Finish Him! (2) Hand-painting and clear coating enclosures.

edited July 3rd 2017, January 1st 2018

After giving the whole flat a thorough dusting and hoovering, I came back for a second attempt. I painted up a few bare enclosures for some tube screamers and blues breakers I decided to build (SOLD OUT!).

So, I refined my process, and checked the instructions on my can of Krylon clear coat in doing so. For the most part the paint takes much better to the bare enclosures (it tastes much better too, no wait…).

If you’re using posca pens be sure to give it a shake and press the nib down a bit to let fresh paint through, just be careful you do it the once and quite quickly, one time I gave it a press for a wee bit too long and had to guide a puddle of paint round with the nib. If you don’t do refresh the supply of paint every once in a while it can get a little dry and you’ll be left with a lot of brush marks in the paint from the nib, I’ve not had this problem since learning that little trick. Conversely if you get too much come through at once and the paint dries in a pool, it won’t look good either, and might crack. keeping a good balance is the key to a consistent finish. It’s a good idea to keep a scrap of paper by the enclosure you’re painting so you can press the nib on that rather than the pedal itself.

At this point (its a good idea to read all the articles before you start yourself) I also found that for some of the lighter colours you need two coats, and painting over the dry acrylic doesn’t always go to plan, in these cases it’s best to give them a quick clear coat and then go at them again with the poscas before moving onto the final clear coat. Again, please read other posts before you decide what you want to try. I found that with the right primer adding extra coats is far less of a problem. However if you want to do a multi-layered design you could always try coats of the Krylon in between.

For that final clear coat here’s what I did.

Firstly, I put a little bit of blutack on the corners inside the enclosure (where the screws go).


Then I get a box like this…


…and plop them down a couple of inches apart enough that you have spraying clearance on all sides of the pedal. Meanwhile I have my can of Krylon taking a nice warm bath in the sink to help to get the paint flowing.


Then I open all the windows, put some newspaper down on my desk, get the enclosure filled boxed ready, and then shake the clear coat for about 2 minutes whilst preparing my facemask. This is the one I use.


I’d recommend it, it’s good for several uses, and you can just replace the filters on it. Whatever mask you choose, make sure it’s NIOSH approved. Once you’re masked up and you’ve spent a few minutes doing your Vader impressions you’re ready to begin. I also have a clock on hand to keep me right.

Give it a first coat with the usual smooth side to side motions. When you finish, rotate the box 90°. I also make a note of the time I start, cos my mind wanders. Keep shaking that can.

After one minute, give it another coat, rotate the box again, note the time if you like. Keep shaking that can.

Keep doing the same thing until you’ve sprayed them 8 times (which means twice from each angle).

For the last two sprays I just focus on giving the sides an extra coat.

After ten fine coats, it’s time for a break, get out of the fumes, have a cup of tea, have a nap, lay down some sick space jams, whatever you like.

After one hour of tea and being totally rad/ dreaming about being a Viking, it’s time to repeat the process.

Once I’ve done all that I fold up the top of the box, take it through to the other room and put it on the radiator for 24 hours.


The building I live in at the minute is doing me a favour, cos the radiators come on by themselves and keep the place pretty toast (it’s January!). At some point in the next month or so I won’t have that fancy feature and I’ll be investing in a wee toaster oven. If you have a toaster oven to use, beware, you CANNOT use it for enclosure and food. It’s one or the other. Food may sound important, but it’s not. Anyhow, when I get one I’ll give you more info, but as far as I know, you want it on the lowest heat possible, you’re not cooking them, you’re helping them cure. – NOTE- I’ve since learned that it’s only certain kinds of lacquers that require heat to make the finish harder. Though heat does help to speed up the ‘curing’ process for most spray finishes, it doesn’t make the finish any tougher unless it’s the right type. Research the spray you choose.

After 24 hours being warmed nicely, I took them out and gave them a rub, they seemed ok, but the coat wasn’t as thick as I’d hoped. Nevertheless they are scratch resistant and dunch resistant. I took my nails to one, and then tapped a spare enclosure against another, neither left any marks. I took one enclosure that I’d done for myself and scratched it with the end of some scissors to see how much force you needed to get down to the paint. I then took one of my bought pedals and applied the same amount of force, it took a bit of paint off, so I was down to bare metal.


I’m happy enough that these are at least as resilient as your common store bought pedal.

a note on the mask – it totally freaks our cat out. If you have a cat, go and say hello.

a note on ventilation – I have both my windows open. Ventilation is very important, even with the neat mask. But if it’s windy outside and you’re close to the window a lot of that fine mist from the can is going to get sucked away, and isn’t going to coat the enclosure as well as you want (I went through my first can pretty quickly). On the other hand if it isn’t windy, it’s going to take a while for those fumes to clear. I also stuff cloths under the door to try to limit the amount of fumes in the rest of the flat. If you can only spray indoors make sure you spray early in the day in a suitable well ventilated room, and keep those windows open for hours afterwards. I’ve since done larger batches indoors and even with the windows open for the full day you can get a fine residue on stuff in the room. It’s really not ideal, and I’d recommend doing it anywhere but your flat, but sometimes you have no other options, so if this is your only option, it is doable (not recommended) but you have to put a lot of time in cleaning the room afterwards. Put a fan on to help clear the room, use a wet rag to clean all surfaces, and give the place a good hoover. Always wear your mask.

extra note – Jan 1st 2018

I now live somewhere where I have access to an empty garage. It is absolutely perfect, and of course should always be your first choice, especially if you’re doing batches of 20 plus pedals like me. Just to clarify, when I was spraying in a room in my previous flat, I was only doing a few pedals at a time.

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