. Taupe?

  1. Pingback: Acrylic Wrap-Up « Home

  2. Pingback: How Long DOES it Take? « Home

  3. Pingback: How Long DOES it Take? « Home

  4. Stephanie
    November 25, 2012

    Very cool idea! What type of brush do you use to paint the blanks?

    • GrecoWoodcrafting
      November 26, 2012

      Thanks, Stephanie. Oddly enough…a Q-tip 🙂

      • Stephanie
        November 27, 2012

        Thanks so much! I was thinking that a q-tip would probably give the best coverage. We’re going to try this out soon.

      • GrecoWoodcrafting
        November 27, 2012

        Some of the larger holes, like 12.5mm could use a small brush, but smaller holes like 7-10mm I’ve found the Q-tip to really be the easiest. Good luck, and don’t be afraid to sand it down after you paint it to make the interior uniform. You might need 2 coats.

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