Help I'm clueless about paint!
November 7, 2008 4:31 PM   Subscribe

PaintFilter: For an art project, I'm looking to permanently paint a design on a whiteboard (a commercially bought whiteboard from Staples) such that the design is resistant to erasing, but people can write around the design with whiteboard markers. Problem is, we're clueless about paint! What kind of paint do we need?

The design involves about 8-10 discrete colors, or a few different shades of around 5 colors. Given this:

1. What kind of paint do we need? I was planning on heading over to Sherwin Williams to have them mix up some small quantities of interior paint for the colors we need. Will ordinary house paint work for painting on a whiteboard, or do I need to be going to an art store? If so, what should I be looking for.

2. Can we mix colors? I need a lime green and a darker shade of lime green. Can I add some black to the lime green to darken it, or should I buy a separate container of paint for each discrete color needed? Does mixing colors like this work for house paint too?

3. It's been recommended that I get a polyurethane coating to put over the paint (once it dries of course) to protect it from chipping off. Is this best or is something else more suitable for this purpose?

Thank you very much for the paint education.
posted by zachlipton to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd be worried about painting with dry erase markers on top of a coating, it might not stick.

You could paint on the back of a glass pane, mount it on a white base, and let the people draw on top of the glass (somebody asked how to do this before).
posted by clearlydemon at 5:19 PM on November 7, 2008

Thanks clearlydemon. To clarify, we're not planning on drawing with the markers on top of the coating; the coating goes over the paint, and the marker writing goes on the unpainted/uncoated parts of the whiteboard.
posted by zachlipton at 5:23 PM on November 7, 2008

I don't think you could rely on anything to stick to a white board unless you used sandpaper on it first. The surface of a white board is specifically designed to not be easily to stick to.
posted by Class Goat at 5:27 PM on November 7, 2008

Melamine should work, as would oil-based enamel or alkyd paints. You can mix colors as you would with art acrylics or oils. Black darkens, but also deadens colors. I would buy the dark lime green and add yellow, or yellow and white, to make the light green. Try mixing a small batch first.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:50 PM on November 7, 2008

How about permanent marker? Or does it have to be paint?
posted by cjorgensen at 6:44 PM on November 7, 2008

Enamel for glass or ceramics. It's made for painting on shiny surfaces. Some of it has to be baked to be permanent - in your case I would probably just hit it with a hair dryer.

You could also use acrylics and then spray with glossy acrylic sealer to keep them from scraping off. I would definitely use spray sealer/varnish/poly so you don't have brush strokes to interfere with your writing, or you could mask the areas you want to remain writeable with some tape and paper.
posted by Ostara at 7:09 PM on November 7, 2008

I was thinking eithe rnail polish type enamel or plain old sharpie markers. If you've ever accidentally written on your white board with Sharpies, you'll know the ink is darned near impossible to get off. Downside is that you can't mix colors, upside is that it's incredibly simple. I'd worry about enamel chipping off.
posted by jessamyn at 8:53 PM on November 7, 2008

Sharpies are easy to get off dry erase. Just scribble over it with a regular dry erase marker, let dry, and erase as normal. Markers may not be the best bet if you want it to have any durability.
posted by Ookseer at 12:20 AM on November 8, 2008

Ookseer, that has never worked for me. I wonder why that trick sometimes works and sometimes doesn't?
posted by jessamyn at 8:30 AM on November 8, 2008

You can also get permanent marker off using nail polish remover. I thought this would kill the board as well, but it didn't. And the permanent marker definitely was able to be marked over and erased when this happened to me.

Something to try anyway.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:40 AM on November 8, 2008

Can you use some kind of solvent to remove the non-stick coating from the whiteboard in the area on which you're going to paint? Class Goat suggested sandpaper, which might work, but it might be worth experimenting with acetone or something like that. Buy one of the smaller whiteboards and do a little experimentation.
posted by greenie2600 at 12:15 PM on November 8, 2008

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