View Full Version : Top 10 tricks of the pros. Take your garage paint project to the next level.

06-26-2007, 05:20 PM
Hey everyone. This is a quick top ten list of general painting tips. Hope this helps.


Time to take that garage painting project to the next level, without the expense.

* Pro looking paint jobs don't have to have a pro looking price tag.
* Throwing money at a project is not the way to make your next project pro level.

1. Take your time with each step. Laying down paint is the fun part but the pros make their money in between the actual painting. This has been the absolute hardest thing for me to learn. I'm completely impatient. I finally realized that the time between painting is the real time to show your skill.

2. Preparing the surface to be painted from priming and also in between color coats is critical. The concept is simple. You want as smooth of a surface as possible for the next layer of paint. There are several way to do this:

- After several coats of primer, sand the primer base, you've created, with 600 grit sand paper until it's really smooth. It's ok if some of the base or other layer starts to show a little. You want it smooth.

- After you lay down several coats of your base color wet sand it with 1000 grit a little to smooth it out.

- Between each of your design colors (the airbrushing part) you can smooth out each one by lightly going over each new color with a fine Scotch Brite pad. Make sure you use only light pressure so you don't scratch the design. Your just trying to take a little of the texture off the top.

- If you take the time to smooth out each layer, you'll notice a huge difference by the time you get to the clear coat. You won't have to keep laying layer after layer of clear to cover up the inconsistencies that you let go throughout the paint job.

3. If your going to Mask off an area, take your time and do it right. Right before you get ready to paint an area that has been masked, run your finger along the masked edge to make sure it's flat. If you see a part of your mask lifting when you start spraying air, fix it. Try lowering your air pressure if your masks are lifting. You can crank the pressure back up after your done with the masking part.

4. Everyone makes mistakes even the pros. The trick is once you start getting better you don't make as many and you get better at fixing your mistakes. The pros are masters of fixing small mistakes. They are so good at doing it they won't even slow down as they are fixing them so you'll never notice that they have made a mistake.

- Finish your design by going around the design with the same color as the base. You see this on flame jobs all the time. This is how you can "erase" all the small over spray parts at the end.

- When pinstriping or detail work with the airbrush, keep some glass cleaner near by. You'd be amazed at what you can "erase" if you get to it before it completely dries. Go easy or you'll go straight through all the colors of the design. This "erasing" technique should be used very sparingly. Too much of a correction of a mistake can be disastrous. Just get to the point where you can cover the rest up with the next design color.

5. Smooth strokes. It doesn't matter if your using n $500 dollar Iwata Spray gun or a can of spray paint. Laying down color in even layers makes you huge money later on in the project. It keeps you from wasting time fixing drip spots and other uneven spots when your sanding.

- If your using a spray gun or spray paint, to lay down an even color coat, start the paint flow off the project. Spray across the project at the same distance the whole stroke and don't stop the paint until your off the other side.

- Smooth strokes are what keep you from getting the barbell effect. The pauses to change direction create paint build up at the end.

6. Use reference pictures at your work bench for each project. If your doing real looking flames, or any other effect, have a reference photo there to help you freehand the correct shapes. Trying to visualize stuff like real looking flames while your staring at a blank surface should be left to the airbrush super pros. I'm not there yet.

7. Don't get frustrated. Even your biggest mistakes should be looked at as learning experiences. I'm sure the super pros could tell some true horror stories.

8. If you have started doing projects for profit or even for friends, give yourself at least twice the amount of time you think it's going to take to finish the job. Rushing a job is a sure fire way to goon up something simple.

9. Avoid the coat time crunch and other chemistry experiments. I can count the times on at least 2 hands I wish I had "Just read the instructions...".

- Different paints have different coat times. Trying in vain to figure out why your paint is doing something funky is usually simply solved by reading the recommended coat times on the bottles or website of the paint your using. Clear coats are infamous for this. Some have really generous coat times. Some do not. Usually less expensive spray can clear coats have really short and inflexible coat times.

- This isn't high school chemistry. Mixing different brand paints is a receipt for disaster. Don't get me wrong, I do this. If you need to mix different brands of paint to save money, like me, try it out before you try it on a project. For example, I often will use spray paint for my base color and clear coats. I usually use Auto Air for the airbrushing designs though.

10. I know you think the last one is going to be have fun or something else cheesy. But it's not. It's Be Careful. Some of the paints and other crazy chemicals you start to find yourself around can really be dangerous. Your no good at painting when your older and can't breath because you were dumb.

Oh yeah, have fun.

06-27-2007, 10:36 AM
all of these are great tips. thanks for posting. im sure it will help someone do a fantastic job wether its for a mod or something else :-) if there isnt already a painting section in tips and tricks then i would reccomend to the moderator that this be moved and stickied if possable.

06-28-2007, 05:00 PM
Very good tips!



06-29-2007, 07:28 AM
Great contribution, +Rep.


Drum Thumper
06-29-2007, 01:44 PM
Sagely Advice, thanks a ton!