What is the best method to paint this hideous clock?
March 18, 2012 3:31 PM   Subscribe

What is the best method to paint this hideous clock?

I have this wall clock thats been in my family for 20-30 years. It's pretty ugly but i find it oddly unique likewise its managed to not be thrown out. I'm fairly certain its made out of polystyrene in Italy.

I'd like to make a creative project out of the thing by painting it black and replacing the face and arms with new pieces. What is the best way to paint something like this? Do i need to strip or remove the current finish or paint prior to applying a new coat? It does have some detailing that i'd like to preserve so i'm not if spray paint will work likewise im afraid the wrong solvent will melt the polystyrene.
posted by AMP583 to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
 
You could use enamel or acrylic model airplane paint, like the kind you'd get at a hobby shop (example). Those model airplanes and cars are mostly polystyrene. From my days as a handsome hobbyist youth, I don't recall much prep work, other than washing the plastic to get any dust and grease off before painting. Perhaps another hobbyist can comment on that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:03 PM on March 18, 2012


High quality spray paint. The ones I've used are Plutonium and Montana/MTN. Everything else by Molotow I've used has been very good, so I'd be confident using them probably. Rustoleum has an "Artist's Series" or something like that that's significantly better than the regular hardware store stuff (and has more colors), and I guess that would be okay for a one-off thing like this. I can find MTN at my local art store, but then there's a major art school here. You may or may not have to order the good ones.

Whatever you use, even if it's the cheap stuff, just clean it well first and do it in very thin layers and stop when you have coverage. Maybe 4-10 layers depending on your paint. Start spraying while not pointed at the piece and move onto it. Don't be tempted to get the can up close. Stay 18 or 24 inches away. Dont move to fast or shake the can while you're spraying and move the nozzle away before stopping. I don't know what kind of strippers I'd be comfortable applying to polystyrene, and I'm pretty sure the paint will stick to it just fine.
posted by cmoj at 4:04 PM on March 18, 2012


I have had good luck with high-quality Rustoleum spray paint -- the kind that has more of a trigger-like handle. The have an oil-rubbed bronze one that is almost like a warm, metallic black.

You may also want to consider automotive spray paint if you'd like a high-gloss finish. Either way, I'd flip it over and paint a tiny part of the back first, just to make sure that you like the finish, before doing the front.
posted by Ostara at 4:14 PM on March 18, 2012


It does have some detailing that i'd like to preserve so i'm not if spray paint will work likewise im afraid the wrong solvent will melt the polystyrene.

Yes, organic solvents eat polystyrene; do not just use any old spray paint, unless you want that Salvador Dali look. If you must use a spray paint (which is really the only way to go with something like this), it MUST be water based.

The only drawback to the water based paint is that it'll take a lot longer to dry.

(Personally, though, I think that clock is beautiful as is, cheap plastic or not.)
posted by Sys Rq at 4:57 PM on March 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


May I suggest you ditch the ugly 70's swag chain in the process, and figure out some way to hang it from the back? I think you'll hate it less that way.
posted by halfbuckaroo at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2012


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