Graphite on paint technique help

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Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
I know a lot of people do the graphite powder rub on paint to help with a gun metal finish. I was wondering what the proper materials and technique was to accomplish this.

First, the powder. Is this a material in the art section of craft stores and/or just grinding up pencil lead (if so, best way to do it).

I am assuming the paint on the item is dry, then just rubbed directly on... correct? What do most people us, soft cloth?

Is a clear coat applied afterwards?

Any important aspect I am not asking about?
 

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Jamie Staff

Sr Member
As to the were, if you do a graphite powder for sale, search you'll find it, far more commonly used than people think, this one of my older videos may help, finish it with either a flat or gloss clear coat once you get the look you what. Hope this is of some help.

 
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Luke0312

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
It appears I need to give it another try.

I got a small tube of graphite powder (kind used for lubricating door hinges/hardware), applied it over flat black paint, and couldn't tell a bit of difference. Based on Jamie's video I didn't use near enough. Where can one find such a large quantity?
 

Sluis Van Shipyards

Master Member
That is pretty cool on the Terminator skull! I never would have thought to do that without painting it first.

I would have thought a big U.S. hardware store like Lowe's or Home Depot would have graphite powder, but they don't apparently. If you Google it you can find a bunch of places selling larger containers of it. I've never used this technique yet, besides small highlights with a pencil.
 

nomuse

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
They have it by the can at the smallish art supply store I frequent (Artists and Craftsmen). But I saved a few bucks by buying stick graphite and rubbing it on sandpaper to get a nice handful of powder. On a later project I couldn't find the stick and rubbed some HB pencil leads on sandpaper. I've been picking the stuff up by sticking my bare fingers in it and rubbing it into the surface; the more rubbing, the more shine, and the more graphite you use, the lighter in tone.

This is graphite on flat black paint (plus a little light dry-brushing on the edges) over steel, 3d print, Apoxie, and styrene:

fury_five.jpg
 
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Mara Jade's Father

Master Member
As to the were, if you do a graphite powder for sale, search you'll find it, far more commonly used than people think, this one of my older videos may help, finish it with either a flat or gloss clear coat once you get the look you what. Hope this is of some help.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zvz68KnPtME
very interesting video to watch.

That is pretty cool on the Terminator skull! I never would have thought to do that without painting it first.
ditto
 

Jamie Staff

Sr Member
I got my graphite from a local foundry but you can get larger quanties at some art suppiers or ebay.
The Terminator head in the video was plaster so the powder sticks pretty well, it realy won't work on gloss paint very well, but providing it's sealed after seems to work fine.
I've also used it on raw pvc as well to get a scorched look just less buffing
 

The5thElement

Active Member
Been planning to try this. Bought a 2B Lyra Graphite Stick and was planning to rub it onto a rag then onto matt black vinyl dyed plastic. Will try grinding it up as well.

Is any particular hardness (HB, 2B etc.) preferable?

Thanks for the tips and video :)
 

hydin

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've always used it on flat black, and from those little keyhole lubricant bottles you can buy at lowes.

Basically just flat black paint, and then hit it with a 0000 steel wool, and then more graphite, and then more steel wool, and then more graphite, and more steel wool, and just keep on buffing and buffing until you think the paint looks correct.

Make sure the paint is VERY dry though because the 0000 steel wool will remove it if you press it too hard. I'd imagine if you needed to you could use a microfiber towel or something instead.

Seal with a light gloss or a satin finish and it seems to work well. I haven't done it in years though.

That skull looks badass :)

Chris
 

Darth Lars

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I got a small can from an arts supply and craftsmen supply store. The clerks told me that they have sold it mostly to people who are restoring old cast-iron stoves and fireplaces. I have also got a graphite stick at an artist supply store but not used it.
 

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TazMan2000

Sr Member
I know a lot of people do the graphite powder rub on paint to help with a gun metal finish. I was wondering what the proper materials and technique was to accomplish this.

First, the powder. Is this a material in the art section of craft stores and/or just grinding up pencil lead (if so, best way to do it).

I am assuming the paint on the item is dry, then just rubbed directly on... correct? What do most people us, soft cloth?

Is a clear coat applied afterwards?

Any important aspect I am not asking about?
1. What I used you can get in an Arts Supply/Drafting Supply store. It comes in a plastic jar. That will last you dozens and dozens of projects.
2. The paint has to be dry, and matte. Simply get a teaspoon and take a bit out of the jar and place it on your project piece. Take a soft cloth and rub it in. Be warned, its messy and I wouldn't do it inside. The graphite powder gets eveywhere. Also, wear a respirator to be safe.
3. You can apply a fixative. You can get that at the Arts Store as well. If you don't, every time you touch your piece you will see fingerprints from the oils in your skin reacting with the graphite. Use light coats of a fixative. I haven't tried a flat matte paint, before, but if you do, try it on a test piece before actually applying it to your project or you might regret it.

TazMan2000
 

robstyle

Master Member
you guys using graphite powder, use a respirator.

As others mentioned a base coat of flat black will make things much simpler when going for a metal finish. It can be applied many ways but start out very lightly with the powder application. A little goes a hell of a long way. This was an all black off the shelf plastic airsoft rifle with the orange tip and super glossy cheap scope. About 15 minutes later when I was done with it...



and similar here but much less work. Very little graphite was used on both above and below.

 

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ytt1300

New Member
i've always bought tubes of graphite at the "pinewood derby" parts displays in arts and crafts stores. I apply it over paint that has just dried to the touch, and q-tips dipped into a small cup works pretty well for application, then a soft cloth to buff it and work it into the paint... The "just dried" paint is still a tiny bit soft and seems to bond to the graphite better, i have pieces that i never clear coated and you cannot rub off the graphite.
 

KramStaar

Sr Member
Instead of using graphite, another option is to use a mixture of Silver leaf and Ebony Rub 'n Buff.

It takes a little getting used to but if you experiment a little first its easy to get the hang of and the result is very good indeed. Add more silver for a freshly worn look and less for a darker 'graphite' finish. You can also buff it to a great shine and the finish is far more durable than graphite.

Best of luck
MARK
 

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