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The Hard Way: Poppers N Paint


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34 replies to this topic

#1 Owl Jones

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:10 PM

I have a saying that I try to follow: Just buy it. Sometime I listen to myself, and sometimes - if I'm feeling froggy - I abandon that sage wisdom and try to build/make/create stuff that I know I shouldn't. Take for example - foam popper bodies.

After watching lots of videos and trying most of the techniques used to make poppers ( sheet foam folding, gluing, wraping, punching, flip-flops, carving balsa, etc.) I've just made a big order to J. Stockard for some Wapsi hard foam popper bodies. Now, I'm not saying that someone who's interested in making their own foam poppers should abandon the idea. I'm just saying that as the least mechanically inclined person you've ever met, it's not for me. Not even when spinning and sanding foam on a Dremel could I turn out a decent popper body! It's not foam, it's me. :)

Then, last night I took some of the Wapsi bodies and broke out the Sharpie's. I've read about how they bleed when coated with Hard-as-Nails and I've experienced it myself, first hand. For a guy who knows he has limitations on what he can do, I sure am picky about the way my poppers look. :) LOL But the Sharpie coloring? That's something I can do pretty easily. But I know I can't use Hard-as-Nails on them for the sealer/top coat because it makes them look "blurry" when the Sharpie markers bleed.

But what I can't find any information on, among all the info out there ( and on this forum! ) is can I use 30 min. epoxy over the Sharpie colored poppers? I don't think there should be a problem with the epoxy causing the Sharpie to bleed, but I'm not 100% sure. So this extra long post is essentially just to ask: Can I use 30 min. epoxy on Sharpie colored Wapsi hard foam poppers? :)

Or, better yet - can I not coat them with anything and just re-Sharpie 'em when they fade? Of course, no one wants to buy poppers they have to refinish every trip and I'm hoping to one day sell a few here and there.
You can google me if you like, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

#2 bluegill576

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:30 PM

If you are going to use the wapsi perfect popper bodies then I would not use sharpie. It is a hard surface and the marker will smear when anything touches it. I don't think anything will be able to coat it. I use acrylic paint to paint mine. If you really want to use the sharpie you could try putting a primer coat of white paint and color over that. One time that it would be good to use a sharpie is on soft foam bodies where the body can absorb the ink and hold it in place.

#3 bluegill576

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:31 PM

oops...double post.

#4 tidewaterfly

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:27 PM

I've used the Wapsi bodies quite a bit, and have used Sharpie's to add some detail. I don't usually color them a great deal with a Sharpie, more so to add a little red along the gill area. However, I'll coat most poppers I make with epoxy, and have not had many problems with coating the Sharpie coloring. I've used Sharpies on other materials as well that got coated with epoxy without too many issues. Sharpie, and likely some other similar permanent markers will sometimes smear on a hard surface as bluegill576 has said, so be sure it's completely dry & if adding your epoxy coat with a brush, don't brush over the Sharpie color, just dab over it & allow it to spread out on it's own.

And, yes you can use 30 minute epoxy! Don't use the 5 minute, as it will often set way too fast when coating things like popper bodies and you'll probably end up with an uneven coating or worse! On small fly heads it can be used, as long as you're not trying to coat a lot of them at a time.

There is a difference in epoxies too. I use 60 or 90 minute, and prefer the Devcon brand. I've had the best results with it, and like the longer set times because I'll usually coat large batches of bodies at a time. I also feel the longer set time Devcon does not yellow as easily as shorter set time epoxy. At least that's been my experience with it.

Some guys like to use rod finish epoxies but I've never used any myself. I used some Ace Hardware epoxy once & was not very happy with it. I've also used Locktite brand, which was OK, but I still like the Devcon better. :)

#5 Owl Jones

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 09:38 PM

Thanks for the advice and replies. The Sharpie markers I'm using are actually colorfast after just a few minutes. I can't rub the marker off no matter how hard I press on them once they're fully dry - and that's after multiple coats of different colors, etc. Maybe they've changed the material? Anyway, what I mainly needed to know is if the epoxy would cause the Sharpie to run like it does with Hard-as-Nails and I think I got that the answer was a tentative "no."

