Sunday, December 3, 2017

Experimenting with hairspray to show the paint chipping effect

I came across a passing reference a day or so ago somewhere on the internet about people using common hairspray to do the paint chip effect on rusted metal. I've tried the chipping effect before, but was put off with buying those tiny bottles that seem overpriced.

I decided today that I got some hours to kill, so I'd test it out with a plumbing thingy I bought a while back to do another experiment of sorts.

First though, when I was at the mall today, I bought some cheap women's hairspray at the dollar store.

I then scraped off all the "Made in" and other identifying markers on the plumbing thing and painted  a rusty-coloured undercoat..

I then heavily spray painted it with hairspray.. I put on like two coats, and it seems to have dried fast.

Then I spray painted it yellow over the dried hairspray..

After the paint dried, I then took some water and an old toothbrush and started scrubbing..

Only, nothing was happening, so I decided to put in some paint thinner in the water, and it started to come off..

I think I put in too much paint thinner, as more paint was coming off than I wanted and stopped a lot earlier than I imagined.

 I then took my dremel and made some darker gashes just to see how it looked.

As the water on the plumbing thingy was drying off, I built a base as this thing can look like industrial piping for Shadow War or Necromunda..

I cut off the corners so it can look more natural, and put in cheap air-hardening clay, with some rocks.

I painted the clay while it was still hardening and then flocked it.

This is not bad. the chipping effect look is not bad, though I overdid it.

I am not sure in my experiment though, what the hairspray did.. is it dissolving when coming into contact with the water and paint thinner, allowing the yellow paint to come off with it, or is the water and thinner dissolving the paint, with the undercoat protected by the hairspray, which had hardened like varnish.

I definitely need to try more of this, but I am pleased with the results. Honestly, it did not take very long to do this. The longest I waited was 2 hours for the clay to harden a bit..


  1. I agree those small pots of chipping medium are way overpriced. Yet I never dared try using hair spray as it seems different brands give different results. Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. My pleasure. If anyone knows the best brand to use, by all means, do tell.