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Old 07-10-2019, 07:33 PM
jgragg jgragg is offline
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Default Re: Questions about foam models as safe vivarium decorations

My concern is in this passage:

Yeah, I believe you can definitely seal foam adequately, to ensure animal welfare as far as toxicity goes. This I mean in terms of the foam itself, plus the sealant, plus whatever tinting you need to accomplish. I like 100% epoxy solids products. No VOCs, less layers to apply so less concerns with delam / bad adhesion, and you get a quick cure. Acrylic paints I trust, atop the epoxy, not as a substitute. Also the mineral dry tints (though the color options are very limited).
Bolded part is what I'm concerned with.

I'm not sure if this means that acrylic paints must be on top of the epoxy sealant, or if "atop" means "in addition to," in which case the epoxy sealant can be on top of the acrylic paint.

I'm sure I'm overthinking this, and I'm not even sure if acrylic paint is endangered by misting. But I want to make sure before I go this route.
Hmm. A couple observations:
  • Acrylic paint is not certain to hold up to constant immersion. But it does pretty well with wet/dry cycling, in my experience.
  • Drylok comes in a smooth and a rough formulation. I have only used the rough. Its texture would not be attractive for all uses...perhaps including your intended one? The smooth one seems more likely to be toxic, from memory of reading the label.
  • The epoxies I have used are opaque. West 105 is translucent I think. Perhaps you could apply it over paint and have the color show through well? If you scuffed it up to knock down the shine, I'm not sure how well the color might show through. This would be a good use for some test boards.
  • If I was going for constantly-immersed foam, I'd seal with the epoxy, and apply dry tints to that, before it was very cured. I have done this many times (sprinkle the powder onto the final layer of still-tacky epoxy, and use a damp paint brush to kind of jab the powder into/onto the epoxy, and blend my colors) and I have NEVER been disappointed with performance & durability over the long haul. In an immersed situation, water needs to be taken very seriously. It's a real f*cker and it'll wreck anything, given a chance. Keep it out.

Good luck!
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