Adhesive to mount lighting gels to clear acrylic sheets.

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
Another department has a job coming up where they need many different colors of transparent green. Sourcing more than one or two colors of transparent green acrylic sheeting has proved difficult. I suggested covering clear sheets of acrylic with gel, since as we all know color choices abound in that medium. Only problem is, I’m not sure what adhesive is best to use. I need something that will maintain the transparency of the gel and acrylic sheet as best as possible. Any suggestions?
 

RonHebbard

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Another department has a job coming up where they need many different colors of transparent green. Sourcing more than one or two colors of transparent green acrylic sheeting has proved difficult. I suggested covering clear sheets of acrylic with gel, since as we all know color choices abound in that medium. Only problem is, I’m not sure what adhesive is best to use. I need something that will maintain the transparency of the gel and acrylic sheet as best as possible. Any suggestions?
Have they considered sandwiching lighting gels between two sheets of clear acrylic?
Toodleoo!
Ron Hebbard
 

Malabaristo

Well-Known Member
The double-sided tape that comes in window shrink film kits is pretty clear and easy to work with. Should be able to find it separately without buying a whole kit... Regular spray adhesives tend to be slightly frosty, but this one claims to be "crystal clear". Haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot.

How big are the pieces? Getting a nice, uniform bond across a large surface could take some practice and finesse no matter what you're using.
 

DrewE

Well-Known Member
It might work to apply them like a decal with nothing more than a few drops of water, working out all the bubbles (by peeling back a side/corner and rolling it back on carefully, or by squeegeeing, for example).
 

gafftapegreenia

CBMod
CB Mods
The double-sided tape that comes in window shrink film kits is pretty clear and easy to work with. Should be able to find it separately without buying a whole kit... Regular spray adhesives tend to be slightly frosty, but this one claims to be "crystal clear". Haven't tried it myself, but might be worth a shot.

How big are the pieces? Getting a nice, uniform bond across a large surface could take some practice and finesse no matter what you're using.
Oh I’m gonna try that glue. We were thinking spray adhesive as we use a lot of 77 but it’s obviously not clear.
 

Van

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
There are several great options IF you can hide the adhesive at the perimeter of the acrylic panel. As @theatricalmatt mentioned, Snot tape would work great if you used it around the very edge. It is translucent but it is not optically clear. you might be able to use something like Elmers glue stick around the perimeter then lay down the film, then roller it out with a print roller. What Derek suggests MIGHT work after a fashion. Window tint has a water activated adhesive applied to it at the factory. you spritz it with water squeegee it and viola' it sticks. I use a product called "Rapid Tac" it's available at sign and vinyl shops. it promotes adhesion and prolongs work time when applying vinyl graphics. IDK if using Rapid tac by itself will work but you could try mixing a soap product with water, spray it on, squeegee it to remove bubbles then see how it dries out. The soap should act as a binder and water's surface tension should help hold the film on as well. Windex MIGHT work, it has silicones and other surfactant's in it to promote the non-streaking qualities, which is why it's horrible to use for cleaning windows before applying vinyl.

The only other thing I can think of, and it's a complete shot in the dark, would be to get some Rosco "Crystal gel" dilute it, squirt some on, lay the film and again squeegee the heck out of it. crystal gel dries completely clear but I don't know what the density of the material will do to the light transmission.

P.S. @RonHebbard pointed out that I misspelled Voila'. I do this because of an inside joke. Years ago I was working for a lighting rental place and I had a job to deliver to an International French School here in PDX. I finished the setup and the head of the school who was a bit snooty, came in the room. I wanted to show her we were all complete. I showed her how to turn everything on set some levels for and when I was all done I said, in my best Okie Twang, "Et Vi-Ola" being funny because I learned French in Oklahoma. With absolutely no humor whatsoever she turned to me, appalled, and said, "It's pronounced , 'A Vois-La'" <phonectic spelling mine.>
well I went back to the shop and told the story and from then on it became a thing in the shop. we'd finish a task and yell "Vie-Ola!" and now I always spell it wrong.
 
