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I would like to paint acrylic sheet (Plexiglass) with acrylic paint. Both the sheet and the paint are opaque (black or white); single color all over.

  • What kinds of paint should I use? What kinds of paint should I avoid? Are all acrylic paints created equal? My local home improvement store carries acrylic paint, and they can make a variety of colors on the spot; would that paint work?

  • How to prepare surface? Do I need to apply primer first? If so, what kind of primer?

  • What can I use as varnish on top of the paint?

To put this question into perspective, painting is only the 1st stage of the process. In the 2nd stage, I will burn off the paint with a laser. So, if I've got black acrylic with white paint, and I ablate the paint selectively, then I will have black details on white background. (This is not unlike LaserMax sheets.)

I know how to do the laser. I don't know how to do the paint.

  • What location are the sheets going to end up? External or internal? Do anticipate a protective layer once the lasering is complete? – BeaglesEnd Jun 3 '16 at 23:27
  • @BeaglesEnd Indoor location (front panel of an electronic device, for example). I would like to to add a protective layer after laser engraving, if I can figure out what kind of varnish to use for that. – Nick Alexeev Jun 3 '16 at 23:31
  • The other key question: are you expecting the plexiglass to flex? If it does, then you will get cracks. – Rory Alsop Jun 6 '16 at 14:15
  • @Rory The Plexiglass panel will be flat at all time. It will not flex. It will not carry mechanical loads. – Nick Alexeev Jun 6 '16 at 16:09
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As long as the underlying panel will not flex, yes, you can use normal acrylic paints, but a primer is required, and the recommended method is to fine sand the plexiglass to a slight roughness, then cover with primer.

Acrylic polymer varnish is ideally suited to varnishing over acrylic paint, and I'm pretty certain you can use other varnishes.

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Painting on a plexi surface can be challenging! I'd clean with alcohol to prep. I'm not a big user of acrylcs but I do know there are quality gradations and I suspect the higher the quality the better the bonding. Were I in your shoes I'd ask or go buy price.

Understand that static electricity may play one of those challenging roles. To combat it, keep a moist/damp rag or paper towel in touch with the plexi sheet. Another problem will be the susceptibility to scratching. To protect your work a sheet of clear plexi would, in my opinion, be better than a clear spray. Still, if a clear varnish like cover is what you want, clear spray acrylic, should be available where you buy your paint.

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