from the editors of:
GM High Tech Performance
LOG IN / SIGN UP
GET THE MAGAZINE
tech & how to
engines & drivetrain
Chassis & Suspension
paint & body
Best of the Best
GM High Tech Performance
Paint & Body
Chevy HHR Custom Paint Job - Automotive Arson
Hot Licks Can Turn Any Car Into An Eye Burner.
Aug 1, 2010
The Kustom Shop
San Diego, CA 92121
Styles Custom Flames And Pinstriping
View Full Article »
VIEW FULL GALLERY
Chevy HHR Custom Paint Job - Automotive Arson
Here are the products used for this flame job. The paints are from The Kustom Shop and they are all California compliant. Since they all came from the same company, there will be no ill reactions or wrinkling. Jeff also picked up some 1/4-inch crepe tape to lay out the flames and silver leaf for some cool lettering.
To prep the factory-painted surface, Jeff first wiped it with some wax and grease remover, then he dry-sanded the original paint using a DA with 800-grit. Jeff said this is a fast and easy way to get most of the vehicle scuffed.
After that, he used a hand block with 800-grit wet to make the surface even and also get any places that he might have missed with the DA. After the sanding was complete, he wiped the surface once again with wax and grease remover.
Jeff said he likes to use 1/4-inch tape on this type of job. It will make the turns nicely and leave a crisp edge once pulled up.
As for the layout, there are several ways to lay out flames. Take your time because this step can make or break your job. Take a look at the vehicle and make the flames flow with it. Picture the front of the car on fire and going about a 100 mph, the wind whipping the flames back over the body of the car. Also, utilize the length of the car to make it appear longer and lower as an illusion. The longer you make the flames whip back, the longer and lower the car will look; if you stubby up the flames, say just on the fender, it will make the car seam short and stubby.
After he was happy with the design and layout, Jeff covered the whole job with transfer paper/quick mask. It's much quicker to use this stuff than filling with normal masking tape. Once all the transfer paper was stuck down, Jeff carefully cut along the top of the 1/4-inch tape. Then, he could peel out what he didn’t need leaving a perfectly masked flame layout.
Jeff designed the stencil for his logo on his computer and cut it on his plotter. This will let him spray the lettering the same color as the flames and make sure both sides are identical. After the stencil was in place, the car was completely masked off and pulled into the booth.
After cleaning the surface with wax and grease remover and then a tack rag, Jeff started the flames by laying down a white base over the entire job. Jeff said, "The spray gun that I use for the paint is an Iwata W400 because it atomizes the paint so well and gives you a nice blend."
During the blend and fade process, you will want to lower your air pressure slightly. Be prepared to go from a large fan to a tight fan often, the large fan to blend the bigger portions and tight fan for the tips and highlights in the turns. Here, Jeff is applying the yellow, which he starts at the tips and works forward towards the fade area.
Jeff said, "To get a nice fade, all I can say is take your time, as you start into the fade area step the colors back like from yellow to orange. Just don't try and fully cover the area, slowly add a little orange to the yellow, add a little bit more and more until you are faded into orange."
It's the same procedure with the orange to red, but that fade is a bit easier and goes a lot faster.
The final step in the fade is to use a little darker red on just the tips.
For the tips that cross over into other tips you will need to lay some more tape and spray the area with the dark red. Make sure the base coat is dry before you start taping.
Jeff likes to spray some gold pearl over the entire job as the last step before unmasking. He mixes powder pearl in the Mid Coat Clear and lightly dusts the flames to give them some pop in the sun. After that the flames can be unmasked. Jeff passes on this tip: "Unmask carefully, as to not mess up all the hard work you have just done. Don't get in a hurry. Take off all of the masking paper first and then carefully remove the 1/4-inch fine line, pulling it slowly."
After everything was unmasked, he did another quick coat with the powder pearl/Mid Coat Clear mixture and then he sprays two coats with straight Mid Coat Clear. This will even out the edge build up from the flames and will provide a better edge to stripe against.
To add some more old-school style to the lettering on the side of the truck, Jeff will be adding some silver leaf. The first step is to apply some Gold Size varnish...
...which will act as the glue to hold the delicate silver leaf.
Carefully unpack the leaf and start sticking it to the area. It will only stick where the Gold Size was painted on.
After all the leaf was applied Jeff came back with a rag and rubbed the area. This will remove any leaf that is not stuck to the glue.
Once the extra leaf was removed, he used a velvet turning device from Coast Airbrush to lightly spin the silver to produce a machine turned finish, which is a cool look when the light hits it.
The edge on the silver leaf will be a bit ragged and uneven, so Jeff came back and outlined it with some red.
The flames will also get a pinstripe border in white. Jeff uses a Mack series-10 size-0 brush. Jeff says, "If you are not up to striping your finished job, contact a local striper and he will come out and stripe it up for you. Or you can contact me and I will give you a class on how to stripe because pinstriping is tricky the first time around."
Now it's time to bury the whole design in a few fresh coats of the Kustom Shop's 2K Super Flow Polyurethane Clear with a DeVilbiss gun.
Here is the finished product in all its old-school glory. As you can tell, the wheels do add something to the style, but the flames really turn this stocker into a scorcher.
Chevy HHR Custom Paint Job - Custom Painted Flames - Super Chevy Magazine
Check out this Chevy HHR custom paint job by Jeff Styles with custom painted flames, silver leafing, lettering, and pinstriping - Super Chevy Magazine
Top 10 Good, Better & Best Custom Paint Jobs at SEMA 2014
We bring you the top 10 good, better, and best custom paint jobs from the 2014 SEMA Show.
Project American Heros III 1970 Chevelle Custom Paint Job - Super Chevy Magazine
Last month our Project American Heroes III 1970 Chevelle has been straightened and gapped in preparation for this month's custom paint job with its signature PAH stars and stripes. - Super Chevy Magazine
How to Custom Paint Rally Stripes - Black on Greeen
Are your vinyl stripes getting dull? Learn how to replace your Camaro's vinyl rally stripes with seen-but-not-felt custom paint that's glossy and smooth!
recent how to articles
1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS Homebuilt Screamer
How to Repair the X-Member on a Corvette C1 Frame
How to Wire an Electronic Tachometer as Easy as 1-2-3
How to Install Baer's New Tracker Floater Kit
Get More Power from a Chevrolet Performance ZZ502 Crate Engine
subscribe to the magazine
Subscribe and Save 74% off the Cover Price!