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post #1 of 97 Old July 2nd, 2011, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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McQueen's Rattle Can Painting Process

Thought this could possibly help some people who are interested in painting some of their own parts but don't want to or just can't afford to shell out hundreds of dollars on professional paint jobs.

To get started, you need to decide what brand of paint you're going to use. There are generally 3 main choices that are readily available in most areas:

1. Rustoleum


Rustoleum has gotten a bad rep and with that I refused to use it for the longest time. But I helped a friend paint a tractor and it was his paint of choice. What I like about this paint is how glossy it is before the clear coat even goes on. But you need patience with this paint. Expect 24-36 hours of drying time before it will be safe to handle the piece you paint.

2. Krylon


This is my paint of choice. It dries fast, the nozzle sprays in a line instead of a circle, and the gloss colors have a decent shine (although less than Rustoleum). Pieces painted with are usually safe to be handled within 45 minutes to an hour.

3. Duplicolor


I don't have a lot of experience with this paint, but from the few times I've used it I have found it to be a nice paint. It's pretty much comparable to Krylon paints. But the biggest advantage to Duplicolor is that they offer color matched paints for your car (ready to go on the shelf at most auto parts stores). Their color matched paints are something like $6-8 per can and they're small cans but if you can't find a generic color to match, you'll probably just have to buckle down and pay the extra for this stuff.

Now before you leave the store, pick up one of these:



It may look goofy but I promise you that it will be the best $2 you've spent in quite a while. These little handles will keep your sprays even because your finger won't get tired as quickly and you won't end up sliding the tip of your finger in front of the spray and getting a big ol' drip of paint on your project. It's only $2, just buy one.

There are more products that you'll need and I'll mention them as we go along. Let's get started!

Before you start grabbing for paint cans, you should take note that prepping your piece plays a very large role in the final appearance of your paint. If you don't care how your piece turns out then you can stop reading and go start spraying your project. If you want a nice finish, keep on reading.

Prep

I like to start my prep by giving my project a quick cleaning. A spray bottle full of water and a clean rag is all your need for this. Spray it down and wipe it off well. I'm assuming if you're ready for paint, you've fixed any dents or whatnot that would easily show through paint.

With your project nice and clean, it's time to start sanding (if there are areas you don't want painted, tape them off now). Your choice of sandpaper is fairly important. For some parts of your project (specifically the beginning of your prep) you will be sanding with dry sandpaper but later on you will be wet sanding so you need sandpaper that isn't going to fall apart when it gets wet. I'm personally very fond of 3M sandpaper, specifically their Wetordry sandpaper. It can be found in most auto parts stores or even your local Wal-Mart probably sell it.



You're going to need a variety of sandpaper grits. I recommend getting 400, 800, 1000, and 2000 grit sandpaper (add 1500 in there if you don't want to work out the scuffs from 1000 during your final wet sanding and add 250 grit if you're painting and already painted surface). Keeping consistent pressure is important when sanding (especially wet sanding) so if you don't think you can do it with your hands then consider picking up a sanding block.
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So it's time to start sanding your project for the first time. If the surface is already painted then start with 250grit, then 400 grit, then 800grit (if the old paint is peeling, you may want to get an even lower grit sandpaper to sand down to the original surface, you don't want your fresh paint peeling because the old paint is still peeling under it). If the surface is not already then just go with the 400grit then the 800grit. You don't need to use a lot of pressure with the final grit sandpaper. At this point you're going for a smooth surface but rough enough to give the primer something to grip on to (it should pretty much feel smooth to the touch). Once you're done sanding, clean your project very well. The sanding process will leave a lot of dust that you DO NOT want under the primer. Then give your project some time to dry (a dry cloth can be used to speed up the drying process, but still give it some time to dry).

With the sanding finished, it's primer time. I have only ever used 1 type of primer and it has never let me down. Rustoleum Automotive Primer. It comes in a few shades of greys so I usually pick one that is quite a bit different than the color I'm spraying so I can be sure I cover every square inch with paint.



You've sanded your project, you've got your primer, and you've got your handle attached. Now please don't go spraying where ever "feels" right and in crazy patterns. There is a technique to laying down the paint and it's important you get the hang of it to ensure an even finish. This technique is to start your spray off of the piece you're painting, go over the piece in 1 straight line, and end your spray once you're past the piece you're painting. Then repeat this for the next spray, slightly overlapping your last spray. Remember to start your first spray at the top, bottom, far left, or far right of the piece and work your way to the opposite end. Look at this picture below for a visual on how this works.



