Alright guys, you hear it all the time: people have painting disasters and have to start from scratch after hours of work. It's true, spraypaint can be a fickle beast, but with proper preparation and technique you can minimize your chance of disaster. When you recieve your armor the following needs to take place:Trimming
-Armor flashing should be trimmed down to 1/8". If you cut your own armor make sure the edges are rough sanded with 100 grit and beveled if you would likeSanding
-Even out the rough edges using 320 grit sandpaper to get a clean edge. If using wetsanding sandpaper it can help to sand the plate in the shower to make cleanup easier
-Sand the entire face of the plate with 600 grit sandpaper. This will remove any mold release or factory mold release for sheet plastic and rough up any glossy finish for paint adhesion. Once this is completed properly, water should no longer bead on the surface of the plate.Final Prep
-Wash the plate using a soft sponge and dishwashing detergent. This will free the plate of any grease or plastic dust.
-Dry with a towel or set to dry naturally
-Use a t-shirt or microfiber cloth to insure there is no dust or towel/ paper towel lint on the surface of the plate
When I mask it's important to me to paint the edges and close undersides of the plate so no plastic is exposed. This is an easy way to achieve this paint coverage, allow yourself to hold the plate, and mask off areas that need to be clean for attaching snaps/ bolts/ velcro later.Masking
-Create a duct tape loop to hold your plate with sticky side out. It should fit 4-5 fingers.
-Using another piece of tape, secure your loop to the plate.
-Use painters tape and paper to mask around your loop, leaving edges and areas like chest displays or jetpack hooks exposed.
For bigger pieces, you can use more pieces to secure your loop.Painting
-The information on the can is not a suggestion. It's instructions. If it is too humid or hot/cold outside you should not paint. If it takes 48 hours for your enamel to fully cure, it really will.
-Shake your cans properly. This will spread the pigment among the acetone in the can and allow proper spray strokes.
-Use nitrile gloves and NOSHA approved respirator. They will protect you in both the short and long term is this hobby.
-If at all possible paint indoors. I paint on my apartment's stairwells. It offers a no wind, low humidity, and stable environment to paint in. If this is not possible for you, paint in as favorable conditions as you can and then let your plate cure indoors.
. I cannot stress this enough. There is no reason to ever get runs in your paint if you exercise a little bit of patience. Paint in light coats and allow two minutes between coats at the very least.
-I normally will paint one light coat, stand for two minutes with the plate level and allow it to tack up a bit, then paint a second coat, wait another two minutes, and then return to allow full cure
-If at all possible try to stay within the same brand of spraypaint, but if you can not do this, let your paints fully cure before applying a second coat. I've layered Rustoleum, Valspar, and Krylon this way and had good results.Final Cure
-Make note of whether you are using enamels or not. I would recommend it if you can get ahold of them as they cure much harder and are far more durable in the long run. If you do be aware they have a long cure time to full hardness that needs to be respected.
-In most cases I would recommend Testor's Dullcote as a finishing coat. It is a laquer that will kill any glossiness and will dry hard enough to protect your work.