Author Topic: Painting a CritterNation?  (Read 3025 times)

Offline gawgeouspaws

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Painting a CritterNation?
« on: February 01, 2016, 10:29:56 PM »
I love my CN; it served my girls well, and I'm hoping (fingers crossed), that it can do that for some new ratties. However, what I don't love quite as much is the color. It's fine, it doesn't really bother me. At least... it didn't until I saw some of the beautiful painted cages on here. They are absolutely striking, and being able to paint my cage gives me an entirely new realm of creativity to explore with my CN (if it ends up needing to be used, fingers crossed again :wink5:).

I've been reading up, and so far the consensus is that Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch is the way to go. I'm really leaning towards white, it's bright and airy and will match no matter where my CN is. (Any recommendations on what finish to go with are welcome)

My question, for anyone out there with cage spray painting experience and/or general spray painting experience, is: HOW? :help:

I've read all kinds of posts. Some people sand the cage down and some don't. Some people prime and some don't. Some people spray with wild abandon (might be exaggerating a little bit there) and some roll instead of spraying. Some say leaving it to cure for 3 days is fine and some say 3 weeks (though to be safe I'd probably end up waiting the 2-3 weeks).

All I'm looking for is some answers, shared experiences, Do's and Don'ts, anything! Thanks!
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Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2016, 11:45:45 PM »
Painters touch by Rustoleum is the safe brand to use. I'd go with gloss finish.
I painted 2 DCNs. And I painted one of them twice. If your CN is brand new, I've found sanding isn't necessary. If it's a used cage, I'd recommend sanding. Primer with the "2x" spray isn't necessary. Let it cure for 2-3 weeks outside. The paint will hold up longer the longer you leave it. So if you can even wait 4+ weeks, that would be even better.

I've painted my cages 2 different ways.
1 way was putting the entire cage together and then painting it outside. I'd recommend this way as it was faster, easier, and helped use less paint. You will need 5-7 cans of paint.
The other way was painting each piece by itself and having to wait for it to dry before applying a second coat if needed and letting dry before flipping to paint the other side. If I ever paint my cage again, I won't be doing it this way again.

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Offline Michael C

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2016, 01:36:28 AM »
I'm so glad Kitsch answered this post. I've been curious on the number of cans required to cover a CN for a while, now. (so sorry to hear about Mousse   :-[). Two questions... You said that you painted one cage twice. Is this because there were issues with the paint job (technical problems that could have been avoided) or was it just a matter of the color? Second question... do you not recommend painting a disassembled CN simply because it takes longer?

Gawgeouspaws, just in case you haven't seen this set-up, here's a Savic Royal Suite (Euro Critter Nation) in all white...


Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2016, 01:50:08 AM »
I painted the same cage twice only because I wanted a different color :)
I repainted it without sanding the other layer of paint first and so the second layer hasn't held up as well as the 1st.

Personally I wouldn't paint all the pieces separate because it takes much longer and used more paint. I had to find a surface big enough to lay the pieces on to paint. So finding space was difficult as well. Whereas the cage set up can just be sprayed standing up. Just my personal preference. :)

That white looks so good.
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Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2016, 08:31:37 AM »
Painters touch by Rustoleum is the safe brand to use. I'd go with gloss finish.
I painted 2 DCNs. And I painted one of them twice. If your CN is brand new, I've found sanding isn't necessary. If it's a used cage, I'd recommend sanding. Primer with the "2x" spray isn't necessary. Let it cure for 2-3 weeks outside. The paint will hold up longer the longer you leave it. So if you can even wait 4+ weeks, that would be even better.

I've painted my cages 2 different ways.
1 way was putting the entire cage together and then painting it outside. I'd recommend this way as it was faster, easier, and helped use less paint. You will need 5-7 cans of paint.
The other way was painting each piece by itself and having to wait for it to dry before applying a second coat if needed and letting dry before flipping to paint the other side. If I ever paint my cage again, I won't be doing it this way again.

Thank you so, so much! Your cages were actually some of the ones that really inspired me, they are absolutely gorgeous, such lucky ratties! The cage is used, so I'll make sure to sand it. What would you recommend? Is steel wool okay? And I'm glad that you preferred painting the cage in one piece, because that's the way I intended to do it (didn't want to take apart an entire CN). 5-7 is a lot of cans, but I'm glad you're letting me know; I'd hate to not buy enough the first time around.

I'm so glad Kitsch answered this post. I've been curious on the number of cans required to cover a CN for a while, now. (so sorry to hear about Mousse   :-[). Two questions... You said that you painted one cage twice. Is this because there were issues with the paint job (technical problems that could have been avoided) or was it just a matter of the color? Second question... do you not recommend painting a disassembled CN simply because it takes longer?