Please excuse my excellent MS Paint skills, but you can see how each spray should start and end off of the piece being painted and each spray should slightly overlap the previous spray to ensure good coverage. Also notice that the first spray starts at the far right and each spray after moves towards the left.

So you know the technique now, it's really not that hard. Just stick with it until all of your project is primered. I recommend 2-3 coats of primer because you will be sanding it (not excessively though).

You should have started out with something like this:


And now you should have something like this:
(although this is only after 1 coat of primer)



If you got any runs in the primer, do not mess with them. You'll take care of them when you sand the primer. Trying to get rid of a run while the primer is still wet is just going to cause you do to more work because I can assure you that you can't do anything about that run until you're able to sand. If you're getting multiple runs, it means you're laying the primer on too thick and you need to speed up your sprays. Move the can a little faster and the paint will go on a little thinner.

Give your primer a couple of hours to dry. It will probably be dry enough to work with after an hour, but you need patience to paint. If you try to start sanding and the paint or primer ends up still being wet under the surface, you're going to make 10x more work for yourself. So turn on the tv, wash your car, grab a few beers, spend some time with the kids, take a nap, jerk off. I don't care what you do, just give the primer a few hours to dry.

Once the primer is dry, you get to sand again. But this time you'll be wet sanding. Grab your 400grit sandpaper, 800grit sandpaper, spray bottle (full of water, ONLY WATER), and sanding block if you chose to buy one. Choose a section of your project to start on and spray it with water (give it a few squirts) and wet your sandpaper. Start sanding. Be sort of gentle with your wet sanding. You're not trying to sand all the primer off, nor are you trying to leave deep grooves. You're trying to smooth out the primer so that your paint will have a nice smooth appearance when you get to that point. Do not try to push harder or sand faster to save time. Get into a nice steady motion, apply constant pressure (but not too much), and occasionally spray some more water on your project. Water is your lubrication that will keep the sandpaper flowing nicely and not pulling off too much primer. As you should always do, start with your lowest grit sandpaper (400 in this case) and end with your highest grit sandpaper (800 in this case).
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post #3 of 97 Old July 2nd, 2011, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
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When you finish wet sanding, you need to clean your project again. Spray it down, wipe up all the mess, and dry it off. Give it some time to finish drying before you move on. But take some time to rejoice in the fact that your prep is now finished and you're ready to move on to the part that everybody is going to see.

Paint and Clear Coat

So it's painting time. You remember the technique? I hope so, because you're using it for this. If you didn't have any runs in your primer and it all looked nice and even when you were done, then you've got the technique down well. Start painting. If you got runs in your primer or it looked uneven when you were done then you should find something laying around that you can paint and practice until you can lay down even layers with no runs. Paint is more "touchy" than primer. If you have to sand runs out of paint, then you'll have to lay down another layer of paint after that. So practice, then begin your painting.

Take your time with the paint, no point in rushing this step. Depending on how well you're putting down your layers, I generally go with 4-6 layers of paint (unless it's laying down well enough that I can stop at 3). I like to spray fairly thin layers and end with a slightly thicker layer (be careful if you do this, too thick and you'll have your paint running). Just make sure that your final layer looks nice and even, with no runs. If you happen to get a run in your paint then take a step back, go find something to do, and let the paint dry. When it's dry, you need to wet sand the area with the run until it's smooth again (800-1000grit is what I would use). Then you need to spray another layer of paint because the finish will get very dull after being sanded.

Hopefully at this point your project is looking something like this:


Maybe even a little glossier depending on how well you prepped, what brand of paint you're using, and the finish you chose (matte, satin, gloss). If it's looking good, leave it alone. Don't go putting finger prints in your paint unless you want everyone to know exactly who painted it

Now I've been told that once the paint is dry, it should be wet sanded. I personally see no point in this. Supposing you did you prep well, the only thing wet sanding will do for you at this point is dull the finish. If that's the look you're going for, then go ahead and wet sand. But more than likely you chose a paint with the finish you want.

