Some people like to do it one way, others like to do it another way, some are easier if done one way then the other.
In my case, the paintwork was done in different ways for different parts… why? Well, its because of the way the designs were. But in reality, it was because of improper planning.
Let me explain the different ways of decal painting:
- Positive decals
- Negative decals.
Positive decals are usually done here in Malaysia because it is easier to do. Positive decals are generally used if the end product is glossed over and has a smooth finish as there are lower risks this way. What you do is, get some designs, stick it on to a surface that has been painted the color you want it, then paint over that with the background color of choice.
Negative decals are very hard and sometimes more expensive to do. This, however, lets you not worry about the paint job when you are spraying it so long as your masking is thick enough. Negative decals are done when one cuts out the design of choice and sticks on the negative of the design to the surface of choice. This is useful if you have a special paint or coating.
Well, here is a guide on how to paint your junk with decals.
Things you will need:
- spray on mount.
- paper that has the design printed on it.
- sand paper
- power sander (to make life easier on you..)
- power drill/ grinder
- steel brush bit
- clean rag
- alcohol (to drink)
- alcohol/thinner (cleaning)
Use the steel brush and drill/grinder to remove the paint off the thing you are painting (in my case a tank). Try to look for a twisted metal brush, it doesn't flare open when you try to do your job.
Wipe down the tank with the alcohol/thinner (whichever is cheaper in your country) and a rag. Just let it evaporate and get high on the smell. It will help with the hard work later.
Paint on a THICK coat of primer. It is usually recommended that the primer used is the brush on type. But if you do, make sure it's a thick layer otherwise you will have a hard time sanding off the brush strokes.
Let the primer dry in the blistering hot sun. if you have an oven, stick it in. if the primer is still stringy or can still imprint your finger prints, leave it to dry even longer. Depending on the weather, this can take days or hours.
Now that the primer is dry and hard as a rock, use 150-200 grit sand paper and sand down the tank till it is nice and smooth. Make sure you do not have a single scratch on is as if the color you are painting is NOT Matte Black, then the little scratch will stick out like a sore thumb. This doesn't matter if you are painting a rat bike.
Wipe down the tank with a rag and very little thinner as some primers dissolve in thinner.
Spray on the color of the decal you want on the area you want. You don't really have to spray the entire tank with it if you don't want to and if you plan to have just the decals glossed then please spray on the clear coat as you would with a completed product.
Cut out the decal from your printed out paper (if you are using normal print paper, please stick 2 pieces together to ensure proper masking.
Spray the decal with the spray on mount (thin layer only so you can take it off) and put it on the tank.
With the sandpaper, lightly rough up the area that was painted that was not masked. Make sure that it is sanded lightly till the paint clouds.
Spray on the background color of choice and leave in the sun to dry.
Make sure you do not leave it in the sun too long as the spray mount will harden and you will have trouble removing it later on.
Remove the masking from the tank slowly and watch for the sides peeling off., if they do, put back the masking, pull off the peeled off part and spray down that area again.
If you did not take my advice in Step 9 advising you to not leave it in the sun too long and now have sticky muck on your decal or in Step 7 where you sprayed too much spray mount or the paper was too thin, take a rag, spray some WD40 on it (not directly on the tank) and buff it down. This will remove the muck and if the seeped paint isn't too thick, you can remove that as well.
With Gunk and paint seeped through.
If you are going for a gloss finish for the whole item, spray on the clear coat.
Coat 1 - Thin
Coat 2 - Thicker
Coat 3 - When coat 2 is drying, touch a corner that is not noticeable to see if it is stringy, if yes, lay on a thick coat.
If you wish to have more coats, please go ahead with the same directions as Coat 3
Note: In between, take a swig of the alco you brought along for yourself. It will make things so much easier!
P.S. the way I had described on how to make a positive decal is called the "old school" way of doing things. To some of us, there is no school like the old school… (or.. we're just kinda cheap)