I'll give it a whirl tomorrow and let you know for sure, I guess. I really don't want to give up the detail work I can do with the tip of a Sharpie. I doubt I could get any amount of detail on a small popper with acrylic tube paint and a brush.

Then again, I've had alot of thoughts about just buying cheap, glittery nail polish and forgetting the detail work. I'm sure the fish won't care that I put 20 minutes into hand-coloring each one! LOL

There are so many different ways of getting color on a popper body, it's almost like trying to figure out where to fish on a new river! :) Thanks again for the help, guys!
You can google me if you like, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

#6 Owl Jones

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 04:04 AM

Well, the adventure continued for one last day! Just to confirm it for anyone that might read this thread one day...using Sharpie Markers on Wapsi hard foam heads I bought a spray can of polyurethane high-gloss finish. You know, the stuff you seal wood tables and stuff with...here's what happened...

First light coat - minor running of one color on a three-colored popper body.
Waited an hour, second coat - ugly, runny colored popper body, Batman. All the colors ran all over each other, just like they did with the Hard-As-Nails the night before. RATS!

So, no multi-colored poppers with that method.

HOWEVER, I think if I just do single colors (green, yellow, red) with the Sharpie and then spray em with the poly sealer, they'll look OK. How will they hold up? Not sure.

Sadly, my experiments have come to an end it seems. Last night I ordered a fly turner device from J. Stockard and some 30 min. epoxy from Amazon. ( Would you believe no one in a town of 40,000 people had 30 min. epoxy - not even Lowe's or Home Depot!?!?! )

So I guess I should have known from the beginning - if you could do it (paint hard foam poppers and seal 'em) another way succesfully ( without using epoxy and long drying times), that's how people would do it! :) Of course, I'm gonna finish and fish with that ugly one I made with the spray poly. I don't think the fish will mind.
You can google me if you like, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

#7 flytire

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 05:22 AM

the solvents in one product is working against the solvents in the other product and thats probably whats causing it to run.

sharpie has a product that is a water based paint marker. maybe that would be best suited for what you are trying to do.

http://www.sharpie.c...CFecQNAodelEGPw

i use acrylic paints from michaels craft store and after i'm done painting them, i overcoat with a uv cured resin. no waiting for epoxy to dry, no need for a drying wheel, no mixing uneven amounts of resin or hardener etc.

some results

Posted Image

Posted Image

Poor quality materials and tools are destined to discourage beginner and experienced tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.

Fly tyers can be masters at making things complicated!


#8 Stippled Popper

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 06:39 AM

Sharpie markers are not a permanent an ink as the India Ink used for drawing and I've even had the India ink smear when coated
with epoxy.

I've never found the Lowe's and Home Depot stores in my area to carry 30 minute epoxy on the several occasions I've looked. The
closest thing I found on their web sites is a marine epoxy that one review said doesn't dry clear. Once in a while I've found the 30
minute epoxy at Walmart. Hardware stores such as Ace have been my most consistent local sources.

Like tidewaterfly I go with Devcon. But I freely admit I've not tried any of the other brands.

Water based acrylic craft paint works well with epoxy and the polyurethanes I've used. All you really need to have a nice looking
popper to catch fish is one color on the body and some eyes and you are good to go. A friend of mine only glues the bodies to
the hook and ties materials behind the head with no painting or clear coating whatsoever and he catches fish. Mostly the painting
is to satisfy your arts and crafts side.

#9 nightheron

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 07:27 AM

Stippledpopper paints the most beautiful bodies you will ever see. I am envious of his skill. The fish I guide for will destroy a top water fly after about three fish so my poppers and crease flies have a short shelf life. With that in mind, I have always used five minute epoxy with absolutely no bleeding issues over sharpie markers. I blend colors, allow
it to dry for about ten minutes then apply the epoxy. I prefer five minute because I have used it for years and have learned how to overcome drip lines and uneven applications. Modern finishes have virtually made my type of epoxy obsolete but not cost effective if you "hard finish" as many flies as I go through. I will try to singlehandedly keep the Z Poxy company alive. If my poppers and crease flies actually could survive a season of stripers I suspect this ancient pelican would eventually join the 21st century and
get a UV finish product.