So now you've only got 1 think left to spray. Clear coat. Choosing clear coat is fairly easy for me. If I'm using Krylon paint, I'll use Krylon gloss clear coat. Rustoleum = Rustoleum and Duplicolor = Duplicolor. I'm not a fan of mixing brands aside from my love of Rustoleum Automotive Primer mixed with my choice of paint and clear coat. So get your clear coat and lay it on the same way you did the paint. Hopefully at this point you've gotten to the point that you aren't making your paint/clear run. As before, if you do get a run you need to stop (well, finish the rest of the layer), let it dry, and wet sand it out. I personally like to build up a good amount of clear coat to help protect the paint and, as I do with the paint, I like to put on a fairly wet layer for my final layer.

So spray your clear coat then leave your project alone so it can dry. It needs to dry well at this point because you're done spraying it, all that's left is your finishing steps.

Finishing Steps

I've always been told that clear coat needs to be wet sanded but I don't personally believe this. Once your clear coat is dry, look it over well for imperfections. If your clear coat looks nice and smooth with little to no imperfections then I wouldn't personally wet sand. If you've got some bumps or some dust or whatnot got into the clear then you're going to have to wet sand. I recommend starting with 1000grit then moving up to 1500grit then 2000grit sandpaper. Be gentle when wet sanding your clear coat. You're no longer trying to leave anything for paint to grip. You're going for a very smooth finish and putting too much pressure on the sandpaper will leave grooves in the clear coat. Be gentle dammit. And don't forget to keep spraying water on the surface for lubrication.

After wet sanding, or not wet sanding, you get to start buffing. You'll need rubbing compound for this. A fine cut rubbing compound works best, but you can make sure with "heavy duty" rubbing compounds. Everyone has their own preferences so just buy what you like or check out the detailing section to see what others are using.

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Buffing is easy. Get a clean cloth (microfiber highly recommended), put some rubbing compound on the cloth, and swirl it in small circles on your project (apply some pressure). Make note of which way you're swirling the rubbing compound. Once you've done the whole piece, you need to remove the rubbing compound. Simply find a clean spot on your cloth and start swirling in the opposite direction. When you get done, there will probably still be a little rubbing compound that got left behind so just wipe it up.

Next up is polishing. Again, everyone has their own preferences as to which brand of polish works best so if you have a favorite, use it. Otherwise check out the detailing section. I'm personally a fan of Meguire's polish.



Polish goes on and off the same way as the rubbing compound did. Make sure you use a clean cloth and, again, there is probably going to be some polish left on the piece when you're done so just wipe it up.

At this point, you should give the paint at least a few days before waxing. Sometimes I'm impatient to get the piece on my car and wax it right away. I've never had any problems with it but I can't guarantee you won't. So if you want to wax right away, do it at your own risk. If you don't want to risk all your hard work, just give it a few days.

And there you have it. That's basically all there is to my painting process. If it seems like a lot of work, well it sort of is. But it's very rewarding to paint things yourself because most people won't even consider such a thing.


And now to finish up, here are a number of things I've painted with rattle cans:

First thing I ever painted, windshield wiper arms


Side scoop that was originally black


Pony + corral


Redone


Testing with Rustoleum


Front bumper (my biggest project to date)


Interior pieces



Radiator support (it was white, chipped, and rusty)


Tail lights, blackout panel, spoiler


Honeycomb pieces gloss black



A lot can be done with a simple can of spray paint. If you follow this guide (or just rattle can things in general), I'd love to see your work!



And yes, 4 posts were required. 5000 max characters per post and I think I was a little over 16,000 characters lol
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post #5 of 97 Old July 2nd, 2011, 11:49 PM
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Well damn awesome write up...you inspire me lol here's a couples pic you may have seen already.
My latest hood job

close up

W/ rustoleum...I don't mind waiting for it to dry as I like the finish better than Krylon.

If you cannot seem to spell simple 4 letter words, use some semblance of punctuation when forming sentences, or SpElL N tAlK LiEk ThIs, I'm going to assume you know nothing and are retarded.


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Last edited by The Cheeks McDuke; July 3rd, 2011 at 12:35 AM.
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That came out really nice
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post #7 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:01 AM
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BTW...Sticky? Yeah, yeah?

If you cannot seem to spell simple 4 letter words, use some semblance of punctuation when forming sentences, or SpElL N tAlK LiEk ThIs, I'm going to assume you know nothing and are retarded.


