“Creativity is a highfalutin word for the work.”
Kosmic Kustom Honda Civic By Jeral Tedwell
Ok Kids, here we go againâ€¦ This go round we're gonna find some sucker with a cool car and no idea what he wantsâ€¦My sinister plot to take over the world one hyper-colored rocket at a timeâ€¦heheheeee. Now we have a paying victim and life is getting better....
First thing, let's do some color sketches and get them approved by the owner. Hmmm, this time we'll try something a little different. My last â€œhow-toâ€ was in the awesome â€œWest Coastâ€ style made infamous by the freaks over at Kal Koncepts/Air syndicateâ€¦Let's try something a little bolder, cleaner and bit more straight-forwardâ€¦. After a couple of those million color, multi-layer jobs with 80-miles of outlines, I think I've developed a twitch!
By the way, you'll need to shoot a few digital photos to work from, so I had the owner bring the car by the shop on a nice sunny day and got after it with picture taking. I made sure all views were covered so that I would have plenty of pictures to work from. I then took the side view into photoshop where I removed the color from the car to reveal my clean slate. I printed out a few copies and the fun beginsâ€¦ bring on the crayons and the koolaid? As you see, Joe (the owner) and I agreed on one of the sketches after only a couple rounds of boxing. Remember, I've said it before and I â€˜m saying it again, if you have to change anything at all, make sure the owner is present and aware of what you're doing. Be considerate; most owners have put a ton of money and love in these things long before you got a hold of it. This particular gem belongs to Joseph Strothman, and was painted at A & C Sheet metal in Louisville, Kentucky, because my booth is a bit small for full-car jobs, and it was way too cold. Thanks guys, for the car and the paint booth.
Sanding and taping. I hate this part of the job; it's not very glamorous. This picture shows what it should look like when it's ready to paint. I started by wet-sanding the entire car with 600-grit sandpaper, but first used 400-grit paper on the bad spots. Then you wanna get rid of all paint dust and elbow grease by rinsing the entire car with water; you don't want to use any soap because it may react with your paint. Now dry it off and use your air hose to blow the water out of the cracks and crevices. Tape everything that isn't removed. Also, cover any open holes that'll let paint and fumes into the car.
Here I've airbrushed in all door jams, and under any edges that might get an uneven coat or even missed with big spray gun. This also helps with runs and flooded spots that occur from over-working small areas with a full-sized spray gun. This is also when you want to spray Dupont 222S adhesion promoter on your plastic parts and primer on any spots that may have gotten sanded through; this helps prevent any rust from growing under the new paint. You are now ready to spray the base color.
For this job, I chose to spray a lavender to black fade starting at the center of each side. First I spray both sides entirely lavender even though only about half of it will remain that color. Next, I spray the top black, working on a nice fade onto the edges of the lavender. Now for the tricky partâ€¦I use dark Kandy purple to blend two colors together, spraying from the black to the lavender. Usually spraying an equal distance onto both colors to ensure a proper fade.
Once all of the black and purple areas are covered with *R-tape and taped off, I used yellow to basecoat the areas that will have my red and green stripes. I used 3M Â¼ inch blue fine line tape to put in my separation line so I was able to see black and purple between the two stripes. *R-tape is vinyl letter transfer tape, and your best friendâ€¦I sleep with a roll under my pillow and love in my heart. I use it to cover large areas faster and cleaner than masking tape, plus you can draw on your design and just cut it out with a razor knife; carefully of course!
After taping off the bottom half of the yellow, I faded red to orange by filling in the majority of the area with a medium orange that started solid in the back and gradually faded to the front, leaving very little pure yellow exposed. Next, the red is applied starting solid at the back and working my way about half way into the orange making my transition as smooth as possible. Then I used an orange Kandy to spray over the entire area, starting heavy in the red area and working my way into the orange and yellow sections. Last, I used a mixture of equal parts kandy red and purple to create the dark cherry color at the back of your ride. I chose this because the taillight assembly on this particular car wraps all the way across the back tying my red fades together.
Basically, step six is the same as procedure in step five, except dark green and Kandy green were used instead of red and orange. I started this fade from the front to balance out the contrast of the green and red.
On to the stars, once you have your red and green covered. It's time to draw the stars and our Jolly Roger onto the hood. I just love skulls and crossed bones! Stars are tricky. If you want them to look right, they need to be super straight. In this case, the stars are gonna make or break the look of our car. I spent the night before laying out a perfect set of stars on paper and projecting them onto a large roll of tracing paper to the actual size so they could be transferred directly to the side of our speed racer.
I sue tracing paper because it's transparent, and that way I can use the same template on both sides. You really want to be careful to measure and mark body lines to insure a nice match of the sides. As for the Jolly Roger on the hood, I just wiped one onto transfer tape with my trusty pencil and cut him out the same way I did the stars.
