Some sharp-eyed cosplayers might have already noticed it, so we'll acknowledge our title: no, Plasti Dip and other rubberized paint are not technically adhesives. However, considering that Plasti Dip is mainly used as a sealant in cosplay, we thought it was only fitting to mention it on the blog alongside the other adhesives that can be used in similar ways. And after all, though it isn't an adhesive itself, Plasti Dip does, in fact, adhere to the surfaces you paint it on to.
Compared to its adhesive counterparts, there are several pros and cons to working with Plasti Dip that all cosplayers should know about. In this post, we'll talk about sealing cosplay with Plasti Dip and the benefits and challenges associated with choosing Plasti Dip as your sealant.
Best Uses for Plasti Dip in Cosplay
To start, Plasti Dip is a rubberized paint that was originally designed for automotive uses but has found a strong standing in several crafting communities today. Plasti Dip is actually a brand name, and there are several other brands that sell a similar product, like Flex Seal or Custom Wrap. While these other brands may be worth testing out, the Plasti Dip is most popular among cosplayers and is generally known to work the best for cosplay. Plasti Dip comes in several colors (and different finishes may perform differently than the standard black and while formulas), and while it's usually used in aerosol cans, you can find it in brush-on form.
Because the rubberized formula makes Plasti Dip flexible, it's most often used in cosplay to seal several different types of foam. Sealing foam makes it stronger and less likely to soak up any paint you apply. Plasti Dip can be used on EVA, L200, craft foam, and most insulation foams. When used in its aerosol form, Plasti Dip is best for sealing larger armor pieces and props that would take a long time to cover with a brush-on sealant like Mod Podge or wood glue. Depending on which color of Plasti Dip you buy, it can be used as the final paint color of your piece, or it can serve as a sealant that can be painted on top of.
Some cosplayers use Plasti Dip to seal or coat other materials as well, including cardboard, fabrics, and some plastics, but foam is the most compatible material for the paint. When it comes to Worbla and other thermoplastics, Plasti Dip can be used to seal the surface and cut down on texture, but it doesn't cling as well the surface and can peel away easily.
Applying Plasti Dip is generally the same process as applying any other spray paint. Either in a spray booth or outdoors, you'll want to hold the spray can at least 12 inches away from the surface of your foam and spray in light to medium, even coats. To fully seal your foam, you'll want to apply 2-3 full coats, allowing each coat to dry in between for a smooth finish. Check out this great video tutorial from Kamui Cosplay to see the entire spraying process in action and get her best application tips.
Benefits of Sealing with Plasti Dip
There are several reasons why many cosplayers love sealing their foam armor and props with Plasti Dip. Here are some of the benefits of using Plasti Dip as a sealant:
- Plasti Dip is a flexible spray paint, meaning that it's much less likely to chip or crack than other sealants you could use, like Mod Podge or wood glue.
- It also adds some strength and durability to your foam.
- Plasti Dip comes in multiple colors, but you can also paint over it with spray paint or acrylics.
- With proper application, it gives your foam a smooth, even texture.
- As an aerosol product, Plasti Dip is incredibly quick to apply. You can apply one coat in seconds and should only need to wait about 30 minutes for the paint to dry between coats.
- Your coats of Plasti Dip can help hold down small parts on the surface of your prop or armor.
Plasti Dip Challenges
However, there are some drawbacks to working with Plasti Dip in certain situations too. Here are the main challenges you should be aware of:
- For a large project, you might need several cans of Plasti Dip in order to apply 2-3 coats of paint, which can get expensive.
- When using an aerosol spray, it can be more difficult to cover small nooks and crannies that are easier to read with a controlled, brush-on sealant.
- When working with Plasti Dip, you need to work outdoors or in a well-ventilated area or with a respirator. To protect your skin, you can wear gloves.
- Along the same lines, applying Plasti Dip can be messy if you don't have a spray booth.
- Plasti Dip is not sandable.
- It can also melt some styrofoams.
- There's also a level of prep that goes into using Plasti Dip. Kamui Cosplay recommends putting your spray cans in a bucket of hot water before spraying in order to get the most even application.
Sealing with Plasti Dip
You have several options to choose from when it comes to sealing your foam props and armor, and Plasti Dip is only one of them. The sealant you choose with generally depend on your personal preferences, your budget, and the space you have to work in, but your choice can also vary depending on the individual project you're working on. If you have a large surface area that you want to seal quickly, Plasti Dip can be a great option for that project. But when you're working with a smaller or more detailed piece, sometimes a brush-on sealing option can be much easier to handle. In most cases, there will be some trade-offs with any sealant that you choose, but if you take the time to try out your different options, you'll get a better idea of which sealant will work best for your future cosplays.