Gone Outdoors

How to Restore Color to Faded Neoprene

by Ryan Hotchkiss

Restoring color to faded neoprene is a simple task if you have the correct ingredients. Unfortunately, conventional paints do not adhere to neoprene long term. The fact that neoprene stretches creates a problem for latex and water-based paints. Over time, the paint flakes and peels off. The solution for restoring color to faded neoprene is an alcohol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether solvent ink which is difficult to find in small quantities. Your options are: find someone who has the color you need, make a bulk purchase or drain permanent markers or plotter ink cartridges until you have the amount you need. The rest is easy!

Cover your workbench with newspapers. Make certain your work area is well ventilated as alcohol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether solvent ink is very toxic. Put on your rubber gloves.

Fill the 8 ounce bottle with alcohol and ethylene glycol monobutyl ether solvent ink. Test spray the newspaper so you know what distance to spray the neoprene from. Too close and you will over saturate the neoprene and waste the solvent. Too far away and you will not get the proper coverage.

Spray the faded or discolored portion of the neoprene with long sweeping strokes. Do not leave the nozzle of the spray bottle pointing at one area as you spray or you will fail to paint the neoprene evenly. Once you have painted the entire discolored area of the neoprene - even if your paint job is not evenly distributed, allow the ink to dry for 24 hours.

Return to your work area after you have allowed the ink to dry and apply a second coat of ink. Attempt to distribute the paint as evenly as possible. If you are successful, allow the ink to dry for 48 hours before you use the neoprene article. Otherwise, apply a third coat of ink.

Items you will need
  • 8 ounce spray bottle
  • Work bench
  • Newspaper
  • Rubber gloves
  • Ventilated work area

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