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Masking with Parafilm

By Terry Miesle
video & text © 2007 Starship Modeler

Terry Miesle conducted this short how-to on using Parafilm to mask models for painting on 8 September 2007, at the IPMS/Techmages monthly club meeting.

Part 1

Part 2

Click here for Quicktime video clip (115 MB)

Synopsis & Notes

Parafilm is a clear plastic 'cling' film that is commonly used in laboratories to seal containers, in a fashion akin to the way cling wrap (Saran Wrap) is used for food and food containers at home. It's most useful as a masking material for canopies and for covering intricate detail, where you might otherwise use a liquid latex masking agent.

Parafilm must be stretched to "activate". Cut a small piece, stretch, then fold over on itself (once for a canopy, maybe more times for covering detail on small figures).

Place the stretched film on the model surface with your hands and push it into the general area you want it. The heat from your fingers will help it adhere. You may then push/prod/position it with various sculpting tools (anything from a toothpick to specialized tools). Terry had a number of Silicone Clay Shapers, which look like paint brushes tipped with a shaped pencil eraser. The black ones are most useful for the Parafilm tricks. Gray and white are useful for epoxy putty work (because epoxy won't stick to the silicone tip). Terry gets his tools from The Compleat Sculptor.

Parafilm is suggested for applications where you do not want to damage the underlying paint. Many figure painters, especially miniaturists, use it to cover faces while painting the rest of the figure. Aircraft modelers use it to cover metallic finishes and clear canopies.

Testors sells Parafilm-M rolls through hobby shops, but this is the most expensive means of acquiring it. A better source is Humming Line Store.

Another good reference for using Parafilm is Dave Aungst's article over on Hyperscale.

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This page copyright © 2007 Starship Modeler™. First posted on 10 September 2007.