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Using Hairspray in 3D printing
We know that many people use Hairspray for adhesion of prints to the print bed in 3D printing. We have heard many people on forums swear by this method so we thought we would try it out. The main issue seems to be that some brands are better than others so we decided to start a hunt for brands of hairspray available in the UK that will work for first layer adhesion.

3D printing and first layer sticking problems

One of the issues with 3D printing is to get your first layer, and so your 3d printed model to stick to the print bed. This is a particular difficulty with ABS and a big issue with Nylon filaments, Nylon filament being the reason why we wanted to explore hairspray, as they are prone to warping.

The issue is that as the plastic cools it shrinks which will cause the corners of the print to curl up, the model will warp. The degree with which it warps effects the usability of the 3D print. Also not sticking to the print bed itself will mean that the model moves as the print head moves resulting in a big birds nest of a 3D print.

3D printing fail as print stops sticking to bed

UK Hairspray brand trials for 3D printing

As we said, hairspray has been used by many people in 3D printing. so we thought we would try it out. We know that people encounter varying degrees of success dependent upon the brand. When selecting your hairspray brand you should look at the ingredients, you will want to look for hairspray with Vinyl, Acetate and Copolymer constituents that purport to be “extra hold”.

We went to our local supermarket and bought a few brands to start off our trial. The trials would not stand up to scientific rigor as they only have a sample size of 1 for each hairspray/treatment. We took note at which layer the corners started to turn up and obviously we have the finished prints.

We will, hopefully, as time goes on add to our list. We also would welcome suggestions for brands that people have found works very well for them.

All prints are made on a how to build a Prusa i3 Rework and use ABS 3d printer filament. the print settings are:

  • Head temperature: 240C

  • Bed Temp: 110C

  • Infill: 20%

  • Print speed: 60mm/sec

  • Frist Layer Print Speed: 30mm/sec

  • Print surface: Kapton tape on Borosillicate Glass

For the print itself we used our iDig3Dprinting Plaque 3d printable model which is 6cm x 6cm in the x – y axes. This size of print is a good for highlighting warping and first layer adhesion problems with your 3D printing.


Sainsbury’s Salon Finish – Maximum Hold

We noticed the lifting of two corners by layer 10 and all four corners had lifted by layer 16. The model did stick until the print finished.

3D print using hairspray to stick the print

L’Oreal – Extra Hold

All four corners of this print had lifted by layer 10. The print did finish but it was not very good, all sides of the model, not just the corners had lifted.

3D printing with hairspray

Tresemme’ Salon Finish – Firm Hold

This model failed in that it became unstuck from the print bed and so we had to kill the print at layer 4. Two f the corners had noticeably lifted by layer 3.

using hairspray in 3D printing

Wella Silivikrin – Firm Hold

The worst one tested so far. 2 corners of the print had lifted by layer 2 and it became detached during this layer.

use hairspray to stick model in 3D printing

John Frieda – Extra Strength Hold Fixation Extra-Forte

We had high hopes for this one but we had slight warping on 2 corners after layer 16. It performed about the same as the Sainsbury’s home brand.

A test of Hairspray for sticking ABS to a 3D print bed

Tresemme`- Ultimate Hold, Platinum Shine

As with the Sainsbury’s and the John Frieda the print completed with slight warping to only 2 corners, this time after layer 13.

Testing Tresemme hairspray as an adhesive in 3D printing

Sainsbury’s Basics

The cheapest Sainsbury’s hairspray probably performed the best. It remained attached all the way through the print. Eventually all 4 corners turned up slightly, two corners began warping after layer 16. This corroborates what many people have said that cheap basic hairspray works well.

Sainsburys basics hairspray used for 3D printing adhesion

Conclusions about selecting hairspray for 3D printing

So previously we believed that the key to a good hairspray for 3D printing adhesion was “extra hold”, “firm hold” and higher numbers but we have revised this after trying out a budget own brand hairspray. This performed better than the rest. We still have not achieved the same performance as using glue stick but it is very simple to use.

Our next direction is to try out some more budget offerings. Cheap appears to be good.

If you have anything constructive to add please comment. Brand suggestions are always welcome.


Best regards,




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