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Tarantula-safe adhesives or paint?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by BC1579, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    I tried coating a PVC elbow with aquarium silicone and then getting dried coco fiber to stick to it. I was trying to achieve a premade burrow look that I could semi bury as a starter hide. I've got no T in the enclosure now but I'm trying to experiment with different setups for my next couple of purchases.

    Anyway, after almost two days the silicone can still be smudged off by hand. I suspect the surface of the PVC is too slick for the silicone to bond properly.

    A few threads here mention a few different adhesives, but I'd like some other suggestions. Also, if I could paint the fitting brown to match the substrate if a proper paint was available.

    I'm up for trying anything and time is not of the essence, so fire away with any ideas you've been wanting to try. I'll give them a shot.
  2. Glue or paint -- I like to let stuff cure and air out well before exposing my critters (any -- parrot/T/reptile). I would wait minimum of a week -- but would gladly wait longer if I could. I worry about off-gassing.

    That said -- did you try sanding the pvc beforehand for a rougher surface for silicone to adhere to?
    I have seen spray-painted pvc hides before, but I like the idea of coco fibre glued on also.
  3. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    I did not. I hadn't even considered it until I got to poking at it. The silicon-y, coco fiber-y muck just slid off. I thought about cleaning it, sanding it and trying again but a new elbow is like $1.50.

    I was thinking about PVC glue. I know it'll bind to PVC and it'll stay wet long enough to let the fiber stick. Plus most are rated for potable human water so it's at least kinda non-toxic. Once it dries it's essentially resin. Should be safe.
  4. If it were me, I'd probably throughly clean/dry new pvc first for better adhesion, then spray paint it brown inside and out. Then as I did second coat -- I'd immediately toss coco fibre onto wet paint, working fast; turn piece and repeat until covered. If you've ever seen a gnat, fly or something stuck in spray paint -- you know it has real holding power. lol
    For silicone or glues -- I would sand first.

    My main concern is letting piece cure afterward to prevent off-gassing. Outside, if possible.
  5. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    Most def. Think I'll get a can of Krylon and elbow and give it shot.

    One day, I plan to make a series of interconnected tunnels like the Viet Cong for an M. Balfouri communal.
  6. user 666

    user 666 Arachnobaron

    please do not decorate your tarantula - it is living creature. ;)
  7. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    I pulled the elbow out of the trash this morning and set to rubbing all of the silicone off. The outside came off without a problem, but the silicone sort of adhered to the inside surface. Not so well that I couldn't get it all off within just a few minutes.

    Anyway, I sanded it down with a big abrasive wire wheel on a drill and then hit it with some rough sand paper. I gave it a coat, let it dry, roughed it up again and then hit it with a second and dusted it with fiber as I went. Looks like it went okay. I was hoping to achieve something more like @petkokc got with DIY arboreal enclosure -

    Or the homemade vines -

    The silicone really helped the fiber stick.

    If this doesn't work I'll sand it all back down again and go back to the drawing board.
  8. Red Eunice

    Red Eunice Arachnolord

    What I've done in the past using PVC is to rough up the surface w/h sandpaper. Then apply a thin coat of Titebond 3 wood glue, immediately apply coco fiber, allow 48 hours to cure. Titebond 3 is strong and waterproof once cured, and no worries about gassing.
    Photo of the first try, ugly, but served its purpose. Later ones are totally covered and natural looking. I used a thicker layer of glue on them though.;)
    Coated Plastic Tubes.jpg
    • Like Like x 1
  9. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    Really...I always thought wood glue was water soluable. I might have to look into this.
  10. RemyZee

    RemyZee Arachnosquire

    Yes, wood glue works quite well!
  11. Mojo288

    Mojo288 Arachnosquire

    I personally like using hot glue, definitely safe for the T's and is ready to go within a few minutes.
  12. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    The only issue there is smearing the hot glue all over the fitting, and then applying the fiber while it’s still tacky.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Mojo288

    Mojo288 Arachnosquire

    It certainly is a pain, but it works safely.
  14. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    You’re right. Safety is number 1. Won’t do any good to put something together just to kill a T.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. I suppose Gorilla glue would work well also.

    I've never used wood glue on pvc. Does it set well or could I scrape it off with a fingernail? (Not that I expect a T to scrape off the substrate anyway).

    Anyway -- would love to see pix of finished project. :)
  16. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    I would think wood glue would come off if a person (or T) wanted to make it come off. I know regular Gorilla glue is a polyurethane glue that sets up as a resin once it's dried and cured. That may be the way to go.
  17. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron

    So I started with a 3" PVC street elbow, slathered on the silicone which set but did not grab the PVC. Sanded it all down with a wire wheel and then smoothed it over nicely with a high grit paper inside and out. Then I scuffed it back with some low grit to create a little more surface area. Hit it with a few coats of some rubbed bronze spray paint I had laying around and dusted it after the last coat with coco fiber.

    IMG_6820.JPG IMG_6821.JPG IMG_6822.JPG

    Left it out all day. Looks decent. A lot of fiber fell off as you can see in the last two pics. I placed it in an enclosure I'm working on (maybe for a GBB, no hards plans at the moment) and set it up how I think I want it.

    IMG_6823.JPG IMG_6825.JPG IMG_6826.JPG IMG_6827.JPG

    It may be a little ambitious to want a "peep hole" into the burrow as I know they can get filled up with web and substrate and all. Mostly I want a low-profile hide. When I perfect the method I'm going to put one in my stirmi enclosure. I've got a plexi lid so she can't hang or grab it and the substrate fills about 2/3s of the enclosure, but she still perches on top of her cork bark from time to time and has fallen more than once.

    More than likely I'm going to sand it all down again and use standard polyurethane Gorilla Glue. That stuff sets up like a plastic and is non-toxic (though not safe to ingest before curing). I know the substrate will adhere to that.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. A+++
    I like the black peeping through. I would change nothing.

    If you feel you could do better -- I'd wait for a new T to try another pvc hide on.

    But what you've already done is completely usable and looks nice.
    • Lollipop Lollipop x 1
  19. BC1579

    BC1579 Arachnobaron


    I was thinking of doing something similar with a piece of 4" PVC with a 4"x3" reducer on it. Then cut a portion of it out so when it stands vertically it looks like a hollow tree trunk. I may even hot glue cork bark on the face of it to mimic a tree.

    I've got a nice Exo Terra small/tall I need to put something in. I was thinking a GBB for the terrestrial enclosure and a P. metallica for the arboreal.
    • Agree Agree x 1