Mastering the Art: How to Weather 3D Prints Like a Pro!

Hey tech enthusiasts! It’s Carolina, your go-to gal for everything tech. If you, like me, are a massive fan of 3D printing and yearn to give your prints that vintage, worn-out appeal, then guess what? You’re in for a treat today!


Ever gazed at those cosplay masterpieces, thinking about the helmets, armor, or even weapons that have that authentic, battle-worn touch? Well, whether you’re crafting with filament or resin, it’s all about the finish after you’ve painted them. Dive into the world of weathering 3D prints! Acrylic paints, dry pigment powders, spray paints, or even buffing compounds are your best pals in this process, helping you create realistic smears, battle scars, grime, and much more. Want that scratchy effect? Go for a semi-gloss or gloss clear coat, rub-n-buff, or similar. Hungry for more? Keep scrolling for the juicy deets!

Weathering 3D Prints: Step by Step

1. Begin with a Filler Primer
First things first: coat your 3D print with a filler primer in your chosen shade. Think of this as setting the stage! I’ve heard wonders about the Rust-Oleum Automotive Rusty Metal Primer Spray Paint. But hey, if you’re feeling a tad adventurous, Krylon Spray Paint & Primer combo might be your shortcut. And a word to the wise, folks: when it comes to spray paints, less is more!

2. It’s Sanding Time!
Smooth out your model by sanding. The PAXCOO 42 Pcs Sandpaper Assortment is a fabulous choice. Start with a rougher grit and work your way up. And trust me, the smoother the finish, the better the weathering looks.

3. Unleash Your Inner Artist
Once your model is dried and primed, let your creativity flow. Paint intricate designs or stick to a single hue—it’s your canvas!

4. Choose Your Weathering Weapons
Multiple options await! From acrylic paint to dry pigments and the ever-popular Rub-N-Buff, your choices are vast. The Acrylic Paint Set is a dream, especially since it comes with brushes. If dry pigments are more your thing, the Tamiya Weather Master Set (C) is an absolute gem.

5. Time to Weather!
Grab your brush, dip it into your chosen product, and then gently grace your 3D model. Play with color contrasts to make it pop! When dry brushing, a light touch is key. Mixing acrylic paint with water can produce mesmerizing effects, especially if you dab it off with a cloth. And remember, when weathering, focus on the crevices, curves, and edges. The tiniest marks can sometimes create the most authentic look.

The magic lies in the details, dear reader. Where do you want the grime? Which parts should flaunt scratches? Decide the paint frequency to strike a balance between aged and eye-catching.

By the way, 3D Printed Props has an excellent tutorial on this topic—super insightful and simple to follow. Kevin, from 3D Printed Props, mentions that while he doesn’t typically add an extra coat after weathering, it might be beneficial to seal in that gorgeous finish. And a shoutout to the user who 3D printed a fantastic Wolffe Armor with impressive weathering effects!

But wait, here’s a tip from another user: add burn marks, or other tiny imperfections for a holistic worn-out appearance, rather than just a dusty look.