Spray whiteâ€¦Oh wait, it's not quite that simple. I actually used a semi-reflection white, crystal silver pearl metallic base coat, from Dupont.
Oh boy, lookie here, lookie hereâ€¦it's time to unwrap our work of art and find all of our mistakes. Yep kids, mistakes are part of the game. At this stage, look for paint blowing under loose tape, spots that were simply left untapped, and/or trash in the paint that may have developed during the frenzy of taping and spraying.
If all is well, it's time to clean out the booth and apply first coats of clear. Cleaning, I usually roll the car out of the paint booth, and then pick up all the paint and paper left on the floor. Then, I went down the floor and walls (not the ceiling, you do not want water dripping onto your car) with the water hose to kill any dust problems created from the rainbow of colors I just sprayed.
Be careful not to spray an electrical outlets, light the car, your lunch or owner of the car! OK, roll the car back into the booth, run your tack rag and some air over the whole car. This is when you want some serious clear onto the ride, mainly â€˜cause you're gonna sand most of it off tomorrowâ€¦isn't this fun.
Now, about the clear coating: You want to apply a light first coat slowly..wait a few minutes, then a medium coatâ€¦again, wait a few minutes to let it tack up. Now if all is good, give the whole thing a nice heavy coat. Remember, you're trying to bury your tape line edges, not start a mini marathons of runs.
RUNS ARE BAD. Now go home, you can't do anything until it's nice an dryâ€¦I'll see you tomorrow. I almost forgot the clear for this job, Transtar 6961, was provided by the owner. I was impressed, it worked great. I normally use Dupont 7500 for big jobs and 7600 for the small stuff
Wet-sandingâ€¦the joy of my life, the sunshine of my day, the nightmare of my nights! Call me lazy, but I think wet-sanding sucks. But, it's major part of any paint job to get used to it. This is what separates custom from crop and show quality from no quality; it's all in the slickness of your finished product. Wet-sanding kills all the lumps and ridges created by paint buildup next to the tape, dust, trash and pizza drippings.
It also makes a nice slick surface to lay your lines on without using a 4-wheel-drive striping brush. 600-grit works great; again 400-grit is ok for really bad runs. Just take it really slow and use light hand pressure especially in dark color sections because scratches will be much more visible in these areas.
Be careful around any body lines or edges; you don't want to sand through. Wrap your sand-paper around a rubber sanding pad to get a nice flat sanding surface.
Striping always makes me nervous. I'm not the best striper by any stretch, but I know who is: legendary bike builder, Jack Huber, of Huber's American Motorcycles here in Louisville. So when it came time for the line work, I needed some serious advice. One-shot sign enamels are awesome as well as being the industry standard, but there is only one problem â€“ they are oil based. So in order to get everything to work with your clear without lifting, you gotta do a little voodoo chemistry. I usually mix a little hot enamel reducer with one-shot to keep lifting to a minimum. Jack gave me his â€œAncient Chinese Secret,â€ and is probably gonna kill me for telling everybody.
Oh, well, here goes: he mixes One-shot lettering with the same hardener used when mixing the clear coat. Just mix about one-third hardener ( we use Dupont 76955) until the flow is right, and BAM..no more problems. Just don't use any thinner with it. Thinner is bad and will cause problems with your final clear coat.
Once your line work has been completely dried [usually 8 to 10 hours], it's time to clear the thing and go eat. This time you wanna get the booth and the car super clean. Once again I roll the car out, clean the booth and wet it down (the booth, not the car). I'm also obsessed with the tack rag and air hose, so I go over the whole car twice. You can follow the same procedure as described in step 9. Just take it easy on the first light coat and pay close attention to your outlines just in caseâ€¦you never know. You also want to be careful not to leave any dry spots or miss any corners, edges, etc. if all is well, drown this sucka' and get the hell outta' Dodge, I will see you tomorrow.
Normally, I recommend buffing the car before you reassemble it because it's easier to get all the weird places with lights and trim areas exposed. In this case, unfortunately, we had to move the car down the road and it had been snowing all night so the buffing was gonna have to wait.
Clean up is very important, especially if you are using someone else's shop and ever want to use it again. Always leave it in better shape than you found it and you'll be fine. Now that we're done, let's talkâ€¦I realize there will always be more than one way to do everything and that my way may be completely backwards to you.
Experimenting and learning are part of the game, and let me tell you, I'm still learning from every job. So, don't knock it till you try it, and let us know you did. Oh yeah, take lots of pictures so that I can read your â€œhow toâ€ and learn some of your tricks of the trade. Thanks for listening, and good luck.