How to paint with pearl

Written by richard kalinowski
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How to paint with pearl
(Jupiterimages/ Images)

Pearl paint jobs can add flair to your car or other metallic product. While older pearl products were difficult to mix and often available only from custom car shops, Car Tech Books explains that modern pearl paint kits are very user-friendly. Even if you’ve never painted with pearl before, you can transform a bland piece of metal into a so-called “pearlescent” piece with just a few basic steps. With the right know-how, even a novice can enjoy the flashy look of pearl paint.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • 100-grit sandpaper
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel
  • Painter's tape
  • Tarp
  • Automotive paint
  • Primer
  • Foam brush
  • Spray gun
  • Acrylic paint
  • 600-grit sandpaper
  • 1000-grit sandpaper
  • Pearl flakes
  • Pearl powder

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  1. 1

    Sand the metal first. This is vital to ensuring a good, professional-looking paint job. Even if the metal is relatively smooth, a few passes with 100-grit sandpaper will further buff out even the minor bumps and imperfections often missed by the naked eye.

  2. 2

    Wash the car or other metallic object thoroughly with soap and water. This will not only remove excess sanding dust, it will also help wash away any dirt, oil or grease on the metal’s surface.

  3. 3

    Dry the metal with a towel or let it air dry. Once dried, do not add polish to the car or metal object. Even if you normally wax, buff and polish, you must avoid this practice as you prepare for painting. Polishing agents can react poorly with paint, leading to an inferior end result.

  4. 4

    Apply painter’s tape to the edges of the metallic object or car. Also lay down a tarp to prevent any paint drips from landing on your driveway or workspace.

  5. 5

    Apply a coat of primer to the piece of metal using a standard foam paintbrush. Primer will ensure better paint coverage and durability.

  6. 6

    Wait for the primer to dry. Drying times vary by manufacturer; consult the can of primer for the most accurate timing.

  7. 7

    Sand the primer with 600-grit sandpaper after it has dried. This will help smooth out minuscule imperfections in the primer.

  8. 8

    Repeat Steps 5 through 7 again with a second coat of primer.

  9. 9

    Spray a coat of standard automotive paint onto the piece of metal using a spray gun. If you are working with a smaller piece of metal, you can also apply regular acrylic paint with a foam paint brush.

  10. 10

    Wait several hours for the paint to dry. Consult the paint container for the most accurate drying times.

  11. 11

    Sand the recently dried paint with 1000-grit sandpaper for a smooth, immaculate finish.

  12. 12

    Repeat steps 9 through 11, applying a second coat of colour.

  13. 13

    Mix pearl flakes or powder into your paint. The more pearl pieces you mix into the paint, the more overt the pearlescent effect will be. It is advisable that you add only a small amount of flakes to the paint at first, since you can always add more and apply a second coat later on if you want the surface to shimmer more brightly.

  14. 14

    Spray the piece of metal with the recently mixed pearl solution in order to create a flashy pearlescent look. If the pearlescent look is not as pronounced as desired, add more flakes or powder to your paint and apply a second coat once the first has dried.

  15. 15

    Wait at least 48 hours for the pearl coat to dry before removing the painter’s tape and picking up the tarp.

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