How to paint a guitar pedal

Written by ryan lawrence
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How to paint a guitar pedal
Set the pedal on top of a heavy-duty fabric dropcloth. (grunge cloth background image by from

A guitar pedal is a small electronic box that provides effects for an electric guitar. Most guitar pedals contain at least one or two knobs or switches, and you'll have to take your time to meticulously cover any areas you don't want painted. More importantly, however, you'll have to use a specific type of primer to abrade the metallic surface to help promote paint adhesion, or the final finish coat will chip and flake in a relatively short amount of time.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Heavy-duty fabric dropcloth
  • 80-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Blue painter's tape
  • Scissors
  • Spray etching primer
  • Acrylic spray paint

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  1. 1

    Unplug the guitar pedal.

  2. 2

    Set the pedal on top of a heavy-duty fabric dropcloth.

  3. 3

    Abrade the metallic portion of the guitar pedal by scouring it with 80-grit sandpaper.

  4. 4

    Wipe down the pedal with a tack cloth.

  5. 5

    Cover knobs, switches and any other portions of the guitar pedal you do not want painted with painter's tape. Use scissors to cut the tape to conform to tiny parts.

  6. 6

    Apply a light coat of spray etching primer to the pedal. Apply it in brief, light, intermittent bursts rather than in one prolonged spray to avoid possible runs and drips.

  7. 7

    Allow the etching primer to cure for 4 hours, and then apply a coat of acrylic spray paint in the same manner as you did the primer in Step 6. Do not try to cover the guitar pedal in one coa,t as this may lead to sagging in the final finish. Apply only a light coat.

  8. 8

    Allow the paint to dry for 2 hours, and then apply an additional coat.

Tips and warnings

  • A guitar pedal must be abraded with etching primer, or the paint will not stick. Do not try to use an ordinary bonding primer, as this will not provide you with adequate adhesion.

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