#10 Owl Jones

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:02 AM

Thanks for all the help, advice and comments everyone. I know it seems like I'm being a little silly - stuck on using a Sharpie as my tool of choice - but I have them already and really can't afford to delve into paint as well if there's any way I can create colored bodies without doing that. I've already got some 30 min. Flex coat on the way - and a turner. Let you know how that goes for me. There's a ton of info out there on poppers, but it seems that everyone eventually finds their own methods....but it also seems that almost no one is 100% happy with 'em. :)

Those UV poppers look amazing. Unfortunately, if I spent that kind of money my wife could kill me. I'm kinda surprised she didn't raise the roof over the turner to be honest with ya. :)

I'll be a happy guy if I can just paint these dern bugs with markers and epoxy 'em up. I'm no good with a brush, despite being an art major in college. Of course, had I graduated.......? ;)

Thanks again so much.
You can google me if you like, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

#11 flytire

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 09:25 AM

the acrylic paints i mentioned at michaels craft shop were 3 for a dollar

go for what you have or can afford

Poor quality materials and tools are destined to discourage beginner and experienced tiers and cause greater expense when the time comes to replace them.

Fly tyers can be masters at making things complicated!


#12 Owl Jones

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 05:24 PM

3 for a dollar. dern.

OK, news from the Popper front (and I hope you all are getting quite the chuckle over me going the long way around this whole thing. :)) I bought a turner, tracked down some 30 min. epoxy, coated my Sharpie colored creations and the ink still ran. Not nearly as much as with the Hard-as-Nails, but it did run a bit. It also sucked (somehow)some of the white popper body color back up to the surface (or something like that) because a solid green popper is now a white and green popper. same with the yellow and orange.

They don't look bad. I'll fish with 'em of course....but I guess I am going to have to give in and go with the acrylic paint after all.

One last question and I'll (hopefully) be done with the Popper Inquisition! :)

Should I coat them with something else ( now with the Hard-as-Nails???) after they're finished turning on the dryer? They still seem sticky to me and I know I used the exact same amount of part A and part B.

It would be supremely ironic to have to coat them with Hard-As-Nails. LOL

Thanks for all your help everyone! I really, really appreciate it.

PS - looking for what to coat them with over the epoxy(if that's what you do) I'm running across tons of videos showing people using 5 min. epoxy. That stuff will yellow and get brittle fast, right? Or did I just pay $13.00 plus shipping for nuthin'?
You can google me if you like, but don't say I didn't warn ya.

#13 Stippled Popper

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 06:50 PM

It doesn't seem that the Sharpie color is compatible with any clear coat. As a last test you might just
run a color of sharpie on some piece of extra material. After it is dried, try the Hard as Nails and see if
as I expect it also runs. If it does run and you still want to clear coat your poppers, I'd give serious
consideration to abandoning the Sharpie ink and try some other based paint such as the water based
acrylic flytire suggested. I know it works with 30 minute epoxy, polyurethane, and nail polish.

#14 Wavey1988

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 12:14 PM

What about spraying a clear coat on? If you spray varnish, over water based paints, like tube water colour, just mist it on, it usually negates any bleed (done it before, when model building)

#15 djgunter

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 08:45 PM

Ironically enough, I also recently placed an order from jsflyfishing for a bunch of the Waspi hard foam poppers as well. I had seen them many times in my former local fly shop but never really was interested in them because they seemed already made, and there would be little fly tying for me to do.

Then, I bought some Balsa and Basswood and used a Dremel I purchased to carve out some bodies and paint and coat them with 2 ton 30min epoxy.

The results were mixed, and it ended up being very time consuming. I ended up finding it difficult to create identical sized poppers using wood, and therefore ended up purchasing a whole bunch of hard foam ones in different sizes. I have a huge collection of Copic water-proof markers that have yet to be used and can't wait for my order to arrive. Should be today or tomorrow at latest.

I will post the fruits of my labor soon.

Dan
"If a man says he is not afraid of dying, he is either lying or is a Gurkha" - Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw