How to paint shadow chrome

Written by william zane
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Shadow chrome, more commonly referred to as Shadowline, is chrome trim that has been blacked out with paint, and can have a satin or a gloss finish. The term was coined by BMW, whose cars often come with Shadowline trim, but it is also commonly done to other types of car. Blacked-out trim is more modern and subtle in appearance than chrome. With the proper approach, it is easy to black out trim and have it stay looking good for years to come.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Masking tape
  • 220 grit and 400 grit wet sandpaper
  • Primer spray paint
  • Black spray paint

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  1. 1

    Remove the trim that is going to be painted.

  2. 2

    If you are not removing the trim, use masking tape and newspaper to mask off any areas around the trim that are not going to be painted. The overspray from the spray paint is pretty heavy, so make sure you carefully mask off any areas that you do not want paint on.

  3. 3

    Clean the trim with a mild cleaner, such as Simple Green.

  4. 4

    Sand the trim with 220-grit sandpaper. Chrome is very smooth, and the paint will not adhere well unless it is scuffed up.

  5. 5

    Clean the trim very thoroughly with white spirit after the sanding. This is a crucial step in paint preparation. Clean the trim so there is no oil or residue. Not only will the paint adhere better, but the final appearance of the trim will be better if the surface is very clean and blemish-free.

  6. 6

    Spray on several coats of primer, letting the primer dry thoroughly between coats. Wet sand the primer with 220 grit sand paper between coats.

  7. 7

    Spray the trim with the black you have chosen. Satin or semigloss is the most popular, though you can also use gloss black or even flat black paint, depending on the look you are going for.

  8. 8

    Let the paint dry for several hours or preferably overnight. Wet sand the paint with 220 grit sandpaper and then 400 grit sandpaper.

  9. 9

    Carefully reinstall any trim that was removed.

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