Gawgeouspaws, just in case you haven't seen this set-up, here's a Savic Royal Suite (Euro Critter Nation) in all white...



Thank you for the picture, Michael! I absolutely love the white!

I painted the same cage twice only because I wanted a different color :)
I repainted it without sanding the other layer of paint first and so the second layer hasn't held up as well as the 1st.

Personally I wouldn't paint all the pieces separate because it takes much longer and used more paint. I had to find a surface big enough to lay the pieces on to paint. So finding space was difficult as well. Whereas the cage set up can just be sprayed standing up. Just my personal preference. :)

That white looks so good.

Should I sand the cage, paint the first layer on, and then sand the first layer before I apply the second one? I hadn't even considered that.
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Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2016, 12:51:58 PM »
Thank you for the kind words!
I have heard you can use steel wool, or sandpaper. I don't have experience sanding my cages since I painted them brand new right out of the box. So as to which works better, I can't say.

The spray can has directions for how to apply the next coat, if my memory serves me right I believe you just wait for it to dry for something like 20 minutes and apply another coat. If you wait too long between coats you'll need to sand the 1st later before applying the 2nd.
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Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2016, 01:19:13 PM »
Just curious, if you paint the cage assembled, can you still take it apart again to clean/move/etc? Won't the pieces become "sealed" together when the paint dries?

Also - a note about white and other light colors: if you want the best visibility (the best view of the rats and what is inside), you want to use black or a dark color like a dark navy or hunter green, because our eyes and brain are naturally conditioned to block out the bars and see what is behind them when the bars are darker. When the bars are lighter, our brain subconsciously focuses more on the bars themselves, and what is behind them becomes more obscured. This is why bird "show" cages always should have black bars to afford the judge the best view of the bird inside the cage, and should never use white bars.

Either way is fine and the rats will of course be fine, but you should just be aware of the trade-offs, with light colored bars highlighting the cage itself and dark colored bars highlighting what is inside the cage.

Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2016, 06:48:19 PM »
Thank you for the kind words!
I have heard you can use steel wool, or sandpaper. I don't have experience sanding my cages since I painted them brand new right out of the box. So as to which works better, I can't say.

The spray can has directions for how to apply the next coat, if my memory serves me right I believe you just wait for it to dry for something like 20 minutes and apply another coat. If you wait too long between coats you'll need to sand the 1st later before applying the 2nd.

Thank you! Also, I was wondering if you've ever had issues with rats chewing on the bars? I worry for the ratties even though Rust-Oleum is supposed to be safe. And I'm worried that if they chew, the black of the CN will show through. Is this something that doing the 2 coats helps prevent? Sorry for all the questions, but you've been really helpful!
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Offline BigBen

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2016, 09:59:20 PM »
Rustoleum makes a line of child-safe, non-toxic paint, and this is what you should use for rats, in case they chew the bars.  A previous finish of enamel or high-gloss paint needs to be roughed up with sandpaper, so that the new paint can tightly adhere to the old.  It is not usually necessary to sand between coats, as long as the first coat has not fully cured (on the other hand, there is a certain minimum dry time needed, or the two coats will become one very thick coat, which is not what you want--be sure to read the instructions).  Two coats will not only aid in covering the old color, but will also be somewhat more durable.  If you can afford to have the cage powder-coated, that will give you the most durable results, but powder-coat is not cheap, especially if you want a custom color.
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Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2016, 10:31:51 PM »
Rustoleum makes a line of child-safe, non-toxic paint, and this is what you should use for rats, in case they chew the bars.  A previous finish of enamel or high-gloss paint needs to be roughed up with sandpaper, so that the new paint can tightly adhere to the old.  It is not usually necessary to sand between coats, as long as the first coat has not fully cured (on the other hand, there is a certain minimum dry time needed, or the two coats will become one very thick coat, which is not what you want--be sure to read the instructions).  Two coats will not only aid in covering the old color, but will also be somewhat more durable.  If you can afford to have the cage powder-coated, that will give you the most durable results, but powder-coat is not cheap, especially if you want a custom color.

So is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch okay to use? That's what's been recommended to me. Thank you for the advice about the coats! And I've heard about powder-coating, even looked into a bit, but it's just a little too pricey for me. Thank you!
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Offline BigBen

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2016, 10:40:01 PM »
So is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch okay to use? That's what's been recommended to me. Thank you for the advice about the coats! And I've heard about powder-coating, even looked into a bit, but it's just a little too pricey for me. Thank you!