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post #8 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcqueen View Post
That came out really nice
Thanks. I just had to let it sit for "24 to 36 hours." lol I'm afraid to show you my trunk and roof though...the PO had dumbass kids that liked to jump on the roof and the trunk has a buncha dent...ima just get new one pretty soon.

If you cannot seem to spell simple 4 letter words, use some semblance of punctuation when forming sentences, or SpElL N tAlK LiEk ThIs, I'm going to assume you know nothing and are retarded.


The Sixxer is Dead. 94-95GT in the works.
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Gotta talk to Zatrekaz about that. My lowly yellow mod powers are worthless outside the V6 section
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Cheeks McDuke View Post
Thanks. I just had to let it sit for "24 to 36 hours." lol I'm afraid to show you my trunk and roof though...the PO had dumbass kids that liked to jump on the roof and the trunk has a buncha dent...ima just get new one pretty soon.
Lol how long did you really let it sit for? I did my interior pieces with Rustoleum and after they'd sat for about 20 hours I put them back in. Some of the pieces now have my finger prints because the paint was still soft under the top layer
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post #11 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:17 AM
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Good write up McQueen. I was thinking about painting my bumpers soon. I've painted or I guess tinted a lot of lights. And watched a lot of things be painted. So I know somewhat how it goes but this way I can save money and learn some new things!

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post #12 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 12:21 AM
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Quote:
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Lol how long did you really let it sit for? I did my interior pieces with Rustoleum and after they'd sat for about 20 hours I put them back in. Some of the pieces now have my finger prints because the paint was still soft under the top layer
Really? well overnight from about 6 until I got off work the next day at about 4...so yeah about 20 hours. They were in the sun though so that speeds up the process. My roof i let sit for about 48 hours inside...it cured nicely, but looks like poo. Ima re-sand, filler primer and spray again.

If you cannot seem to spell simple 4 letter words, use some semblance of punctuation when forming sentences, or SpElL N tAlK LiEk ThIs, I'm going to assume you know nothing and are retarded.


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post #13 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 01:44 AM
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YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

I've been waiting for this one!!
Defiantly saved me a bunch of cash with the new body parts I'm about to order! Hopefully it all goes well!!

Thanks a whole bunch McQueen!


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post #14 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 02:11 AM
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good work man!

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post #15 of 97 Old July 3rd, 2011, 10:52 PM
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This was exactly my plan of action I was going to use with my bumper. Minus the compound and polish. I knew you shouldn't wax the piece right away, I also thought compound and polish fell into the same category. Thanks man.
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post #16 of 97 Old July 4th, 2011, 11:42 PM
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Thanks man, im going to paint an s4 bumper brillant black tomorrow




-2001 Black Bullitt #895 - Coilovers, Tuned, TSW Mirabeau Wheels Daily, Staggered Hypercoated Saleen Track
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post #17 of 97 Old July 5th, 2011, 10:42 PM
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Looks great Mcqueen...I have a can of black paint and some clear...Im definetly going to be painting some parts soon
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post #18 of 97 Old July 16th, 2011, 11:33 PM
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Used duplicolour for the first time tonight, wouldn't recommend it due to it when it sprays it splatters and drips all over the piece your painting. We now have to sand the hood again paint it with another colour. All three cans we used had the same issue. I have never had any issues with tremclad though.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996 GT View Post
Used duplicolour for the first time tonight, wouldn't recommend it due to it when it sprays it splatters and drips all over the piece your painting. We now have to sand the hood again paint it with another colour. All three cans we used had the same issue. I have never had any issues with tremclad though.
Did you buy them all from the same place? Shake them well before using? Any chance the tip of your finger was getting into the spray? I've only used Duplicolor once and it didn't splatter at all. I'm guessing you got unlucky and picked up some really old cans. I've had old cans laying around and when I sprayed them, the aerosol was nearly gone and the paint splattered out instead of spraying. Same deal happens with used cans if you don't clean the tips off before spraying.
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post #20 of 97 Old July 16th, 2011, 11:52 PM
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All from the same store. They wernt old cans becuase since i work there i stalked them on the shelve, we constantly cleaned the tip and shaked before using and between quick breaks and our finger never touched it. It only happened when i we let off on the paint. The other guy i know that used it had the same problem also before. The duplicolour primer on the other hand worked out great. My friend that was painted has painting experience too.

Maybe really bad luck?
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