How to Paint Metal Flake

Written by jenny carver
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Metal flake is one of the best ways to get your car noticed. Metal flake is paint with large metallic flakes mixed in. The flakes are so large they are easily seen in a finished paint job. The flakes are metallic and reflect light easily and give it a sparkly effect. Metal flake is one of the most difficult types of paint to spray because it has to be sprayed just right, or the flakes won't spread evenly throughout the paint. Learn how to paint metal flake paint and make your ride the shiniest car around.

Skill level:
Moderately Challenging

Things you need

  • Respirator mask
  • Dual-action sander
  • 80-grit sand paper
  • Masking tape and paper
  • Epoxy sealer primer
  • Polyester high-fill primer
  • Long sanding block
  • Spray gun
  • Gun tip for paint and tip for flakes
  • Automotive paint
  • Automotive clear coat paint
  • Metal flakes

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  1. 1

    Use a dual-action sander and 80-grit sand paper to sand the car down to bare metal. Metal flake paint can be sensitive and may have a chemical reaction with underlying old paint. Mask off all parts of the car that won't be painted. Cover the glass, trim parts, wheels, chrome and lights.

  2. 2

    Spray one coat of epoxy sealer primer over the bare metal, starting at the front of the car and working to the rear. Once the sealer is dry, spray one coat of polyester high-fill primer on top of the sealer.

  3. 3

    Block sand the entire car. The polyester high-fill primer will show any dents, dings or high spots that need repair. After repairs are done, spray a thin coat of primer over the repaired areas.

  4. 4

    Spray three coats of base colour paint on the entire car. Allow each coat 30 minutes to dry before applying the next layer.

  5. 5

    Add 113gr of metal flake to 1 quart of clear coat paint. Spray the metal flake onto the surface of dried base coat. Use a thin layer and then wait until that layer is tacky before spraying another coat. Use as many coats as necessary to cover the car in metal flake. Usually, four coats are sufficient.

  6. 6

    Spray two or three coats of regular clear coat paint on top of the metal flake coats. Allow them to dry completely before touching the paint. Wet sand and buff the car after the paint has dried for a few days.

Tips and warnings

  • Always use a paint booth when spraying metal flake paint. Using a garage or makeshift paint booth can cause trash to land in the paint and ruin the metal flakes. Many body shops will allow you to rent a few hours in their paint booth after hours if you don't have access to a professional paint booth.
  • Use one brand of products when painting a car. Primer, paint and clear coat should always be from the same company. Don't mix product brands.
  • Never spray paint without wearing a respirator mask.

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