How to Paint Plastic Fairings

Written by h.c. hisel
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How to Paint Plastic Fairings
(Credit: taliesin - morguefile / taliesin)

Painting plastic fairings is a relatively easy task when compared with any other painting process involving an automobile. Fairings are a plastic shell that is placed over the frame of certain automobiles, such as motorcycles. Since they are plastic, they need to be repaired often. So painting plastic fairings is definitely the kind of repair you'd like to be able to do yourself.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 400-grit sand paper
  • 1,000-grit sand paper
  • plastic primer
  • base coat
  • clear lacquer coat

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  1. 1

    Sand the plastic fairings. It's important to have an appropriate surface for primer and paint to adhere to. Sanding the fairings will create this surface for you. To do this, use 400-grit sand paper. Sand the entire surface of the plastic fairings using circular motions, while applying moderate pressure.

  2. 2

    Prime the surface of the fairings. Without primer, the paint will not stick properly to the fairings. This is when chipping and excessive obscurities happen after the final paint job. Apply a plastic primer to the entire surface of the fairings. Plastic primers often come in rattle aerosol containers. It is very easy to apply. Spray long even strokes across the surface, refraining from ever stopping a paint stroke directly on the fairing as to avoid build up. Allow the primer to dry for 2 to 6 hours before moving on.

  3. 3

    Apply a very thin coat of your base colour. To do this, spray colour over the fairings quickly. Don't worry about covering the primer completely. This will allow you to easily see any bumps or flaws that may still remain on the fairings, giving you a chance to repair them before you continue. Allow this thin layer of colour to dry for approximately six hours.

  4. 4

    Wet sand over the thin layer of colour. Wet sanding is a technique that creates a perfectly smooth and shiny texture. Simply sand the fairings in the same fashion as you did earlier, except this time use a sponge or squirt bottle to apply water to each area as you're sanding it. Wet sand using 1,000-grit sand paper. After you have finished wet sanding the entire fairing, ensure that all excess water and plastic particles are removed.

  5. 5

    Apply the base colour coat. You will need to apply 3 to 5 coats of colour to the plastic fairings. When applying the colour practice a technique called grip coats. All that means is that the first coat is applied very thin and each coat gets progressively thicker. The thinner coats ensure that there is extra grip for the paint to hold on to. This will result in a more professional looking result. Apply the colour coats in the same fashion as you applied the primer. Allow three hours of time between applying each colour coat. Once you have applied all of the coats, wait 6 to 8 hours for the paint to fully dry.

  6. 6

    Apply a clear lacquer coat. A clear coat will protect your new paint job from extreme weather conditions. Apply 2 to 3 layers of clear lacquer and allow two hours of time between each coat. After you have finished applying all of the lacquer, wait a full twenty-four hours before using the automobile.

Tips and warnings

  • Always wear an air purifying mask while painting.
  • Allow plenty of ventilation within your painting work space at all times.

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