Hello everyone! It's been a little while and I have a question that could really use some answers, or at least some thoughts.

Since I started making puppets, I've had a very unfortunate problem with my hard heads losing their original colors, usually turning a nasty shade of green over time. I've been using acrylic paint and mod podge as a sealant, something I suspect that may have to do with the "greening". I was wondering if anyone here uses acrylic to paint their hard puppet heads and if they can recommend a sealant that won't degrade the colors over time? Are people using a paint that is not acrylic? Gauche? Do you have any tips for preserving the original colors of your puppets in general?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! 

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For acrylic paint you can use acrylic medium to seal it - you can get it in gloss or matte. Or use a spray can of clear coat or matte spray. Krylon makes a Matte Finish that's really good - you have to get it from an art supply place though, won't find it in hardware stores (unless your hardware stores are different from mine). 

I sometimes use acrylic, sometimes alkyd paint, which is a lot tougher and won't scratch off (without a lot of effort anyway). Alkyd is basically just oil paint in a synthetic alkyd resin binder rather than linseed oil - it makes the colors all set up uniformely in 24 hours, whereas if you use linseed oil colors all set up at different rates which can be very annoying. Some set up really fast, and some (especially whites or earth tones) can take days or maybe a week. 

If you already have oil paints you can just buy a tube of alkyd medium - Windsor and Newton make a good line called Griffin Alkyds. You can just use oil paint and mix in some of the alkyd medium and it becomes alkyd paint. 

I'd stay away from gouache for something like puppets - unless it's an acrylic gouache. Normal traditional gouache is just opaque watercolor, and will wear off pretty easily, plus it isn't waterproof. Not good for anything that needs to take a lot of handling. 

Thank you so much for the suggestion! I picked up some krylon the other day and can't wait to use it! I'm pretty convinced that mod podge is what was causing the colors to degrade and everyone has been recommending Krylon for acrylic paints.  

You're welcome! 

Did you get the Matte Finish? If so, you want to be sure to hold it well away and spray so a fine mist falls onto the puppet head - the reason it ends up matte is because it has some kind of fine particles in it that rough up the surface, scattering reflections. If it goes on thick and wet the particles can be covered by liquid and you can end up with a slick shiny surface. 

Hope it works out for you! 

Thanks again for another great suggestion! Sorry I'm replying so late, I didn't get an email about this reply. I'm currently working on a new puppet, so I'll be trying out the techniques very soon. I'm especially happy about your suggestion on how to keep it matte - It always come out shiny! Well, now we know why. 

Strider said:

You're welcome! 

Did you get the Matte Finish? If so, you want to be sure to hold it well away and spray so a fine mist falls onto the puppet head - the reason it ends up matte is because it has some kind of fine particles in it that rough up the surface, scattering reflections. If it goes on thick and wet the particles can be covered by liquid and you can end up with a slick shiny surface. 

Hope it works out for you! 

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