Plexiglass Art Techniques

By Casey Fatzinger
Painting on plexiglass is different than painting on canvas because the paint does not absorb into the surface, therefore it takes the paint longer to dry.

Plexiglass has more uses than just shielding us from weather. Taking old plexiglass and turning it into art is a smart way to recycle. Adults as well as children can have fun creating their own artwork on plexiglass. Some of the techniques for plexiglass include painting, etching, printmaking and LED lighting.

Reverse Painting

Reverse painting is when the artist is painting both sides of the plexiglass. One side of the plexiglass is painted without any particular shape because it acts as the background. The artist will use different painting techniques for the background such as thinning the paint, scratching the paint to get texture or layering the paint. The opposite side of the plexiglass the artist paint a figure or shape with details.

Printmaking

In place of rubber or wood an artist will use plexiglass to do printmaking. The reason for using plexiglass instead is because more precise details can be obtained. With a dremel tool or box cutter the artist etches a design into the plexiglass. The artist then takes an ink roller and rolls a thin layer of ink over the design. Then a sheet of paper is placed over the design and then run through an ink press or the artists rubs the opposite side of the paper firmly. The paper is then gently lifted from the plexiglass leaving a print. The plexiglass design can be used over and over again for multiple prints.

Etching

Etching is almost the same as using the plexiglass for printmaking except the plexiglass is going to be the art. The artist etches a design or figure into the plexiglass with the special dremel tools. There are a couple of things that can be done to the piece. The artist may decide to leave the plexiglass as is or add paint to the back to make it like a reverse painting.

LED Lighting

LED lighting is a unique technique to add to plexiglass because it makes the artwork look like a neon sign. The artist again etches into one side of the plexiglass with the dremel tools. After the etching is finished and cleaned up, the piece is mounted on a sturdy surface. The LED lights are then attached to the top or bottom of the plexiglass. When the lights are turned on the design catches the light, making it glow.