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Old 11-07-2017, 20:36   #1
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Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Hi there,

I finally decided I should join the community and just post my questions instead of always leafing through all the posts trying to find answers.

I have a Tartan 30 and want to add to the homey feeling by painting something above the bed directly on the wall. I'm very certain it's painted fiberglass. Now I've done some research about two part paints and epoxy paints, but I'm not sure if those are only for painting the wall interior of boats or also for artwork. I also doubt they have nice colors. In addition, I've looked into Nova Colors, which are ok to use on "fiberglass sculptures". My wall isn't rough fiberglass though, but smoothly painted white fiberglass.

Has anybody done some artwork on already painted fiberglass before? I'm guessing I have to roughen it up, but do I need primer and what paint is best?


Thanks!!
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Old 11-07-2017, 21:32   #2
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Turns out it isn't fiberglass but gelcoat!
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Old 11-07-2017, 22:13   #3
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

I own an art supply store I can tell you. We sell one shot paint to all the sign painters who do most of the names on the back of boats here. It lasts over 15 years outside longer If taken care of.
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Old 12-07-2017, 01:57   #4
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Any of the exterior boat paints should do fine. For interior, a 1 part enamel should work fine for durability. You'll probably have to tint it for specific colors yourself. What I don't know is how well they work for artistic use. Are you just using stencils or is this something more elaborate?

Biggest thing would be to thoroughly clean and de-wax the surface (pre is everything in painting). After that a little scuffing with some very fine grit sandpaper wouldn't hurt.
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Old 12-07-2017, 04:26   #5
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

The One Shot paint is great stuff or could just use artists acylic paints out of a tube. Easy to work with, more colors than you will ever want, and cleans up with water. As mentioned above, surface preparation is everything.

Regardless of what type of paint you use, PLEASE WEAR SAFETY GOGGLES when working overhead!
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Old 12-07-2017, 05:21   #6
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Pan.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:17   #7
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

I think doing something to the interior is a great idea, but I'd probably go easy with it. Too much color and the space could seem even smaller than it already is.
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:19   #8
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Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Good quality artists acrylic will do fine on interior gelcoat. A light sanding will give better tooth for the paint. However, since you want to create a "homey feeling" I take it you are not an artist. My strong suggestion is NOT to paint on your gelcoat but to paint on something like a canvas, sheet of acrylic, or thin plywood primed and sealed then attach that to your boat where you want it. You idea of decoration may change or might not be appealing to a future owner.

PS I am a professional artist and that is what I would do on my own boat. www.michaelwitenstein.com
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Old 12-07-2017, 09:36   #9
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

My wife used to do a lot of art. I was really surprised how tenacious Acrylic paint is.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:34   #10
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Always consider resale value when doing something like that to a boat. Most folks don't keep boats overly long.
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Old 12-07-2017, 11:57   #11
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Quote:
Originally Posted by lesterbutch View Post
Always consider resale value when doing something like that to a boat. Most folks don't keep boats overly long.
Will not damage gel coat. If it makes you happy I say go for it!
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Old 12-07-2017, 19:00   #12
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

I did add some sea life art on the interior of the boat but when I sold the Catalina 42 I had to remove it. The brokers don't like stuff that personifies the PO. So b4 u paint think about how long u plan to keep the boat. The next guy may lower the price because he may not appreciate ur art choice.
Ernie on the Mary Jane
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Old 18-07-2017, 17:04   #13
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

I'm very thankful for all the good advice!!

For the record, my partner and I won't be selling this boat. Period the end. It's our home.
Also, I am actually a product designer and have a lot of experience with painting. I try to do research, however, before starting on a project that is new to me. Like painting on gelcoat!
I've decided to simply test the acrylic in a small area. It turned out nice! Sadly it's easily scratched off :/. I will try what some people advised: scuffing up the area before painting. Again, I'll test it in a small inconspicuous place.

( Pan stands for Panacea, the name of our boat )

P.S. I'm so happy to have signed up. All the advice helps a lot!
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Old 18-07-2017, 17:11   #14
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Here is my small test! Not sure if I'll keep it...

I do understand the opinion of putting artwork on a canvas. It's true taste changes. It'll be a huge world map though, detailed and perfectly proportioned (if I don't mess up), which will illustrate our journeys, dream locations, home etc. I'm fine with that being permanent.
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Old 19-07-2017, 00:24   #15
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Re: Painting artwork on interior fiberglass

Pan 30,

Welcome aboard CF. Have fun with your project. Other cruisers will appreciate it when shown.

Ann
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