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101 Paint And Body Tips

By , Photography by Team Super Chevy

70. If you are spraying clear over graphics that have tape lines like stripes, spray a light coat over the graphics first. Let it flash or dry, and then do another light coat over the entire car. This will reduce the chance of creating runs along the tape lines where clear will build up the fastest.

71. If you do end up with a run or sag in the clear, just let it dry and sand it off later. Some seasoned painters can keep spraying until the run drips off the bottom of the body but that is a skill learned in time.

72. Ground the vehicle. A piece of chain that drapes over the frame and down to the shop floor will cut down on the static charge the vehicle has and reduce the chance of dirt being drawn to it.

73. Know your fine line tapes. The blue plastic tape leaves a crisper edge but doesn’t bend as easily as the crepe tape. So if your design has a lot of tight curves go with the crepe but if your doing stripes, go ahead and use the blue tape.

74. Don’t lay out any graphics until the car is assembled and all the sheetmetal is properly aligned.

75. For graphic lines that carry over a seam like a door jamb, be sure to carry the line in at least a 1⁄4-inch and then cap it with tape. This will look much better than a bunch of multi-color overspray blobs.

76. Use some quick mask paper instead of small masking tape. All you have to do is cover the whole graphic and then carefully cut out what you don’t need. Trust us, this is a lot faster than filling the voids with small bits of masking tape.

77. You can save a little money in the pinstriping area by painting it your self. Instead of learning how to use the brush, add the stripe during the graphics with one more taping step. After you get the graphic laid out, spray your pinstripe color along the edges of the design. Once dry tape over it with 1⁄4-inch tape and proceed to paint the graphics color. When everything is dry you can peel the tape away to reveal the pinstriped graphic.

78. To duplicate a design on the other side of the vehicle make a pounce pattern. Use some masking paper to lie over your taped area and rub it with a crayon. The crayon will leave a dark line where it goes over the tape. Remove the paper and set it on a piece of cardboard, then with a pounce wheel (mini spur-looking thing) punch holes along the dark lines. Place the pattern on the other side of the car and pat the dotted line left by the pounce wheel with a sock filled with baby powder. You’ll end up with a dotted line of powder to follow with your tape.

79. Soak all your wet or dry paper in a bucket of clean water over night to soften the papers backing. This will cut down on the chance the paper will gouge the surface of the body panels.

80. When the paint/clear is dry, use wet or dry paper to knock down the orange peel. A 1500-grit paper is fine for the initial cut, but switch to 2000-grit for the final sand. You can use more aggressive papers, but these will be the safest for the beginner.

81. If you are sanding a factory paint job, grab some 3000-grit paper and be very careful, the factory clear is very thin.

82. Have a bucket of water and a spray bottle ready when color sanding. The bucket will be used to clean your paper and the spray bottle filled with soap and water mixture will be used to lubricate the sanding process.

83. If you are color sanding a car that is already assembled, protect all your chrome and trim pieces with tape to prevent scratching.

84. Use tape to protect bodylines and seams. These areas will sand very fast and usually are the first places you will break through.

85. Sand in a back and forth motion from front to back of the panel, not in circles. Check your progress often with a squeegee. Stop sanding when the surface is devoid of shiny dots.

86. Don’t sand an area that you can’t get the buffer into unless you feel like polishing that area by hand.

87. When choosing a buffer, make sure you find one with a variable speed adjustment, like the Dewalt 849 or the Makita 9227CY.

88. The buffer is designed to be used flat so fight the urge to tip the buffer on edge. This will just increase the chance of putting in swirls and/or burning the paint.

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