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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone successfully painted two colors on a background to create a shading or gradient effect? I'm looking to hear from people who've learned from experience!

I want to eventually paint a black background for a 125, but I thought it might be nice to add a gradient at the bottom that matches the color of the rocks I choose. My thinking was to start at the bottom with a spray paint and very lightly work over the surface, then finish with additional coats of latex black paint.

Am I on to something? Or, should I just stick with a good ol' black background?
 

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That may work, but I think you'd have to try it many times before you got something that looked useable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ouch.

"Try it many times" is a scary sounding phrase! It also reflects my mild paranioa at trying this. At the same time, I'm not so innovative to think that someone else hasn't come up with this idea. Has anyone blended colors before?
 

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Have you ever tried to create an even gradient? It's much harder than you'd think it is. We did this exercise in my graphic design class and it was a nightmare. But our project was much easier than what it sounds like you're talking about. We had to paint 11 squares and make an even gradient. Actual blending is much harder IMO, and with my luck on painting the back of tanks, I usually end up painting 15ish coats to get good coverage. Chances are that you'd pull your hair out before the tank was done properly.

Someone posted about making a gradient in Photoshop or Paint or something and plotting it on a big printer, then attaching it and sandwiching it to the tank with a piece of plexi. That would probably be your best bet, you'd just have to be careful not to ever get it wet.
 

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cichlids&baseball said:
How do ppl go about painting the back round normally? just spray paint the glass?

I hope that doesnt sound stupid
Nope, doesn't sound stupid at all. Thats exactly what we do. I have found the Rustoleum high performance enamel to cover nicely in 2 coats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I used flat latex paint and a foam roller in the past, and it took about four coats. It was pretty easy, and the results were great.

Because others have had success with spray paint, that got me thinking about the gradient idea with "rockish" or sandy color on bottom changing to flat black up top.

But, as Laurel points out, maybe this requires too much experimentation or artistic ability?
 

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I used black latex paint and a foam roller. Mine took about 15 coats though. It took the same number on my 29 gallon as well.

You could give it a shot if you don't need to set the tank up immediately. It would be worth the try, and not too hard to take off if you don't like it(with a razor).

I just wanted to share my experience with making gradients. I found them very tough, but with spray paint it might not be too terrible. But you'd probably end up with some unevenness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hey, thanks for all this feedback.

I might give it a shot, but experiment first on something before applying "officially". Maybe a piece of plexiglass cut to size?

This might be a month or two before I get to it, but I'll post if it turns out. A little unevenness is OK once I throw in rockwork and get some algae growth.
 

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You can get a black to blue graded "off the shelf" backing. Its pretty cheap so that could be worth looking at. I use it in most of my tanks and it works a treat. It can be fixed inside or taped to the outside.
that may be a quick fix while you hone your painting skills on the plexi glass?
just a thought

regards
Brian
 

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People have done it many times, get some cheap paper rolls from a craft store, and practice on them. If it looks good, and you are comfortable, move to the tank. If you screw up, just razor it off and try again. It really isn't that bad.
 

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I'd try blending over a full gradiant.

I've blended before and basically we "ragged" the line between colors to blend it. Dabbing works the best. Spray might dry too fast, so maybe try rolling it on.

I wouldn't strive for perfect, I'd strive for natural looking.

Practice on an old piece of glass. You can usually find old glass for free. Then once you get the hand of blending it do it on the tank, if you are unhappy razor it off and try again.

Glass might be real streaky if you don't dab right, so I'd practice.

Paint is cheap, so you've got little to lose and if your painting glass you can't really hurt anything that can't be redone.
 

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I'd try blending over a full gradiant.

I've blended before and basically we "ragged" the line between colors to blend it. Dabbing works the best. Spray might dry too fast, so maybe try rolling it on.

I wouldn't strive for perfect, I'd strive for natural looking.

Practice on an old piece of glass. You can usually find old glass for free. Then once you get the hand of blending it do it on the tank, if you are unhappy razor it off and try again.

Glass might be real streaky if you don't dab right, so I'd practice.

Paint is cheap, so you've got little to lose and if your painting glass you can't really hurt anything that can't be redone.
 
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