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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Shellac and pigmentsApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-11-03 07:46:23 ... Most recent comment 2016-11-03 08:09:32
    Ink Other Varnishes
    I have been asked to create an art work that will be between layers of shellac, on a guitar.  The client says the last time this was done, the artist used sharpies.  I'm concerned about how that will look years from now.  It needs to be very flat, so pigment pens might be the only way.

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerThis is really a two part question: what are the long-term aging properties of shellac and what are the long-term aging properties of sharpies. I would not worry about the former too much as shellac is commonly used as a surface finish for instruments and is also what the client appears to prefer (shellac is not recommended on paintings, works of art on paper, and other types of artworks). It may yellow/darken a bit but that will likely lend a nice aesthetic to the guitar. The sharpie is a bit more of a concern as the dyes used in these markers are not at all lightfast. Micron pens or other pigmented inks may be the way to go here as carbon black pigment(s) will always be more stable and lightfast than most organic and/or synthetic dyes. Also be aware of solubility no matter what you probably want to end with a final spray coat as opposed to brushing but you can easily test this out on a test panel to make sure your black design does not smudge or dissolve away with the final application of shellac.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-03 08:09:32
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentYeah, I'm concerned about the sharpie rather than the shellac. Another part of my question, I guess, was whether the shellac would eat away at the pigments, or the sharpie would damage or drift inside the shellac. I'll go have a look at micron pens and pigmented inks. There will be about 3 layers of shellac under my design and about 20 on top - that's traditional numbers in guitar building. I'll ask the client how the next coats will go on, but it might be brushed on, so I'll need a thing that doesn't get dissolved in alcohol.
    2016-11-03 08:19:14
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerShellac will not eat away at carbon black. I promise :)
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-03 08:22:40
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentHmm. Carbon Black's not the only colour I'm likely to want, though. Sharpie does multiple colours, and I can blend or cover. I'll take your advice to mind about lightfastness, but I'm probably going to use blue and green as well as black, which makes the choice of medium a lot harder.
    2016-11-03 08:49:22
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerWell the least you can due is attempt to exercise due diligence....while not all manufacturers adhere to ASTM standards you can at least check to see if your chosen medium has an associated Lightfastness can read some about that in our "ASTM and Lightfastness" document in the Resources section. Honestly all shades of sharpie colors will fade....but perhaps one of our other moderators will be able to weigh in on other possible options. But you really will need to make sure your sharpie/micron pen design (whatever you choose) will not be bitten into by an alcohol-born shellac solution...mock-ups are key here. For the micro pens you may need to gently scuff the surface for the ink to "take"...again something you can figure out by doing a test.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-11-03 08:59:03
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerThe colorants in Sharpies are predominantly dye-based, which means that they are most likely sensitive to light, although formulations have changed. (N.B. When a writing implement is advertised as "permanent" it means that a mark will not wash away in the laundry, not that it is permanent to light.) I suggest looking at the new nano-particulate pens. Inks formulated using pigments are generally more lightfast than those formulated using dyes. Some manufacturers do have light sensitivity information available. Theoretically the shellac should not interfere with pigmented inks.
    Ellis, Margaret H.
    2016-11-03 12:47:29
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentCool. All good advice. I'm trying to contact Winsor and Newton now about their pigment markers. Those are marked A for lightfastness, but I don't know how the alcohol will act on the next layer of shellac. This has been really helpful. Thank you.
    2016-11-03 13:28:26
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentI have done some work on guitars before that was done with acrylics that were varnished over once completed. It held up really well. I think the acrylics would be too thick for what you are wanting to do. I would probably want so use alkyds if I were ever given another guitar commission. If use thin glazing techniques and you choose your pigments carefully you should be able to get some fairly rich colors without them becoming too thick.
    2016-11-10 19:28:23
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentGolden High Flow Acrylics are thin and can be used in empty markers such as the Montana brand.
    2016-12-18 13:47:30

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