I'd assume that using some sort of acrylic paint such as those used for gaming miniatures would work well as long as you sprayed on a clear top coat to keep it from chipping off and used some sort of primer as a base coat. Two or three layers of slightly thinned down paint of your chosen color(s) on top of a base coat should do the trick.
You may have luck with the type of enamel paint commonly used on or sold with model car kits, but I haven't used that type of paint since I was 10 and I didn't really care for that type of paint. To be honest I was a horrible painter back then, so my dislike for that type of paint may be based on my inexperience at the time.
I don't have any examples, as I have not yet attempted this but once I work the new pyramid releases into my budget I may convert some of my old ones into works of art. I just fear that I'd be afraid to play with them once I've made them, as my artistic endeavors tend to wind up being more complicated and time consuming than I initially plan them to be. As soon as I get around to trying a project like this, you can believe I'll be bragging about the results here! :)
I've tossed around the idea of using chrome spray paint to make a custom martian chess set, but I haven't really had enough fellow players to make a fancy looking set like that worthwhile so I haven't tried that either.
I have not painted them, but check out this link.
this page has the above link and some pictures.
hope this helps. :)
I'm resurrecting this old thread. The eblong post concerning painting plastic pyramids is kind of depressing.Has anyone had luck with painting them with anything besides the enamel paint process that is described in the link? I haven't found any good examples online.
I'm interested in painting a bunch of pyramids to then fill with sand to be used as Icehouse pieces (I already have one set [unpainted], but then what does one offer guests?). It might also be nice to paint a fourth set of opaques for use in hidden information games for four players.
I'd love to just take a spray gold or silver can of Rustoleum and go, but I'm not sure if that is advisable.
Krylon Fusion For Plastic Spray Paint looks like it might be worth testing, and is fairly cheap.
Ok. Here's what I know. There's obviously two ways to color pyramids. One involves attempting to get the plastic to absorb the color - you can find Elliott C. Evan's trials and tribulations with that process HERE, ironically posted about 15 years to the month before this post of mine. The other involves putting the color onto the plastic and getting it to hold, my area of interest.
I started with some half-pyramids that I had left over from creating a zero-pip piece set a while back - man, am I glad I finally found SOMETHING to do with them and didn't just throw them away! I do make my own art, (HERE on Facebook, if you're interested) and am generally familiar with paint steadfastness, and though I didn't test them, I'm not sure that acrylic paint or spray paint are the best types of color for this kind of project. Acrylic ink on the other hand, is water resistant, thinner, and can be just as brilliant and even translucent or pearlescent, while more permanent.
First, I used a standard 1-2-3-All surface primer, then created a silver-stipple-on-blue/black paint pattern using air-blown ink, allowing the colors to dry between layers (left photo). I then clear coated it with a clear enamel spray and allowed it to dry. I may have done two coats. In any event, I could easily dig my fingernail into, and scratch the ink, but not really through the white primer (right photo).
Just to see what would happen, I applied a few larger drops of ink to an unprimed yellow piece (below left) and some micro dots of various sizes on another side of the same piece (below right). Once it was dry, I topped it with some vehicle-grade clear coat that I had in a repair kit in my car. After about a day, I was able to scratch into the larger drops but wasn't able to scratch the micro-dots away. After about three days, the larger drops (for size, compare that orange dot in the lower left to the size of the pips just below it) had more scratch resistance, but I was still able to get into them. But the micro dots in acrylic ink, with a vehicle-grade clear coat have held up incredibly well without a prime. It's like they are so small, you can't get under or get into them to damage them.
I stacked and unstacked another piece on top of that treated yellow piece close to 100 times - in a quick jittery successive motion - and it didn't leave a line, scratch a dot or dig into the finish. Could I scratch it if I really wanted to? Of course, but I would need a real tool of some sort, using another pyramid tip isn't enough. And really, that's not much different than how they already are untreated. Below is a color study of a black piece with 3 sides of each gold-silver-bronze pearlescent acrylic ink micro dots, and one layer of vehicle grade clear coat. With juuuuust the right light angle I can see the brush strokes in the clear coat, so possibly dipping it instead would be better if one had enough volume. In any event, it seems to hold up incredibly well, and I can't scratch it with my fingernail.
Encouraged, I sacrificed a clear trio, set out to color it in such a way that it would still be translucent, but still looking like many colors. I used air-blown ink as stated above, in micro dots, in small layers of color with time to dry between almost every color so they didn't blend too much, and each side was done separately as well so it could dry and lie flat without running - I did not attempt to color them standing up. I also didn't want to totally cover the entire thing with ink, in hopes it would keep some translucence. 'Confetti Clear' was born.
Happy with the results, I sacrificed a white trio, and created 'Confetti White': This next photo is BEFORE clear coat, the rest are AFTER clear coat.
Here are shots of 'Confetti Clear' and 'Confetti White' side by side:
So, then I tried a primed piece, with acrylic ink micro dots and vehicle grade clear-coat. It's just as tough as the ones above, though I'm an artist not a scientist so I can't say if it's truly 'tougher' or not. I will say both with and without primer are tough enough for me and the way I treat my game pieces. So, again, for me so far, the only advantage in priming using the micro dot method is that it covers up the base color of the pyramid if it's not already clear or white; but priming will take away any ability to stay translucent. The piece below was done on green, using neon pink and green inks - the original green color does not show through. I figure Hijinks Pink + Kickstarter Green = 'Pinkstarter'.
