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A nice paint job

January 6th, 2006 · 5 Comments

Most kids, in addition to winning the race, want their cars to look cool. There’s a couple of simple steps to a nice paint finish that any age child can do.

Before you even start to paint, make sure you have a well-sanded body. Every nick, every cut, and every rough spot will be 100 times more noticable once your car is painted. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper like 100 and after the car is completely smooth, sand it again with 150 and again with 220. The more you sand the car, the better it will look.

Use a damp (not wet) cloth to wipe all the sanding dust off your car before you start painting and then make sure to let it dry.

Use spray paint. If you brush the paint on, you’ll have obvious brush marks.

Use glossy paint. Flat paint just never looks as good. Most things in life are painted with a glossy paint. The only real exceptions are house exteriors and military vehicles. If you’re building a military-themed car, then flat paint will give it a more authentic look.

Invest in a can of primer. Putting primer on the car will help the paint stick to the car instead of soaking into the wood. If you buy a can of primer, your paint will look better, you’ll use less paint, and it won’t take as long to paint.

Make a paint box. Grab an old cardboard box and tear one side off. Set your car on a small block of wood and spray paint it. You can also run two lengths of fishing line across the box and set your car on those instead of a wood block.

Spray your car in light, even coats. It will be faster and will look better if you put 30 thin coats of paint on than if you put three thick coats. Thick coats take longer to dry.

Follow the directions on the paint can. If it says let it dry for two hours and then repaint, do that. If you paint sooner, you’ll cause drips in the paint. If you wait longer than that, the first coat will dry at a different speed than the second coat and cause wrinkles in your paint.

If you put stickers or decals on the car, put a coat or two of clear gloss coat on afterward. It helps the stickers blend in with the paint and looks very nice.


5 comments so far ↓

  • Reed C // Mar 29, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Instead of damp cloth cleaning, let the boy rub it with a ‘tack’ cloth from the hardware store. It’s a glue impregnated cheese clothe. Cleans better than damp cloth, impossible to soak car as they rub it clean. Especially useful in humid climates.

  • Michael Blue // Jan 28, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    “Tack cloths” can be had from any body shop as well, as these are what they use.

  • David Barker // Apr 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

    If you want to speed up the drying time of your paint job and get a much harder finish, then bake the paint on in your oven.

    I put my son’s car on a paint stand (a board with three nails in it) on top of a cookie sheet in the oven. (No wheels on yet of course.) I did have masking tape on for some of the details and it was not a problem.

    I heated the oven to 200 degrees and baked it for 20 min. Then shut the oven off and let it sit for 20 more min. Then remove and let cool before putting on the next layer of paint or details.

    This made the paint much harder / dryer and easier to work with.

  • joey // Jan 29, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    dont get your tips WORD

  • Alex // Dec 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I think I’ll try teaching my 7yr old to airbrush, because I’m a glutton for punishment like that. :-P

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