How to Pimp Out Matchbox Cars

Written by joe capristo
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How to Pimp Out Matchbox Cars
You can add custom graphics to an existing or fresh paint job. (model speed car image by timur1970 from

Your ordinary looking Matchbox toy cars can undergo a massive modification by adding stunning paint job customisations. This enables you to "pimp out" old or even brand new Matchbox style toy cars. These modifications could be used on a wide variety of toy vehicles. Custom graphics and paint jobs created with this method will display your own sense of style on your toy vehicles and mark them as uniquely your own. Pimp out your old, beat up toy vehicles to make them look new again and cooler than ever.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Masking, magic or painter's tape
  • Spray paint
  • Printed images or cut out pictures
  • Liquid model glue (the kind that comes in a bottle with a brush)
  • Clear nail polish
  • Nail buffer
  • Tweezers
  • X-acto or hobby knife

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  1. 1

    Apply tape to mask any areas of the vehicle not being painted. These includes the interior, windows, underside and wheels. Remove the parts to be painted if you can do so.

  2. 2

    Spray the surface evenly in short bursts, holding the spray can about six inches away from the parts to be painted. Coat the vehicle lightly and allow the paint to dry. Touch up the paint job with short bursts from the spray can if necessary and allow the paint to dry.

  3. 3

    Select a picture or graphic to add to the paint job of your vehicle by cutting out a colour image from a magazine or photograph. Alternatively, print a custom graphic using your computer and colour printer. Trim the image to fit the location on the vehicle to which you plan to apply it, Do not leave a white or empty space around the image as it will ruin the quality of your custom paint job.

  4. 4

    Apply the liquid model glue to the back of the image after saturating the paper with glue. Place the image on the model using tweezers to prevent it from sticking to fingers or other surfaces, The paper must adhere smoothly and fully to the model with no air pockets or gaps. Brush additional glue onto the image if necessary, then set it aside and allow it to dry.

  5. 5

    Brush several coats of clear nail polish over the painted surface of the vehicle. Apply the polish evenly and carefully and allow it to dry between coats. The edges of any applied paper images must be fully and evenly sealed by this layer of clear polish.

  6. 6

    Buff the clear polish coat using different nail buffer surfaces in order and one at a time. The buffer surfaces will wear out any inconsistencies, such as finger prints or brush strokes that may be moulded in the coat of clear polish. When you are finished with the final buffer surface the vehicle should have an even coat with a high shine that looks like a professional wax job. Remove the masking tape from your toy and you are ready to enjoy your "pimped out" Matchbox vehicle.

Tips and warnings

  • Work in an area that provides adequate space and is well ventilated.
  • If the paper graphic that you apply to the vehicle does not adhere completely and evenly to the model, do not proceed with the clear coat of nail polish. Remove the damaged paper and any excess glue, then begin again with a fresh graphic.
  • Skip using the most coarse surface of the nail buffer that is intended for filing and shaping fingernails. It will make deep scratches in your clear polish surface.
  • The paints and adhesives used in this project can be messy and permanently stain some surfaces. Work in an area where mess is allowed. The materials used for this project can be eye or skin irritants or have may have hazardous fumes. Use in a well-ventilated area. Adult supervision may be required.

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