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Author Topic: Paint and sunfading tutorial! [Update: fading out ink stains on dark ponies!]  (Read 8996 times)

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Offline tehrin

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Awhile back on the old arena, I posted a topic stating that you can use paint to cover symbols when sunfading. The example I used at the the time wasn't very good (I didn't have any good before pictures), and I used thick yellow liquitex paint. It was also turning to fall, so it wasn't a very good time to write a better in-depth tutorial.  Since it's now moving into spring, and we have some warmer and sunnier days coming, I thought it would be a good time to write up a better tutorial!

Wait what... did I read that right?! PAINT?! ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?!
Yes, I'm probably a little bit crazy, but I've tried it! It does work, excellently in fact! Many ponies have very complex and detailed symbols that are a pain in the butt to cover with other methods such as cutting out paper, attaching tinfoil, you name it. Other people have suggested covering the pony with plastic wrap and drawing over the symbol with a sharpie. I ended up getting sharpie on the pony while handling it, and we all know what sharpies do to ponies!

This method can be removed effortlessly without effecting the paint underneath using 70% alcohol!

How I discovered this
When I started collecting, I actually used 70% rubbing alcohol to clean your general surface dirt, pen marks, and other stuff on ponies before I was brave enough to move onto the stronger stuff. I got one pony in particular who was covered entirely in sharpie.  I was trying to get it off, but while using the alcohol, it removed the sharpie completely from the symbols and eyes without harming them! Sadly the body was horribly stained. So I decided to repaint her and make her into a quasi-custom of sorts. I realized that when I rubbed alcohol on the paint, it removed the acrylics I used without effecting the original paint underneath.  Hmmm... useful, I thought!

So I tried it... on another pony.  It worked! Except I globbed on yellow liquitex brand acrylic paint, not thinned down. I scrubbed and scrubbed that stuff off with the rubbing alcohol, putting lots of elbow grease into it.  Low and behold, nothing happened to the symbols! ;D

But for the sake of this tutorial, we'll be using cheap craft paint! It's much better, cheaper, and less stressful to remove!

Pros and Cons
+ You can fade your pony with very detailed symbols without fretting about covering all those little lines and shapes with random pieces of tape.
+ You can leave your pony better unattended without worrying if your tissue paper or whatever else used has shifted or fallen off. The paint stays in place no matter what until you remove it.
+ Depending on how you wrap the hair to protect from the sun, it shouldn't effect the texture of the hair at all. Peroxide baths have been known to make ponies brittle over time.
- Not for the faint of heart or collectors who are paranoid about doing anything to their ponies aside from cleaning them with a magic eraser.
- Requires a somewhat stable hand and works better if you are able to get small brushes.
- Should be avoided on glitter symbols (see next section).
- Not tested on all types of paint. Sofar, I've tested this on Hong Kong and Italian with no paint loss. But I'm not sure about other countries and especially airbrushed symbols/eyes.

The DO's and DON'Ts of this method
DON'T USE ON GLITTER SYMBOLS! The rubbing (with a cotton swab or ball) is going to remove glitter! For this, I'd suggest using a peroxide bath, OR... using another method to cover the symbols.

Obviously, this shouldn't be used on So Softs! To my general knowledge most times, when a So Soft is really discolored and it won't come out from gentle washing, it's usually the glue discoloring with age. No amount of sun will fix it at that point. ;_; So you'll have to look into deflocking.

DO TEST IT OUT BEFOREHAND! Always test a small area of the pony first. For example, a tiny area of the symbol, just to make sure it's not going to be removed. I've tested this sofar on Hong Kong flat-painted ponies and it works fine and dandy. I'm using an Italian pony in this tutorial, and testing it out, no paint was lost. I don't know about other countries, so you will want to test it first!

What you will need
1. A pony needing sunfading.
2. A very small brush or two (having a liner and flat is a good suggestion)
3. White craft paint, such as folk art, plaid, delta creamcoat, etc.
4. Tinfoil, clear scotch tape, or whatever method you prefer (if you have one) for covering hair.
5. 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
6. Cotton balls and/or cotton swaps/q-tips.
7. Patience!

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Here is our specimen, Italian Gusty!  She is very lovely and is missing her tail. But beyond that, she is very yellowed! Here she is next to US Gusty. Not exactly the whitest of my collection, but still pretty white in comparison!

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Gusty's head has been removed, but isn't exactly necessary for this tutorial. The reason why I have it removed is for some neck repair. So for the purpose of this tutorial, our specimen will be remaining in two pieces.  I've sunfaded other ponies just covering the tail and mane when there was no reason to remove the head. :)

Step 1: Prepping the Pony!

Make sure your pony is CLEAN of ALL dirt and removable marks! I can't stress this enough! If your pony is dark and dingy, make sure that it's not just ingrained dirt first. A good way to test this is dab a little acetone on a cotton ball or swab and scrub on a dark area away from any paint (a leg works). If you don't see the ick being removed, then congrats! Your pony is just discolored (or stained)!  If you notice some change in the brightness, go give your pony an oxyclean bath (watch out for chartruse hair, princess symbols, and twinkle eyes) or scrub with a magic eraser first until all that stuff is off. Basically, we just want to get the plastic in full exposure to the sun. The sun isn't going to fade dirt! Otherwise, we'd have white sand EVERYWHERE! That would be cool, right? :D

Here is our specimen all ready to go and supplies are out!

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Tehrin: Hey Baby Moondancer, you're not a supply!
Baby Moondancer: But... I'm cute!  PONYBUTT! WHEEEEE!

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Okay here we go, one ponybutt, and one baby pony out of the way. Also, paint and some brushes! I'm using a small sable liner here and some Folk Art craft paint.

Step 2: Painting the pony!
We're just going to paint directly on top of the painted parts. I paint directly out of the bottle (or cap rather). Folk art is really thinned out anyway.

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As you can see, you don't need to be super-neat about it. Just make sure that your paint is covered. This is after one coat.

I'm also going to paint the eyes.  Generally... I just cover the Iris (colored part of the eye). But since this is a Nirvana pony, I'm not taking any chances, so I'm covering the black too just to be safe.  As a forewarning, areas around the eyes can be a pain in the butt to remove because of the creases. But this paint is way easier to remove than artist-grade acrylics.

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About two coats of paint should do it. You don't NEED to be uber-precise. Just make sure all your colored areas are covered from sun exposure!

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Step 3: Prepping the hair
Since this pony just has straight hair, I'm sticking it in tinfoil. Her hair's been a little mussed since I started messing with her anyway... the blowdryer namely to warm up her neck seam. It's going to add kinks to her hair. But it'll come out easily by taking a mug of hot water and dunking her hair in for a second... which was how I was planning on getting her hair back in place to begin with. :D

For ponies with factory curl that you wish to preserve, I would suggest rolling it up in a foam roller and covering the pony with a napkin or tissue paper using fabric pins to hold it all in place. I've used this before with excellent results. Rainbow curl ponies can be especially difficult with this. x_x So patience and care is needed!

When I'm fading a whole pony and covering the tail, I'll roll up it's tail in a foam roller. Wrap with a napkin, pin in place. I've also used painters tape around the base of the tail to hold the napkin in place. I don't have to worry about this here because Gusty has no tail. HAR HAR!

Here is Gusty all wrapped up in the tinfoil:

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As I go, I attach a little bit of clear tape to hold the tinfoil in place. I'm trying to cover the hair entirely and make sure that the roots aren't exposed. If you're off a little, don't worry. Just make sure you've got it taped. You'll see why next:

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Where the hair is exposed under the tape, I'm painting over it with the craft paint. Reds really like to fade in the sunlight. I have no idea what this hair will do because of it's different texture, so to play it safe, it's getting covered. I've done this right at the top of the hairline where it starts near the horn and all along.

The tape will probably make the pony sticky. So it can get removed with a swab of acetone or goo-gone. I'm afraid of getting goo gone near the hair because of the glue, so I'll probably use Acetone since it evaporates quickly. I've used painters tape before too in place of tinfoil. But I have a better feeling about doing it this way, just because I have WAY more control on what gets touched by sunlight.

Step 4: Preparing for the sunbath!
My personal favorite method of sunfading is to put the pony in a plastic bag and put it directly outside and then bring it indoors every night once the sun goes down or when I come home from work (whichever comes first).  I avoid putting ponies fully outside without any additional protection because God only knows what will land on the pony... bird poop, insect stuff, random leaves and weird things, random out of the blue rainstorms...  So the plastic is there for extra protection.

If you plan on putting the pony directly outside in a baggie, I also suggest weighing down your pony (if you've taken it apart) or the bag so that it doesn't blow away in the wind.  It's not going to go far on my patio, but still not a bad idea to add some weight, or strong magnets and put the pony on a metal surface of some sort. :)

Right now, I'm going to put Gusty in the windowsill. The next few days are going to be rainy, so I'll be keeping the pony indoors to soak up what little UV rays he can! 

For that matter, UV rays are of course, what causes the sunfading. So... even dark and cloudy envoirnments still get some filtered UV rays. It just takes longer for the fading to happen.

Here she is ready to soak up a little bit of rays.

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Step 5: Forget for the most part, that your pony even exists
The worst part of course is waiting! XD Leave your pony alone! However, DO check on your pony. Obviously if you are leaving the pony outside during a very sunny day, make sure that the wind hasn't blown it over, or some hungry cat or hawk hasn't snatched it up thinking it's a tasty treat! So yes, do check periodically throughout the day!

I suggest using the white paint because you can view your progress a bit better using it as a guide!

Make sure that the pony gets turned every day or two.

During the summer when the sun's rays are most direct (June 21st in the Northern Hemisphere) it takes about... 3-5 days to get a cream colored white pony bright white, longer if the pony is darker. Much, much, longer if you are fading out ink stains. This is my most discolored pony, so we'll see what happens.  I have no clue how long this is going to take, but it's likely that a few weeks in late winter-early spring will probably do the trick, since she has no stains.