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tladuke

Member
Another department has a job coming up where they need many different colors of transparent green. Sourcing more than one or two colors of transparent green acrylic sheeting has proved difficult. I suggested covering clear sheets of acrylic with gel, since as we all know color choices abound in that medium. Only problem is, I’m not sure what adhesive is best to use. I need something that will maintain the transparency of the gel and acrylic sheet as best as possible. Any suggestions?
The graphics art industry has the solution. It's called cold pressure lamination. They have optically clear double sided adhesive that is applied to the clear substrate using a two roller lamination press. This is how Graphics companies bond digitally printed graphics to rigid clear substrates. I have used Graphics companies to laminate colored gel to acrylic, polycarbonate and glass. It works great. Do NOT put this in a theatrical fixture. The heat will delaminate the gel.

There are small laminators that use heated rollers. They are used for presentation binders to seal up the printed graphics. menus, etc. You can by a laminator and the lamination film at places like Office Depot
 

Starr T.

Member
There are several great options IF you can hide the adhesive at the perimeter of the acrylic panel. As @theatricalmatt mentioned, Snot tape would work great if you used it around the very edge. It is translucent but it is not optically clear. you might be able to use something like Elmers glue stick around the perimeter then lay down the film, then roller it out with a print roller. What Derek suggests MIGHT work after a fashion. Window tint has a water activated adhesive applied to it at the factory. you spritz it with water squeegee it and viola' it sticks. I use a product called "Rapid Tac" it's available at sign and vinyl shops. it promotes adhesion and prolongs work time when applying vinyl graphics. IDK if using Rapid tac by itself will work but you could try mixing a soap product with water, spray it on, squeegee it to remove bubbles then see how it dries out. The soap should act as a binder and water's surface tension should help hold the film on as well. Windex MIGHT work, it has silicones and other surfactant's in it to promote the non-streaking qualities, which is why it's horrible to use for cleaning windows before applying vinyl.

The only other thing I can think of, and it's a complete shot in the dark, would be to get some Rosco "Crystal gel" dilute it, squirt some on, lay the film and again squeegee the heck out of it. crystal gel dries completely clear but I don't know what the density of the material will do to the light transmission.

P.S. @RonHebbard pointed out that I misspelled Voila'. I do this because of an inside joke. Years ago I was working for a lighting rental place and I had a job to deliver to an International French School here in PDX. I finished the setup and the head of the school who was a bit snooty, came in the room. I wanted to show her we were all complete. I showed her how to turn everything on set some levels for and when I was all done I said, in my best Okie Twang, "Et Vi-Ola" being funny because I learned French in Oklahoma. With absolutely no humor whatsoever she turned to me, appalled, and said, "It's pronounced , 'A Vois-La'" <phonectic spelling mine.>
well I went back to the shop and told the story and from then on it became a thing in the shop. we'd finish a task and yell "Vie-Ola!" and now I always spell it wrong.
If we can't "LAFF" at ourselves...Life is way too Serious!:lol:
 

J Katz

Member
What is the end goal? Is it just a decorative scenic element? Or is it being used exclusively to color the output of a lighting fixture?

First: Does it have to be acrylic? I would suggest polycarbonate for its flame retardancy and impact resistance. Especially if you are using them in a vertical orientation in a setting with an audience.

Cheapest: Crystal gel can be mixed with Mixol Universal Tint to any custom shade and then sprayed on with an HVLP sprayer. You have to get the pressure right and the application has to be done with the highest attention to detail for even coverage.
Mid Level: Find something here that works for you, https://www.decorativefilm.com/
Expensive: Have a sign shop print what ever color you want onto translucent UV Resistant vinyl film (they do this all day long for every light up sign you see at strip malls) and laminate onto (ideally) polycarbonate.
 

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