Crystal Paint effects...

'To the point' advice on what fits what, parts interchangeability and simple solutions to common problems...
This forum applies to any make.
Keep your post brief. You may include 2-3 clear cropped photos (max 600 pixels wide)...
Post Reply
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5768
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia

Crystal Paint effects...

Post by Prof » Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:24 am

This link passed on by Choppaweeza...

Pics from Pommy Chopper...



Here is my experience with the crystal paint effect.

ok, the crystal solution can be bought from alsa corp but it works out at £80 a quart to get it over here but will no doubt be cheaper for you guys. For the various effects you use different amounts of solution, mostly lots.
For the various effects you use different amounts of solution, mostly lots.
There are 4 ingredients to the solution.

ammonia (not so sure if this is an additive or just present in the urea)
neocryl (an acrylic copolymer used as some kind of wetting agent, it is in the form of neocryl bt-175 and this is made from 58% water 40% acrylic copolymer and 2% sodium lauryl sulphate(this is common in nearly all liquid soaps,used partly as a thickener. Anyway, not something that can be bought over the counter so i have looked for alternatives).

Water from your tap (i will try bottled water and deionised water as well), ammonia from hardware store and Urea from a cleaning supply store or maybe a garden center. Urea is also present in cleaning agents as well as fertiliser and is easily available in prill form (small balls/granules)
Im sure that where you get your Urea from will supply ammonia.

Now you need to create a saturated solution. To do this i got a pint of water and added the urea untill it stopped disolving in the water. Then i heated the solution in a pot and added more urea until it stopped disolving. About room temp is all that is needed. I found that if too hot the urea will decompose and will not work. No point in adding urea to boiling water as it takes up to 7kg per liter and most of it will reform when the solution cools. I believe that the re crystalised urea will be a better form with less impurities, maybe better to use but i'm not sure. At 20*c water will take about 1kg per liter of urea.

This was good enough a process to create a saturated solution(a chemist might have the right way to do it, so feel free to inform us )

Ok that is the crystal solution ready but if you pour this over fresh dry paint it will bead on the surface. To stop this we add the ammonia, this seems to act as a wetting agent to break water tension and allow the solution to pool over the surface and stick a tiny bit better. I will experiment with other surfactants, washing up liquid,washing powder. This is why i think the alsa stuff has the neocryl bt-175
I used 70% crystal solution to 30% ammonia. This worked for me but experiment for yourself as you may need more or less ammomia. It does seem to take longer to dry with more ammonia. Good, bad, i will let you know later. EDIT: It does not require a lot of surfactant maybe only 5ml per 100ml.

Now apply your base coat, this will be the main colour of the finish depending if you candy or not.
once dry there are a number of ways to proceed.
you can clear over the base as this gives a good surface to key up heavily in many directions. This way you can almost control the forms of the crystal.
Or you can key/scuff up the base coat itself OR you can just leave the base coat. It is up to your self to try this out.

Now apply the the crystal, i just pour it on as it is cheap as if you make it your self £2 ish a pint. Others use a spray bottle to apply it. Either way is good. A thin layer of solution will give a thin crystal form and a thick layer will give a thick crystal form.
Now leave to air dry in a warm room for large finger fromations or force dry for tighter smaller formations. I prefer air dry.
As it dries you will see the crystals form, quite cool to watch the first few times.
Let it dry out fully about 15 mins to an hour depending on the temp and thickness of application.
Now it is time for the contrast coat, i use black as it seems to be more dramatic. This MUST be applied in a light dusting fashion, NO heavy application as it will melt the crytsal and make it difficult to remove later.
1 light coat will give a shallow 3d contrast and a few light coats will give a deeper 3d contrast. For the best result i found that NOT applying even coats of black is best for giving varing depth of finish. Once the top/contrast(black for me) coat has dried you can then remove the crystals by washing with water and a soft cloth, try not to rub to hard. If the crystal is being stubborn to remove then LIGHTLY wet sand with 1500/2000 grit.
Now that it is clear of crystal and dried you can apply your top coats be they candys, pearls or just clear coat.

EDIT: Raising the point of safety when mixing chemicals, I believe that you should only attempt this if you have researched the materials you are using and have COMMON SENSE I doubt the mixes i'm using are explosive or toxic (other than usual ammonia vapour and spay) but remember to be careful.

Urea reacts with calcium hypochlorite or sodium hypochlorite to form the explosive nitrogen trichloride. It is incompatible with sodium nitrite, gallium perchlorate, strong oxidizing agents (permanganate, dichromate, nitrate, chlorine), phosphorus pentachloride, nitrosyl perchlorate, titanium tetrachloride and chromyl chloride. PLEASE AVOID THESE WHEN MIXING WITH WATER!!!!!
It does contain ammonia which smells bad and is irritable . Ammonia solutions should not be mixed with halogens( fluorine (F), chlorine (Cl), bromine (Br), iodine (I), astatine (At), as toxic and/or explosive products are formed. The urea/ammonia mix is good for your plants........but if for some reason you mix it with bleach (one of the 1st things i thought of doing ) then it can release a chlorine gas which it bad bad bad (seriously)

just a quick note that the crazer effect that alsa sell can be replicated using fine rubbing compound over a base coat then contrast coated washed down and top coated/cleared
Might not be as good as the crazer but well worth the effort to try. Another cool effect is the marbilizer from HOK (house of kolor)

Note that all of theses effects need *#@** loads of clear coats to build up the layers as they are tactlie finishes. Lots of clear allow you to wet sand and polish and create fantastic and unique paint effects.

Another note is that the crystal finish is organic in style and almost impossible to create the exact same effect. So it is best to do large adjacent panels at the same time as the air flow and temp will be the same.

Any way perhaps that will make it easier for ppl to grasp if they are just browsing the site.

Here's the link... ... IC_ID=4537
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 4:26 am

Re: Crystal Paint effects...

Post by Longrider » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:04 am

This blog was written in '07 and I'm wondering if any of the info has changed. These are the questions I have.

1. Using Alsa's Crystal FX, is adding Ammonia to the formula still an option in '13 if I want to extend the ctystals growth at 80 deg.?
2. Is it better to grow long straight crystals over a smooth surface of base paint and will the growth increase more if I clear or intercoat the base paint before pouring the FX ?

Posts: 1894
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:31 am
Location: Gawler, Sth Aust

Re: Crystal Paint effects...

Post by Bearcx » Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:33 am

Wow ! Dont remember reading that.

What a glorious finish in the paint. Just a small point, and I'm no chemist, but Sodium Laurel Sulphate is used in shampoo and soap to make bubbles. People have been brainwashed over the years to believe that soap wont clean, unless it makes bubbles. This is not the case. One of my boys has skin problems, so Ive looked into this a little.

Not sure if this helps.
The brave may not live long, but, the cautious do not live at all.

Post Reply

Return to “Fits 'n Bits; general...”