How to Paint an Auto With White Pearl

Written by richard kalinowski
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Pearl paint adds an iridescent shimmer to your paint, making the finished product glisten and stand out from the crowd. Painting a car with white pearl requires some special mixing, but otherwise it is no more difficult than painting with standard auto paint according to Paint With Pearl, an auto-detailing company in Denver, Colo. If you follow the right process, you can paint your auto with white pearl in just a few hours.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Soap
  • Water
  • Towel
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • 320 grit sandpaper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Plastic tarps
  • General purpose spray primer
  • White urethane paint
  • Spray gun
  • White pearl flakes or powder

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  1. 1

    Wash your car thoroughly with soap and water. You can take the car through a car wash to get rid of thick dirt build-up, but you’ll also need to wash it again when you get home. Small pieces of dirt and dust can adhere to the car on the drive home after a car wash, so you always need to give the car a quick second washing in your driveway.

  2. 2

    Dry the car with a clean towel.

  3. 3

    Sand any noticeable scratches with 240 grit sandpaper. If you do not sand out scratches, the new coat will only further accent these surface imperfections.

  4. 4

    Sand the rest of the car’s exterior surfaces with 320-grit sandpaper to remove the existing glossy finish.

  5. 5

    Rinse off the car with a garden hose. This will remove any sandpaper dust and any towel fibres from Step 2.

  6. 6

    Wait for the car to air-dry. Do not use a towel to dry the car this time, because this is the final rinse prior to painting. Using a towel may leave behind small cloth fibres. The car will usually air-dry within about an hour.

  7. 7

    Use painter’s tape and plastic tarps to cover up windows, door handles and other items that you do not want to paint.

  8. 8

    Apply a coat of general purpose spray primer. Though you can apply primer using a brush, a spray-can of primer will work better because there is no risk of visible brush marks.

  9. 9

    Fill your paint gun with white urethane paint. Do not add any white pearl to the urethane auto paint yet. Before adding pearl, you must cover the car with two base coats of plain white paint.

  10. 10

    Spray the car horizontally with the white urethane paint, holding the gun about 18 inches from the automobile’s surface.

  11. 11

    Wait 15 minutes and then add a second coat, as recommended by Monster Guide.

  12. 12

    Mix white pearl flakes or pearl powder into the paint gun. Pearl flakes and powders can be bought at many custom auto shops or on the internet. (See Resources.) Depending on the brand of pearl flakes or powder you are using, the mixing ratio will vary. Always consult the packaging to ensure a proper pearl-to-paint ratio. When uncertain, opt for a lesser pearl content. You can always add a second coat of pearl after 15 minutes if the first coat doesn’t glisten enough, but you cannot subtract an overly iridescent layer if you used too many pearl flakes in your first coat.

  13. 13

    Spray the car’s surface with the pearl paint mixture, and wait at least 24 hours for the paint to dry before removing the painter’s tape and driving the car.

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