Banshee's Guide to Painting: Part 1 Part 1: Candy Colors
Posted 24 March 2012 - 06:58 PM
The first thing you need to do is disassemble the gun. I've seen a ton of paint jobs done from various people where they painted the gun while it was still together. This is a huge NO-NO. The paint can jam up things like slides, triggers, and other moving parts, not to mention is just looks terrible when you're done! ALWAYS take apart your guns before painting them. If you're too inexperienced to remove every part from your gun and get it put back together right, consider painting something simpler.
Step 1: TAPING
Taping is generally the first step to painting if you don't have any kind of serious prep work to be done. Prep work would go first, which includes sanding, priming, body filling, etc. and we might get into that on another day. But in this tutorial, we're using some of the original colors from the factory on our test subject. Now the more perceptive of you may have noticed, our test subject is a Nite Finder.
We want to keep the original handle, light, and logo colors from the factory. I do this to most of my Nite Finders to keep a more "stock" type of look, because I'm only changing the yellow color of the gun. That way it looks like it could've come from the factory that way. It's just a personal preference and its also the simplest and quickest way to paint most Nerf guns.
Now go ahead and begin taping off your gun. I taped off the black and grey areas. The best tape I've found for painting is Scotch 3M blue painters tape. There are a few types of 3M painters tape, the light blue is the best. The darker blue "Safe-Release" tape is absolute crap, DON'T use it. I haven't had any luck with frog tape either because both of them have very little "stick" to them and they peel up after a few minutes. Frog Tape is great for cars and such, but for small items with tight curves, you're going to want a stronger stick tape.
When taping, put tape on the area you want to cover and go over the edges of the area. Then once all the tape is covering your area, go over it with a hobby knife and trim the tape off the areas you want to paint. This takes a little practice, and if you use a sharp blade, you don't need very much pressure, so don't dig into your gun with the knife.
For taping the logo, you're going to want to use a tape that is flexible. Painters tape is not flexible at all, so I use electrical tape. E-Tape makes a great painters tape, it sticks well, comes off clean, and its flexible, which makes it great for certain applications. However its not as cheap and not as wide as painters tape, so I don't suggest you use it for everything.
Before we move on to the next step, you need to take some rubbing alcohol or wax remover to the surface of your gun and make sure that you get all the dust and finger oils off. Acetone is generally not a good idea because it eats the plastic away. It makes for a good painting surface though, but I don't advise using it unless you really know what you're doing. If you have sticker residue or some other kind of adhesive that alcohol wont take off, I use a chemical called "Xylene". You can get it at paint shops, and maybe your local hardware store if you're lucky. It takes almost any adhesive off without hurting the surface underneath and works MUCH better than Goo-Gone in just about every situation. I use it for everything, its a must-have for any serious painter. (But I will warn you, it takes most of the Nerf ink off the guns, like the grey and black area's of the Nite Finder.)
A lot of people feel a primer, sanding, or both is necessary for the paint to adhere. This is an option, but as far as spray paint goes, some primers just don't work. Krylon primer is basically useless. It doesn't stick to any surface any better than the actual paint itself, and it leaves a much worse texture behind than the paint would which requires sanding. If you think you need a primer, shell out the extra cash for some more expensive primer like Duplicolor or some automotive primer. Plastic primer works too, but I've had plastic primer that peeled off in sheets once it was dry. I just skip the confusion and go straight to painting. If you have a good clean surface and you paint it right, the paint should stick just fine. Besides, most of the durability comes from the clear coat.
Step 2: BASE COAT
For this demonstration, we're using a metallic silver base coat, a candy color coat, and a clear top coat. This is a common procedure used my paint profession all over. The base coat can be silver or white, as long as its metallic. Try experimenting with both colors to get your desired result, but for this we're using silver. I'm using Rustoleum metallic Silver as opposed to Krylon or Duplicolor because it has a much larger metal flake in the paint which makes the gun really pop in the sunlight. Use the same metallic I did. Rustoleum sells a few kinds of metallic paint including a "chrome" paint, and the others are garbage, don't use them.