Lastly, I went with trying a solid 'sheet' of color on a primed piece. Based on the unprimed-yellow-pyramid-with-large-drops example towards the top, if you're going to try and do anything but the micro dot method, priming is probably a must. Using a blank side of the 'Pinkstarter' piece above, I put on a solid layer of Indian yellow acrylic ink, spreading the ink as opposed to air blowing it, and keeping it very thin. I let it dry, hitting it with vehicle grade clear coat. I wanted to get after it a little bit, so I scraped on it with the side of a flat-head screwdriver, and naturally, was able to get a scratch through the ink, and deeper one through the primer. After a hundred or so stack/unstacks, you can see the spots where a little bit of primer is showing through the yellow paint - it's big in the photo but so small you can hardly see it with your naked eye - but I did not sand that side prior to painting, and you can see where the little clumps of primer have allowed the paint to wear through. So if you're going to prime, super-fine-grit sanding, after priming, is key as well, even if it initially feels and looks smooth.
...And that's about what I know, based solely on my knowledge as an artist, and the experiments I've done as stated above. Will this method hold up to 10,000 stacks, I have no idea. Will it hold up to throwing your pyramids in small bag, then into a back pack, then all over the place, I'm not sure either. I'd think there is a pretty decent shot though, Confetti Clear, Confetti White and Pinkstarter are pretty tough. ...As a disclaimer, I maybe should say that the practiced technique of ink & air control (and maybe more importantly, volume), material handling, color theory and more all go into making these specific examples look the way they do. It may or may not be tougher for someone without a studio type setup with air-fed art tools, or familiarity with the materials to achieve the same look (outside of solid colors), but could be just as successful albeit with slightly different techniques and aesthetic end results. The cost of the ink is also be a factor; the ones I used here are $7-10 each, and I already have over 50 different colors so it was easy for me to create the confetti look in the colors I wanted. The willingness to experiment on your pyramids comes into play as well, once you prime or clear coat, there's no going back. A part of me initially considered making a few custom stashes, maybe not to sell as much as to trade, as I've been a Looney Labs fan for a long time but somehow missed out on the gray/electric yellow/volcano caps opportunity, but of course also wanted to also share everything I knew, so there ya go! That being said, there's no better time for me to say I'd still love a trade for one of those elusive gray or electric yellow original colors, and can offer a fairly customized stash in any number of your colors, in addition to having other oddities I'd trade like Q-turn; unopened Fluxx 2.1; or other stuff if anyone wants to talk.
Does anyone out there even HAVE a 'second/spare' set of gray, electric yellow or volcano caps?
All the best & good luck coloring your pyramids! Certainly share your results, other techniques and success/failure stories if you give it a go!
Those are amazing! Those translucence pyramids are so interesting. I've never used air blown ink, so I don't have the confidence quite yet.
I'm in the middle of pieceniking my second set of solids.
I'm using a Rustoleum rust red primer and then going over that with a bronze spray. They'll be filled with sand and glued shut once they are all done. I'll post a picture at some point.
I've continued to experiment with painting pyramids using acrylic inks to good success. Using a few different combinations of ink colors, applied to Xeno Clear pieces only, I created this Sunset Stash with new color combinations (L to R, as shown here) Setting Sun, Red Horizon, Midnight Moon, Blue Lagoon & Green Flash. I also went ahead and got a quart of clear coat so I could dip the pieces (2 coats) instead of brushing them, resulting in a more factory looking smooth finish instead of slightly streaky from brushing. The color seems quite resilient to use, and sufficient drying time between each color (1 day) and each layer of clear coat (2-3 days) appears to be critical. I'm certainly pleased with the way these have turned out!!
Okay. Here are the results. This is a bronze set that I'm filling with sand to then be a pair with the Hot Topic Set that I made.
I don't know that I'll do more (as I'm hoping to inspire others to fill some of their sets), but at least we have some nice solids for Icehouse games. The photo where I left on the flash gives you a better sense of the bronze, even though it brings out some of the primer that is not normally visible to the eye.
Right on! They sure look nice in the top photo, well done! Are you using any sort of protective coating on top of the paint? I'm curious how the finish holds up with conventional spray paint and a (typically metal?) primer as I've not tried either.
The Hot Topic ones are cool looking with the two tones, and seem aptly named! Do you mind sharing your method for sealing/gluing the bottom?
I use the instructions for filling pyramids the Eeyore came up with.
I have an acrylic pad that was originally for something else. I recommend pushing down with the pyramid you are filling underneath and then flipping it over right-side up while pressing down. After several hours of drying time, they snap cleanly right off the pad. Any extra glue is going to push inward or come out the side (which you can easily remove), and it makes a nice seal. I've only had one pyramid start to leak sand over the past few years (and a slow leak at that), and I'll simply reheat the glue to reseal that.
I only used a primer and then the bronze spray. I'm not sure how well it will stay. I did find that the primer becomes active again after spraying the bronze, so that when I tried to fix up a mistake, I ended up smudging some of the primer off of a side (I might see some lose of paint there). So far, I haven't noticed any issues, but they haven't gotten much use. I'm not sure if a protective coating is necessary or not, but it couldn't hurt. I used a spray primer that bonds on plastic (among other things).
I have used Eeyore's method as well for six sets of Icehouse pieces, and I think I have seen only one piece of the lot leak sand at all, which is pretty good. Putting that alongside my purchases from LooneyCon and Origins, I have nine Icehouse stashes, so don't worry Greg, the art of pyramid filling and Icehouse playing will be passed on to the next generation haha