HOW TO: Paint Interior Plastic Trim
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:39 AM   3 links from elsewhere to this Post. Click to view. #1
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HOW TO: Paint Interior Plastic Trim


A lot of people have been asking me how I painted my interior plastic pieces. I do not currently have pics of the process as I don't have anything to paint, however I will try and detail as much as I can.

Materials
  1. Variety Pack of Sandpaper -- Comes with 320, 400, 600, 800 grit
  2. 2000 grit pack of Sandpaper
  3. Rubbing Alcholo
  4. Some form of soap -- Can be Dawn, Car wash soap, anything that can be used to wash the piece.
  5. Microfiber Towels
  6. Foam or Microfiber Applicator
  7. Buffing Compound
  8. Blue Painter's Tape
  9. Adhesion Promotor
  10. Automotive Primer
  11. Krylon Fusion for Plastics color paint
  12. Automotive Clear Coat
  13. Beer

Step 1: Location

I am assuming you already have the part you wish to paint removed from the car. The first step is to find a location to paint. You always want a well ventilated, and if possible, indoor area. If you are forced to paint outside make sure your work area is controlled as possible (no animals running around, kids, lawnmowers, ect.)

If you are indoors, make sure you have fresh air coming in and some form of exhaust to filter the over spray. It is also a good idea to wear some form of face mask so breathing fumes is not a problem.

If you can't create enough vacume to pull the spray out, setup a spot to spray near an area that a fan can be setup to blow air right out of the room. I do this by sitting a work bench right at the door of the room with a fan under it blowing out. This way all fumes are caught and blown out the door.

Also make sure that the temp can be controlled.


Step 2: Prep

I want to make one point clear:

NEVER speed up prep

Speeding up prep for the sake of saving time will just ruin the end result Prep is more important than anything else. If you do not prep correctly the paint will either not stick, come out runny, or you will lose gloss.
  1. First you want to wash the piece you are painting. I like to use something like dawn and a Microfiber rag for this. Dawn will help to remove most comtaminets.
  2. Rinse the part very good and dry it with another Micofiber
  3. Once it is dry wipe it down with your rubbing alcholo. This will help to remove most anything left behind from washing.
  4. Once it has completely dried, tape off anything on the piece that you do not want getting painted with your Blue Painter's Tape. Take your time with this. Make sure all paint lines are where they should be, you will thank me later.

Step 3: Sanding, Adhesion, Primer

NEVER speed up sanding

Just like the last step... DO NOT speed up sanding. Sanding fast or hard to save time will cause deep and uneven scratches on the surface that will show through the last coat and make your shine much less than desired.
  1. Begin sanding the piece with the 400grit sand paper. Make controled movements with equal pressure acorss the entire sruface. TAKE YOUR TIME. Always go in one direction as much as you can.
  2. Once the surface is "scuffed" to the touch, you have finished the initial sanding.
  3. At this point you want to apply your Adhesion Promotor. This will do exactly what it says. It allows the primer to attach to the plastic much eaiser.
  4. Apply about 2-3 THIN coats of the adhesion promotor. Wait about 3mins between each coat or just enough so the coat becomes tacky before applying the next. Wait about 5-7mins after the last coat to continue.
  5. 5-7mins after the last Adhesion coat, you want to apply 2-3 THIN coats of primer. Make sure you apply even coats, letting the previos coat become tacky before applying a new coat.
  6. Once the last coat of primer has dried, you want to begin LIGHTLY sanding the primer. Use your 600 grit sand paper for this and follow the same guidelines as before. Sand with even pressure and just enough to "scuff" the primer up for the color to have something to catch onto.

Be sure you coats are even and do not apply it to thick. Even thin coats get much more results.

Step 4: Color

There are no set layers of color to apply. You simply need enough thin layers to cover the surface completely, then about another 2 thin coats after that. This is your bread and butter of the paint job, so take you time and pay attention to detail.
  1. Apply very THIN and EVEN coats of your choosen color
  2. Allow enough drying time between coats for them it to become tacky
  3. Once you have completely covered the surface in color, apply 1-2 more thin even coats.
  4. Allow around 10-15mins of drying time after you last coat.


Step 5: Clear

Clear coat acts differently than the color. A lot of people think its just clear color paint. It has very special techniques to get correct and you just have to take your time and pratice.
  1. Once your last color coat as dried, you are ready to begin clear.
  2. You want to apply VERY thin coats of clear. Make sure you are applying an even coat to the entire surface.
  3. Apply 3-4 coats of clear, allowing 5mins or so depending on temp. of drying time between coats.
  4. NOTE: I have noticed that with rattle can, the area not immediatly under the spray pattern can become tacky when applying clear. The best way to overcome this is to simple apply thin coats accross the surfaces until you have a even coating.
  5. Once you have applied your last coat, you need to let it COMPLETELY dry. I would say, for safety, wait ATLEAST an hour. If you are outside, move the part inside for drying.
  6. Once you last coat as dried, you want to begin wetsanding with your 2000 grit paper. Be sure the paper has been soaking in water for ~30mins prior
  7. Make very very very light sanding pressure in one direction. You are not removing paint here, you are smoothing the last layer of clear.
  8. Once you have a uniform smoothness to the clear (you will be able to see the sanding marks) move on to the polishing step.


