PPG BreakThrough Paint Test

I’m testing PPG BreakThrough paint for an interesting outdoor decor project with Cutting Edge Stencils that I’ve been thinking about for a while. A few weeks ago, we found an object tossed to the curb that I thought would be great as garden decor.

It’s not often I do a ‘prequel’ to a project. Today’s post will give you a look inside the process of project development around here :). As is usually the case with our projects: (1) it’s not something I’ve ever seen done, so in typical Birdz of a Feather fashion we’re going to try before we fly! and (2) you know we’re going to be repurposing and upcycling a thing or two for the final decor project! 

A few years ago we built trellises and privacy screens for our garden. Hubs went a little overboard and bought way too much outdoor fabric. Just between you and I, he shops for fabric like I shop for shoes. He just can’t stop buying.

This is just a few examples of our leftover fabric:

I started by cutting a sample from the first two fabrics. The striped one was a bit too busy for my idea.

I’m hoping to see sharp edges after stencilling! But I don’t know what to expect because I haven’t seen this kind of fabric stencilled before. Given the plasticky feel and the bumpy nature of the weave, anything can happen.

Cutting Edge Stencils

When I got my order from Cutting Edge Stencils, the company also sent complimentary stencils! Such an awesome idea because I’m using them as my ‘testers’.

I put painters tape around the perimeter of each one to secure them onto the outdoor fabric.

For the third one, I’m testing out a synthetic mesh fabric. It’s not a fabric that was previously used outdoors, but if this works that’s exactly how I’m going to use it!

Stencilling PPG BreakThrough on Fabric

When you do any kind of stencil painting onto fabric, put a sheet of plastic underneath in case the paint soaks through. I guess ‘soak’ isn’t really the best word; it’s more of a seep through the open weave situation in this case.

To apply the paint, I’m using this foam applicator:

I tried using a stencil brush from this stencil brushes. But given the slickness and high degree of ‘plastic’ content of these particular fabrics, foam is what worked best. Just make sure you offload excess paint onto a paper towel so the applicator is somewhat dry.

Stencilling Technique on Outdoor Fabric

As a former fashion designer, I consider myself well acquainted with the nature of fabric. So it wasn’t hard to figure out that a straight up and down pouncing motion is going to give the best result.

I prefer to concentrate on the edges first and then fill in the middle. But if you’re a beginner, it’s probably better to get the majority of paint off in the middle first to avoid seepage in case you still have too much paint on the applicator. You’ll get a feel for it with experience!

I ended up applying two light coats to get the density I wanted. That’s the trick to stencilling without bleed; keep the paint light. You can always add more paint, but you can’t take away!

Lift off the painters tape. Then be careful when you lift the actual stencil to ensure the paint doesn’t smudge.

PPG BreakThrough dries so fast, I didn’t find smudging to be a problem.

When I peeled away the stencil I was happy to see no seepage underneath whatsoever on any of them. Any unevenness on the edge was just due to the way the fabric was woven.

Here are some closeups after removing the stencil:

The cougar stencil on the mesh fabric was not surprisingly the most crisp.

I left the paint to dry overnight in the garage.

The next day, I moved my samples to the backyard where they’ll get plenty of direct light. I’ll leave them outside in the elements to see if there are any differences in durability between fabrics. It will also be a good test to see if the paint lasts.  Just gotta wait for some rain now!

Why Use PPG BreakThrough Paint?

We used PPG BreakThrough for several outdoor projects including this garden mirror and this unique bathroom light fixture planter. Although they’re metal, these pieces have stood the test of time for outdoor use.

One of the biggest benefits of PPG BreakThrough though is the extremely fast dry time. As you can see in this video, I’m able to re-apply paint to the stencil again immediately after stencilling each panel to build up the colour.

BreakThrough is formulated to bond to some of the most difficult materials, including plastics. Not only that, but it remains flexible and can withstand bending without cracking or peeling! Since our outdoor fabric is plastic to various extents, I have a feeling that it’s going to pass my tests with flying colours. Only time will tell.

However, the fact that PPG BreakThrough sticks to plastic is also a bit of a challenge. It makes it a bit harder to clean your stencil after each used.

Cleaning Cutting Edge Stencils

With my three samples stencilled, I took the Cutting Edge Stencils inside and put them into the sink. Make sure to use the strainer to catch bits of paint from going down the drain. Add a touch of soap and fill the sink to cover the stencils with water.

A tooth brush is a bit small, but a large brush or scrubby sponge works great to remove the paint. Because of the paint I used, I found that you had to put some elbow grease into it. One piece of advice when cleaning your stencil: take it easy around the narrow bridges. I scrubbed a bit too quickly and bent a piece.

Taking Care of Cutting Edge Stencils

For large stencils, store them flat between two pieces of cardboard when dry; under the bed is a good option. The flatter it remains, all the better for future use if your don’t subject your stencil to bending :). At 10 mils these stencils are study! They’ll probably last my lifetime.

Here’s a video with some tips on how to clean a large stencil (like the one I’ll be using for my actual project).

I left one of the stencils soaking overnight in water to see if that made clean up any easier. And it did! It took hardly any scrubbing at all to remove the paint from the stencil! So, if the paint holds up successfully on the fabric and I proceed with this project, I’ll put the stencil into water with a little soap as soon as I’m done stencilling and let it soak for a while.

As with all our unique outdoor projects with a paint component, the trick to getting it right is to test, test and test some more. In the end, figuring it all out by testing before doing the actual project is the best way to go.

Keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully the next stencil project you see on Birdz of a Feather will show the final reveal of the outdoor decor project I have in mind. If not, I’m sure it’ll be something just as fabulous. Either way, Cuttings Edge Stencils generously supplied me with one of these wall stencils that I’ll be using.

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Hey, if all the samples hold up, I might just stencil all of them and see which one we like best.

Tune in on August 10th, 2020 for a stencil giveaway!

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated:




2 thoughts on “PPG BreakThrough Paint Test

  1. Great stenciling tips and spot on about removing most of the paint. I still enjoy using stencils for projects.

    Looking forward to seeing which you choose

    • Thanks Cindy! I will be posting the project on Monday so be sure to check back then 🙂

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