Nose Art Jacket Painting Tips

Written by clara english
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Nose Art Jacket Painting Tips
Flight crew members decorated their war planes with images. (shark teeth nose art image by Andrew Breeden from

During World War II and the Korean War, military units decorated the noses of their aircrafts with images of pin up girls, cartoons and other designs. These images of the 1940s and 1950s are classic Americana icons. Bring these iconic images into your wardrobe by painting nose art on a jacket. Translate the retro art designs to leather or another surface to create a unique and durable flight jacket.

Find the Right Jacket

Leather jackets are traditionally chosen for nose art paintings, but canvas and other natural materials also make suitable candidates. Practice on a leather surface or used jacket first, to avoid ruining your new jacket. Find reasonably priced leather jackets at thrift and vintage stores. Army surplus stores are a good source of non-leather military jackets. A jacket that looks worn or heavily used adds to the nostalgic look of nose art.

Properly Prepare Your Jacket

First, clean the jacket well by applying leather cleaner to any areas you wish to paint. Scrub with a small brush to remove accrued dirt, grime and grease before painting it. Next, dip a cloth in denatured alcohol to remove the manufacturer's seal coating. This wax or oil coating impedes the absorption of paint. Finally, rub the jacket lightly with sandpaper. A rough surface facilitates the painting process. Wash a non-leather jacket according to the manufacturer's instructions. The porous surface of cloth necessitates no further treatment.

Find Appropriate References

Research images of 1940s and 1950s aircrafts. Find images of real nose art as references to duplicate the look and feel of an authentic flight jacket. Pin up girls are the classic subjects of nose art. A skilled painter will be able to look at the images while painting, but a novice should trace the chosen references on the material, using tracing paper.

Ensure a Lasting Product

Use acrylic paint on leather because it is most flexible, compared to other types of paint. Use fabric paint or acrylic mixed with a fabric medium, to paint on canvas or other woven material. While painting, flex your jacket between coats of paint and as the paint dries. This makes it less likely for the paint to chip off as you wear your new creation.

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