Paint Tips

Here I will post some tips to help you get a respectable paint job.  I will expand on this page as I have time.

 Tips that apply directly to the usage of aerosol will have a link to that page along with primer information to keep this page uncluttered.

I have set up a terminology page.  If you see a word or phrase highlighted, you can go to the terminology page for a brief description.


  2K products generally have isocyanides in them.  Read the labels, be careful.  Long term health issues can arise from improper protection.

1K products still have solvents that can attack portions of your body.  Read the labels, be careful, Long term health issues can arise from improper protection.

Use in a well ventilated area.  Use proper health protective equipment consisting but not limited to a respirator, gloves, and proper skin protection.  A paint suit will also keep your item that you are painting cleaner also.

Do not use near a open flame.

Do not use near non-explosion proof electrical devices. 


It is recommended that you water clean and solvent clean BEFORE you start to sand or media blast.  If you sand or blast before you clean you are potentially driving contaminations directly into your substrate which you may never remove.  You need to wipe dry before the cleaner air dries so that the contamination can be lifted off by your wiping action.  If the cleaner air dries, the contamination just went back to your substrate.

Water clean is either with HOT Soapy water or water based cleaners designed for the purpose.  Water based cleaners also disperse static electricity which is a good thing on plastics and fiberglass.  Water cleaning will help to remove water contaminations including but not limited to:  Tree sap, bird droppings, Dirt, Acid Rain etc.

Solvent clean is using your wax and grease removers.  This will remove oils, road tars, etc.


Preparation is 90% of the paint job.  It is difficult work and some tools are needed to do it correctly.

If you can feel body work by taking your WHOLE hand (not just finger tips) than you will see the body work

The finer your sanding, the less surface area you have offered to the solvents to penetrate and you will have a better gloss with less sand scratch swelling.  It is best to sand to 240 grit BEFORE priming of filler, paint and fiberglass.

After priming, sand with 400 grit.  If you must use a coarser grit to start, step down gradually to 400 never jumping more than 100 grit at a time.  IE, do not go from 180 grit to 400 grit.

If using basecoat type product, you will want to step it up to 600 grit.

Use quality primers.  See my Primer page.

Use a guide coat.  A guide coat is a mist of paint that you apply and then sand off.  Once you have sanded the guide coat off, it should be smooth.  There are also "dry guide coats" available from any Paint store.

Clean before painting

We all want to jump into painting when the item is ready to be painted.  A clean work environment, a clean item, clean filtered DRY air, and a clean painter will give you a nicer paint job.  Do not skimp on the cleaning.

Wax and grease again.  I prefer to use a water based cleaner and then a "pre paint" type of fast drying cleaner.

Use a tack rag.  DO NOT LEAVE FOLDED UP.  A tack rag is designed to be unfolded and then "balled up loosely".  I prefer to use the "basecoat" type tack rags also.

Use anti-stat wipes or spray anti-stat products on fiberglass or plastic to help eliminate dirt in your paint.

Know your products

Read the tech sheets along with proper mix ratios of any 2K products.  Follow proper flash times.

Application of paint

If using aerosol, please ALSO read the aerosol tips page.

Never apply paint at less than 65 degrees.  The colder it is, the longer it will take for the paint to flash.  Most paints go dormant at 60 Degrees F.

Allow any sealer to flash properly.  Many problems can be associated with improper flash times of the sealer.

Do not apply heavy coats.  It is best to apply nice thin medium wet coats.  You will also get better coverage and use less product this way.

Apply product with a 75% overlap.

Get your nooks and crannies before starting your main "money coat" areas.

If clear coating, use a basecoat clear coat type of paint.  If single stage paint is to be cleared, let it dry thoroughly, and then test the clear coat for compatibility.

Paint Gun tips and recommendations.


Ground Coat Colors

Your color of ground coat whether it be a sealer, sanded primer or sanded paint can have an effect on the finished color AND COVERAGE. 

Yellow, Red, and Orange paints of any brand do not cover as well as the other families of colors.  If you use a white or off white ground coat you will use a LOT LESS PAINT.  If you try to cover gray with yellow, your color will be "greener" and you will probably use twice as many coats.  If you cannot seal with white, or if you are not spraying over a white surface than I recommend spraying a white coat of paint down first.  You will be money ahead and end up with a cleaner looking color.

I have a very nice white available.  "Ski-Doo White".  This is a very white color.


Spraying Metallic Paints

Please do not confuse this with Metal Flake paints that Scorpion, Viking and other companies used.  Metallic paint has small aluminum flake combined with the paint that shows up in the final product and is generally sprayed with the paint in one operation.

VintagePaint can mix all paints as a single stage (needs no clear) or as a basecoat/clearcoat (which needs clear).  On high metallic paints a basecoat/clearcoat is recommended unless you are trying to be 100% original.  With high metallics, basecoat will spray easier and you will end up with a better gloss that we tend to want today rather than the original gloss level.  When ordering, you will probably get a email verifying which type of paint that you desire.

The following tips will also aid you if spraying basecoat/clearcoat but are imperative to follow if using single stage paints.

What causes Metallic issues?


Miscellaneous paint projects with technical information.

Please check out the painting polycarbonate and abs page!

Painting Steel and Aluminum!