Painting Plastics Universal Guide

This guide is meant to help all of you who wish to paint some part of their car, or anything else for that matter, that is plastics. This could be your dash, engine plastics, OEM side skirt ECT. For demonstrational purposes I am going to use the stock dome light to show how to prep and paint plastic pieces.

Materials needed:
ē Medium Sand Paper (only if its already a smooth finish such as center console)
ē Fine Sand Paper (I used 100 grit I think but I would get finer if you can)
ē Simple Green Soap (Gets off all grease and oils. Esp. good for dirty engine plastics)
ē Plastic Primer (Many plastics dent to chip when painted. This will help)
ē Paint (This is up to you. You do not need High Temp Duplicolor. Any regular spray-paint will work if your going to clear coat. If not clear coating I would get Duplicolor.)
ē Clear Coat (I just used some America Tradition clear coat from Lows. Its cheap and works great)
ē Tee-shirt (Great for wiping down the part between coats.)
ē Blue painters tape (if needed)

Tip for spray painting: Always do a few light coats over 1 thick coat. I normally do about 3-5 depending on how I like the color. More coats the darker it gets. Also when you paint, I highly suggest you hang up the part at an easy to spray level. You will get a much more even coat then if itís on the ground. Finally, when actually painting, never start spraying on the part. Start at the top edge about an inch or so staying good 6 or so inches in front of the part. When you spray go past the piece on each swipe and move back and forth in a zigzag pattern. You do not need to get it completely covered the first coat. For more tips feel free to ask me.

1. Clean the Part: I suggest using Simple Green. It works great on getting grease and oils off. Itís a must when doing engine plastics. Let dry for 5-10 min.

2. Prep the surface: If itís a smooth finish already like the center console use some medium sand paper and scuff up the surface a bit. Not big gouges but make it a bit more ruff. I didnít do this for engine plastics and it seemed to be fine. Also if you need to cover up any areas I suggest using the blue painters tape. If you get the thin kind you can do precision areas. I just used the standard kind.

3. Primer: As stated above do light coats. For primer you do not need it thick, I would suggest 2 coats maybe 3 depending on how big the piece is and how light the coats are. Let sit for about 15 min between coats depending on humidity. Itís really humid in Florida so take a bit for it to completely dry. NOTE: After using primer I would suggest waiting a few hours before commencing with actual paint. I waited a day before just to be safe for the engine plastics due to the great heat that it has to deal with. For this project I waited a few hours.

4. Paint: Now that the primer is on, make sure you dust off the piece; I used a damp tee-shirt. If you do this let it dry then begin painting. I suggest painting as noted above. Wait 15 or so min between coats. I did about 5 coats on the engine plastics and about 3 coats on the dome light. Itís all up to you on how you like the color. Use the fine sand paper between coats to smooth down any ruff areas. But I would not suggest sanding after the last coat. NOTE: If you are clear coating then the piece does not have to be shinny and smooth, the clear makes it smoother. NOTE2: If you are clear coating it is recommended to wait 24 hours after doing your last coat of paint. The clear supposable will melt and eat away the paint if you do it sooner. I always let it sit 24 hours so donít know otherwise.

1st Coat

3rd final coat

5. Clear coating: I highly recommend clear coating your paint. It makes it easier to clean the paint if dirty, give youíre the nice glossy smoother look, brings out the color more, in my case it make the blue darker, and finally if you not so good at painting it covers up most of the uneven painting you may do Clear coat works just like paint. I normally do about 3-4 coats of clear. Wait about 15 min between painting as before.


6. CAUTION: When working with engine plastics, clear coat or not, you must wait at least 24 hours before putting them in your car and driving. If you do so earlier you run the chance of the paint bubbling or chipping off. I let mine sit a weekend before driving to be safe.

7. NOTE: I suggest wiping down your engine plastics after rain because they are easily stained by dirt and water esp. if not cleared.

This guide can be used for painting any plastics, or metals for that matter. For metal just get a metal primer and have at it Below are examples of what I have done for my car but the possibilities are endless and as always if you need help feel free to email or PM me. NOTE: I am not responsible for any damaged parts when youíre working on them

Clock, spectra blue'ish:

Engine Plastics and RMM SRI, immitation Spectra Blue'ish: