I’m an artist and I started working with recycled plastic bottles as a material recently. I want to paint the plastic and retain its transparency, but acrylic paint won’t stick without priming and generally looks bad. Permanent markers are good, but they leave streaks over large swathes of color and are expensive.

I want to make alcohol ink, which is basically bulk highly pigmented permanent ink that you can paint with or do whatever. I could buy permanent markers and make my own (again, expensive), but I have solvents (99% iso, mineral spirits, naphtha--no toluene or xylene, though) and lots of dyes and pigments, as well as experience with epoxy resins.

I’ve read that permanent markers are simply a resin (urethane) dissolved in a solvent and pigment is added. I have resin-friendly pigments and was looking at spar (has more resin) or poly urethane as possibly a good choice for the resin. Before I invest in another experiment I can't afford to fail, I was wondering if this would even work or if the two-part epoxy resin I have would work, too.

So my questions are:

  1. What resin should I use?
  2. What solvent for that particular resin?
  3. What ratio of solvent:resin:pigment?

I know thinning epoxy resin can weaken it, but my work is purely decorative. I just need it to stick to the plastic and be ok with low heat for shaping purposes.


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