When you paint, I find the best way is to hold the part in your hand. Wear a glove or put your arm in a trash bag so you don't paint yourself. Lying the part on a flat surface makes it difficult to see all the parts of the gun while you paint it, so I advise holding it like so:
Now proceed to the painting. Start painting in the hardest to reach places to avoid paint runs. I usually put an extremely light coat on first, almost impossible to see. Its more of an overspray than a coat. This acts sort of like a primer and helps the next coat stick a little better. If you go in for a thick coat right from the beginning, it can potentially bead, and the metal flakes can sometime cluster and look really bad. After about 5 coats, it should look like this:
Step 3: CANDY COAT
Now the color comes from the candy coat. Candy is a transparent paint that adds color to whatever is underneath it. In this case, it's a silver base coat, and we're using a purple candy, so it will turn into a metallic purple. Which I don't know if any of you have every looked at your local Home Depot, but they don't exactly have metallic purple in spray cans (at least not where I live) so this is a great way to get the color you want. There are a few kinds of candy paints that I've used. The best is the kind you use in an airbrush, but we're using rattle can's, so your easiest to find options will be Krylon X-Metals, and Duplicolor Metalcast. The Metalcast is a much better candy. Its bright, goes on very smooth and even, strong as nails, and takes clear coat nicely. The X-metals is pretty crappy. It goes on thicker and its hard to get an even coverage. But what really gets me, is that the clear coat I use sucks the candy coat into it which reveals the base coat in places, so you have to be careful to avoid it. Make sure the candy is dry first if you use X-Metals. But it you use the Metalcast, you can recoat and clear coat at any time you want. But I will say this, the Metalcast costs twice as much. It's about $10 a can found at most auto-parts stores.
But regardless, the X-metals that I used turned out quite nice:
Step 4: CLEAR COAT
The clear I used is Deft. It's meant for furniture, but I find that it sticks really well to just about everything. Its about $5-$6 a can at Home Depot and it goes a really long ways. I used to use Kyrlon Crystal Clear which is about $3, but it never dries as hard as Deft, doesn't go on as smooth, and it's nowhere near as shiny. I recommend that you give Deft a try if your other clear coats have let you down.
The process that I use to get such a high level of shine is what I call "flooding". Which is just as it sounds, you flood the gun with so much clear so fast that it eliminates the orange peel texture that leads to a dull surface. Now you can't do flooding with all kinds of clear. Krylon Crystal Clear is thick and it runs easily, and it doesn't spray out smooth at all. Deft comes out in a very fine mist, its thinner than Krylon, and you can get a very thick coat of it on without it running. This takes some practice and your first few tries will probably have some runs in it.
This picture shows one half with clear coat, which is on the left, and the other half without clear coat on the right. So can see that added benefits of a clear coat cosmetically, aside from the fact that it makes your paint much more durable. I tried to get a good picture of the difference but the sun was behind my fence so I didn't have much light anymore.
Now you can let it dry for a day or so and put it back together! Mine turned out pretty good overall. I've done better, and shinier. The shine can't be properly be represented in a photo, I promise you it's much more impressive in person, but none the less, thats how you do a candy coat paint job.
Does anyone have any questions?
Posted 24 March 2012 - 07:22 PM
Posted 24 March 2012 - 08:44 PM
I'm not sure what texture you're referring to, but the texture you get from spray paint is referred to as "orange peel" for obvious reasons. You get orange peel whether the paint is flat or high gloss, but its easier to see on glossy finishes. On most things that get painted, the orange peel is wet sanded off so you have a smooth surface, and then its polished to a mirror finish. You can't do that with Nerf guns, they're too small, so the best we can do is lay a really thick, wet coat of clear on it and let it dry.
Posted 25 March 2012 - 05:49 PM
Yeah, that would work just fine. Anything will work, it just depends on what you use to get the desired result.
Posted 25 March 2012 - 07:54 PM
Anyways thanks for posting this. I am sure I will do this in the future
Edit: I stand corrected.
This post has been edited by _Nerfomania_: 25 March 2012 - 10:30 PM
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Posted 25 March 2012 - 09:39 PM
Anyways thanks for posting this. I am sure I will do this in the future
Step 1: TAPING
...Prep work would go first, which includes sanding, priming, body filling, etc. and we might get into that on another day.
This post has been edited by False: 25 March 2012 - 09:40 PM
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