Help me be the Green Lantern!
May 18, 2006 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Help me fulfill my nerdly destiny and make my lantern into a decent Golden Age Green Lantern prop.

A while back I found one of these lanterns at a consignment shop (for much less than that price thankfully) and it looked like a nice match for Alan Scott's lantern. Except, you know, being aluminum and red plastic. I call upon the Justice Society of Mefi to help brint it to its rightful green-ness. My best lead so far is that Rust-Oleum makes a metallic green spraypaint, but I've yet to see it in my local craft and hardware stores or online for sale. Any tips on coloring the aluminum body, translucent plastic cap and/or glass lantern bulb would be muchly appreciated.
posted by luftmensch to Grab Bag (5 answers total)
If you've got the cash to spend, what about taking it to a paint-shop that does custom work for cars and motorcycles? They have every colour you can think of, and can mix custom colours. You would end up with something that is glossy with solid coverage and they can even put metal flakes into it. I have no idea how much that would cost.
posted by helvetica at 9:44 AM on May 18, 2006

Rust-Oleum 7252 Racing Green Metallic
USA Hardware

For the bulb, try taking the lamp to a large hardware store and see if they can match it. Alternatively, you could probably glue some green cellophane over the bulb dome. As for the red plastic cap - maybe remove it and fill over the top?
posted by junesix at 9:51 AM on May 18, 2006

Response by poster: I'd rather keep the bullet-shaped red plastic dome cap thing on the top, if I can. It looks right with the shape of the lantern, but unfortunately I realize that there's no way to turn a piece of translucent red plastic into a piece of translucent green plastic, so I'd probably try to paint it the same as the aluminum body.
posted by luftmensch at 9:59 AM on May 18, 2006

For Reference:

posted by blue_beetle at 10:02 AM on May 18, 2006

Professional props maker, to the rescue!

I'm going to assume that you don't have a bunch of specialized equipment here, just the lantern, a little bit money (maybe 20 to 30 bucks), and space you can get dirty. Given those assumptions this is what I would do:

-Get the paint. Any decent hardware store/DIY place can do a color match from any sample you bring in. Ideally, you want this to be spraypaint, but there are ways around this. They can be a bit annoying though, so I reccomend that first you try to find an actual paint store in your area, preferably one that carries Rustoleum products. If they don't have what you want in stock, they can probably order it for you, especially since you have the number of what you want. If you can't find a cooperative place, get the paint you want in a regular style, and then get a Preval
. This might take some looking, but it will do the job nicely.

-Prep the lantern. Aluminum is pretty much guranteed to have some kind of coating on it. You will need to remove this, or your paint won't stick. Get some sand paper (220 grit) and have at it! Don't go crazy, sanding holes in it or anything, but do try to get into every nook and cranny. Very annoying and tedious, but crucial!

-Mask the lens. If you can remove the lens entirely, that would be even better, but barring that, some masking tape and brown paper will do the job. The blue tape that you can get for masking is much better than traditional 'masking tape', as it won't leave glue residue behind.

-Paint that bad boy! Make sure you have decent ventilation, and if you are doing this outside (I reccomend this), make sure the wind isn't blowing hard enough to mess up your paint job. Use lots of light passes; it's much easier to add more paint than it is to remove extra! Having drip marks down the side would be a shame... (I can't think of any easy way to change the color of the plastic cap, so I suggest just spraying it with the rest of the lantern. You will need to sand the plastic a bit harder in order to make sure that the paint can get a grip)

-Tint the lens. This might be the trickiest part... The easiest solution would be to apply a piece of green colored light gel to the inside, but if you don't have ready access to gel, it can be hard to get just a couple of square inches. If you know any theatre people, this would be the time to ask a favor of them! You could also try colored Saran Wrap, which will be more difficult to work with than gel, but much easier to come by. Again, ideally, you will have removed the lens, and you can apply the colored film to the inside of the lens. If this isn't possible, then clear taping it in place is probably your best solution. There are glass paints available from art/craft stores but applying smoothly can be tricky. Spraying it on might be an option, if you have an extra Preval, but you would want to practice on something non-vital first.

Phew! That was a long post, so I hope it's useful! That's a durn nifty idea you got there, so I wish you the best of luck!
posted by schwap23 at 7:28 PM on May 18, 2006

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