I’ve been meaning to get round to this for a while, but I’ve spent the last couple of months breadboarding and getting PCBs designed for my own pedals. Anyway, I got the gerbers sent off to dirtypcbs.com just in time to miss the deadline for Chinese New Year, so I won’t be seeing them until mid-February at the earliest. So I had the perfect excuse to try out hand-painting some enclosures for a bunch of clone PCBs I have knocking about. They’ll be on the website for sale shortly (or now depending on when you are reading this).
I had looked at getting high quality vinyl stickers printed from stickermule.com, but after painting a couple of enclosures the bug got me. I enjoyed it and I think they look pretty boss. I also like the appeal of each pedal being unique.
So first up, after doing a wee bit of research, I found this video by The Psychedelic Cherry about hand-painting your own pedals.
A great place to start, it also introduced me to posca pens.
Posca pens look like markers, but they use acrylic paint instead of ink. I’m much better with a pen than I am with a brush so I bought a box straight away. I got a box of 15 fine point (PC-3M) pens from Amazon for about $23. I later got a big chunky black pen (PC-8K), and a set of extra fine (PC-1M). They’re perfect for me, I couldn’t be happier that such things exist.
The first thing I tried painting was the Skinny Gett. I’d already de-housed it to swap some components anyway (see next blog post on desoldering). This pedal isn’t for sale so it wouldn’t matter what happened.
The enclosure for this pedal already has a coat of yellow gloss on it. I noticed that some of the colours took better than others. The black in particular didn’t like the glossy finish, and I had to disguise the edges of the mountains with other colours. Unfortunately the face took a couple of attempts, and largely painting over previous attempts. This bit didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but that’s what experiments are for.
I gave the pedal a quick coat with this stuff (It’s about $8 on Amazon).
I just gave it the once over, then sat it to dry on the radiator overnight. The next morning I gave it a scratch with my fingernail, which it survived, but when I scratched it with the metal bit of my pen, the paint underneath came off, so obviously one coat isn’t enough. Also, when I sprayed it, there had been a little dust in the box, they spray kicked it up and it got deposited on the pedal.
I could get rid of a little bit of this before giving it a second coat, but some of it is in there forever. Never mind, lesson learned. It’s fine for my pedalboard.
Next time, more pedal art and more findings including how to clear coat.