So I'll be updating this post every... 3-5 days or so with a progress picture!

Fading marks on a darker pony using paint!
Say you have a pony that is prone to discoloring when exposed to sunlight, for example blues and purples can be prone to this.  Can you use this method to cover your pony and allow the marks to be exposed for sunfading? The answer is, YES!

This works better than just covering your pony with tinfoil and leaving say, the leg exposed.  You can control which parts of the leg get the sun exposure.  In this case, I'm going to be trying this on my Forget Me Not. I bought her from a vintage toy shop for cheaper than their "ebay-priced" minty ponies because she had some marks, but she also had her original curl... :p

Here she is before:
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And now, we're going to cover the symbols, but we're also going to cover any and all of the leg that is NOT ink stained:
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Then we're going to go over it again with a finer detail brush to make sure nothing is exposed that shouldn't be:
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Next, we are going to cover the rest of the pony's body. Because I don't want to mess up her hair, I'm wrapping her up in a paper towel. Then pinning it in place with fabric pins. After it's all wrapped up with only the leg exposed, I made sure that anything else that was exposed was covered, like the bottom of her foot.
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And then to protect her from a freak rainstorm, or... anything because I covered her with a paper towel, into a ziplock bag she goes to fade with Gusty! (who is progressing really well, might I add! She's NEARLY white)
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Step 5: Removing the paint
While Gusty is fading, I've prepped another pony using this same method. Once Gusty is complete, I'll replace these images with ones of her getting the paint removed. For now, Miss Jubilee wanted to demonstrate for us!

Here is he coated with two layers of craft paint:
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And to remove the craft paint covering the symbols, we just use a cotton ball and some rubbing alcohol. Symbols are REALLY easy because they wipe right off after about 10 seconds of gentle rubbing, but I've taken some progress pictures so that everyone can see it as it goes:
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And viola! As you can see, no trace of pink or green paint on the cotton ball! After wiping the symbols, give the body a good quick rubdown as the craft paint will go elsewhere. Just one quick wipe with the alcohol should do it!

Next, the eyes. These can be a little tricky because the paint likes to stick in the crevices. This would be the same issue if you were covering raised/3D symbols too.
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Now that I got the paint rubbed off the big surfaces with a cotton ball and cotton swab... I needed to grab a paintbrush. I took a CLEAN (please test that it's clean first!) flat brush with plastic bristles. These are a bit rougher and cheaper, so they're better for getting at all those problem areas!

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After a little work, not very long... maybe a minute, tops... the paint was removed. Again, give the large general area a wipedown with a cottonball and alcohol to remove the remaining paint.

And she's just as good as new! :D

If you've used this method and have some good before/during/after shots, please post them! I'd love to see that this method has worked for others too! n_n
« Last Edit: March 19, 2012, 04:59:03 PM by tehrin »
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Offline Queen Eclipsia

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2012, 05:33:11 PM »
Awesome tutorial, and so thorough! Thank you - I'll definitely be trying this in the summer :)

Offline lovesbabysquirmy

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 05:52:55 PM »
I have a TON of cheap craft paint... I may try out your method on my ponies!  :)  I have several that have big yellow splotches on them and maybe this will help!  Thank you so much for all of the photos!
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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2012, 07:45:15 PM »
Wow, what a great tutorial! Thank you for that! :)

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Offline Icecrystalline

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2012, 07:50:28 PM »
That's amazing! I'm not sure I will try it yet, I'm not confident enough to try! xxx

Offline gazzy90

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2012, 08:08:33 PM »
Great tutorial, thank you!
I'd be too scared to use paint on my ponies but yay for sunfading!

Offline partypony566

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2012, 09:31:44 PM »
What a brilliant idea! :D
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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2012, 11:05:10 PM »
That's really interesting, thanks for posting! Bookmarking for future reference. :)

Offline relcelestia

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2012, 04:34:51 AM »
awesome!!!
im totally gonna cross reference this in my sunfading tutorial!!!
thanks love!
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Offline tehrin

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2012, 04:36:23 AM »
awesome!!!
im totally gonna cross reference this in my sunfading tutorial!!!
thanks love!

You're welcome! Your sunfading tutorial inspired me to write up a formal tutorial for this so that people can see what I'm talking about. n_n!
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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2012, 06:49:31 AM »
Thank you so much for this! I was wanting to know more since I have some ponies with symbols that were a bit annoying to tape up *perfectly*. I ended up doing so with itty bitty tiny bits of painters tape, but I will certainly try this on my next victi-... pony needing some TLC. :)
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Offline hlbmlp

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2012, 07:08:06 AM »
thanks so much for the tutorial!!! I have a feeling this is what i will be doing over spring break next week!!! ^__^
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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2012, 03:32:07 PM »
Thanks for making such a detailed tutorial!

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2012, 04:32:07 PM »
wow what a amazing tutorial i never was brave to try sunfading. I may give it a try this summer.

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Re: Paint and sunfading tutorial!
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 06:30:01 PM »
Wow, this is amazing! Thanks for sharing!