Basic Stuff 7 – Finish Him! Hand-painting and clear coating enclosures. (part 4)

I was a little concerned with the quality of the clear coats I’d tried previously. They seemed okay, but I wanted something a little tougher, also they seemed a tiny bit ‘sticky’ if you held them for too long. I’m always trying to improve the quality of my products so I kept pushing on. I decided to jab the end of a 1/4″ jack right into the paint job of a couple of pedals. In a couple of cases they chipped. But after a little more experimentation I reckon I’ve got the clear coat just right!

Firstly, here’s one that didn’t work from earlier experiments.


In part 3 I showed some other paint that had cracked. That was due to applying too much acrylic with the posca pens. This time the cracks were because the posca didn’t take to the primer. For this pedal I used the Americana as a clear base coat. It looks like, in some cases, the posca acrylic paint cracks when it is painted on the Americana. Obviously the colours react differently but we need something that works across the board.

I also tried the Americana as a clear coat on one of the bases (left).


As you can see, it highlighted each pen stroke. This isn’t the case with any of the other sprays. I have since repainted these two and they’re both looking good now. Bye bye Americana.

So let me introduce you to my new best friends. All these products are by Duplicolor, and they’re designed for automotive use.

For my first experiment I went for the Duplicolor matte finish on a build I was doing for myself.

As you can see, it makes the bare metal appear grey and dulls the colours. It’s quite a cool effect, but doesn’t suit everything, and this probably would have worked better with gloss. Not to worry though.

I’m generally not a fan of gloss, and I’d hoped that I could get away with the matte finish, but I was canny impressed with the gloss, check these bad mamma jammas out.

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I tried the ceramic finish, and the acrylic enamel gloss clear coat on these ones. The ceramic seems a wee bit thicker, but the gloss acrylic enamel is spot on too. These pedals had either already been finished with Krylon acrylic clear coat or I applied the Duplicolor straight to the posca.

In a couple of cases the posca cracked again (see below), again this was because I’d used Americana as the base coat.

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As you can see the white and the red both cracked after applying the Duplicolor clear coat.

The best results were from using the Duplicolor adhesion promoter, followed by the poscas followed by the ceramic clear coat. See below.

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So, my new method is…

  1. Use 1500 grit wet and dry to sand down enclosure.
  2. Give the enclosure a thorough clean with warm soapy water
  3. Dry thoroughly, and wipe clean with paper towels
  4. Apply Duplicolor adhesion promoter primer in 3 coats, first two coats thin, last coat a little thicker, wait three minutes between coats.
  5. Leave enclosure to dry for a day or two.
  6. Do the artwork with posca pens, leave for a day.
  7. Apply Duplicolor clear coat (matte/gloss/ceramic) in 5 or 6 coats, first two coats thin, slowly applying slightly thicker coats as you go. Each coat ten minutes apart.
  8. Place box of pedals on radiator if possible and leave to dry for around 5 days (you can probably get away with 3 -5 days).

One can should be good for 5 or 6 coats on 3 or 4 pedals including bases.

I mentioned trying a toaster oven in the last post. Having done a bit more reading on the topic since then, I’ve found out it speeds up the process, but it doesn’t make it the finish harder or more durable.

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