Step 6: Polish

This step is the step that will return the gloss and show you a finished product.
  1. Grab your compound or swirl remover and applicator pad
  2. Apply a dime sized ammount on your applicator
  3. Begin making small overlapping circles with moderate pressure on the painted piece. You should see the sanding marking begining to disappre over time.
  4. In order for the marked to completely be removed, it may take more than one application.
  5. This will remove all sanding mark and produced a brilliant shine from the paint.



Again, this is just a guideline. Different interior pieces call for different methods, but this should cover most of them. As always, pratice makes perfect. It took me many times to finally get a method down and understand how paint works.

The main key it to take your time, be paitent, and you will get there.

If there are ANY questions, post here or PM me and let me know. Hope this helps some people.

This is the kind of results you can expect from these techniques:








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Last edited by Zatrekaz; April 14th, 2010 at 02:26 PM.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:22 PM   #2
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Great write up Z, only suggestion i have is to let your clear cure overnight before buffing, just to be sure you wont take to much off wetsanding.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:42 PM   #3
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Hmm for some reason I can't find adhesion promoter at all in any store around where I live. I think I may be over looking something... Got any brands?
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:52 PM   #4
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this is great! this should be a sticky!
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #5
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I like bulldog brand, but you gotta go real light coats with that stuff.
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by WhtStang00 View Post
this is great! this should be a sticky!
It is

The "HOW TO" Thread


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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #7
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my bad!
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Old April 13th, 2010, 09:56 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by WhtStang00 View Post
my bad!


:cheers
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Old April 13th, 2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by travis_afx View Post
Great write up Z, only suggestion i have is to let your clear cure overnight before buffing, just to be sure you wont take to much off wetsanding.
Good point... will change that.

Originally Posted by demon_54 View Post
Hmm for some reason I can't find adhesion promoter at all in any store around where I live. I think I may be over looking something... Got any brands?
I use Dupli-Color's from Autozone/Advanced... You can order some from Automotive Repair Tools, Automotive Accessories, Auto Body Tools - Eastwood Company ...not sure what brand they sell tho.
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Old April 14th, 2010, 02:27 PM   #10
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updated the post with some pics
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Old April 14th, 2010, 03:25 PM   #11
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Sweet finally did some painting today! I did mine blue, will put pics up when I am completley finished. So far I did the two little air vents on the far sides of the vehicle and the piece around the shifter. The shifter piece did not come out to my standards but its do able for now. Going to wait a couple of days for it to completley dry and set in and going to smooth it out, maybe add 1 more coat of color and clear. Think I am about to go outside and finish the rest of the center console, then tomorrow door handles.
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Old April 15th, 2010, 12:50 AM   #12
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do you have to reclean the piece after every time you do the sanding process? where can i get the exact paint of my car? i have a babs
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Old April 15th, 2010, 09:51 PM   #13
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Yes, after sanding you need to clean the piece again to remove any paint released from the sanding before painting again.
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Old April 15th, 2010, 09:53 PM   #14
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That looks BADASS!!! I want to do that with mine... my gay ass tan interior and red and black exterior. It looks great, and not overdone. Have you considered doing either the vents or the trim around the vents red?
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Old April 15th, 2010, 10:07 PM   #15
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Naw, I kinda don't like a LOT of red. Honestly I am considering painting the cup behind the door handles black hehe.
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Old April 15th, 2010, 10:11 PM   #16
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Any more pics? Like maybe a full interior/mid section?
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Old April 16th, 2010, 12:55 AM   #17
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This is an old one tho... The center piece is now black.



Zatrekaz's Interior Blackout Project
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Old May 1st, 2010, 12:37 PM   #18
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does it matter the brand of spray paint? i checked out my walmart and they didnt have any dupli but they had some other brand. i can't remember for the life of me what it was but im sure it started with a k.
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Old May 1st, 2010, 06:04 PM   #19
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Krylon most likely. Krylon Fusion is great for the plastic pieces, its what I used. For the vinyl pieces you want a paint specifically formulated for it. If you can't find anything local, check this site out:

Automotive Repair Tools, Automotive Accessories, Auto Body Tools - Eastwood Company

They carry a brand named SEM that makes good vinyl/fabric paints. I used 3 cans of their paint on the dash.
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Old May 2nd, 2010, 01:24 AM   #20
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sweet thanks man
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