You're very welcome.  Just make sure the label says Painter's Touch Toy Safe, and you're good to go.
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Offline Kitsch Slapped

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2016, 03:04:37 AM »
Just curious, if you paint the cage assembled, can you still take it apart again to clean/move/etc? Won't the pieces become "sealed" together when the paint dries?

I was able to take it apart and put it together again. No problems at all for me.


Thank you! Also, I was wondering if you've ever had issues with rats chewing on the bars? I worry for the ratties even though Rust-Oleum is supposed to be safe. And I'm worried that if they chew, the black of the CN will show through. Is this something that doing the 2 coats helps prevent? Sorry for all the questions, but you've been really helpful!

Glad to help!
The rats haven't chewed the bars. As long as the paint has fully cured. It will be safe. Since it's only spray paint, it isn't as durable as the powder coat finish that's already on it, but you should be able to get a good few years out of it before it even just starts to show any wear and tear. 2 coats and a long cure time outside will help too. :)
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Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2016, 07:23:14 AM »
Just curious, if you paint the cage assembled, can you still take it apart again to clean/move/etc? Won't the pieces become "sealed" together when the paint dries?

Also - a note about white and other light colors: if you want the best visibility (the best view of the rats and what is inside), you want to use black or a dark color like a dark navy or hunter green, because our eyes and brain are naturally conditioned to block out the bars and see what is behind them when the bars are darker. When the bars are lighter, our brain subconsciously focuses more on the bars themselves, and what is behind them becomes more obscured. This is why bird "show" cages always should have black bars to afford the judge the best view of the bird inside the cage, and should never use white bars.

Either way is fine and the rats will of course be fine, but you should just be aware of the trade-offs, with light colored bars highlighting the cage itself and dark colored bars highlighting what is inside the cage.

Sorry, Vonda! I didn't even see this! Thanks for letting me know about light colors, I had no idea! I think I'm willing to make the trade-off; that white Savic Royal Suite that Michael C posted has really convinced me.

Glad to help!
The rats haven't chewed the bars. As long as the paint has fully cured. It will be safe. Since it's only spray paint, it isn't as durable as the powder coat finish that's already on it, but you should be able to get a good few years out of it before it even just starts to show any wear and tear. 2 coats and a long cure time outside will help too. :)

I had girls that chewed the bars (even though I gave them plenty of other things to chew, haha), but I think some of that might have been that I had one particular place that I would pass them almonds through the cage, and they were absolutely bananas for almonds. So that's the spot they chewed. It's good to hear that you haven't dealt with any of that though because I don't have anything else to draw upon but my ladies - maybe they were a little bit of an anomaly! And I'm glad that it's pretty durable; if it can handle a few good years with ratties knocking around in there, then it's a good paint in my book. Thank you!
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Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2016, 12:05:10 PM »
Unfortunately, the cage didn't get painted because the boys needed a home a little sooner than expected! I wanted them to be able to live in their CN right away, but I've filed away all this info for later. You've all been a great help to me!
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Offline Michael C

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2016, 12:52:54 PM »
Congratulations on the new boys!

If you have a DCN, is it possible to paint the cage in sections, using only one level of the cage at a time? I know the top level could be removed and painted (converting the cage to a single in the mean time), but could it then be used as the single level while the lower level is being painted? I don't have a double so I don't know how the top section works.

...sounds like a fair amount of work.  :-\

We look forward to photos of the new guys!

Offline BigBen

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2016, 11:09:49 PM »
Congratulations on the new boys!

If you have a DCN, is it possible to paint the cage in sections, using only one level of the cage at a time? I know the top level could be removed and painted (converting the cage to a single in the mean time), but could it then be used as the single level while the lower level is being painted? I don't have a double so I don't know how the top section works.

...sounds like a fair amount of work.  :-\

We look forward to photos of the new guys!

I don't see why it wouldn't work, as long as you don't have too many rats in the cage.  Since you'd be doing it in two sections, that means the rats would be effectively in a CN for four or five weeks, which is a little long to be in crowded conditions.
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Offline gawgeouspaws

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Re: Painting a CritterNation?
« Reply #16 on: February 17, 2016, 05:49:14 PM »
Congratulations on the new boys!

If you have a DCN, is it possible to paint the cage in sections, using only one level of the cage at a time? I know the top level could be removed and painted (converting the cage to a single in the mean time), but could it then be used as the single level while the lower level is being painted? I don't have a double so I don't know how the top section works.

...sounds like a fair amount of work.  :-\

We look forward to photos of the new guys!

Thank you! I finally got around to making an intro thread (with their handsome little faces, of course!)

http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4108524.0
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